Friday, October 15, 2010

John Doe, Jane Doe, Chair Doe.

Yes friends, its true. Once again I've got more chairs in our living room than we can sit on. I brought this little cutie pie home Tuesday and can't seem to find any details on it.

I thought this would be a good time to document and share my ways of "hunting" down the value of treasures.

So, Tuesday, after sorting through the Halloween costume section for the third time this month (because new stuff comes out all the time!!!) I decided to run back to the furniture section for a quick peek. nothing.. nothing... BLACK IRON formed chair! I wheeled my cart over and claimed it!

I knew this was A: from the 1950s or before. B: most likely designer. and C: Just plain awesome.

My thought process when hunting for treasure is this: Do I love it? Do I have a friend who would love it? If yes, then do I trust their style? Is it cheap? Could I triple the price? How fast could I sell this item? Is it to heavy/awkward to ship? Can I list this overseas?

Really, the most important question I ask myself is: Do I love it? It will most likely be sitting in my house for a few weeks.. and if it doesn't sell- am I cool with adding it to my collection?

I honestly believe that so much of being a successful online seller is having a personal style that you are 100% confident in. Ask any sales person- they will tell you, if you are not a confident seller, you will not have a buyer. Even if you have a shaky buyer.. they can attach themselves to your confidence and get behind a purchase.

Blah blah blah.. back to the "value hunt":

Step 1:
Research online: check out Ebay, Etsy, Ruby Lane, google image search (most times a photo of your object will appear and send you to a blog or message board!)

When searching online be specific, but not confusing. Ie: my chair

I searched first for: Mid century wire chair, Knoll chair, Bertoia wire chair, eames chair, herman miller chair. (all seperate searches)

Now, I don't claim to be an expert on mid century vintage, but I know enough. Once you type in what your object is similar to- you can start to research aspects of the items that turned up that relate to your product.

So, I didn't get to far with Ebay, or anything online actually. I found that my chair is extremely similar to Knoll and Bertoia chairs- but different in just enough ways to make me question everything.

Step 2: Email friends, blogs and websites that have knowledge about this specific/similar product.

I've emailed three so far. No response. No worries. Don't count on getting a reply... Not that the website is uncool or jerky- it's just not at the top of their priority list. (UPDATE! Apartment Therapy offered to post my images to their "Main" website and also to the "Chicago" sites to see if anyone has any knowledge of them! How exciting! Thanks AT!!)

Step 3: Call places in your town that specialize in this specific/similar product.

I've called two so far. One has an appraisal fee of $150 (OOOUCH!), one just said "nope".

Totally normal. So, I emailed a few photos in to the shop that had an appraisal fee... with a brief explanation that I can't pay unless the chair is worth more than three times the fee. My thoughts are, well- if this is a knock off maybe he will just kill me with a quick email. That would be nice. We'll see.

There are other steps.. These are just the three I've taken so far with this item. The other steps involve researching books, (books!!?) talking to friends that are much older, parents, anyone!

If you dear reader, come across this blog and have any info on my chair, or hot tips on value research feel free to comment! I love to gain knowledge!

Happy hunting! =)


  1. Good luck! It's a cool chair at least.:)

  2. I agree, it is most kick ass.

  3. I totally know the feeling girl! I have a couch and two chairs that the woman who runs "The Amazing Garage Sale" in Boulder said were Saarinen but I can't find a shred of proof anywhere. So time consuming and exhausting.