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.)

  1. 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! 🙂

  2. Vroomers 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!

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Malissa says:

    I am in the Reading/Allentown area and agree with you wholeheartedly about the NY/Phila markets driving things up out here and in Lancaster! I found my Heywood Wakefield triple wishbone table and matching crown glass china hutch via an ebay deal with a guy up in Shamokin area. I was willing to drive 2 hours to pick up the table and when I got there, he showed me the hutch! I offered him $375 for the table and he took it and it can go for $1000 via other channels. I said how much for the china hutch and he said $500. Both were in excellent condition so I took that as well. He held it for me to come back afew month later as it didn’t fit in my van and I had to rent one to pick it up. He also has afew end tables he wants to sell me and will be in my area for a big antique extravaganza next month. He’s a picker and cleans houses out. Finding someone like him has been a godsend because he is much more reasonable than dealers etc. He needs to move his items, doesn’t want to dick with ebay, but used it to connect with a buyer and hope they come back. Very smart man and very good contact for me! 🙂 Our local antique malls are crazy priced because we get alot of NYer’s in the area. My kids and I started collecting glass hen on nests and let me tell you, those things are all over the place price wise! I’m not paying top dollar for something to sit in my china cabinet! 🙂

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