Friday, April 27, 2012

The Hunt....and an Update

I always preview the auctions that I intend to buy from the day before the actual auction. This 24-hour breather gives me time to ponder and research any item that I'm not quite sure of and to make bidding easier. Some times I end up buying those items that I scoped the day before; but other times, I end up buying completely different lots.  I really loved everything on this table.........but those enormous greyhounds (what I really loved) have been seen a million times--not a good idea. And then there was this fantastic pair of huge Baker Queen Anne-style wing chairs: I have nowhere to put them, and although huge, they remind me a little bit too much of my grandmother. There was a super pair of vintage leather tub chairs with great patina; how much was it going to cost to repair the slit to the leather? (Besides, I'm not allowed to buy any more chairs)

But I AM ALLOWED TO BUY MORE LAMPS---I spied these lovelies yesterday. They were marked as blanc de chine, which is a white fine porcelain and usually Chinese in origin. But these guys are glazed terra cotta and most probably Italian from the 1970's or 80's.  I was prepared to pay a lot of money for them as they are very big, in excellent condition and highly decorative--they just need shades (which are pricey and I insist on American-made).
But I paid a very fair price and they came home.

I wanted that little Criss Craft model boat--but forgot to bid because I was busy talking with my friends.  Rule No. 1 at Auctions: pay attention to the block (auctioneer) at all times (there are no friends at auctions).

I know that this chaise longue doesn't look like much, but it is pretty fantastic. And I didn't see it until today. As you can see, things get pretty messy at auctions and you really have to keep your eyes open. This chaise longue (yes, this is the real way that it is spelled--long chair in french)  probably dates to the 1920's, perhaps late 19th c. But the really interesting and cool thing about it is that someone upholstered it in very top quality platinum leather and tufted the back in a Napoleon III style (the chaise could be Napoleon III). Although the loose cushion was not button detailed, I am going to use the kidney pillow and have covered buttons made to further detail the cushion. Roberto is going to paint those squat "louis legs" in a high gloss black and this baby will really pop. Surprisingly (furniture gets abused at auctions), the leather is in excellent condition.  But I think I cheated: I AM NOT ALLOWED TO BUY CHAIRS--can we categorize this puppy as a sofa? Please.

Take a look at the French wood slat and iron folding chairs to the left of the chaise: these 6 chairs (2 with arms) sold for about $1400. That is a huge amount of money when you consider that they all need some restoration and the dealer will aim to make a profit. But the amount does tell you what is HOT, and today it was those French folding chairs. (I wonder what they would cost at the Marche aux Puces?)


I really wanted this c. 1970-80's lucite, chrome and smoked glass tea cart. It is gorgeous and I was willing to go to the mat for it. But a friend, a top Los Angeles dealer in modern, bid it to $1500 plus 15% lot fee----that was way beyond my highest hopes. 

And I even got MORE STUFF and I have NO ROOM--my mover was yelling at me because he didn't have any floor space left to place stuff. But Dennis is a dream and I will beg and plead for Roberto to give me a couple of hours tomorrow and everything will work out fine.

     ******U P D A T E******

I sold these amazing Marbro lamps on Sunday--I think that I am still in shock as I really loved these lamps and I had planned to have a more extended relationship with them. But cash flow is fantastic.  And I am really glad I did because I told Dennis to place the gilt Belle Epoque marble top carved Italian gilt console upside down on this coffee table.......
More about the console in next post after I find a place to put it. It is pretty great, although not my usual style.
NEXT UPDATE. Sergei did not answered his phone for three weeks and I had started to get very nervous about my Alabaster Marbro Lamps. Fortunately, Roberto had his new number  (who knew that Sergei has two numbers?). It is now 5 months into the Alabaster Lamps journey---see what I mean, dealers really do earn their money.  Sergei promised to bring the lamps back on Saturday......... (and I had wanted to get my hair cut)..........I am not leaving the shop until Sergei shows up.

 (All I want is for Sergei to patina the lamp on the right to match the one on the left--is that asking too much???)

I hope that everyone has had a great week--the rain in So. California has been wonderful--it even held off until the evening when I didn't have to be on the freeways--God is definitely good.

Thanks for joining me on the hunt. More details are coming.

Mary and Jones (he's getting his hair cut on Saturday--handsome boy that he is) (and Cole).


  1. Love how your eyes take us on a tour....and an auction expedition.
    Just wondering how you got in to this business...shall I take a seat on that chaise lounge which is a recliner not a chair?
    Fodder for a future post.

  2. Hi Patricia, Definitely, take a seat (you can even take a nap--I see those middle-of-the-night hours). The chaise is super comfortable and yes, I agree....IT'S A RECLINER!! Thanks for your support. Prayers for the Opening. Mary