Vintage VS Authorized Version
THE PATINA OF A REAL LIFE
MUSTY just RULES
BROKEN is BETTER
RUST NEEDS LOVE TOO
AUTHENTICITY = a time and a place and a story.
The difference between vintage and authorized is often quite visible. It is a total pain in the ass sometimes, but vintage is usually way more fun than FACTORY FRESH.
It really helps (for me) when vintage items, even when pricey, are still cheaper than the brand new authorized version. My LCW has an attractive patina AND it was cheaper than new. Win-win.
But a few items seem way out of whack. Like the little Eames side tables (LTR). Brand new they go for $215-310 depending on choice of finish. But I see vintage ones sell for $600-900 each. That seems like a huge premium to pay for such a small piece. The cost of patina per square foot is off the charts.
The Eames LTRs that sell for $600-$900 (and higher) are the first generation plywood edge versions.
The second version with the core made of solid wood blocking still can be found for 350-450 (not much more than the new authorized price.
Since the function is identical on the little tables, the high prices simply reflect the overwhelming desirability of vintage examples over new ones.
I don't think size matters when we are talking about a first issue hallmark design in it's most primary form.
The LTR happens to be one of my favorite designs, so I am probably a little over the edge when it comes to vintage examples. A nice byproduct of collecting vintage is that the second generation solid-core 1960s white laminate LTR table that I bought in 1995 for 100 bucks is now worth 350-400. But I'm not selling it so it doesn't matter.
I might buy a re issue if I knew it was gonna get extreme treatment. It will be interesting to see if in 20 years, the new authentic issues of today also start to rise in price, as they too will gain character over time.
Wow, such excellent insights. Thank you all. I am wondering myself especially on the case of Cherner Ribbon chair AKA Norman Rockwell Chair.. I had an opportunity to get the first edition with the infamous "Bernardo" label or the Reissued edition by Cherner's company. This is where i am wondering of which is a better and wiser choice.
They looked alike.. One with story and patina, the other one (imho) with a better construction (pricing is actually sort of equal... with the bernardo one slightly steeper in price).
Before making a decision on the Cherner chair, I would look into whether there are issues with the plies snapping at the narrow part where the back turns into the seat. I have no idea if this is an issue with these chairs but I know it is a weak point on some bent plywood chairs made this way.
I bought a pair of vintage Eames LCW many years ago and had an awful time with failed shock mounts. Never again. It just wasn't worth it for me. Maybe if I really, really loved the chairs, but I didn't. I liked them a lot but it wasn't true love.