Friday, August 24, 2012
Another Epic Super Score! Seems Like It's Happening More And More Often! Vintage Verner Panton From Rural Illinois. Status: Rare Morning Pickup.
Another stupid amazing craigslist find. This time it wasn't StL. craigslist but Springfield Il. criagslist. Yet, it wasn't in Springfield but Jacksonville Il. At least Jacksonville is about 25 miles closer and although there isn't a major highway that leads there the two lane blacktop that does is nice and straight...due north!
You know, it takes a lot to get Mr. Modtomic up and at 'em at 8 am on a weekday. I am not a
morning person. Ever notice what time these blogcasts go live? That's what time I get them done!
I'm a night owl. But I had spotted an ad showing some dirty white Panton style chairs that I
thought were maybe contemporary reproductions...like the yellow set that caused so much
controversy 'round here a while back.
But the price was right and I thought I could cleanup and flip the set pretty easily and one cannot
look a gift horse in the mouth. My motto has been and still is: Strike While The Iron Is Hot. So
up at 8 am and on the road I go. Here I'm just crossing the Mighty Mississippi at Alton Il. At
least it was a beautiful morning and didn't need the AC yet!
Yeah, the road to Jacksonville is long and straight! It was a ghost town too. Perfect. My kinda
driving. This was a nice little road trip. At this time I'm still unaware of the surprise that awaits me.
Oh, and the ad was placed not by an individual seller but by a shop. They placed the ad on
Saturday late afternoon. I spotted the ad Sunday. The shop wasn't open on Sunday...or Monday,
and wouldn't open until 10am. I wouldn't have time to call the shop and THEN go get the set. I
just had to go and hope it was still available. So that's exactly what I did!
So I arrived about 10 minutes after the shop opened and what did I find?! Nothing. There were
no white patio chairs, tables or lounges to be found. I finally had to ask the shop keep about the
set. He told me that they had JUST.......moved the set to storage. Whew!!! I thought he was
going to say they had just SOLD the set! But he could take me to the storage...just as soon as
these two lovely ladies - who had walked in as we talked - finished up and made their way out.
But just as they were leaving...in came another lady! I didn't have a ton of time. I still had to
drive back home, shower and get to work! But she quickly purchased a pair of nice wingback
chairs out of the front window and made her way out. The shop keep took me to the storage
and that's when I found out that this was not the quick flip set that I thought it would be.
Not at all.
Here's the thing. Most of the reproduction Verner Panton "S" Chairs you'll find are made of poly-
propylene, like that of a tough trash can. The yellow set that passed through here were of this type.
They were genuine Vitra too. Not knockoffs. Herman Miller / Vitra was the original manufacturer
of these chairs in 1967. But this white set that I was buying were not Polypropylene. They are
Fiberglass. Herman Miller / Vitra only made Panton "S" chairs in Fiberglass for the first two years
of production: 1967 - 1968. Um...wow! Ssssssssssscore!
But wait, now I have a real problem! I've never seen a fiberglass set of these sell on line, although
there is a set in similar condition on eBay at the moment with a buy it now of $1200. I've seen
what I am calling "Mark II" Panton S chairs (those that came into production just after HM / Vitra
stopped production of the fiberglass Mk I chairs) and those - in what looks like excellent condition
- recently sold as pairs for $526 in white and $700 in red on eBay.
OK, that gives me a general idea about the chairs, but what about the rest of these pieces? I can't
find hide nor hair about them on line! The paint is in the exact same condition - rub it and a sorta
soft talk of it will come off. They are all fiberglass. They all came together. The backs / bottoms of
the table and lounge are "finished" just like the chairs (i.e. can't see raw fiberglass).
Are these all Herman Miller / Vitra pieces too? I currently have now way to value them! Also,
I'm in a bit of a quandary as to whether or not I should have the chairs restored or flip them as is.
Then, if I get them restored, should I have the rest of the set restored too? Is the rest of the set
"valuable" enough to justify the cost? Gah! Can you see where this might be frustrating?!