SNAKE Auction Observer 002: undervalued furniture, accessories ending this week
10 auctions ending this week (some today) I think are undervalued, or affordable. Many are on LiveAuctioneers, furniture and home goods. If you’re looking for anything specific to buy for your home hit me up. (Info on how to use Liveauctioneers at the end of the email.)
Jeanneret/Perriand/Corbusier dining table, LA, shipping from LA, ending very soon: Never much press about LC6 or Corbusier’s kitchen furniture, but they’re better dining tables than perhaps any in history. Not sure the date on this one, but does it matter? Older ones have run for a few hundred to a couple grand. Most that sell are glass. Not exactly a deal, but new, nice DTs with design complements run in the 5K range. Nice to get this for less than an Eames Lounger. $1600, ending today.
Frattini Kyoto coffee table, LA shipping from LA, ending soon: From afar this looks like paper and up close serrated cardboard. Maybe not ideal if you’re drinking espresso, since the cup might fall through. Goes well with Frattini’s Sesann sofa. Same auctioneer as above, shipping from Los Angeles. What does it say about our age that Frattini is going for more than an LC6? Something, I guess. $2600, ending today.
Pierre Cardin chrome and gold pen set, LA shipping from Orlando: Wondering which artists have best expressed themselves successfully in two different media — Da Vinci, Harry Bertoia, maybe John Lurie (who looks like me in his old movies but whose records I’ve never heard), Terry Allen. Cardin is another. One of the best furniture designers of the ‘60s and ‘70s (his bed is in my top three) and the clothes, of course. Plus these pens and a myriad of other licensed items. Only $5! Not bad, even with premium and shipping.
Ferruccio Laviani for Kartell Italian Floor Lamp, LA from Sunrise Fl, with in-house shipping: Can’t front like I know a lot about Laviani but this lamp, from the golden age of Kartell, is cheap and comes with in-house shipping. Which is presumably less than third-party. Past Lavianis don’t really resemble this one. This one is new to me. $125, not too many watchers. Steal
Gae Aulenti for Artimide Mezza Oracolo Dome Lamp, LA from Sunrise Fl with in-house: Same house as above, same era and everything as the Laviani. Seller also has a couple more modern lamps, an assortment of Karl Springer furniture, a fake Stratovarius, a Mickey Mouse Ingersoll watch, mucho Chanel gear and a fascinating set of jadeite colored plates involving a monkey. Aulenti’s designs are always so arresting and strong. Lots of lamps this shape, pretty much none are as good as hers. $50, steal
Pr: Paul McCobb Faceted Form Armchairs Origami, LA shipping from Minnesota: I never really understood these Origami chairs from McCobb, which look a decade or two ahead of their time. With such a fine gradation, it’s less futuristic than prescient. Add to that McCobb didn’t really dabble in looking ahead as much as other designers. How’d this happen? An outlier. Nobody likes this era of furniture anymore, which, bully for them, a deal for the buyer. $200, not many watchers.
Robert Venturi for Swid Powell Reed & Barton carving set, LA shipping from Indianapolis: Swid (I wrote about them last week) got Venturi early. This carving set is rotten though not as repulsive as Michael Graves’ accessories (look them up). House also has a trove of modern Danish teak furniture and accessories, some no-name sculptures, Navajo rugs (for cheap, really good), Haring shit and Calder exhibition posters. This Alessi kettle (Aldo Rossi) that they’re selling is probably even better than these carvers, and it’s cheaper. But Venturi sticks out the most. Very baroque, very sick. $100
Charles and Ray Eames - Soft Pad Chairs, LA shipping from Nazareth PA: Not a lot better than golden-era Eames office wear in mistake colors. My friend and colleague Nat has a soft pad like this at his office, grey with third-party teal arms, but I haven’t seen any these anachronistic. No soft-pads in this color have sold on LA, none in any wild colors at all, really — just a few in bright red or Yves Klein blue. Absolutely just the best type of auction. Would buy myself. Perfect. $400
Laurinda Spear Ripple Bench, LA shipping from Nazareth: Bartons (this house) is reliably good for modern furniture, and I wanted to say that this particular auction is uncharacteristically meager, but between this Ripple, the Eames above and this maybe Franco Albini rattan ottoman for very cheap, there’s quite a lot here. It’s more that classics just don’t sell at a glut every day. Rip in one corner, but looks fixable. Ripples have sold for anywhere between $375 and $2,000 over the last decade, with this one running $375. underseen, simple, brutal, beautiful... a deal.
if you feel like spending cash to ship something overseas but still want a deal buy:
CINI BOERI Un divano a due posti della serie, LA shipping from Genoa ITALY:
Lots of incredible stuff from Europe this week (in fact, too much to list), but the best, or most accessible, is this Boeri sofa for Arflex from 1972. From that school of Italian furniture that’s both very plain and at root fun and colorful. These things show up in your work if that’s what you are. Boeri’s works are very strong and she’s still great. €700, which is about that much in $.
That’s it. More next week.
How use Liveauctioneers: LA is an online portal for actual auction houses. You sign up, with your credit card, and digitally bid against both digital and live bidders. To actually buy an item (say, one of the above), you must register for that auction before you bid. There’s a register button/prompt on every item. Houses usually accept a registration right away, or within a day. Then you bid. Ideally live. Auctions are in a pop-up window. Like eBay, there’s no secret to bidding: if you want something, be prepared to spend.
Most bids occur live, though prices occasionally creep up before auctions. Sometimes items go for a lot of money, sometimes they don’t, sometimes they don’t sell. In this sense, it’s not much different from eBay. Because of buyers’ premiums (a fee), usually in the 25% range, and shipping or pick-up, you should expect to pay more than list. After winning you usually have a week to get the item or arrange shipping. Auction houses have third party shippers they recommend, and occasionally ship themselves (if they do, LA says so: In-House Shipping will be below the register button). Sometimes it’s affordable, sometimes it’s not. Picking it up yourself is cheapest.
As with anything, insane deals are rare, nice deals are occasional, and fair prices are frequent. If you have more questions about LA, email me.