A New Spin on the Industrial Age Fuels Collectors

newspin1By Anne Gilbert
   I forget who first said “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” It certainly is true these days when it comes to what is catching the eyes and purse strings of collectors and decorators these days. These objects range in age from antique to vintage, and take many forms from furniture and decorative accessories to lighting.
   The TV show “Flea Market Flip” first brought this new trend to my attention. Flea market shoppers were spending hundreds of dollars on old metal file cabinets painted in turquoise and orange and metal oil cans turned into table lamps. Obviously there was something new going on in the collecting world.
   Actually it isn’t quite new. Back in the 1950s, after World War 11 doors attached to metal hairpin legs became acceptable, but inexpensive, dining room tables. Cement building blocks were topped to wood boards to become shelving. The difference was, they were cheap.
   Fast forward to the 1970s, and some avant garde collectors were using metal gears of various sizes as decorative wall art. I remember one collector who hung several 1940s, green enamel tin pendent lights over his dining room table. He had found them at a salvage market for $3.00 each. These days’ vintage dealers are selling them for $300 apiece.
newspin3   In today’s’ collectors world an 18th century, handmade, mahogany chest of drawers can be an auction reject or sell for $500. Contrast that to a 19th century American oak general store cabinet could be priced at $10,000 in a retail setting.
   I checked a website, 1stDibs, featuring some industrial décor and items and found some amazing items offered. How about a 1950s leather gym mat? Or how about a 1940s, plaster, anatomical heart on a wooden stand? I should also point out that the website also offers quality antiques and mid-century modern objects.    For ultimate industrial chic there are industrial metal pipes (spigots) attached to crystal pendants to create a chandelier. Prices are several thousand dollars.
   CLUES: Are some of these items collecting curiosities that will hold their value and historical importance? Only time will tell. What are you putting your money into?
newspin2   PHOTO CAPTION: (1) Industrial pipe chandelier. PHOTO CREDIT: Michael McHale Designs PHOTO CAPTION: (2) Vintage medicine cabinet. Iron and glass. PHOTO CREDIT: (2) Wereldspul PHOTO CAPTION: (3) 1920S Greyhound Lines porcelain sign. PHOTO CREDIT: Architectural Anarchy


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