What's It Worth? The Renaissance Of Mid-Century Modern

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Things change. We know that. Times change and tastes change. Sometimes we are ahead of the curve (we recognized the beauty and funkiness of old cut euro and old mine diamonds back in the ’80s) and sometimes we are behind the curve.

While not quite blindsided by the mid-century modern craze that started over 15 years ago, we were not ready for just how HOT this stuff is.

When we started in the1980s, few wanted those “ugly” 1960s and ’70s so-called “modernist” designs. Yes, the bizarre exploding clock in your mom’s kitchen or the odd Danish-modern table in your parents’ den was not so much collectible as old hat. But these Danish modern and art modern designs made their way into jewelry and watches, and the demand for these styles is over the top! We need this stuff to feed our clientele. Clientele that, oddly, includes millennials and middle-agers as well! In the grand spirit of “everything old is new again,” mid-century modern pieces are enjoying a renaissance of hipness (especially among twentysomethings). These Jetsons- and Sputnik-era designs – often characterized by asymmetrical shapes, spikes, suns, and bubbles – are fascinating.

Furniture designs range from the organic curves and clean lines of Charles Eames, Paul Evans, Joseph Eichler, Knoll, and Hans Wegner, to small tables with a bubble or constellation design by Edward Wormley or Dunbar. There are also watches and jewelry set in silver or gold and signed by Audemar Piguet, Hamilton (especially Hamilton Electrics), David Webb, Sam Kramer (his mark is a mushroom), Adler, Bacharach, Bergman, Brynner, Gilbert Albert, and Pardon (of particular importance). These designs are not for everybody; many think they are gaudy.

And therein lies the appeal. If you have any fantastic, unusual pieces of Danish, Scandinavian or Mexican design from the ’50s to the ’70s, pay us a visit.

Featured is a terrific example of mid-century wonder that we picked up at a coin show in Tampa last month. Largely ignored on a table full of used Rolexes and Pateks, we snapped it up for the coin dealer’s full asking price of $2,500.

We sold this ultra-cool, rose gold Audemar Piguet men’s watch, known as “Disco Volante” among collectors (Italian for “flying saucer”), on one of our online auctions for almost $8,000.

We can appraise, buy, or take your item for consignment.

Let us help! We make house calls.

We have experts here to evaluate and/or buy or sell at auction your mid-century piece.

JEFF HESS, Owner & Appraiser


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GIA, Gemological Institute of America Inc IWJG, International Watch and Jewelry Guild NAWCC, National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors Inc DDC, Diamond Dealers Club New York ISG Global Network