|Examples of brass nesting tables from 1stdibs.com|
"A quest is an adventurous (arduous) journey taken by the protagonist of the story. The protagonist usually meets with and overcomes a series of obstacles, returning in the end with the benefits of knowledge and experience." Definition from about.com.
A couple of weeks ago I purchased a set of French c. 1970's brass and glass nesting tables identical to these examples that I found on 1stdibs.com. My set is in even more pristine condition, with the exception of the center finial on the smallest table...it became separated from my table somewhere during it's 40 years of life.
After many many years in this crazy business, you would think that I would instinctively know that the QUEST to find a replacement pineapple finial would not be an easy one--but no: fools (or antique furniture addicts) rush in where wise men fear to tread!
The first source that I went to was the very famous New York metal fabricator (I will not mention company name). Their catalog showed the perfect finial for my little table and in the quality required. I love this finial: beautiful detailing and proportions, hand chased and polished........so I called New York for a trade price: $148.00 plus $25.00 shipping. Well, since I would like to have a bit of profit on these gorgeous tables, the Fabulous New York Supplier with the perfect finial was a no-go.
I did find these two pineapple finials that were not any where near the quality of the Fabulous New York Supplier, and they were not the right size.....
I continued my quest (arduous journey)....I discovered brass pineapple finials for curtain rods (many diameters), towels racks, hinge finials (very skinny), tiny lamp finials, stair tread rod finials....and many more. But not a single appropriate solid brass pineapple finial for under $148.00 plus $25.00 shipping.
So of course, my natural reaction was to start kicking myself: you silly girl, you spent a fortune on those tables and now you will have to spend a second fortune to replace the finial. After I calmed down, my mind started clicking again and I remembered that Carlos who makes the fittings for my custom lamps also casts brass and bronze....Carlos will cast my pineapple finial for $45.00 and NO shipping charge. I think that I'm back in business. The finial will take about 2-3 weeks to fabricate, but it is definitely worth the wait.
This type of quest is just one of the reasons that antiques and decorative arts dealers have to charge what we charge. To acquire the knowledge to know how to restore or fabricate an item and then to have established relationships with the craftsmen who are able to do the work is time consuming and the experience required is expensive--before we arrive at the perfect restorer or fabricator, there are many failures and lessons learned the hard way.
I'll post photos of my perfect finial when I take the table to Carlos for the fitting.
Jones is good....a little bit in the bad boy corner, as he has been a bit hyper at work and needs an attitude adjustment. (Threatening to take him home usually works)
Mary and Jones (& Cole)