A Digital Auction Is All Set To Take Bidders Into The Future | Verve Magazine
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December 03, 2020

A Digital Auction Is All Set To Take Bidders Into The Future

Text by Ashwin Rajagopalan

The Hyderabad-based Cymmon’s Auctioneers LLP will be putting artworks and jewellery under the virtual hammer



Just a few weeks ago, the Nobel Prize in Economics was awarded to two economists – Robert Wilson and Paul Milgrom – who have spent decades improving auction design and pioneering auction theory. Professor Milgrom found that auctioneers could increase their revenue if they shared more information with bidders.

Auction houses like the Hyderabad-based Cymmon’s Auctioneers LLP are offering more detailed descriptions both offline and online. We are already seeing a further acceleration in this trend as more auctions go online, a trend sparked by COVID-19 induced disruptions. And online bidders have to make more well-informed purchase decisions without the physical presence of an auctioneer in the “room”.

Amrita Shergil, Untitled, 13.5 X 9.5 inches, Pencil and Water Colour on Paper, 1930

With auctions shifting to a virtual environment and blurring geographical divides, a large number of young and first-time buyers are entering the pool and bidding for artworks, jewellery and artefacts. Cymmon’s has already built a user-friendly auction platform that facilitates online bidding, and the team behind it has also come up with an intuitive app that is available for both iOS and Android users, bringing the auction house one step closer to prospective bidders. And Krishna Moolagundam, the founder of Cymmon’s, believes that the smooth transition to online bidding will be key to the success of their next big auction – their first-of-its-kind online auction – on 21st and 22nd January 2021.

GIA certified pink diamond ring

Moolagundam’s fascinating entrepreneurial journey has also seen him establish one of India’s most prestigious art galleries (Moolagundam Art Gallery in Hyderabad) and a premier diamond trading outfit. “It was my undying fondness for art that was the genesis of Cymmon’s,” he says. Cymmon’s Auctioneers LLP, a full-scale auction house established in 2019, brings together collectors, galleries and museums not just in India but across the world.

The passion for art runs in the family. Moolagundam’s collection of South Asian modern and contemporary artworks crossed the thousand mark in 2018. A tipping point that led to the establishment of the Moolagundam Art Gallery in 2018 in Hyderabad. Moolagundam has also established Moolagundam Diamonds, which specialises in the manufacturing and trading of exotic coloured diamonds and natural gemstones in a city that was the original home of the fabled Golconda diamonds.

Krishna Moolagundam

Moolagundam’s expertise as a diamantaire and an art collector gets expression in Cymmon’s efforts to create a global platform. Cymmon’s has representatives in Mumbai, New Delhi, Kolkata, New York, London, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shenzhen. The auction house conducts events around the year, providing a bespoke platform for sellers to connect with discerning buyers across the world.

Village by F.N. Souza

The auction house benefits from Moolagundam’s penchant for collecting and owning rare, noteworthy and valuable items, whether it is modern and contemporary art and artefacts, watches, books, wines, gems or jewellery. Cymmon’s upcoming auction will round up works from some of India’s best-known names in the contemporary art space, including modern artists like F. N. Souza, M. F. Husain, K. H. Ara, S. H. Raza, Amrita Sher-Gil, Jamini Roy, N. S. Bendre and Zarina Hashmi.

Untitled (Bird) by J. Swaminathan

But it’s not just standout art that will go under the hammer. The upcoming auction will also leverage Moolagundam’s rich expertise as a gem enthusiast and a diamantaire, for it will feature certified diamond jewellery and certified natural gemstone jewellery in a selection of contemporary designs. Some of the showstoppers include a certified ametrine diamond ring, a GRS-certified AAAA Tanzanite diamond necklace and a gorgeous pink diamond ring.

For its auctions, Cymmon’s has been open to accepting consignments from interested sellers of South Asian modern and contemporary art, gems, jewellery and watches. A team of empanelled professionals is consulted for detailed estimations while counsel is sought from global partners and international institutions for technical and artistic evaluations. The auction house has also been quick to embrace technology. Cymmon’s uses the latest 360-degree technology to create a unique viewing experience.

GRS certified AAAA tanzanite diamond necklace

Cymmon’s has leaned on digital marketing to reach out to prospective customers worldwide and enabled full-length online auction platforms. We’re seeing quite a few businesses tap into AR (augmented reality) to simulate real-world experiences. Apple is one tech major that is betting big on AR, and it has created a toolkit that developers can build on. Cymmon’s is also working on an AR-enabled tool for viewing auctions. Moolagundam remains bullish about the prospects for auction houses in a post-COVID world. “Online auctions will see a spurt; more customers across the globe can access these platforms and make bids.” Cymmon’s looks all set to adapt to a changing landscape and consolidate its position as one of India’s premier auction houses with a global reach.

Zarina Hashmi, Wall, Relief Paper From Collaged Wood, On Handmade Paper A-P, 1970

For more information, go to cymmons.com

Ashwin Rajagopalan blogs at ashwinpowers.com

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