Saturday, April 22, 2006


Every Saturday morning renews my search for the holy grail! I jump in the car, a map and a scrap of newspaper listing the local garage sales in my grasp, and head off for the morning hoping to find whatever happens to be my latest vintage obsession.

You see, I have a passion for collecting things from the 1970s - fabric, radios, tvs, toys, eight track tapes and players, early computer games - in fact almost anything that is the colour orange, or made of plastic! A strange obsession I know, but an interesting one none the less. Perhaps it was being deprived of all the cool and expensive toys in my childhood that has spurred this on - who knows. It is however exciting and rewarding, but also extremely frustrating at times. It all started several years ago when I purchased an art deco house. I started off trying to furnish and renovate it true to its sytle, but soon found that real art deco pieces were far too expensive for my budget, so looking for alternatives, I started gaining an appreciation for 1950s design and furniture such as formica tables and kidney shaped tables, things made of bakelite etc. In my pursuit of these things I found myself regularly attending auctions in my area. One of the first real what I call "designer pieces" I purchased were 2 early Cobra dial telephones. I remember a friend of mine "Stephen Spinks" had one in the 70's, and I remember thinking it was just the coolest thing. This purchase led to my current obsession with retro - and all things plastic The new plastics, materials and technologies being discovered in these times allowed furniture designers to break away from the traditional designs and shapes of furniture and become more adventurous and experiment. I am still fascinated by the innovation and exciting designs of this period, many of which are being reproduced and copied for furniture today.
After having lived with it for 30 odd years, many people who purchased it years ago, are now sick of it, and thinking it "old and out of date' started chucking it away. Up untill fairly recently many of these artifacts could be picked up fairly cheaply, but with the popularity of the internet and Trade-me etc, public awareness of the possible value of these items has risen considerably, and picking up good scores is becoming harder and harder. I guess you could say that my "holy Grail" at present is a WHITE PYE VIdmatic (Nautilus) colour TV (see pic above) on a pedestal base from the 1970s (I have the Stereo which was brought out at the same time.) But these I am afraid to say are as rare as the proverbial Rocking-Horse shite, and I dont expect to come across one in the near future, but until that time I am destined to keep looking. I am sure somebodys grandad has one sitting down in the basement somewhere, covered over with an old sheet, just waiting to take it to the dump one day.


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