Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Did you know that new babies are a lot of work? What use to be the 5:00 am blog posting has now become the 5:00 am feeding and/or diaper change. But, we're getting back on track...

In Garth's recent Americana auction, this sideboard brought pretty good money. Okay, well, $4,700 may not be what some folks would call a good price, but in today's market, especially for an object related to formal dining (most such objects have taken a serious dive since formal dining is not happening much at home anymore), it's a very good price.

Why did this piece of "brown wood" sell for more than its estimate? Because of the creative vision of one of the bidders. In their mind, this wasn't a sideboard, but a perfect surface on which to put their new 60" flatscreen tv.

TiVo, DVD players, etc. will fit nicely behind the center doors, and there is plenty of media storage space. I was so pleased to help this bidder envision this sideboard in her family room. It's repurposing at its finest. And it's something we are already doing at our house--a pie safe serves as the entertainment center, a step-back cupboard base is the perfect size and height for a changing table for Baby Nora, and there is no better coffee table in the world than an antique blanket chest.

Auctioneers and dealers need to start thinking like this, and presenting the objects they sell in a manner that is more relevant to today's lifestyles. Fewer folks, especially younger folks, are buying "art" and thus won't plunk down big bucks for a candlestand that serves no function purpose (seriously, is there any less practical piece of furniture?), but everyone needs to store their underwear and everyone needs a place to put their electronics. It's a new market, it's time we all get a new vision.


Kerry Shrives said...

It is great to think that an antique furniture form will benefit from new technology. At auction, we've seen a clear decline in demand for large armoires, cupboards and wardrobes now that large bulky television sets don't need to be hidden inside even larger pieces of furniture. Will the market rebound for antique desks (slant-lid and roll-top) now that desktop computers are being replaced by smaller laptops and tablet computers?

james conrad said...

Well yeah,that works as long as they dont drill any holes in it, lol.

james conrad said...

Kerry makes a good point about laptops, a key feature of which is wireless. I've seen really quality slant lid period desks go for a song at auction, wireless tech has just gotta help that market at some point.

Hollie and Andrew said...

Slant-lids are PERFECT for laptops!

James, to be honest, I told them not to worry too terribly much if they had to drill one 1" or so hole in the back. I told them to keep the plug. Alternatively, I suggested they have a cabinetmaker swap out one backboard and hold on to the original. Let's face it...if such a minor adaptation is what it takes to make an antique desirable by a non-collector, then it's okay by me!