Tossing that old dining room set
  • The color yellow keeps bumping into me
  • You can’t have too many (Regency-style) chairs
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    Auction Finds

    A dining room set the color of sunshine

    It was raining like crazy outside one of my favorite auction houses a few Sundays ago. But inside, there was this pretty little yellow dining room set that stood out like sunshine on a cloudy day (I just love the Temptations).

    It was among a smattering of furniture to be sold later at auction, but this piece was the gem. You couldn’t miss it on your way to preview  items in other rooms – the round yellow tabletop, four chairs with their narrow curved backs and round seats, white metal appendages, laminated wood and clean simple style.

    I just had to check it out – although I didn’t need dining room furniture. But like just about everyone else there, I was smitten. I pulled the chairs out from the table, turned them around to observe them at different angles. On the back of one was stenciled in large letters “Marita Thomas.”

    The furniture was striking; it just needed to be in the right spot in the right home. And it wasn’t mine. It would be a conversation piece in any other home, though, instantly spurring talk because of its presence.

    Other auction-goers apparently were just as intrigued as me. After I left, I watched as several people looked over the set carefully, trying to make up their minds about whether to bid. Others sat in the chairs at the table, carrying on conversations with whoever stopped by.

    I kept an eye on it because I was interested in knowing how the bidding would go. As the auctioneer went down one aisle after another selling mirrors and dressers and sofas and chairs, I waited patiently and then ambled over. I watched as one couple stood sentry over it, obviously ready to bid. The man pulled a chair from the table and collapsed it. The chair folded! Something I didn’t attempt to do when I was handling them. The legs and seat formed a perfect line from top to bottom. Then he unfolded it. Another couple walked up and the man examined a chair, also trying to fold it.     

    I watched as anxiety crept into the first couple’s face. A competitor. This could mean they’d have to bid high or lose it.

    By now, the auctioneer had approached the set, and about eight of us had wandered over. This was a folding table and chairs, the auctioneer said, and the set was signed. Someone mentioned the name on the back of one of the chairs; he indicated that that was not the maker.

    As with most items at auction, bidding started low with the two couples sparring. Then another bidder stepped in. The set sold for $185 – to an absentee bidder. Sometimes, that’s the way it goes.

    But what a buy!

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