Write On Grrrl

Voice of Empowerment. Not reason.

My Own Private Antiques Roadshow

It's all so easy when you're watching Antiques Roadshow from your couch.

Twenty grand for someone to take that moderately creepy wardrobe off your hands? You know, the one you dropped $300 for in 1987, even though those realistic baby faces, burned into the wood, seemed to stare through you from beyond.

Where's the dilemma, here? Buy low. Sell high.

But what if you sorta like what you've got?

Enter our latest thrift shop score. My dad gets complete credit for the find. We put him on the case for heavy, metal, vintage patio chairs. The kind you'd see outside motels in the 1950's. (Shout-out if you've got some.) He stepped it way up and expanded the search for any type of outdoor furniture.

Sadly, this might be the last time. Dad has a good eye.

"They're really neat," said Dad. "I've never seen anything like them before. I'd buy all of them."

Yup. You probably should have.

Because beneath the seat bottom, next to the wads of gum, was a label:

40/4 Chairs. David Rowland. 1980.

It didn't mean a thing to us, but a quick Google search revealed we were in possession of something kind of special--drumroll please--a small collection of the world's first stacking chair.

Apparently, back in 1963, industrial designer David Rowland developed these as alternative to folding chairs, creating a product that could store compactly, with 40 chairs fitting in a space 4 feet high, without compromising style or comfort.

Other fun facts: Mr. Rowland's chair is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Louvre Paris, the Design Museum London, and for now, our basement. According to his obit in the New York Times, the original steel and plastic model sold for $16. Today, prices start at $100. Um, let's just say we bought low.

So the question remains: Will we sell--high or otherwise? Verdict's still out.

The truth is, I kind of like owning piece of history. And I'm not sure you can put a price on that.