Sunday, November 24, 2019


"Auction Sleepers" can be defined as those items that come to the block that are very good, but just don't garner much attention on that particular auction day. And that is precisely why I love auctions and why I will faithfully sit through boring hours waiting for those one or two items that I think I can buy at an affordable/great price. Most of the items that I highlight in this blog are "sleepers." I guess my love of "sleepers" stems from my conviction that with each "sleeper" that I acquire, I know that God is directly blessing me. All I am responsible for is being prepared and present.
Case in point is this very unusual early 18th century George I/II chest. When I previewed the chest on Wednesday, I had a hunch that it would go low. To begin with, the chest was identified on the ticket as American--it's most definitely English burl walnut.

The conformation of the chest was strange/unusual with the off-center two side drawers countered with the the larger and deep drawer. The more I studied the piece, I came to realize that it is a normal George I/II Bachelors Chest with a superimposed secretary structure.

The larger drawer revealed a sweet drop front little secretary with a beautiful serpentine (baroque influenced) cubby-hole section. Looks like it's the original leather writing surface, too.

The back look as good as the front with just a little restoration to the support of the original bracket foot. That tape is newer, but doesn't detract from value as age cracks are to be expected.

Roberto can restore the small sections of missing banding on the front, clean the surface and apply a couple of coats of hard paste wax and the chest is set to go! I'm not sure of the value of this little beauty, but it is definitely a gift.
More gifts on Thursday:
I have absolutely no extra room to squeeze in any more furniture (or so I thought)..........but how could I resist this 20th century Japanned/Chinoiserie games table?

Which was hammered down and goes into shop on Monday.
Now--I'm really pushing it: This Portuguese early 20th century mahogany 2-drawer side table came to the block--this is a super Belgium/Dutch design element piece and these tables do not show up very often.....besides, I'd been patient waiting for the bachelors chest and wasn't sure that I would get it and needed to pay for my two days of auction time.......I got it! It didn't go super high, and  was definitely within my range. More, importantly, the table is very saleable and multipurpose and doesn't need any work except Robert's magic touch.

I lusted after this large English Regency-style partners writing desk.

Gerry and I had discussed it, but decided not to bid as it is really big and we have no room--besides, the monthly cost to cover sq. footage in shop would be about $200/month (a lot). When the table came to the block my heart was beating in anticipation.......the bidding started at $300 and slowed down and then stopped at $1000---up came my hand (all by itself)---at $1000, the table would be the buy of the century. It was not to be: I stayed in until $1700. But the table eventually sold for about $2500 + fees and I was saving my budget for the unusual campaign chest.

New Clarence House Belgium Linen Zebra--it turned out just as I had imagined--Love it. The nail heads were being applied when Lalo sent me the photos.

Before: pretty, but very pink and a bit "Grandma"

I also had this pair of early 20th century chauffeuse upholstered in the Clarence House Zebra...

And before--very boring and unsaleable 1990s upholstery (which was still perfect)

Thanksgiving is nearly here and I am counting my many blessings--my wonderful family and Roberto come first and of course, my friends and business cohorts that add so much flavor to my life......the stuff that I sell, is truly only stuff. My joy comes from having a thankful heart, my relationships with my clients and... the HUNT=following inspiration.
Wishing everyone a blessed and thankful Thanksgiving.

Mary & Cole

I've been poodle-shopping. But not quite ready, yet.

Monday, November 18, 2019


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 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


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


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


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 $550-$ 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