settings<eng />

Reside

A New Way to Buy & Sell Antiques: Sotheby’s Viyet

SOTHEBY’S PURCHASE OF VIYET EXPANDS FURNISHING OPTIONS

Online shopping has revolutionized the way we buy everything from clothing to everyday basics. Now, we can add fine antiques, rare vintage pieces and designer furniture to the list. Whether you’re looking for a pristine Art Deco accent chair by Jacques Adnet or an 18th-century French farmhouse table, you can start your search at Viyet.com, the online vintage, antique and designer furniture marketplace that was acquired by Sotheby’s in February 2018.

Viyet.com made its debut in April 2013 as an e-commerce platform for New York City design aficionados to buy and consign preowned high-end furniture, antiques, and accessories. As of 2018, Viyet has grown to 13 markets across the country, from Atlanta to Los Angeles. In addition to preowned pieces from designers and private collectors, you can also often find new items from showrooms. As a result, Viyet lists hundreds of arrivals weekly, with the selection refreshed on a daily basis.

This level of access to great design, combined with Viyet’s exceptional e-commerce platform that makes buying and selling items simple for even budding collectors, creates a truly exciting addition to Sotheby’s. “The challenge of a start-up is rising above the noise and catching people’s attention, so to immediately align with a historic, well-known brand like Sotheby’s gives us an added layer of trust and allows us to reach a global network of clients that would have taken many years to build,” said Viyet CEO Elizabeth Brown, in an interview earlier this year on Sothebys.com. “We are also excited to begin serving Sotheby’s clients as we introduce a fixed-price format, to be considered alongside Sotheby’s traditional and online auction model.”

Online marketplace options include antiques and designer furniture.
Online marketplace options include antiques and designer furniture

BUYING ANTIQUES ONLINE WITH CONFIDENCE

Vintage and antique items range from rare investment-quality pieces (such as a Chinese wedding cabinet with crown, offered for $9,520) to fanciful vintage accessories (such as two 1930s bronzed pirate bookends, offered for $150). Every piece has been vetted by Viyet’s curators who assess condition and authenticity in addition to verifying features, colors, measurements, and more. During an in-person appointment, curators take photos of every detail and extensive notes inform the descriptions that appear on each product listing.

Potential consignors outside of Viyet’s 13 markets can also schedule a virtual curator appointment, where they can “meet” with a curator via a video-conferencing app. During the appointment, the curator provides direction and coaching on measuring and photographing their items to be listed for sale at Viyet. The curator then uploads the photographs to Viyet’s platform.

“I’m quite confident in specialists’ ability to relay condition virtually, whether at auction or via the Viyet marketplace,” says Alex Gilbert, Viyet's VP of sales and merchandising for 20th-century and contemporary design. “You can always feel free to request additional detail photos.” Potential buyers can speak to Viyet’s client-services team via live chat, phone, or email.

Detailed photos of items show the state or condition of the piece. “When dealing with antique furniture and decorative arts, signs of age and use (within reason) can add to the charm of a piece,” says David Walker, antiques specialist for Sotheby’s.

“In addition, values have reached a point where, in the vast majority of cases, antique furniture can be used and enjoyed without the fear of too much value diminishing," he says. “Of course, structural changes to period furniture and condition points are always noted by the experienced Viyet team prior to listing, and buyers can shop with even more confidence now that Viyet is a part of Sotheby’s.”

The site allows furniture hunters to find gems easily
The site allows furniture hunters to find gems easily.

FINDING THAT PERFECT PIECE

For those who don’t have a specific designer or item in mind, Viyet’s search functions can help narrow down hundreds of antique and vintage options. (You can focus any category by style, color, material, and more.) This is especially helpful for new collectors. “If you’re drawn to ceramic, glass or textiles, for example, you can build a collection by learning to differentiate the brand’s or designer's work by learning about the process, materials and technique," Gilbert says.

New collectors should consider starting with accessories. “Small [items] are a great way to start a collection,” Gilbert says.

“When dealing with antique furniture and decorative arts, signs of age and use (within reason) can add to the charm of a piece,” - David Walker, Antiques Specialist for Sotheby's
signs of age and use can add to the charm of a piece

BUILDING A COLLECTION

More experienced collectors shopping with an eye toward value might have noticed that competition for certain categories—such as all things Mid-Century — remains fierce. However, there are gems to be found in periods, categories and styles that are just now being appreciated by collectors. “Some great buys can still be had for original handmade 19th- and 20th-century furniture,” Gilbert says. She observes that Art Nouveau and Arts and Crafts are poised to gain attention again.

“For me, the key thing is to not let yourself be constrained by a particular look or feel you think you might want, and to stay open to the idea of mixing things.”

antique furniture can be used and enjoyed without the fear of too much value diminishing
“In addition, values have reached a point where, in the vast majority of cases, antique furniture can be used and enjoyed without the fear of too much value diminishing," - David Walker, Antiques Specialist for Sotheby's

Categories that recently have caught her eye include Modernist silver tableware, Fornasetti paperweights, miniature bud vases and Native American baskets.

Walker suggests browsing with a budget in mind. “Some very old objects can actually be purchased for surprisingly little,” he says. “Less than $1,000 could buy you a 15th-century Persian vase or a small piece of Roman glass — not the best examples, of course, but things that carry such age that they are sure to spark the imagination. On the more functional side, the same amount could buy you a stylish Thonet chair or an 18th-century brass pricket stick. Possibilities are almost endless.”

When it comes time to purchase, Viyet offers two options: “Buy Now” and “Make An Offer.” The “Make an Offer” feature lets you name a price to the seller, who can either accept or counteroffer.

“For me, the key thing is to not let yourself be constrained by a particular look or feel you think you might want, and to stay open to the idea of mixing things.” - David Walker, Antiques Specialist for Sotheby's
stay open to the idea of mixing things

<eng />

Select School Districts by State
Search