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.

FD 1
(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.

Casalino chair by Casala 1Casalino chair by Casala 2
(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.


  1. I think 1stdibs has become a less reliable site in terms of attributions than it was a few years ago. Sometimes, as in your example of the McCobb/Umanoff error, incorrect attributions can be so widely accepted that they become self-perpetuating myths. That was the case with some lamps we got not long ago. The commonly cited attribution to Tommi Parzinger turned out to be incorrect. When that happens, the only ethical thing you can do is change your listing and try to debunk the myth, dust yourself off and live to sell another day. As you said, mistakes happen. :)

    1. Hi Dana.

      Yeah, if anyone does this for any length of time, they're gonna fall victim to miss-attribution...on one end or the other! It's nice to see that you almost can't find an Umanoff wine rack on eBay anymore that is miss-identified as Paul McCobb. And I'm not throwing any fits here, I'm just trying to help educate folks a little both as to how hard it can be to ID this stuff and how getting it wrong can be completely innocent.