Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Antique Furniture Part II - Arts & Crafts Furniture and Modern Design Furniture
Charles and Ray Eames LCW, red aniline-dyed molded birch plywood chair in excellent condition, signed with foil Herman Miller label, sold for $2,000 at Treadway Galleries, May 4, 2008
Yesterday, I shared about European and Early American chairs, but if I was starting to take an interest in furniture today, it would be in the Arts and Crafts Furniture and the Modern Design pieces. This is where the trend is, and that is where we want to be.
Arts and Crafts is already well into the trend, but I think there is still a lot to go. Names like Stickley, Frank Lloyd Wright and Limbert are going to grace our homes for a long time. The young collectors seem to be drawn to this style, so don't try to fight a trend.
Places to find out more about the Arts and Crafts design era is to view catalogs from Rago Arts and Auction and Treadway Galleries. These two houses seem to be the trendsetters for the Arts and Crafts market. There you will find true values for the chairs and other furniture and objects of art that were produced during this period. They have some of the finest art pottery pieces of this time period, as well. If you get a chance to visit one of their auctions, you’ll get an education that is well worth the time. Buying a few of their back catalogs to use as a source of reference will be a superb addition to your library. Study their websites. They list their sales and even the results of their sales. What a great way to become educated at no cost.
Most of the items that bring the big bucks are made of oak and have a rather straight, minimalistic design, but you can find ones made of mahogany and birdseye maple. These can have a branded mark or cellophane label. Often the cellophane labels are missing, and so unscrupulous people have even reproduced these labels and placed them on items that are nowhere like the items they claim to be.
The area that I am least familiar with is the Modern 20th Century Design Movement. However, when I look at some of the Wright Auction catalogs, I know that it is time for me to step up to the plate and get an education in this area. This market seems to be lead by certain designers and you must know their names and designs. If you do the rewards will be tremendous.
Modern 20th Century Design are those objects of art, lighting, and furniture from about 1920 through the present time, and they continue to be a hot commodity in the collectibles world, especially for the younger generation who grew up during the time period of these great designers.
A lady whose home I went to shared a story about the time she and her husband started house keeping in the 50”s. Today, she was ready to change the way she was living and a friend suggested she call Wright Auctions to get an idea of the values of the items she was tired of. The auction house representative came, and she could see the excitement in their eyes. They hauled off furniture she would have gladly sold for a few thousand dollars. Later, after their auction, she received a check for well over $100,000 from Wright. Now that would be what I consider finding a treasure, even if I had owned it all the time.
Furniture, lighting, and art objects from the top designers of this time have been copied, often rather badly, but it is the designer pieces of this time that are considered works of art, commanding top prices in today’s marketplace. No one has changed the world of Modern Design Furniture and Objects of Art as much as Wright Auction House.
In 2000, founders Richard Wright and his wife, Julie Thoma Wright opened the doors of their auction business, specializing in items from this period. Their business creativity drastically changed the face of business in this area of the market. Julie Thomas Wright, we are sorry to say, has recently passed away, but it was her visionary ideas for this business that propelled this company forward to become today’s standard for Modern Design Collectibles. Today, Wright Auctions is known internationally as the spot to go for the best of these designer items.
This area of Antiques and Collectibles can be the turning point in your career as a buyer and seller. To really make some serious money, spend time studying the Modern movement. Call Wright Auction and ask how to get up to date in your knowledge of this movement. They will be glad to share with you because they want new people to appreciate modern design and this is where they make their money. Call them at 1-312-563-0020, and they might even have a few old catalogs to share with you.
For those who are following my book and have joined the 31 Club, dealing in these more rare and valuable items is the direction we move toward, step-by-step. You might still be working the lower end steps at the moment, but when you stick with it, continuing to complete each step, soon enough you will find yourself in the position to be buying rare and high end items. Knowledge about these designer items will expand the areas in which you can trade.
Most of my readers know, as a rule, I don’t deal in antique furniture. I’m not much interested in dealing with bulky items that require more than myself to transport, nor do I want to keep the kind of storage space furniture requires. But, I must say, in this case, I’m seriously considering making an exception for some of these fine pieces and the prices they can bring in.
Prices for items by well known designers and artists like Vladimir Kagan, George Nakashima, Ponti, and Paul Evans, can bring in amounts of $40,000 to well over $150,000. You might not recognize these names right now, but I hope you will in the future. If you ran across any of these items in a house sale right now, I doubt you would recognize them, and you’d be passing on a find that could make a big difference in your life.
Tomorrow I'll continue to examine the furniture market. This study should take at least the rest of this week, but you should be picking up ideas for future study. One way is to get a great cup of coffee at your local book store and browse their selections on furniture. I promise that you will be engaged in conversation quickly with someone who is doing the same thing.
Find out more about our step-by-step program to enable you to work in the more rare and valuable items in the Antique, Art, & Collectible Markets here.
Join with like-minded 31 Club Members and put a turbo charge on your treasure hunting skills. Get FREE Mentoring. Learn Inside the Industry Secrets. Learn to make high profits and continue to grow your money buying and selling antiques, fine art, and collectibles. My 220 page book, 31 Steps to Your Millions in Antiques & Collectibles is FREE with your membership. The book is also available on Amazon.com. If you buy the book on Amazon, then the membership is FREE.
Take a look at our Gallery of Fine Art Paintings by Listed Artists, here.
Rago Arts & Auction Center
Wright Auction House
Article on Wright and Modern Design from Men's Vogue
Article on Wright from Chicago Magazine