At least five famous mid-century modern designers made chairs that looked like large hard-boiled eggs with a cutout for seating space: Arne Jacobsen (1902-1971), Milo Baughman (1923-2003), Peter Ghyczy (1940-) and Charles Eames (1907-1978) are four of them. But the fifth and most famous was the Ovalia egg chair made in 1968 by Danish designer Henrik Thor-Larsen (1932-).
The chair was made with a round aluminum base and velvet upholstery on a white fiberglass frame. It was made to swivel. Some of the chairs were made with stereo speakers built into the backs. Hundreds of other chairs seemed inspired by Ovalia. There are womb chairs, rocking egg chairs, fried egg chairs, wicker egg chairs, swing egg chairs and more, all with the rounded egg shape. There are also hundreds of copies selling at low prices. The original Egg chair, sold by New Orleans Action Galleries, brought a bid of $1,000, the estimated price, in a recent auction.
Q: I have a “long case” clock with “Edm Smith, Edm St Bury” on the face. I think it means it was made by Edmund Smith in Bury, St. Edmunds, but I can find very little information about it. Can you tell me more about it? I’m also trying to establish a value.
A: Long case clocks were first made in England about 1660. They are usually at least 6 feet tall and have a long case that encloses the weights and pendulum. They are also called “tall case clocks” or “grandfather clocks.” The term “grandfather clock” became popular because of the song “My Grandfather’s Clock,” which was written in 1876. Edmund Smith was a watch and clockmaker in Bury, St. Edmunds, from 1753 to 1779. Your long case clock, in good working condition, might sell at auction for about $1,500 to $2,000. It should have a chime for the hour or more often.
Q: How much is a deck of playing cards from Air Force One worth? The cards have a facsimile signature of President Lyndon B. Johnson.
A: In 1933 Franklin D. Roosevelt became the first president to travel in an airplane. His successor, President Harry Truman, was the first to give decks of playing cards to VIPs and guests who flew on the presidential plane. The presidential plane was not called Air Force One until 1953. The tradition of giving playing cards continued, except under President Carter, who thought the giveaway was a waste of taxpayer’s money.
Recent prices for President Johnson’s Air Force One playing cards include a boxed set of two unopened decks for $125 and a boxed set with two decks that have been opened for $50.