An unusual antique is finally considered “museum quality.” At a large antiques show about 20 years ago, we saw a large pile of wrapped splints made of curved plywood. They were the splints invented by Charles and Ray Eames during World War II to replace the heavy leg splints used when transporting soldiers with leg wounds to medical care. The dealer said those for sale were found in a warehouse. We liked the history and price (about $50 in today’s dollars) and bought four. We gave them as conversation-piece gifts to our children, and our college art museum. We unwrapped ours and hung it like a sculpture in the office. The museum did not want a splint and refused the gift, but they kept it when I explained that someday they might have an iconic Eames chair and they could show how designers used technology. About 150,000 of the splints were made. Last month, an identical splint sold at auction for $1,800. Moral of the story: If you like it, buy it. Someday other collectors may like it, too.

 

 

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