Monday, November 18, 2019

WOWSA---BID ANOUNT OF $55,000 + FEES

Thursday seemed like it was going to be another (ho-hum) uneventful day at auction---boy was I wrong. The Chinese Hard stone plaque shown below fetched $55,000 plus fees. There were two Chinese groups bidding against each other........


I did not pay any attention to the Plaque at Preview. It just shows that no matter how much you know in this business, there are still pieces about which you are totally ignorant. I had never seen a piece like this, so when the bidding started to escalate past $5000--I started taking notice. Up and up and up went the bidding war. I can't remember if the phone bidder or the group on the floor won out, but at that altitude, it didn't seem to matter. Remember, on top of the bid amount there is a 15% buyers fee. Yikes.
As for me.....well, there was a gorgeous English Secretary Campaign Chest that I really, really, really wanted.......it was not to be. I bid it to the very limit of profitability. Unfortunately, Fred didn't seem to care about his profit margin.

I did not come home empty handed......


This sweet Tuscan bench dates to the end of the 18th century and I was determined to have it---little could I have suspected that no body else would be paying attention and the bench came home for a ridiculously low price point. 

Life at the park next door to my home:



I did a rough count of the Pelicans: there was a small group of 4 (they are usually at Park); there was a larger group of about 12-15; and then there was a huge group of about 24-26 in front of the pond. And no one was fighting or getting their feathers ruffled--i.e., good birds.
And it's off to bed for me!

Mary & Cole








Wednesday, November 13, 2019

IN POSITION


Roberto brought the French Buffet to the shop and I placed it front and center. We switched out the art work to provide a little energy to the buffet and I had acquired the John Dickinson (style??) lamps a few weeks ago.......not a bad little mix, if I do say so.
The antique Fortuny pillows and the Scalamandre "Le Tigre" and "Il Leopardo" pillows are ready for pickup--can't wait to see them. I'm going to take the red antique "Ucelli" Fortuny to have pillows made up when I go to LA to pick up the others. 
Roberto will wax the buffet next week and I'll go investigate new marble. We decided that the original marble is beyond repair....that's the way it goes.

Well, the formal Impeachment hearings are starting tomorrow. Each day there are new revelations regarding the damage that has been done to our nation by this administration (I refuse to say the traitor's name)--I pray that we elect good solid, conscious leadership in 2020.

Sending blessings.

Mary & Cole

Monday, November 11, 2019

LIFE AND AUCTIONS = TIMING AND SHOWING UP (OFF)

Just when I thought that I would have to start worrying about acquiring inventory, God blesses me with an amazing piece.


This gorgeous French(?)/Italian(?)......I'm leaning French, Buffet was added to the auction at the last minute, meaning that there wasn't time to advertise it. This is always a good sign!! And they had positioned the buffet to be auctioned off early--before the crowds showed up (very good sign).  Here are a couple of more more shots




Notice the broken marble? That might also have served as a deterrent.... You can bet that I planned to be at auction early on Thursday.
Thursday Morning (drum roll): I'm there ready and waiting for the sideboard/buffet. Some one else opens the bidding and then I bid. Three of us on the floor plus an absentee bidder go back and forth for a while. The bidding slows down at about $1000 (the absentee bidder drops out). Then the bidder to my right drops out. I bid my top limit amount against the bidder to my left.....and I wait and wait as the auctioneer tries to get a bid from the other bidder (I hate this part of bidding--you are on pins and needles until the hammer drops)......the buffet was ALL mine. (Just needed to pay)
This gorgeous late 1940s/early 1950s buffet is beautifully constructed of solid mahogany in the French manner. The original hardware is of finely cast solid brass and lucite. The fielded form of the paneled doors highlighted with brass stars is super refined. And look at those amazing feet! .....It has all of the bells and whistles that make me happy.
Roberto is picking this handsome guy up tomorrow and he thinks that he can fix the marble. It would be  about $600 to replace the marble. 

MORE--very early Fortuny. I cannot believe that I have been able to acquire two early 20th century Fortuny textile fragments in less than a month. When this happens I am elated (quietly jumping up and down) as I know that I'm listening and that God is blessing me.




This Fortuny fragment dates to the late 1920's, perhaps early 1930's and bears the early Fortuny mark


The reverse of a Fortuny textile is often more indicative of the time frame of the piece than the front and frequently the fragment is not a section of the length that has been stamped. The more common 1920's pieces are almost completely black on the reverse. This rare red example is a very saturated red on the reverse,  which is also an indication of it being a hand made textile.


FINALLY----The Karl Springer table's top has been delivered and is ready to go home with its new owner...




I wonder when we are going to manage to get to autumn?  It's been super hot here.....I can't wait for sweater weather. And I am not ready for Christmas music.

Sending blessings for the coming week.

Mary & Cole


Friday, November 1, 2019

KARL SPRINGER PARCHMENT TABLE

Gerry found this table on an East Coast online auction and was able to acquire it for a great price....


I thought that the charge to ship the table to California would be about $550-$600....in actuality that number was way off. The actual price to ship the table nearly double my rough estimate as I wanted to crate the table to prevent damage........I was assuming that the top was in fairly good condition.........wrong! When the table arrived (no damage in shipping whatsoever) it was immediately apparent that the top would need to be re-lacquered. (we could have skipped the crating charges). Some dealer friends suggested that it just be touched up----not my way of doing things as I send pieces all over the world and I have a pristine online presence (as far as I know) and want my customers to be 100% happy with what they buy.
Rolando has had the table top for a few weeks. I went to check on the table on Tuesday.......and it is gorgeous. Rolando was able to restore all of the goat skin seams (it can be a struggle, sometimes impossible, to re-align and glue down the edges of the skins).
It's not quite ready, but take a look



The lines are where the seams of the goat skins meet and the mottling is desirable. Rolando is finishing up the lacquer today and Monday. Can't wait to see it in the shop. The table will seat six, but it would make a great center table or even a desk.

Wishing you all a super week-end! No smoke and no sand from the desert for us today.

Mary & Cole



Wednesday, October 30, 2019

QUICK UPDATE--MY FRENCH BENCHES

Roberto squeezed in a few hours for me on Tuesday. In the process of waxing the benches, we discovered that the benches are definitely early 19th century and were completely hand-planed and they retain their original surfaces. Additionally,  I discovered a couple of square nails--all of these details attest to the benches being very early 19th century. What more could I ask for. And......they are not oak; the benches are constructed with the much more desirable and now almost unavailable European chestnut. Which is why they acquired a warn soft touch when waxed.




VERSUS.....





PLEASE pray for our firefighters, those who have lost their homes and those who are evacuated. 

Thanks for visiting. Off to Auction tomorrow--I didn't see much today, but maybe something will show up.

Blessing.

Mary & Cole

Sunday, October 27, 2019

SELLING AND REORGANIZING--AND A LITTLE BIT OF BUYING

The best thing about selling inventory is the space to reorganize and showcase inventory that was in hiding without being able to stretch and show off.
This week was one of those weeks......I didn't win the little Italian chest that I coveted, but the shadow side is that I had extra space to reorganize. Best of all, Roberto had 4 extra hours and we hustled.......
I had wanted to get to the back wall of my main space for months....



 I was finally able to move out the large (it seats 8 as it is quite wide at 42") French farm table and take photos of it to load to my websites


Then it was on to redoing the side wall


Although the chairs are Art Deco Iron patio chairs, I think they would work well in a casual family room with very cool cushions..... My 19th c. French marble top butcher's table would make a stunning kitchen island--even an entry table.
Then it was on to the front section (still not quite happy with this section)


Next came a little vignette in front of my desk (see the farm table in the background?)


Here's a little table scape on the French table


The Louis XVI-style chairs look pretty good with the French table, but not as good as these guys (bought them on Thursday). Pairs of antique wood benches 


are not easily found. And these guys are either mid-19th century English or French oak benches in very good condition and just an inch longer than the table--so perfect. Roberto will give them a few coats of hard paste wax and they will look amazing.
And finally, this sweet carved and gilt Italian little sofa.......



I am not a frou-frou person and usually wouldn't buy a little carved gilt sofa, but I love things with just a bit of twist in them--Italian is more unusual than French and adds a bit more energy than the expected French examples. Plus, I don't need to reupholster--but I will--as the pink?? velvet is in super acceptable condition. I'm going to upholster it in this Clarence House Linen (it's pricey, but worth it) with a single black welt--sexy. Plus animal print anything is very popular right now.



I have Scalamandre "Le Tigre" and "Il Leopardo" silk velvet pillows in the works...




that will replace the Fortuny pillows. I know it seems a little tacky to mix disparate animal prints--but I think it will work and add that bit of a clash that draws in the eye.

So many wild fires are burning in nearby LA County. We are almost to November and desperately need for the weather pattern to shift to our winter rainy season. Prayers are needed for our Firefighters and those who have lost their homes.

Sending blessing for the week--Happy Halloween!!

Mary & Cole


Wednesday, October 16, 2019

THE PERILS OF ANTIQUE WALNUT FURNITURE

I think I'm going to buy this chest tomorrow. I've been trying to buy good 18th/19th century chests of drawers and they have all gone way too high........
That said, I'm determined to get this little guy


Those antique Italian Lyre-back chairs are to die for--but I think they will be too rich for my blood.
The walnut chest dates to the end of the 18th c. or early 19th century and I believe that it is Tuscan in origin. I love its simplicity. The Louis XV-style brass pulls are not original and they will come off as soon as Roberto gets his hands on it. It just needs a couple of coats of hard paste wax and it will be perfect. The keys are affixed to the locks which is the original method of opening the drawers.

Now, on to the Perils of Antique Walnut Furniture.... yikes.


We bought this great round mid-19th century French walnut dining table last month. I inspected it and noted the old worm holes; tested the wood and was pretty sure that the wood was stable and that the old little holes did not compromise the table.....Roberto went over it; gave it two coats of hard paste wax; secured the casters and the table was ready for sale.
It sold almost immediately. Roberto was delivering it to the client.........when he took the table off the truck, he pulled it just a little bit and the drop-leaf hinge pulled away from the center section of the table. Fortunately, he was delivering two other items to the same client. He told the client that there was a problem with the table and brought it back. 
When I looked at the table, I knew that we couldn't bring it back up to my standards--so Roberto fixed the hinge and off the table went--back to auction. This table was pricey and we will probably take a loss, but I have learned that it's best to cut your losses quickly or the negative energy of regret will spread. There is no way that I could have known that that section of the top was compromised--there weren't any worm holes in the section of wood that was damaged. Those smart little bugs had eaten away at the internal part of the wood, leaving the outside intact.
So... now I'm looking at this great antique walnut chest....I'm just a little bit hesitant, there are a few little tell-tale holes, but they do not appear consequential. I'll check it out again tomorrow. Just to make sure, but I think it's a go.
A couple more photos of the chest




Here's a couple of similar chests of drawers that I pulled off of 1stdibs for comparison.




Fortuny Pillow update.


The tunic has been taken apart--and the 1920s red Fortuny stamp is present in three places. I had been searching for the perfect silk (must be heavy enough to balance with the Fortuny textile) and hadn't had any luck. So I went searching in my stash of fabrics... Eureka!! I already had the perfect silks to complete the pillows. I'll just make a couple of pillows to begin with as the custom goose down and feather inserts are pricey and the fabricator is one of the best upholsterer in Los Angeles (his client list includes Kelly Wearstler, Melrose House, etc.)

Well, it's off to bed. Wish me luck tomorrow.
Blessings for the day.

Mary & Cole

PS--- Go get him, Nancy!