How are prices for vintage mid century furniture, lighting and accessories where you live?

Sept. 29, 2011: I herewith doth declare that as of today, prices on ebay for mid century modern treasures (or not) have crossed over into insanity. I had to work too hard to find these 10 items for you, my lovelies. Too many sellers being influenced by 1st Dibs, maybe, or by the rollicking popularity of mid century design style? I don’t know who is going to buy this stuff at the BIN priced being listed.

What about where you live, readers?
Are prices for mid mod high — or low?
Is stuff plentiful — or rare? What’s going on?

Where I live, there’s plenty. It’s still plenty cheap. And I think there’s much more yet to come out of original owner homes. On the other hand, I was talking to a friend who lives in New York City yesterday — she said it’s slim pickin’s for mid mod down there — everything gets snapped up. I don’t sell anything on ebay — I hoard all my vintage delights. But maybe with the frenzy seemingly under way, I will have to start playing the market. Baby needs a new pair of shoes. (NOS vintage, preferably.)

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Comments

  1. Adrian Stroud says

    I find the best Mid Century Modern treasures at Savers, Goodwill, Salvation Army and Habitat for Humanity Re-Store, all over Connecticut. I have noticed lately, however, that these stores have begun to jack up the prices specifically on the MCM items. I have many times overheard clerks in these stores say to each other “I just checked the internet and this is what this item is going for.”

  2. midmodms says

    In Seattle it depends on what you’re looking for. It’s still possible to find small items in thrift stores, but furniture can be pricey, especially if it has a famous name manufacturer. Sellers here are pretty savvy about that kind of thing.

  3. Mrs C says

    I live in SE Michigan not far from Cranbrook, where the likes of the Eames, Bertoia and many of the great MCM designers were educated. You would think that we would have a lot to choose from but it is slim pickings on CL and local resale stores. Estate dealers are asking too much for pieces that are average. I don’t see much locally, perhaps many people are keeping the good stuff and/or passing their treasures on.
    I think we have to blame the rising demand and prices on stores/catalogs like Design (not) Within Reach, that have crazy prices for licensed reproductions. Last year we struck GOLD and found a gorgeous set of 6 Teak Moller Danish Modern #77 chairs at a Chicago area estate liquidator for $699 total! You can’t find them on eBay for much less than $2000 and DWR now sells the Moller #77 for around $1000 a piece! I made my husband drive all the way from Detroit to Chicago & back to get them as my Christmas present. What a sweetie!
    I have found it is hard to find deals anywhere in the US on eBay but thankfully, there are more European dealers selling a plethora of nice pieces with very minimal shipping costs for International shipping. As long as the purchase price is below $300, you don’t have any duty from countries like Denmark.

  4. Tom says

    I’m from Minneapolis and thankfully furnished my house completely in Mid Century in the late 90’s. Since Madmen’s success, prices have tripled in any vintage shops. Even thrift stores have caught on to the Mid- C craze and are trying to cash in, usually on junk that isn’t even close to right era. I never was into Ebay but looked yesterday and it was about what I expected; a lot of junk mislabled MCM or “retro” with completely ridculous prices with a few authentic pieces priced in the thousands. I would look for estate sales in older MC neighborhoods or even at garage sales.

  5. Heather S says

    I just closed on my ’54 ranch and I’m dying for a vintage starburst clock for over the mantel. I’ve been watching ebay for 2 months and the prices are CRAZY high for them! I’ve been watching the thrift stores, etc., here and not finding much for lamps, tables, even glassware with 50’s or americana feel….

  6. Meridith says

    I have to share one of my latest finds with an audience who will appreciate it…I snagged a Kroehler platform rocking chair at a yard sale for $5. It is covered in hunter green vinyl that has seen better days (and a few cigars, given the size of the burn holes) and has a new destiny with charcoal gray leather with orange piping.

    Here is a newspaper ad from the Milwalkee Journal dated June 18, 1952 with a picture of the same chair (in different fabric). So fun! I have printed out the ad and will inclose it in the bottom of the seat (along with a scrap of the original vinyl upolstery) so if it is ever recovered someone will know a bit of its history.

    http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1499&dat=19520618&id=Gw8iAAAAIBAJ&sjid=XH4EAAAAIBAJ&pg=5475,1147273

    So, good deals are still out there…If you are patient and don’t mind getting up way early! =)

  7. Hannah says

    I’m in so cal about halfway between LA and Palm Springs, and there is definitely plenty of great mid century goodies down here BUT the prices aren’t always that great. There’s a bunch of cool vintage shops that carry mostly mid century stuff but unfortunately you’re gonna pay a high price, since a lot of them specialize in the popular designers (Eames, Heywood etc….). Thrift stores are hit and miss these days, although I have friends that furnished their houses in the mid to late 90s and SCORED all day long at the thrift stores, we’re talkin complete bedroom sets, bitchin’ lighting, patio furniture, all sorts of stuff for dirt cheap! My boyfriend and I tend to favor the smaller ma and pops type antique stores because we often find good mid century things at decent prices since they aren’t exactly aiming for the mcm crowd, especially in the smaller towns. Overall I think its just getting harder and harder to fo find good things at decent prices no matter where you are. Oh well, the way I look at it the hunt is half the fun! 🙂

  8. says

    I live in SE Michigan, Metro Detroit area and we have a blast with MCM. Our house is MCM, and we ended up with so much stuff we either trade with friends or sell it on Craigslist. For us, the fun is in the finding. We stay away from most antique malls; preferring estate sales, garage sales and resale shops. There are amazing treasures to be found, you just need to be patient!

  9. Becky from Iowa says

    I just recently decided–now that the kids are grown, and the cats are declining in number—to redecorate my living room in MCM. I already had two good lamps–wire and ceramic with fiberglass shades-and a starburst clock, to inspire me. Well! I went out Friday to the local consignment/junque shops, and within MINUTES had picked up a 36′ square and a similar rectangular McCobb style tables in solid maple: $28. The only other shop in town: a Heywood-Wakefield style two tier end table–also solid maple: $10. Found one of those great circular wire plant stands and a a wire magazine rack: total damage $3! I realize, now, that I’ve been walking past rows and rows of drip glaze table lamps at the Goodwill, for ages, now, too. Apparently, although I doubt I’ll find any High Art pieces in this modest rural area, NW Iowa is still ripe for the picking. Everyone the other day who sold me these treasures looked incredulous at my glee. “You want that crap?” Indeed, I do!

  10. Lenore says

    Luckily, my dad still have mid century house. He still has frieze chair, formica table with jadite design on the end of the tables and 4 matched chairs. Also, a starburst clock. He let me have it but not the formica table or frieze chair yet. I will have them when he is ready to give it away to me. Basically, he has not had any renovation on his house. It’s like a time warp every time I visit him.

  11. says

    Hi everyone from Toronto, Canada! I thought I’d report on Canada, since no Canadians (to my knowledge) have added to the comments. Toronto MCM prices suffer from NYC syndrome, especially in the downtown area. One exception is a great Toronto shop called GUFF that sells at reasonable prices, but stuff there moves lightning fast. Ottawa, the capitol city, has a great warehouse store called FunkyFurniture. Montreal was a hip bohemian city with a European vibe in the ’60s and ’70s, and the MCM there reflects that. A lot of the MCM there was once cutting edge Euro Modernism, so it’s a go-to spot for space age Jetsons style. Folks here use KIJIJI, a local Craigslist-like website, to buy and sell MCM. I ‘ve found some of my furniture this way, but also missed out on some great stuff.
    Overall, Goodwill and Value Village prices in the suburbs in Canada are still reasonable, but rising. The MCM here is different because “name” MCM American brands like HeyWake, Broyhill, St. Charles, Lightolier etc., etc, were not manufactured here. Danish Modern was HUGE in Canada in the 60s and 70s, because lots of people from Europe settled here. I guess they liked its clean lines and quality materials, like teak and rosewood. My parents (and everyone else in Canada) bought their furniture from two major department stores-the now defunct Eaton’s and its competitor Simpson’s.
    The lack of American-made goods means that MCM lovers here look
    for Canadian design. A notable example is the iconic Clairtone
    G and G2 h-ifi stereo, featured in movies like The Graduate and in Playboy. (Story idea, Pam?). It epitomises MCM bachelor pad cool. Frank Sinatra had one. It retailed for 1000 dollars then, a lot of money. It’s rumored to be appearing on Mad Men.

    I recently went to an estate sale, where a G2 was listed at 2500.00 Canadian. I missed out because it was sold before the sale began. A re-seller bought it, cleaned it up, and has shown it at a Chicago MCM show with the asking price of 14, 000.00 dollars. Some people here are making their own G stereos, using parts from other less sought after models from the same company, Clairtone.
    If anyone out there is still reading these posts, or know of a relative who has one of these stereos with the globe speakers, in any condition, please email me at karinrjeffrey@yahoo.ca. Thanks.

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