May 31, 2007

From The Sweet Sweet Cradles Of Mrs Nanna D.Itzel

So I'm searching through the forums at Design Addict for something else, when I come across a discussion about collectors' greatest finds. Way down the page, below the heated discussion about the ethics of stealing a Ronald-colored Saarinen chair from a McDonald's smoke break spot, titled, was a post from Spanky just waiting to be clicked: "rare Danish cradle":

I go to a lot of local auctions and have gotten some real finds. Probably my best ever was a rare cradle by Danish designer Nanna Ditzel. It was at a really snooty, somewhat shady auction house that I don't normally patronize but happened to go this once.

I spotted the cradle in the back with garden junk piled in it. There were some dealers there who buy mod stuff so I didn't want to look too interested init. I looked as closely as I dared for a mark but didn't see anything. The lighting was bad and the thing sitting in it was heavy and too hard to move, plus those jerks didn't like patrons messing up their precious displays!

Anyway, they started the bidding at $30. I just assumed that I'd have to pay at least $100 for it, so I said OK. But then no one else bid! I got it for $30.

I paid my bill and took the cradle outside (someone else bought the garden equipment). There under the foam mattress was the "Made in Denmark" sticker. Woohoo!

The sleek, smooth, barrel-shaped cradle was made in 1964 for Kold Savvaerk from Oregon pine. When Spanky priced his $30 Ditzel cradle at, it turns out the vintage price is around 22,500 Krona, or $4,000 US. Nice work if you can get it.


What I didn't realize was that the Pine cradle was not Ditzel's first cradle design. In 1958, she also created a wicker cradle, which sold at Den Permanente, the venerable Danish craft & design co-operative store. Another vintage dealer, Roxy Klassik, has one for just 5,500 DKK, or $1,000.

I mean, it's not $30, but at least you know you can use either of them as garden storage, an important thing to remember when the kid outgrows it in three months.

Nanna Ditzel Oregon Pine Cradle, 1964 []
Nanna Ditzel Rattan/Wicker Cradle, 1958 []

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