It Sold For What?! – Downsizing Edition
Hello! Welcome to the Magnusson Guessing Game, It Sold for WHAT?!
In this game of trivia, you are shown images of two similar objects. Guess which item sold for what between the given options. All sales took place in the secondary marketplace.
Ready? Set? Go!
QUESTION 1: CRYSTAL SWANS
One of these crystal swans sold for $1,725.00. The other sold for $100. Which sold for $1,725.00?
A! Both swans are from French companies. However, Object A is one of Lalique’s Miroir Cygne set. The Miroir Cygne set features two crystal swans, one with its up and one with its head down. Sold together, the set can be purchased for $2,500 from Live Auctioneers. Object B was made by Daum, a respected, but less popular brand than Lalique. Ironically, the Daum swan bowl is a fraction of the price of Object A even though it is about twice the size of Object A.
QUESTION 2: ANTIQUE KITCHEN UTENSILS
One lot of kitchen utensils sold for $12,000. The other sold for $375. Which sold for $12,000?
A! Do you think $12,000 is a lot of money to pay for old kitchenware? Actually, Lot A was estimated to sell for $15,000-$20,000! This collection of utensils was last owned by Chris Machmer, a known collector of American antiquities. Both lots of iron and brass kitchen utensils may look identical at first glance. However, closer examination reveals an inlaid floral vine decoration on Lot A. Lot B is matching set, but it simply lacks the rarity of Lot A.
QUESTION 3: BED FRAMES
One of these vintage bed frames sold for $9,000. The other sold for $510. Which sold for $9,000?
A! As we say in a previous blog, the secondhand furniture market is overflowing with incredible product. Bed frames are especially discounted because they are a bulky item that most buyers look for in the retail marketplace first. In the case of these beds, maker is everything. Object A is a bed frame made by Louis-Jean-Sylvestre Majorelle, usually known simply as Louis Majorelle. Majorelle was an outstanding designer who created and manufactured pieces in the Art Nouveau style. Most furniture objects are designed by one person and manufactured by a larger company. Object B, for instance, was designed by T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings and manufactured by Widdicomb Furniture Company.
QUESTION 4: UNOPENED PERFUMES
One of these perfumes sold for $1,500. The other sold for $61. Which sold for $1,500?
B! Object A may be from luxury-brand Hermes, but it is only a tester bottle without a box. On the other side of the spectrum, the perfume in Object B is sealed in a rare Baccarat bottle. Object B is a reissued perfume from the established The House of Guerlain. The seller states the bottle had previously sold for a hammer price of 1200€. While I could not find evidence of this sale in my internet searching, the claim of a past sale justifies the current price tag.
BONUS ROUND- QUESTION 5: GARDEN STATUARY
Of these garden statues, one sold for $4,500, one sold for $4,400, and one sold for $375. Which statue sold for what price?
Object A: $4,400
Object B: $375
Object C: $4,500
Okay, I admit that it is hard to distinguish between a $4,500 and a $4,400 item when so many small factors can adjust a sales price by $100. Even so, did you really think the dog statue was going to be the biggest seller? Generally modern looking items, like Object B, sell better than “traditional” looking objects in the marketplace. However, there are always exceptions to the rule!
Object A is not a statue picked up from Home Goods last week. It is a 1930s vicenza marble stone creation of two putti (representations of naked children, especially cherubs or cupids) holding a cornucopia of fruit. The quality of the material and age both add to the value of the piece.
Object B’s modest value comes from its “look.” The piece was made in the style of Keith Haring, but without an exciting provenance or maker, the work only contains decorative value to potential buyers.
Object C is a spaniel with a combination of value and (perhaps) luck. The white marble statue is the oldest of the three examples, coming from the 1800s. However it is also in the worst condition of the three, as it is heavily weathered, chipped and pitted. This pooch was only estimated to sell for between $1,200-$1,800. Why the enormous jump in price to $4,500? It is hard to speculate, but the reason could have to do with the hierarchy of animal memorabilia. Out of all the items that feature animals, dog art is often the most popular. After all, dog lovers are a passionate bunch! Perhaps two canine aficionados got into a bidding war for this spaniel and they were willing to put down the money to acquire man’s best friend.