are you flippin’ kidding me?

Remember my inadvertent mid-century flip from last spring?  I purchased a Lane cubist credenza for $20 and sold it in the same day for $175.  Only to find out later that the guy who purchased it was a dealer and had it listed in his shop for $550.

Well, I said ‘live and learn’, and I think I got a little smarter the next time around.

I purchased two American of Martinsville mid-century pieces (after nnK spotted them on CL) and I flipped them.  I made a little nicer profit this time.  Even so, the impossibly hip couple that bought the credenza told me they were going to take it to Manhattan.  I have a feeling that they were going to make a tidy profit also.

Here are the pieces:

MCM flip collage

I’m definitely not a mid-century modern expert, but I know enough to sometimes recognize a good thing when I see it.  And these were gorgeous.

The other day my friend Sue stopped off at a garage sale near our work.  It was one of those “diamond in the rough” sort of sales.  A lot of junk, a big dumpster in the driveway, nothing marked or even really set up, just piles of stuff.  Luckily Sue is an intrepid garage saler.  She goes beyond the surface.  She asked if they were selling any furniture, and sure enough they said almost everything inside the house was for sale too.  Sue happened to notice that they had a couple of mid-century pieces, so when she got back to work she told me about them.

Actually, to be precise, she left a note on my chair that I promptly sat on without noticing, how embarrassing.

I did finally get the message though, and I popped over to the sale myself.  This story is becoming long winded at this point, but let’s just say several phone calls, 2 trips, some help from Mr Q’s strong heavy lifting friend and some sneaking around grandma later and I was the proud owner of these two pieces.

MCM collage 2

But the best part of the story is still to come.  You see, hanging on the wall above the credenza was a large metal pom pom wall sculpture.

Curtis Jere

Classic 1970’s.  On a lark, as part of my negotiations for the furniture, I asked if they would throw that in.  Absolutely!  They needed to have the entire house cleared out in 3 more days, “take it”, they said!

I’m pretty sure this is where Mr. Q earned sainthood.  Picture him kneeling on top of the credenza trying to unscrew this thing from the wall with metal pom poms stabbing him from every angle.  But, he did it, without a single complaint.

Turned out it was ridiculously heavy and nearly impossible to grab onto without getting stabbed, but we hauled it home where I promptly tossed it on the lawn and hosed off 35 years worth of dust.  This was the point where I thought “what in the world is wrong with me?  I am totally going to be stuck with this thing.  What was I thinking?”

Actually, I had gone into it thinking I could just use this piece to stage future mid-century pieces, but in reality it was just far too heavy to even consider hanging it in the photo cottage.  I was then tempted to put it at the curb with a free sign.

Instead, I googled it.  After several attempts at trying to find something similar, I ended up finding Curtis Jere.  And from there, I found the exact same piece for sale at 1stdibs online for … wait for it … drum roll please … is the suspense killing you? …  $5,900.

Yep.  I kid you not.

I did read online that it was imperative that the piece be signed.  A true Curtis Jere was always signed.  You should have seeing me going over that thing with a fine tooth comb looking for a signature.  I thought for sure it would be on the back (although in hindsight, what artist signs his work on the back?), but I could not find a signature anywhere on the back.  Finally Mr. Q said, “too bad, it’s just a knock off.”

But I did not give up.  I flipped it over, and kept looking.  Sure enough, a couple of minutes later, there it was!  A signature!  Not just a signature, THE signature.

Jere signature

Yep, I have an authentic Curtis Jere mid-century metal pom pom wall sculpture worth $5,900.  Are you flippin’ kidding me?

Now what?

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27 thoughts on “are you flippin’ kidding me?

  1. Oh my GOSH! My first inclination would have been to spray paint it. Good thing YOU found it! Congratulations!
    BTW I’m a fairly new subscriber to your blog and I so enjoy it. I’m in central Minnesota but unable to make it down to your Carriage House sale. Dang it! Thanks for sharing.

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    1. I know. I’m the published author in the house, and yet here she is writing better than me. It’s a good thing I can still lift heavy things, or I’d be out on the curb with a “free” sign as well! 😉

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  2. wow…wow…wow. I am truly impressed. The garage sale “team” struck gold yet again! And I had to laugh when I read about Mr.Q getting stuck (literally and figuratively) trying to get it down from the wall. Great blog….painted a great picture in my head while I was reading…a sign of a good writer indeed.

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  3. OMG that is quite the story! Congratulations on such a find, and all for the price of unscrewing it from the wall. The furniture pieces are lovely too. I’ll have to share this story with our mid-century dealer who has a shop a block from my house.

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  4. That’s why I research everything. My whole antique dealer career has been based on looking closely and find out what I have found. Case in point, I found a cotton Christmas ornament in the shape of a man with a picture of Santa Clause’s face glued to the head. I thought, that is just ugly and threw it out. The selling price, not the asking price, today, on Victorian cotton handmade ornaments of Santa Clause is over 1000.00. Since then I’ve made thousands and thousands of dollars on items that I would have thrown away but for the research. And it is interesting. This is a fabulous find.

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  5. Love that! My husband watches “Antiques Roadshow” with me and always says, “I wouldn’t give you 5 cents for that thing”. But when they find out what something is worth, they can’t wait to brag about it! Now where do you sell things like that here in the cities? I have some items that I have found that aren’t my taste anymore, but have no idea where to sell them.

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    1. My neighbor/handyman Ken is an Antiques Roadshow fanatic. I called him over to see my “signed Curtis Jere” and told him it was my “Antiques Roadshow” moment. He just shook his head in disbelief.

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  6. Nice luck. I say sell it now. Would be nice for the travel fund. Now you just have to find out where you can get good money for it.

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  7. Wow!! That’s amazing, well done you 🙂 Love reading your blog – the whole design of the blog is beautifully fresh and clean with fab photos. Keep up the wonderful inspiration for those of us just starting out please !

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    1. Thanks Dawn! I really appreciate your comment. I actually had a moment last week where I considered moving to a self-hosted blog and changing some stuff up because I didn’t think my blog was ‘pretty enough’. But then I had a panic attack about the technical aspects of it and decided my blog was pretty enough as is after all 😉 So, thanks for helping me reinforce that decision!

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      1. Not yet. I’ve contacted some auction houses that specialized in mid-century though and one has replied. I’m waiting for more replies before coming up with a plan though. I’ll be sure to post about it when I figure it out!

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