Brown & Saltman Bleached Mahogany Tables, ca. 1951
I brought to you today a pair of glass-topped Brown-Saltman end tables. I got them at, believe it or not, a pawn shop in Hilo, Hawaii, about five years ago. When I saw them, what I was really struck by was the lines. They reminded me almost of like an Asian pagoda.
Well, as you know, these tables were made by Brown-Saltman. And Brown-Saltman is a great furniture company out of California, started their business in the early 1940s, went on through the 1950s. Brown-Saltman was primarily a manufacturer. They had all kinds of fantastic designers working for them. A whole pantheon of famous people-- Paul Frankl, John Keal. The unfortunate thing is with these tables, we're not quite sure who designed them. But I'm sure that one of the masters did this. It's a great design. The other thing I think that's important about these tables is the fact that as the modern market matures, and it's really started off seriously in the 1980s, it got more robust in the 1990s. And it's been just kind of increasing as far as enthusiasm and as according values as well. These tables always were sort of in a second tier as far as collectability. But prices have gotten more and more expensive as time has gone on. And the enthusiasm for them has increased fantastically. And you have two great examples of it. Do you have any idea about what these might be worth?
It was very hard to find tables exactly like this on my internet search. I did find one online auction that sold a pair of refinished tables, and they sold for $600. But beyond that I have no idea what they might be worth. I'm thinking this is original finish.
It is original finish. Now, one interesting thing about modernism is people that collect modern tend to have a whole different set of criteria. They tend not to be quite as nitpicky about condition as people that have collected period furniture. But these, these are in original condition, they are in excellent shape. They're made out of bleached mahogany. They're also signed on the bottom. It says "Brown-Saltman." Most of their pieces are signed, not all, but most of them are signed. What I also like about Brown-Saltman is they tended to be a little bit wilder, a little less constrained than some of the East Coast companies or the Midwest companies. And even the pagoda shape of these-- and I agree with you, these look like pagodas-- definitely Asian influence. There's a whole notion of Asian design came on after World War II. What did you pay for these tables?
Well, the tables were marked $30 each, but the gentleman who runs the pawn shop said if I took both I could have them for $55.
The two tables together, at auction, probably would bring about $1,000 to $1,500.
Great, I got a good deal, then.
You got a great deal.
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