Once upon a time, you used to have to dig through mountains of junk at swap meets, sift through dusty barns at estate sales, or luck out at a goodwill to find desirable collectibles. Nowadays all the stuff in the world (or treasure depending on your point of view) is up for grabs on eBay, and the sellers are more savvy than ever. That being said, with a little patience and search optimization, deals can still be had, and that rare find is a mere click away. Here are some of my favorite finds of the moment. Happy bidding.
The Eames were known to tinker with their existing designs which is how we arrived at this version of the DCM chair in the early 1970s. The plastic backed chairs feature an upholstered urethane seat and are little higher than their wooden ancestors, which is good if you're tall.
The multitalented George Nelson made a name for himself in architecture, industrial design, graphic design, and as the man who brought Charles Eames and Alexander Girard together at Herman Miller, but of his many talents, we believe his writing to be the greatest, and most under appreciated. How To See is the perfect primer for the uninitiated.
One of Finland's most masterful 20th century industrial designers, Kaj Franck, created work that, like Finns themselves, is generally practical and unpretentious. This simple enamel bowl comes to life with a cute mushroom design—and if you've spent any time in Finland, you know how much they like their mushrooms.
Another of Finland's 20th century design superstars, Tapio Wirkkala, designed everything from hunting knives to lightbulbs to land art monuments. Wirkkala often retreated to his Lapland cabin to hunt, fish, and live off the land, and much of his work reflects this deep understanding, appreciation, and awe of nature. This simple votive holder transforms your tabletop into a melting ice palace.
Sometimes you're better off searching eBay with generic terms than specific designers. You'll generally get a better deal if someone isn't familiar with an item's pedigree. Or you'll find something you wouldn't have otherwise searched for, like this sweet little ceramic cat.