There was an auction at the London, South Kensington branch of Christie’s yesterday that I missed because I was too busy with the bedroom set that finally arrived for the home renovations. I lost one of the items I wanted very badly because I forgot about it and never got around to putting in an absentee bid! It’s not a huge deal but it is an oversight that shouldn’t have happened.
The treasure-that-got-away was a silver-mounted cut-glass claret jug made by Gustaf Adolf Cedergren in Stockholm, Sweden in 1882. It ended up going for £1,000, or roughly $1,570 in United States currency, which was smack in the center of the pre-auction estimate. This was supposed to be a juice decanter for the dining room when we have brunches with friends and family on the weekend. Look at it! It’s in pristine condition despite being 130 years old. It first saw use when Chester Arthur was President of the United States. It was in service when my great-great-great grandparents were alive.
I’m so irritated with myself. I never allow oversights like this to happen. It is bothering me still, a day later. I never talk about my auction activities on the blog, or at least not very often. At work today, Aaron told me to just design a set and commission them with a silversmith since they would be just as beautiful and rare. Still, mental models, the disutility of loss, and all of that.
It may be years before I find one I like as much. Such a pointless oversight. Live and learn, I guess. To whomever won, congratulations. You’re lucky. I would have fought tooth and nail for it had I been paying attention. I’ll be optimistic. The universe has a funny way of working these things out in the end. I may come across one I like even better.
I love stuff like this because, ultimately, it will all get donated or sold for my foundation. How cool would it be if I kept it for the rest of my life and, God willing, lived to the age of many of my forefathers (or longer)? If that happened, it would be around the claret jug’s 200th birthday mark that it would re-emerge and be donated to a museum or sold for cash to fund charitable programs. For all those years, my family and I got to enjoy it, use it, treasure it, and protect it.
The upshot is, Aaron is right. I can always have some commissioned, or someone else may put something on the block that is completely unexpected and equally as cool. Families find treasures in their attics every day, collectors decide to exit a certain specialty, estate sales need to raise cash … you never know what surprises might walk through the door of the auction houses. That is what makes it so enjoyable.