Spark Capital and Index Ventures are leading a $42 million investment in 1stdibs, an online auction site for high-end antiques. The Wall Street Journal reports that funding is also provided by Benchmark, which paid $60 million for 1stdibs last year. About 1,700 dealers list on the site, including Clinton Howell, of Clinton Howell Antiques in NY. He sold five items on the site last year, each valued at $10,000 to $20,000, but says this year his are down. Howell spends about $7,000 a year to list goods on the site. He says 1stdibs needs to distinguish the types of merchandise it carries and limit itself to high-quality dealers.
David Rosenblatt, 1stdibs CEO, said they are working on ways to differentiate items. They have a waiting list of dealers, who are all vetted to maintain quality. He estimates the 2012 sales revenue will be more than $650 million, up from $500 million last year.