George & Mira Nakashima Chairs & Table

Value (2017) | $13,000 Auction$17,000 Auction
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GUEST:
The chairs are actually from my parents, who bought them in the '70s. They bought two of the armchairs and four of the regular chairs, but never got a table. We went up to the workshop with them when we were kids, and I was very impressed with the workshop. So when I grew up, I knew I wanted to buy a Nakashima table. So 20 years later, I was able to do that, and so the table is from 1990 or so, and the chairs are from the '70s.

APPRAISER:
Right, right.

GUEST:
Part of the process of buying from them is going out and picking out your wood. Mira will put water on it so you can see the grain. It's really terrific.

APPRAISER:
So George dies in 1990, and his daughter, Mira Nakashima, continues to run the business.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
They're both signed pieces, and the chair has got a great George Nakashima signature on it. Then, of course, the table is signed with Mira, and also dated. So we've got a spectacular piece of American black walnut, and that was one of the very important things to George, is finding this indigenous wood. So great graining on it. And then the chairs, of course, are traditional. These are hickory stiles with walnut crest rails. There's also a lovely conversation going on here, because of the fact that we've got an example of Mira the daughter and George, the father...

GUEST:
Father, yes.

APPRAISER:
In these. The table itself is a design very similar to what George Nakashima would have done, because Mira is working in, from her father's influence.

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
But there are subtle differences. This is called a conoid table.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
And the table was named after the studio, which, fascinatingly, is this national historic register, of historic places.

GUEST:
Oh, really? Okay.

APPRAISER:
Yes. He is a national treasure, and as is the area in Solebury County and New Hope, Pennsylvania. There's a difference that I see when I look at this Mira piece, and she has put in six of these dovetailed butterfly inlays here.

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
It's more than I would expect to see on a George piece. She has free edges on both sides here, which is another of his aesthetics: He loved wood and wanted the wood to speak. When we compare this with the chairs, you've got six chairs altogether-- two arms, four sides-- he's working off of a Windsor aesthetic. You can see the way he's made them carefully along the top, with these dowels coming through. This is called the New Chair.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
This is the name of the chair. He named them after clients when he first made them. Any... do... so you bought this recently. What did you pay for...

GUEST:
I paid for the table, I think it was $5,000.

APPRAISER:
$5,000. Were this by George, we would be looking at probably a $25,000 to $35,000 estimate for auction, but because it's Mira, her market has not really come into the secondary market quite yet.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
I would say that this is probably more in the $8,000 to $12,000 range, if you were to purchase this at auction.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
The chairs... Do you know what your parents paid for those in the '70s?

GUEST:
Oh, I think it was... My mother said, like, $150 for the armchair, and these were $100, something along those lines.

APPRAISER:
Right, so, now these side chairs will be bringing around $2,000 apiece, where the armchairs are probably in the $3,000 apiece range.

GUEST:
Wow.

APPRAISER:
And I love the fact that it's father and daughter, here together, united.

GUEST:
And it's a family table, and... Yes, wonderful.

APPRAISER:
So it's great.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Skinner, Inc.
Boston, MA
Appraised value (2017)
$13,000 Auction$17,000 Auction
Event
Harrisburg, PA (June 03, 2017)
Category
Furniture

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