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Of the 76 lots on offer, only three were successfully bid for on the Web, but the occasion was an important landmark in the international art market as it proved that the Internet is a viable method of bidding for art – albeit so far of low value – at auction.

The auction was conducted in association with Sotheby’s, and their managing director in Germany, Dr Philipp Herzog von Wottemberg, was the auctioneer.

About 400 people crowded into the room to hear ArtLink founder and managing director Tal Danai announce the sale. Transmission started at 7.45pm but had to be interrupted five minutes later as technicians in support teams across three countries detected someone trying to break into the system. Twenty minutes later they went back online, with the bidding starting at 8.25pm.

Internet bids started coming in, but the first successful Web bid was for lot 25, Untitled (Angel), a black and white print by Polish artist Marek Domanski which sold below estimate at $230.

Technicians detected another failed attempt to break into the system at 9pm.

It was reported that 800 Internet users viewed the auction online, with 40,000 viewers visiting the site during the three-day exhibition in Rostock which was in part transmitted online. Mr Danai, who dubbed the occasion an “exhilarating experience”, said: “The world became smaller yesterday, it all fit within one room.” More sales are planned for the coming months and they are testing a system that should make it possible to sell high value items on the Web.