Wednesday, April 16, 2014
::Sigh:: In Trying To Identify Various Vintage Modern Pieces I've Often Turned To The Commercial Website First Dibs, Sadly (Mostly For The Buyers Who Thought They Were Buying Something Else) Even The Sellers There Can Mistakenly Attribute A Piece. Status: The More You Know.
(photo from 1stdibs)
These chairs recently sold on First Dibs after being attributed to Casala as Casalino chairs designed by Alexander Begge. Turns out, I don't think they actually are. This is why doing your due diligence as a buyer is so important, and as a seller is not just good business but ethical.
I found this dining set on the Kansas City craigslist this evening and was surprised to see that they
had Chromcraft tags. While I didn't really have any idea who they might otherwise be by, I still
wanted to see if I could find any other info about the set on the web, so I plugged in "Chromcraft
Plastic Chairs" into Google search. It took a while but I started finding chairs like these attributed to
Alexander Begge. When I Googled that design I discovered that the Chromcraft design is just a close
knockoff...and that they are OFTEN mistaken for the Real McCoy. Even Rhan of Rhan Vintage
mistook the Chromcraft for the original. I probably would have too. The difference is subtle.
If you look close and compare the support webbing that runs from inside the legs and underneath the
seat you will see a tell tale difference between the Chromcraft (which has a much more robust
support) and the Casala chairs (which are fiberglass and probably don't need the additional support).
It's a such a small difference that if I hadn't found the ad for the Chromcraft variant I probably would
have never know there even was such a thing and thought that any chair that had this particular
design was a Calalino.
(photos from Google Images)
This is what the REAL Casalino chairs designed by Alexander Begge look like. Just a little more
sleek. A little less support webbing. The lesson here is also that just because you saw EXACTLY
what you are trying to ID on a reputable site like First Dibs doesn't mean your job is done. It's best to
really dig in deep and get as many matching attributions as you can to confirm as best you can what
you believe you've found. Even then, sometimes we'll get it wrong, just as in the case of the
mistakenly attributed leather and iron wine racks that for years everybody ID'd as Paul McCobb but
turned out to be by Arthur Umanoff! In any event, I wouldn't kick the Chromcraft set outa bed!
Wish I lived a little closer to KC right about now.