Vintage vs. Classic
Copyright Vladimir Kagan, September 13, 2015
I have recently been asked to define the difference between Kagan Vintage and Kagan Classic furniture. I thought that the answer was worthy of a Blog.
In doing my research for this article. The issue of fakes, wannabes and misrepresented furniture begged to be explored. The comparison is amusing and revealing.
To get you started on Vintage vs. Classic 101, here is the Wikipedia description:
“Antique furniture is furniture that is at least 100 years old - plain and simple. This is the definition that is most widely accepted by experts including those on PBS's Antiques Roadshow. The definition has its origins in the Tariff Act of 1930, enacted by the U.S. Customs Office.
Vintage furniture is furniture that is between 30 to 100 years old. Anything more recent would qualify as simply used furniture.”
Vintage furniture has inherent value as long as it is untouched. Once you tamper with the original piece of furniture its intrinsic value is diminished. Unfortunately most vintage seating deteriorates over the years and requires new springing, webbing, horsehair stuffing and foam topping in addition to new fabric covering. Restoration of antique or vintage furniture decreases its value. Quality auction houses will have a provenance in their catalog to the effect: “this item has been repaired/restored on the right corner etc.” thus reducing anticipated value.
When to buy a VINTAGE KAGAN:
• IF you’re buying primarily to have a collection of Vintage furniture and you do not intend to restore it.
• IF it has a good provenance and you “must have” the piece.
• IF the design is unique and is no longer in our production.
• IF you happen to find a bargain in a thrift shop or on Ebay and are certain of its authenticity.
RECOMMENDED TO BUY: This is a perfectly beautiful example of one of my architecturally inspired desks ca. 1970. It appears to be in excellent condition. Made in Rosewood, it is reasonably priced at $18,000 Dealer: Adam Edelberger
RECOMMENDED TO BUY: An original Kagan desk chair from the 50s. The base is a sculptured work of art. It looks to be in excellent condition, in black leather. (I can't tell if it has been reupholstered)
$7,800 Dealer: Oliver
I have evaluated many, many Internet offerings and found dozens to be fake, mislabeled or outright forgeries.
Some of what is offered as “Kagan Vintage” furniture was produced under license agreements in the late 90s and more recently. These designs do not qualify as Vintage Kagan! The furniture is not made to the quality standards of Kagan Classic furniture. (In the trade this simplified manufacturing process is known as value engineering.)
BEWARE - This is AN AUTHORIZED LICENSED DESIGN: manufactured by Directional - these sofas date from the 90s and do not qualify as Vintage because of their age.
BEWARE - NOT A KAGAN DESIGN, it is offered as "designed by Vladimir Kagan for Preview"
BEWARE - A WANNABE: This knock-off table was "designed" by Adrien Pearsall and is often offered as a Vladimir Kagan design.
THE ORIGINAL: Vladimir Kagan 412 Coffee Table designed in 1950. This photo is a currently manufactured Classic Design available through authorized Kagan showrooms
BEWARE - FAKE: This chair is often offered as a "Vladimir Kagan sculptural Lounge Chair" It is NOT a Kagan design
BEWARE - FAKE: This table is labeled as a Vladimir Kagan Design. It is NOT>.
BEWARE - a WANNABE: This cabinet is offered as "extraordinary Italian in the style of Vladimir Kagan" $,800
THE ORIGINAL ca 1950s custom-built ten-drawer file cabinet for an executive's office
BEWARE - MISLABELED: Skyscraper Floor Lamp by Vladimir Kagan IT IS NOT MY DESIGN
ORIGINAL: The Stalagmite floor lamp - also available as a ceiling light: Stalactite
- both variations are available in my Classic Collection.
BEWARE - KNOCK-OFF: Labeled "four Lotus Chairs by Vladimir Kagan"
ORIGINAL: The Lotus chair ca. 1970 Back in production by popular demand.
NOTE: IF you are uncertain of your potential purchase, Vladimir Kagan offers a Provenance Service that will help authenticate an original Kagan. There is a five hundred dollar fee per item, but it is worthwhile to prove your purchase to be genuine. For more information, contact email@example.com
NOTE: A fine quality piece of KAGAN VINTAGE is often more expensive than a new KAGAN CLASSIC piece custom-made to your specifications.
When to buy KAGAN CLASSIC furniture:
• WHEN you buy a Kagan Classic Design through a Kagan authorized representative, you are guaranteed the furniture’s authenticity with an attached plaque, which includes a registered number recorded in the Vladimir Kagan Archives. For information for an authorized dealer in your neighborhood contact firstname.lastname@example.org
• KAGAN CLASSIC furniture is made to the exacting specification of my original Kagan designs and is manufactured under the supervision of the Vladimir Kagan Design Group Inc. No piece of furniture leaves the factory without personal inspection. When you buy a new piece of Kagan Classic, you are assured of an original Kagan Design that will give you years of pleasure and will assuredly appreciate in value over the years.
The Shortie Sofa is under eight foot long and fits into any apartment sized living room. Easy to Deliver. However, a custom made sofa can be eighteen feet long to fit into your client's space. Our craftsmen will travel anywhere to install your custom made sofa.
• KAGAN CLASSIC furniture offers customization of a design that include detailed specifications and, when appropriate, can provide a full-size template for your designer or architect to place into your home.
• PERSONALIZED EXCLUSIVE DESIGNS: Vladimir Kagan offers a consulting service to create one-of-a-kind Kagan original furniture. I will work with you, your designer and/or architect to create unique solutions for your home or place of business. For information please contact email@example.com
A few examples of “by appointment” designs I created for individual clients
(for Interior Designer: Amy Lau)
A "Floating Island" Sofa to view the client's art collection
A custom built corner Sofa for extra seating in the living room
(for Architect: Edda Elias)
You have just graduated from VINTAGE vs CLASSIC. Go out and enjoy your shopping!