As collector of work by the Pennsylvania pottery design firm, Design Technics, I often keep tabs on what examples surface on a slew of online venues. In particular, this past week a pair of DT lamps were offered via eBay, a sale marked by an unprecedented price for a 9″tall base.
The sale price was $976 for the pair, or $488 each.
The lamps are purported to be “hand thrown” by Nancy Wickham, an Alfred University grad whose artistic vision and design sensibilities were a significant contribution to the initial formation of Samuel and Lee Rosen’s designer group firm.
Albeit, the lamps are properly attributed to Wickham, but they are not hand thrown. Hand detailed, yes, but wheel thrown, no.
The flat top to these lamps is specific to many DT designs and is achieved by slip cast molds; incised decoration is applied after the form is released from the mold. In this instance, too, the decoration is probably the result of a factory worker employed at DT’s Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania factory, and not by Wickham herself. So, still the question: Is this a “find” or is this a fluke?
If a find, can the price reflect that this is a matched pair of lamps (not “scarce” with DT) or that they have an original paper label? Or perhaps, is it really the provanence? The seller said “…just acquired this pair from the OLD Pt. Loma Estate of well listed artist Dayton Brown; the home LOADED with old art, mid century furnishings and objects.” (That’s some time capsule…Brown died in 1971.)
Comparatively speaking, two large (more than double in size) lamp bases signed “Wickham” (from her own Vermont studio) sold just a couple of weeks earlier at a top bid of $227 and $261. Other DT lamps have sold for $98 and $126 in past months. So, what made these reach nearly $5oo each in price?
If fluke, well, then who knows what the force(s) is which has this pair reaching such a skyrocketing price. Did someone, somewhere, simply liked them enough to drop a grand on them?
Either way, in the 12+ years I’ve been buying DT via eBay, this price is a record (if accurate) for 9″ tall lamps by this firm.
I’m curious to see how soon it takes for DT to reach this figure again, and what effect, if any, this auction will have on the pricing norm that exists for DT wares.