Provenance and Background Info
(This cabinet sold in iNVISeDGE for $1595 in 2011. These days (in 2018) I’d sell the same cabinet for around $1895… And now, there’s another update in 2019. It could well be worth significantly more than $2200.)
During my internet travels I’ve since found out that my possible attribution of this being by Douglas Snelling is almost certainly wrong … whatever. I’m not in this business to be a historian- I want these items to be valued and be telling stories for generations- long after I have gone. If those stories are being told, that’s what matters most. If the stories here are wrong right now, so be it, they will likely change as the years roll on. To me, when people are talking about these vintage items and VALUING them that’s what’s most important… But, in saying that, when information changes it’s best to share it (time allowing- I do have to try and make a living from this as well!). I was researching a different item this evening and found a cabinet with the same construction qualities and elements- the seller said it was done by Schulim Krimper. To me this is much more likely to be correct (rather than Douglas Snelling). But really it doesn’t matter who it was by- it’s vintage, it’s exceptional and a great piece of vintage workmanship. I’m now merely sharing a new hunch- again I may be right or wrong. I remember from back in 2011 when I sold it that the construction qualities exceeded any Snelling piece I’d come across so back then I felt I was under-selling it- better to undersell a piece than oversell. IT’S STILL A MYSTERY TO ME. I’M NOW SAYING I FEEL IT MAY BE SCHULIM KRIMPER but that may change again. There are many steps to identifying rare vintage design and as they always say- “the journey is just as important as the destination”.
The description below was written in 2011 when I sold this sideboard.
A fantastic 1950’s sideboard. It’s possible this is a Douglas Snelling piece- it was definitely made in early 1950’s. The slanted drawers and square handles are trademarks of Douglas Snelling cabinets- the whole cabinet screams of Snelling but the legs are different and the timber is also not what Snelling usually used so it may not be. I’ve seen this timber used in high-end cabinets made in Australia in the 1950’s (I think it’s Birch). There’s a Douglas Snelling cabinet included in the current collection of the Powerhouse Museum (very similar to this piece) but that cabinet is half the length (it’s online in the Powerhouse inventory). If the sideboard on offer here is a Snelling piece its worth around $2500 to $3500, however I think it’s more likely it was done by Rosando Bros of Melbourne who did many one-off/custom-made cabinets in the 1950’s and if it is, it’s valued at a LOT more than my $1595! This piece shows SUPERIOR construction QUALITY- there’s NO CHIPBOARD in this piece AT ALL! I love the stepped drawers and the high elevation off the floor. The 1950’s was when fun and optimism was shown in furniture designs- this piece is a symbol the era.
Similar designs in furniture are still produced today but most of the modern “cabinets” have been made of chipboard and plastic, flat-packed and then screwed together- this cabinet however was made by cabinet-makers (yes people!) who actually worked alongside designers (yes people again!) in workshops run by … yes … people! The evidence of their work is shown inside the cabinet- there are various hand-written numbers and lines ruled in pencil. After flat-packed cabinets from developing countries have ended up as landfill, this cabinet will be handed onto yet another generation and tell stories of a by-gone era and remind them of the art of professional cabinet-making- an art that’s quickly dying.
But if the environmental and community advantages of “owning” (or looking after) a piece like this are not enough there’s the financial advantages. 98% of the items I have sold over the 10 years I’ve been in this business are now worth the same or more (many are worth much more) than what I sold them for. I have set this price to give buyers in any Australian location reason to buy (I have had one sideboard like this after being in this business for 10 years- 1950’s sideboards with large glass sections are around- I’ve never seen another with a full timber front in the flesh). This early 50’s piece will only become more prized as the years roll on.