Tag Archives: antiques

Visiting the Hapsburg Attic

For a different sort of museum visit, check out the Hofmobiliendepot, or Hapsburg Imperial Furniture Collection. This is a former warehouse in which the Hapsburgs stored their unfashionable, out-of-season, or otherwise temporarily unused furniture. There are something like 165,000 pieces in various states of repair displayed in rows, stacks, piles, or occasionally in dioramas that look like movie sets.

Hundreds of chairs.

Hundreds of chairs

Dozens of mirrors

Dozens of mirrors

Even royals need coatracks

Even royals need coat racks

Items include everything from imperial thrones to well, imperial thrones.

Franz-Josef's throne

Franz-Josef’s throne

Imperial toilets

Franz-Josef’s other throne

The majority are from the 18th and 19th centuries, but there are also Biedermayer and Wiener Werkstätte pieces from as recently as the 1950s.

Post-WWII design

Post-WWII kitchen design

The museum also caters to the Austrian obsession with Sissi, the neurotic but beautiful wife of the Austrian Emperor Franz-Josef. Many pieces from the collection were used in filming a trilogy of movies about her life, and amusingly campy (if a bit shrill) excerpts from the movies loop on video screens throughout the museum.

Sissi, the Young Empress

Sissi, the Young Empress

The Hofmobiliendepot was not at all crowded when we visited, and we enjoyed a relaxing stroll through the exhibits. While not the most spectacular of the museums in Vienna, it is a good place to visit on a rainy day. Nearly everything was labeled in both German and English, another plus.

There is an Asian café in the museum that is well-reviewed, but was closed for vacation on the day we visited. We enjoyed a delicious Lebanese lunch at Levante, just around the corner, so no harm done.

The Imperial Furniture Collection (Hofmobiliendepot)
Andreasgasse 7
1070 Wien
(One block from the Zieglergasse stop on the U-3)
Website: http://www.hofmobiliendepot.at/en.html

Reviewed by Kelly.


Antiquing in Vienna

Finding antiques in Vienna isn’t as easy as finding horse-drawn carriages or Wiener Schnitzel—you have to do a little research. The good news is that the hunt for vintage wares (“Altwaren”) and antiques (“Antiquitäten”) will take you on a journey throughout the city, from a big-box store parking lot to an 18th-century palace.

Austrian and Central European collector pieces include old covered beer steins; vintage Austrian LPs, including patriotic songs from the war years; Gmundner ceramics; Biedermeier-era objects; painted rustic wardrobes and other “farmer” furniture; Jugenstil (Art Nouveau) and Wiener Werkstätte vases and art pieces; Steiff teddy bears; porcelain dolls; Riess enamelware; Czech and Polish crystal and pottery; Herend porcelain animal figurines; Augarten and Meissen porcelain; military memorabilia including a lot of Franz Josef stuff; old books in German; and, even, if you have the stomach for it, Nazi memorabilia.

Upscale Antiques  – The Dorotheum

The foremost and largest place to view and purchase antiques in all categories is  the Dorotheum, Vienna’s well-known auction house, in a palace on Dorotheergasse. Register with the site to get on their email alert list, and visit an auction or two just for fun, even if you don’t bid on anything. However, you should know that the process is not as difficult as you might think. I’ve bid successfully on items in three auctions now.

The Dorotheum

If your German isn’t good enough for bidding purposes, you can hire one of the auction house’s staff members to bid for you for a 10% fee. You can also bid online and by telephone. Pay close attention to added fees and taxes. There is also a section on the 2nd floor where you may purchase some items directly without going through the auction process, as well as a nice café.

The Dorotheum is a great place to familiarize yourself with antique jewelry, furniture, paintings, military memorabilia, scientific instruments and toys. If you love rustic painted furniture, there is a special auction of “Bauernmobil” in early December each year. You should also know that some items have no reserve, so the bidding may start at a much lower price than is estimated in the catalog.

Innere Stadt Antiques

If there is an antiques district in Vienna, it’s probably the area around the Dorotheum. Upscale antiques shops are on Stallburggasse, Dorotheergasse,and Plankengasse as well as dotted around the rest of the old city center. Of particular note are two shops at Plankengasse 7: a tiny, charming military antiques shop, and a very tasteful shop that mixes antiques with artsy modern creations, called Hofeneder.  Next to these, on the corner of Plankengasse and Dorotheergasse, is a museum-quality store offering Baroque and even Gothic painted furniture and church statuettes, etc. — with museum-quality prices. (I have also read about antiques shops at the Palais Breuner at Singerstrasse 16, but have not checked them out.)

Flea Markets

The best-known and most fun flea market is the Saturday “flohmarkt” at the Naschmarkt (Vienna’s huge, wonderful but often crowded food market). The flea market is at the farthest end of the Naschmarkt heading away from the city center, a little past the food market section. Get off the U4 at the Kettenbrücke stop and you’ll be right in the middle of the flohmarkt. It opens early in the morning (6:30, but dealers are usually there earlier, buying from each other) and although it is advertised as lasting all day, many vendors start packing up after noon.

Antiques for sale at the Naschmarkt

Even in stormy weather, there will always be sellers there; a friend and I tested this theory out recently during a January snowstorm and found that about a third of the usual number of vendors were there—but low turnout meant better bargains. Items I’ve purchased at this flea market include enamelware, framed artwork, vintage kitchenware and even an old fur coat for 50 euros. If something seems too expensive to you, ask if this is their “best price.”  You will often get a reduction.

By accident, I stumbled upon a Saturday flea market in a large parking lot near Conad (a big electronics store) in the 22nd district, on Gewerbeparkstrasse.  Inside a long warehouse, there were several rows of vendors selling a wide variety of new and old: metal parts, dolls, chandeliers, shoes, LPs, pet supplies, as well as a small farm food market.  Outside, in clear weather, there are even more lanes of sellers. Even more than at the Naschmarkt, you have to bypass (or, sometimes, weed through) the junk to find the gems. I paid 100 euros each for two circa-1800 oil landscapes. Hardly a bargain, considering they are unsigned, but once I got them restored and framed, they took pride of place in our dining room.

There are other flea markets in Vienna that I haven’t visited (yet). You can find links to them here and here.

Old Books and Antique Maps

Old books and vintage maps are in a separate category and have their own stores here, with the name “Antiquariat” attached to them. While they may have a few small antiques that are connected to a library function, such as magnifying glasses or bookstands, they generally feature books and maps only.

Vintage and Antiques Stores

These stores mix vintage items with true antiques and are scattered throughout the city. Readers are encouraged to submit reviews of shops they’ve visited. Just a few are listed here, many of which just happen to be along the 40-41 tram line—in other words, in my neck of the woods! Please add your own recommendations, especially in other districts.

9th District

Kunsthandlung Weber und Langer
Währingerstrasse 64
Tram 40-41, Volksoper stop. U6 – Währingerstrasse stop

Just a few things, but true antiques; beautifully chosen, with a focus on rustic furniture and objects. Owner speaks English.

 18th District

Franz Kammer
Schulgasse 3
Tel. 43 664 9017212
U6 Währingerstrasse stop

Oil paintings, frames (and framing), stamps, some furniture and objects.

Karl Behavka Art and Antiques
Gentzgasse 51
M-W-F 8-11:30
Tram 40, 41 Martinstrasse stop

Military, porcelain, furniture, old violins, paintings, clocks, religious articles.

Gentzgasse, 81
Tram 40, 41 Aumannplatz stop

A fun vintage store with a “Brooklyn” feel to it: LPs, vintage sewing supplies, glassware, maps and signs, vintage clothing, shoes and hats, some furniture. Stock changes frequently. 

Second-Hand Shop
Währingerstrasse 139
Monday-Friday 10-18
Tram 40, 41, Aumannplatz stop

Curios, Gmundner ceramics, Lillien, Meissen, Augarten and Herend figurines, military figures. 

Nostalgie Corner
Gentzgasse 121
Afternoon hours
Tram 40, 41 Weinhauser stop

Large selection of furniture, LPs, glassware, art objects, and miscellaneous.

16th District

Die Glasfabrik
Lorenz-Mandl Gasse 25
Mostly afternoon hours
Tram 10,46 and bus 48A Joachimsthalerplatz stop

Large warehouse with vintage and antique garden furniture, busts, interior furniture, etc. Interesting selection and location.

Reviews by Francesca Kelly.

Flea Markets in Vienna

More information coming soon!  Meanwhile, please refer to our Links for Thrift, Consignment and Flea Market Shopping.

Thrift Shopping in Vienna

Vienna is a great place for second-hand and consignment shopping!

Thrift stores are clean (ish), well-organized, and attract all kinds of shoppers. Look for bargains in glassware, china, enamelware, linens, and hand-painted kitsch of all kinds. Toys and sporting goods in good condition are also easy to find, as well as “extra” furniture for your US government housing, such as inexpensive bookshelves, desks, or wardrobes.

Vintage Riess enamelware from Caritas.

Vintage Riess enamelware from Caritas.

Caritas, the Catholic charity, has two large stores in Vienna with pretty much everything from housewares to clothing. A special section in each store features antiques. Check out the larger store on Steinheilgasse in the 21st district for the best selection. Donations are also accepted at the store.

Humana stores specialize in clothing. There is a good selection of everything from pajamas to fur coats. The store on Wiedner Haupstrasse in the 4th district features a large trachten (traditional Tyrolean: think lederhosen and dirndls) boutique with clothing for men, women, and children.

The Vienna city animal shelter (Tierschutzheim) has a very nice fundraising thrift shop.  It is not easy to find, but this shop has a great selection of antiques, especially books and linens. Open only on Sundays.

Consignment stores are also very popular, especially for “dressy” or vintage clothes, including ball gowns and trachten.  With all the balls held here in Vienna, turnover in ball clothing and accessories is high, and great bargains can be had.  Find out more about consignment and second-hand shops here.