- What types of items are you looking for?
- The items of highest value that drive most consignments are usually paintings, sculpture, jewelry, watches, and Asian art. Twentieth-century design sales are some of our most popular. Our interior designer clients look for high-quality decorations like lighting, mirrors, beautifully upholstered seating, carpets, and screens. Our younger collectors are excited by contemporary art, prints, photography, street art, and fashion, while our more traditional clients enjoy our antiques sales. We also host specialized auctions for silver, rare books, antiquities, tribal art, and more.
- How do I consign to an auction?
- Easy — call or email us, and let us know what you have. The process is simple. We visit or look at photos of the items and give you an estimated value and terms of sale. We come to pick up the collection. We then photograph, catalog, and put the items up for auction. After collecting the proceeds of sale, we remit payment to you.
- What are your consignment terms?
- Our commissions and fees are based on the value of your collection and your situation. We start by looking for the highlights in a collection, then we tally the overall value of the collection and consider the time and space required to realize that value. A single item worth $100,000 would have a lower commission rate than a houseful of hundreds of items worth $100,000. We have a simple consignment agreement that details our terms.
- Do you charge a buyer's premium?
- Yes. All auction houses charge the buyer a commission, known as the buyer’s premium. This fee is an additional charge that the buyer pays on top of the hammer price (the price an item sells for at auction). We do not figure the buyer’s premium into the estimates we provide.
- Do you ever sell items on consignment without physically receiving the items?
- Yes. We do remote consignments. If the items are too large or too costly to ship to us, consignors with the expertise or resources to properly photograph, catalog, and ship to winning bidders may opt for remote consignment.
- Is it better to sell my collection outright or should I put it up for auction?
It depends on your preference and your situation. Selling your collection outright can be a great choice for liquidating an estate quickly and efficiently. It is simple and easy, and payment is made immediately. Outright purchase is often combined with a clean-out, where the purchase price also includes our service of leaving the house or apartment in broom swept condition for a fast turnaround of the real estate.
After reviewing your collection, we would be happy to offer our advice about the best option for you. We can offer both options — estimates with terms of sale as well as an outright purchase price — so that you can decide.
- Do you ever make private sales?
- We do offer the option for private sale. If you have a valuable item, we can offer it to our clientele and broker a sale without having to wait for the right auction. This can be done confidentially, avoiding the exposure of a public auction, and certain buyers prefer purchasing this way.
- I have a valuable item appraised at over $100,000. Are you able to sell this?
- Absolutely! We have the expertise, the clientele, and the knowledge to successfully market and sell items of great worth. Exceptional items are what make us most excited about any collection, and presenting such items serves the rest of the estate. Top-tier items highlight the importance of the collection as a whole and also allow us to offer premium service at a modest commission.
- Do you provide appraisals?
Yes, and it is helpful to understand the difference between an auction evaluation and a formal appraisal. Our auction experts provide free evaluations of objects or entire collections for the purpose of selling those items in one of our auctions. These evaluations inform our auction estimates, which give you a sense of what to expect when you put the items up for sale.
However, many clients need an independent evaluation of their objects for purposes other than selling, such as insurance, probate, equitable distribution for trusts and estates or in the case of a divorce. Our formal appraisals are USPAP compliant and come in the form of a legal document that will be accepted by the IRS, courts of law, and insurance companies. Appraisals are billed on an hourly basis and are not dependent upon selling through our auction galleries.
- Do you have movers to pack and move my parents’ collection and also provide a full broom sweep?
- Yes. Besides our partner company Litchfield County Transport in Connecticut, we work regularly with Elite Art Handling for art projects, Handsome Dolly in New York City, as well as a specialized clean-out crew for estate liquidations. We work together with these reliable moving companies to pack and move your collection safely and efficiently. Whether you have a large home with basements, attics, and outbuildings, or an apartment with complexities like restricted hours of operation, difficult parking, and required certificates of insurance, our crews are capable of getting the job done.
- Why are you the best choice to sell my collection?
We get results. The overall experience we create benefits our consignors and buyers alike. Our experience and extensive expertise, our level of service and dedication, and our connections stretching back decades to the strongest collectors and buyers in the world allow us to achieve the highest prices in the market.
From the initial visit to view your items to the final payment after a successful auction, our experts and professional staff are dedicated to recognizing the value of your collection and presenting it to a tremendous number of diverse potential buyers. Although we provide many services, our efficient, technology-driven operation enables us to offer commission rates that are often much lower than our competitors.
We are highly and enthusiastically recommended — our consignors and our buyers are glad that they chose to work with us!
- What are you going to offer that your competition does not?
Compared to the largest auction houses in New York City like Sotheby’s, Christie’s, Bonhams, Phillips, and Doyle, we offer three distinct advantages:
- We want to handle your entire estate. Usually, the majority of the items in estates fall below the minimum value requirement of these auction houses, so they end up turning a large portion over to third-party auctions, who are then not able to offer the same low commission rate or extensive services. We sell the whole estate, which makes everything easier for you. Keeping the valuable pieces together with the rest of the collection not only elevates the whole collection but also allows us to consider the full value of the estate when proposing the lowest possible commission.
- We go beyond the small tried-and-true circle of known buyers to find new collectors worldwide. Utilizing social media and international auction bidding platforms, we reach an active audience of tens of millions of potential buyers. LiveAuctioneers is the go-to auction platform in over 170 countries and the leading platform in the United States. None of these competitors sell through Liveauctioneers. We are a top-rated seller on the platform with hundreds of positive reviews and over 10,000 clients specifically following Capsule and Litchfield. We are also on Invaluable, Bidsquare, and Artsy, which all have large pools of distinct clients.
- With our New York City exhibitions, beautifully designed catalogs, social media outreach, and loyal clientele, we offer what these other New York auctioneers offer. But we also have the advantage of our spacious Litchfield gallery, where we can show items that are more appropriate to a New England collector base. And, we do it all for less than any of these auction houses.
Compared to regional auction houses throughout the country like Wright + Rago, Skinner, Hindman, Heritage, Brunk, Pook & Pook our location is unbeatable:
Located in the center of the international art world, the Chelsea Art District is the ideal place to sell important fine art. The top gallerists, collectors, and advisors have easy access to view items from the collections that we exhibit. Our NYC location makes it easy for us to handle estates and collections from New York City and the surrounding areas. Litchield’s sprawling 10,000 square foot galleries, in bucolic New England, make the perfect setting from which to reach sophisticated buyers looking to fill elegant homes with a mix of antiques, Twentieth-century design, and more.
Compared to local area, single-owner auction houses like Stair, Clarke, Nye & Company, Millea Bros., Roland, Westport, and Greenwich, our partnership offers more:
The curated sales, New York City gallery exhibitions, and the use of stylish design in our catalogs, website, and marketing are just a few of the critical aspects to our strategy for selling fine art and other significant items that these local auctioneers do not do.
Meanwhile, Litchfield has over 25 years of history, an expansive exhibition space and a wealthy, loyal clientele. We are ideally suited for selling substantial collections of antiques, twentieth-century design, outdoor sculpture, Asian arts, jewelry and so much more.
Compared to country auctions like Stateline or Applebrook or estate buyers like Showplace or Big Apple Antiques, we do a better job selling more valuable items:
For lower-end collections, a country auction or outright sale to an estate liquidator is often the best choice — however, expensive items often get lost in the mix. Capsule & Litchfield offer a better solution: our specialists will work with you to identify, spotlight, and beautifully present your best pieces to our sophisticated collectors to achieve significantly higher prices.
- How will you market my collection? How do you reach buyers?
We make use of the latest technology combined with our tried-and-true traditional marketing tools. For every sale, we send out professionally designed, customized, and targeted notifications to our extensive client list. Our own websites, which are continuously updated, are a go-to source for bidders.
Most of our buyers, especially our young new crop of collectors, interact with us through digital media, so we also advertise our auctions on social media and numerous mega collector website aggregators like LiveAuctioneers and Invaluable.
For important items by famous artists — Jean-Michel Basquiat, for example — we produce feature stories and videos that reach a wide audience to help us attain record prices. With esoteric collections like Wedgwood, Mettlach Steins, or Patek Philippe gold pocket watches, we seek out collector’s groups and specialist dealers.
Of course, we still mail notifications to our older clientele, host gallery exhibitions, telephone specific buyers, produce printed catalogs, and advertise in collectors magazines. Our knowledge of our buyers’ interests and how to effectively reach them enables us to connect them with your items.
- How will I know that I will receive a fair price for my items?
- We have a track record of achieving fair market value or above — and often, record prices — for our clientele. We promote your items with high quality photography and accurate descriptions to our extensive client lists and to the many millions of viewers on several bidding aggregator platforms. Our sales reach competitive bidders and many buyers who are willing to pay retail prices for highly sought after items.
- When you work with trustees, bankers, accountants, or lawyers, how do your services comply with a fiduciary responsibility to the clients?
- By understanding the value of the items we sell and advertising our auctions to a wide pool of relevant global bidders, we can guarantee that the items will achieve a fair market price. Our competitive commissions are within and often below industry standard. The fiduciary responsibility of achieving a fair price and paying a reasonable fee for services will be met.
- Can you provide references? What have people said about your services?
Yes, we provide references upon request. A lot of our clientele come from recommendations. Private clients, art galleries, museums, antique dealers, interior decorators, CPAs, and more have all had successful experiences selling with Capsule and Litchfield and enthusiastically refer us to their family, friends, and clients.
We have worked with the estates of many celebrities and prestigious collectors. We work with many of the top names in the estate services world like law firms Patterson Belknap in New York City and Cramer & Anderson in Connecticut, bank trusts like BNY Mellon, and all of the top appraisers from the Appraisers Association of America and the American Society of Appraisers.
What people are saying about working with us!
Honest people, very helpful, great items. I was concerned about bidding and pick-up because of the covid19 virus. My fears were unfounded. I had an appointment for pick up and my items were waiting for me inside the front door when I arrived. Plus, the items were exactly as described!
Amazing. Super nice owner, honest and helpful. 100 percent satisfied
Great staff and amazing service. Would recommend this knowledgeable and professional auction to anyone. A +
- We have an apartment full of valuable items, but it's a total mess and the closing is happening soon. Can you help with this?
- Absolutely. If time is of the essence we can move quickly to view the property, make a proposal, and arrange for a pickup and a clean-out.
- Do you work with art galleries, antique dealers, and their estates?
- Of course! Our colleagues in the trade are often the best collectors. With an eye for the beautiful, unusual, and intriguing as well as access to auctions and private collections, people whose livelihood is buying and selling art and objects often amass fascinating collections. We are always excited to take on the collection of art and antiques professionals. We also work with galleries and dealers on an ongoing basis as a component of their sales strategy and income stream.
- We inherited a collection of which many pieces will be donated to a museum. Will you handle the remaining items from the estate?
- We would be happy to help. We have sold works from many famous collections like The Schulhof Collection, Georges Bemberg, Alice Lawrence, and Mary Griggs Burke. Each of these clients either has their own museum or has donated portions of their collection to world-renowned museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Aside from the museum pieces, they all had large apartments or homes full of items that we sold for them.
- Our mother had a second home in Palm Beach, Florida. Do you ever handle properties outside the tri-state area?
- Yes. We handle properties nationally. Some fantastic collections have come from all over the country. Collections have come from as far as Florida, Maine, and The Bahamas. We regularly pick up estates in and around Boston, Philadelphia, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and all corners of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Individual items are shipped to us from all over the country.
- I am a personal assistant to a celebrity who has passed away. How do you manage the estates of prestigious people?
We build a strategic publicity campaign, tell a compelling story, and attract thousands of non-traditional auction bidders to these sales. Our public relations staff works with major newspapers and magazines to generate buzz about the collection.
Some of our most fun and exciting auctions over the years have been the sale of property from collections and estates of celebrities. Fans of comedians, authors, actors, and musicians are always excited to see what their idols have collected and to have a chance to take home a souvenir of their icon.
It has been our privilege to offer at auction property from the estates of comedian Joan Rivers, Pulitzer Prize winning author Philip Roth, opera diva Anna Moffo, and photographer Horst. P. Horst. We have sold a wonderful variety of items from the collections of Diane Sawyer and Mike Nichols, Jo Sullivan Loesser and Frank Loesser, Martha Rogers and Dick Cavett, Susan Baransky, Bruce Willis, and Lynn Redgrave.
- My client’s huge collection is all packed away in a warehouse. Can you handle this?
- Yes, we can handle the entire collection. We often pick up items from warehouses, sight unseen, and bring them back to our own gallery, where we evaluate, catalog and photograph for auction.
- My grandfather was an art teacher and a prolific painter. Do you ever handle art from artists’ estates?
- Definitely. We would be pleased to work with you to bring your grandfather’s art to auction, to build his legacy, and to share his vision with the rest of the world. For example, we are currently establishing the market for the estates of artists Michael Loew, Benoit Gilsoul, and Clara Klinghoffer as we have done for many others in the past.
- I’m an appraiser looking for an auction house for my client. Do you pay introductory fees to estate professionals who refer their clients to you?
- We do. Our introductory fees are based on the value of the collection, the method of sale, and the terms negotiated with the consignor. Your clients will have a successful experience with us and will thank you for the introduction.
- Our company is selling our art and furnishings. Are you capable of handling a very large collection and moving us out of a midtown office tower?
- Yes, and yes. We have handled numerous extensive corporate collections, including that of law firms, advertising firms, banks, and hedge funds. We are experienced in picking up multiple truckloads of art and furnishings and selling them over the course of several sales, so as not to flood the market with too much of a similar thing. We have all of the insurance and paperwork required to move out of midtown or downtown office buildings and can accommodate nighttime or weekend moves as is often preferred.