Consider the following scenario:
A woman at a store is shown a dress by a clerk. After a few moments, she tells the clerk that she would like "to see it in red".
The clerk would then go and fetch her the same dress but colored red, rather than whatever he had just shown her.
There would be no confusion- the in red is clearly describing an attribute of the dress. If the clerk were to then drape a red blanket around the woman and show her the same dress, the clerk would surely be fired.
And yet, if I were to look at a picture of a coffee table online and say "I want to see that in person", the same logic could not be applied. You can't see the coffee table in person, because it is a coffee table. Coffee tables don't typically come as people (I should hope!).
So is one correct over the other? Shouldn't the meaning be consistent across the two phrases? Or is there some way of considering the two different contexts that both make sense from?