Harry Bertoia Silver Bowl Flip

image of Bertoia’s monogram and a 1941 date on the bottom of a bowl attributed to one of his students c. 1942 at a Jan. 2024 estate auction near Santa Cruz, CA

In January—and not even the beginning of January, either, it was the 28th, so barely three months ago—a “Cranbrook Academy Modernist” silver bowl and saucer, listed as “produced by a student under Harry Bertoia,” in 1942 sold at an estate auction for $370, only barely more than the scrap value of its 410 grams of silver. Never mind that they had a date of 1941 and Bertoia’s monogram engraved on the bottom.

They just turned up at Wright, where it’s instantly $1,600. I thought it was just a quick and easy flip after checking its listing in the Harry Bertoia catalogue raisonné. But the bowl’s entry there has up-to-the-minute provenance and a patina that’s cleaner than January’s, but duller than Wright’s. So maybe it was the monogram that led to the attribution, which led to spotting the pieces in a 1942 Cranbrook installation photo, which led to the creation of the newest CR entry for hollowware, updated Feb. 29. Nice hustle all around, I guess, now if we can just figure out who the FDB monogram belonged to, we’re set.

Previously, artist silver-related: Thank you for your silver service, Donald Judd X Puiforcat