Always a confluence of items, my last blog engendered a fair old amount of response, and it also coincided with an invitation to the launch of a website devoted to the sale of vintage material. Interestingly, the young lady that invited me had the title of ‘curator’. Hmm…what, I wonder, does that entail? Particularly curious, now that I had a look at her website. Perhaps she’s able to suss out the nature of the stains on the ‘vintage’ upholstery, or determine what sort of household pet it was that made the bite marks on the chair legs. Of note, their featured consignor is a local fellow who proudly offers his wares as worthy of the Paris flea market. He’s bragging about this?
Sadly for those of us who are offering period material, there has been a proliferation of sites devoted to the sale of vintage items that I have seen frequently characterized not as used furniture, but as- wait for it- ‘pre-loved’. But now currently ‘post- rubbish’ or ‘pre-dumpster.’
As my devoted blogophiles will recall from my last entry, I remain surprised that a lot of design has so far plumbed the depths that vintage material constitutes a laudable addition to an interior scheme. Mind you, I’m not talking about fine quality 20th century design, but pieces that are looks-like but isn’t kitsch, and pet-stained soft furnishings. I guess if you miss your first college apartment that badly, this is the look for you. Ugh!
What remains a sad fact, though, is that so many people just don’t know. The notion of what period material means for a dealer or a knowledgeable collector is lost on nearly everyone else. We posted a nice Sheraton period card table online as a featured item the other day, and I immediately received a comment from a poor benighted soul about the problems he had restoring his Sheraton period card table- the one his parents purchased from Baker Furniture in the 1950’s. We were not, as they say, on the same page.
Nor are most people. That sounds snotty, but it is a value neutral fact and something that dealers, collectors, and designers need to increasingly get used to. If one does a key word search for ‘Sheraton card table’, I’d venture to say that, amongst a few good period examples, there will be lots and lots and lots of old-ish vintage pieces. And with the plethora of sales sites that offer mostly vintage material, those period pieces will be in the distinct minority. Given that not everyone is a seasoned collector, this vast array can’t help but confuse, and what choice? By default, the buyer uses the only tool within their ken, and that is- shop by price. Using this single measure, will the buyer get value for money? Probably not, but if the effort is to recreate an upscale version of a college apartment, it might be a step up from what they’re used to.