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How to buy a vintage Egg Chair?

- 07 Jan 2018 -
21 posts / 0 new
#1

Hello design addicts,


this is my first post on this forum.


I always dreamt of owning a beautiful, comfortable Lounge/Reading chair, and now finally I moved to an apartment big enough to make it happen.


After lots of research and reading it comes down to the Egg Chair (with tilt and Ottoman).To me it's just the most beautiful Lounge Chair, and I think it's quite comfy (only tried one for a minute though).


The only other alternative would be a Womb Chair: not that gorgeous design-wise (in my opinion), but not bad either – and it's probably even more comfortable. I'm based in Berlin though, and it looks like there are not many Womb Chairs on offer in Germany/Europe.


Back to the Egg: I'm not a collector and don't have any experience in buying design classics, so I'd really appreciate some help. Here are some questions:


– What's the best place to search for an Egg chair: Ebay, auctions, shops. Where did you find yours?

– If I find one: How do I make sure that it's no replica? Does it matter if it's upholstered or not (regarding the price)?

– I'd love to have the Ottoman, but most offers are without one – and if it's included, the prices are significantly higher. I assume it doesn't make sense to buy an Egg chair first and search for an Ottoman later, because it won't be possible to upholster the Ottoman with the fitting fabric/leather?

– To me the Egg Chair looks best in leather, but offers for a leather Egg Chair w. Ottoman are steep: 10.000 € or more. Is that a reasonable price or is it possible to find one in a decent condition for (way) less?


Sorry, I know, lots of questions, but any answer would help a lot. Thanks!


Designer(s)
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lounge & easy chairs

Comments

- 07 Jan 2018

Put in weeks of research about the chair, vintage leather, foam, stitching, characteristics of production, etc, then spend a few years of dedication searching, and you may find one for cheap. Otherwise prepare to spend, but I still recommend putting in the research so you can know which chairs are a better value for the money and which are polished jalopies.

We don’t discuss prices here. This is not because we are withholding information. It really is not possible to answer in an intelligent way.

- 07 Jan 2018

Thanks for your comment.

I see your point not talking about prices. I don't expect to find one for cheap (that's probably impossible anyhow). I just want to avoid being tricked and loosing lots of money in case I'd have to resell the chair one day. (I don't own my space, so I might have to move to a smaller flat some day.)

I did lots of research already. The main problem here is that most of it is online and it's just not possible to see most of the offers in real life. It's really difficult to judge the quality of leather, stitching and everything else just from looking at pictures or videos.

And what do do if I find a seemingly interesting offer after two days instead of two years? Would I just skip it to gather more experience? It's not that easy, but I guess a lot of you pros here have been through that...

- 07 Jan 2018

You might well come across a good buy before you feel secure enough in your knowledge to pounce on it. That's life.

You can learn to recognize good quality stitching from bad (and other characteristics) in photos, but it means looking at a LOT of photos, comparing the real thing to photos of known fakes, and asking questions. Basic knowledge about upholstery in general will help, and that's something you can pick up by studying furniture that you do have access to--in furniture stores, in friends' and family's homes, etc. Buy a yard each of Hallingdal and Tonus fabric, two of the most popular fabrics used on Egg chairs, and study the colorways on Maharam.com so that you can recognize original fabrics on Egg chairs. (1stDibs is not a good place to research prices but it's great for clear detail photos of furniture, including fabric, and for views that you won't see on a lot of other sites.)

Study the angles of the curves by comparing photos of a real Egg and a fake taken at the exact same camera angle (compare how much of the base you can see, how much of the seat cushion, etc.) This means hunting through lots of photos but it's the best way I know of to spot differences when you can see them in person.

There are tons of Egg chair fakes out there and yeah, they do look exactly like the real thing to the untrained eye. But once you know what you're looking for, the differences will be obvious.

- 07 Jan 2018

To be able to turn around and get your investment out of the chair means your need to buy it from a venue that YOU can sell it in, because the venue affects the price. You can sell it directly to another individual or you could send it to auction, or you could sell it to a retailer. Research those prices.

This will probably cut down the number of sellers you are willing to buy from dramatically.

There is nothing you can do about the possibility of missing an opportunity because you would not recognize it. You have missed millions of such opportunities already. Carpe diem. Fill your head with knowledge.

I would strongly recommend you learn about the kind of leather that was originally on the Egg and how to spot which chairs have it on them, either as original or reupholstered properly. Most I suspect have the wrong leather.

- 07 Jan 2018

The egg chair looks spectacular in that patina'd leather. I have never seen a leather Womb Chair ( I don't think)....but I probably have. And for tender old me 5"10"....151 lbs,....the cloth Womb is far more comfortable. My sister has a pair of eggs...so I've perched in /on both. No comparison.

Carry on,

Aunt Mark

- 08 Jan 2018

There are some dealers in Berlin who are specialized in These things. You could go there and talk to them.

- 08 Jan 2018

Thanks for all the helpful replies!

@Herringbone: Do you have any special recommendations for Berlin?

- 08 Jan 2018

Try „chairs“ in Fehrbelliner Straße, Prenzlauer Berg. Last time I was there they had what you are looking for.

- 08 Jan 2018

Thanks! Awesome, that's even in walking distance. :-)

- 08 Jan 2018

Cool. They are nice guys and they know their job but I haven‘t been there for a few months and I am of course in no way related to them so - maybe you‘re lucky, maybe you‘re not.

- 08 Jan 2018

The other thing you can do is to learn about all the other great mid-century modern lounge chairs out there, including many that aren't iconic designs that everyone knows. You may actually find some that you end up liking even more than the Egg chair. There are lots of very affordable chairs that are well made, beautiful and comfortable in their own right.

When I first got into mid-century design, all I knew were the really famous pieces that you see everywhere--the Egg, the Swan, the Papa Bear, Wishbone & Eames dining chairs, the LCW, etc. Then I started reading here and 15+ years later I am stlll discovering pieces i never knew existed, and I own a bunch of them. The really famous designs are so well known that almost all dealers and casual sellers recognize them and price accordingly. But it's still possible to score less famous pieces for decent prices, sometimes spectacularly low prices.

- 08 Jan 2018

Since you are not too far away, and inside the EU, might I recommend setting up alerts for Egg chairs on Lauritz's website? They have a few auction houses around northern Europe, including 3 in Germany. I just checked, and they have 10-15 Eggs in active auctions as we speak. I would watch these auctions for a while to see what the hammer range is for chairs in various conditions and cladding. You would then have a good understanding of the local market. Except for oddball cases (clueless individual seller or random thrift store/flea market find), Lauritz will probably offer you the best selection for the best prices within a reasonable timeframe. Word of caution: while Lauritz often includes good photos in their listing, take their written descriptions with a grain of salt as they are often suspect.

As already noted above, the best first course of action is to educate yourself as much as possible on the design before diving into purchases.

Good luck.

- 08 Jan 2018

One thing that leif, spanky and cdsilva pointed out is, of course, very true: There are tons of beautiful mid century lounge chairs out there. The deeper I dive into the matter the more beauties I find. So it is definitely worth to take your time, do research, consider and reconsider. You definitely can spend your money on an Egg or a wombchair. But both are quite an investment for something you describe in your own words as "quite comfy" and "not bad". Just saying.

- 08 Jan 2018

You're right, sounds slightly underwhelming. So let's put it like that: The Egg Chair looks absolutely stunning and the Womb Chair like the Mount Olympus of cosiness. ;-)

Thanks again for all the helpful and in depth comments and suggestions you lovely people! I'll promise to do my homework first and learn more about mid century design. Sounds like fun too.

@cdsilva: I found Lauritz.com already. Most of the offered Egg Chairs are in one of their Denmark showrooms and I wouldn't spend such an amount just based on pictures, but it's certainly helpful to watch their auctions to learn about price ranges. And travelling to Denmark one day to see some offers in real life? Why not?

- 12 Jan 2018

Blackstar, You should also really check the Berlin based Auktionshaus Danninger. They have two or three Eggs for sale in their upcoming auction.

- 13 Jan 2018

To get an idea about prices, you might want to check the following website: http://www.vadärdenvärd.se
It compiles auction results in Scandinavia so you’ll have an idea of how much an Egg chair sell for in auction houses. Beware it is probably not the price you would pay at a dealer’s but it would give a solid indicator of a resell value. Indeed, many dealers in Europe buy from these auctions...

Oh and check the base! The older, more desirable ones are made of one piece of metal.

- 13 Jan 2018

Thank you Herringbone and DrPoulet: both tips are very helpful!

Regarding the one piece base: Probably more desirable from a collectors point of view, but these don't have the tilt function, because it was introduced later – or is there an overlap?

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