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How to start a great collection, whether it’s art, watches or wine? CEO Robbie Briggs has the inside scoop

Each Friday, Robbie Briggs, president and CEO of Briggs Freeman Sothebys International Realty, writes about luxury, trends, business and more in the advertising pages of the Mansion section of The Wall Street Journal. Below is his letter of February 5, 2021.

I bet youve heard the news. (Its definitely gone viral.) Sothebys just shattered the auction record by almost 10 times for a work by Sandro Botticelli. One of the greatest Renaissance works ever to come to the market, Young Man Holding a Roundel is the painting heard round the world, with transatlantic bidding that was fast and furious between New York and London. In the end, the gavel went down at $92.2 million.

Wow. Thats a record for the artist and a record for an Old Master painting sold at Sothebys. And this is only the first week of February! 

If your budget isnt quite as healthy as the winners, good news: The ever-innovative Sothebys has a Buy Now section on sothebys.com, with offerings at all sorts of prices. There is art of every kind, plus watches, handbags, furnishings, jewelry, bottles of great wine, even collectible tennis shoes. Whats more, everything is available right away  hence the name. You will not be waiting for your Warhol: You can buy it now.

Instant gratification is a lot of fun. Right now, there is a pair of plywood chairs by Charles and Ray Eames, some beautiful fountain pens and a bottle of 1995 French Champagne. And, if you hurry, there is a Valentines Day shop, with everything from watches to handbags. I see about 35 things under $1,400. My wife may not be getting Botticellis Young Man Holding a Roundel on the 14th, but lets see what I can do with what Ive got in my piggy bank. 

Have it now: Rolex Datejust Green Waves yellow-gold and diamond-set automatic wristwatch, circa 2005
A beautiful Buy Now: Herms Vert Anis ostrich Birkin, 30cm, with palladium hardware
Fast and fashionable: Nike DJ AM worn Air Jordan 1 Retro 1994 Chicago, available through Sothebys Buy Now program.

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