Monday, December 28, 2015

Don Buttfield Miniature Chess Table and Pieces 1978




I am afraid until the sun comes back out these are going to be the best photos I can get. It has rained every day for a week. Not that we are having the horrible flooding that those in the UK are experiencing. I have been thinking about all my blog friends there hoping they are safe.

Please click on photo. I chose extra large here.


Occasionally you can find a great deal on eBay. This one blew me away because when I accidentally found it there weren't any bids and only one day left in the auction. Surely it had been up there for at least a week. The starting price was very low. Sadly for the seller, she had misspelled Don Buttfield's name in the title. So perhaps anyone who searches for his work would not have been notified. I really can't figure out any other reasonable explanation for the lack of bidders. Plus, you never see his work for sale on eBay. Actually, this is the first time I have seen anything of his for sale at all.

For those who do not know. Don Buttfield (now deceased) was a well known master miniature furniture builder/maker. IGMA http://www.igma.org/ has an award named after him. He was one of their founders.

I first saw his work in a book by Virginia Merrill and Thelma R. Newman called The Complete Book of Making Miniatures for Room Settings and Doll houses, Crown, 1975. That book was what caused me to fall in love with miniatures. It was my first exposure to truly fine collectible pieces.

I was excited but somewhat wary about the auction so I called William Robertson to ask him what he thought of the piece and ask him what he thought it was worth. He and I watched the count down as I won the bid I made the day before and for much less than half of what it is worth. I was so shocked someone wasn't out there waiting in the wings to snag it from me in the last few minutes/seconds.
How fun is that! So my nasty 2015 can now go out of my life on a good note!

The body of the table is made of cherry. The chess pieces are made of ebony and ivory. So tiny I cannot imagine how he made them. I am not entirely sure what the squares inlayed in the table are. The legs get so thin it is very scary to handle the table. The woman who owned it kept it in a box for 38 years!
This is one of the wood boxes that Don made for the table. I received two wood ones.



34 comments:

  1. Que suerte encontrar una pieza tan esoecial a tan buen precio.
    Felicidades
    Un abrazo
    Maite

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    1. Sí, fue muy afortunado. Yo estaba muy emocionado.

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  2. Catherine, lucky you! What a great find on E-bay. Absolutely gorgeous masterpiece. I think E-bay went slow before and after the Christmas. Congratulations! Happy coming New 2016 Year! Mini hugs, Natalia

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    1. Thank you Natalia. I think you are right. Everyone had spent all their Christmas cash and were thinking about other things.

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  3. Great find! You will treasure it I am sure.
    Thank you for sharing. All the best for 2016.
    Regards Janine

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    1. Thank you Janine. I intend to take good care of it.

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  4. Wow! What an extraordinary piece! Very beautiful! Good luck in 2016!

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  5. Congratulations on a fantastic find Catherine! It is a beautiful piece. It fits in perfectly with your other furniture.
    Unbelievable that someone would keep this in its box for so long. But all the better for you. What a great way to end 2015 with!

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    1. I wrote the seller as soon as it arrived. I knew she would be worried about the possibility it might break in shipping. We had several emails. I think she was too afraid someone visiting might pick it up and break it if she had it in her dollhouse.

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  6. What a beautiful piece......the chess pieces are exquisite!!!!! Lucky you!!! Fancy having it stored away for 38 years.....probably just as well she did as it would surely not be in such perfect condition. Well done Catherine!!!!!

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    1. I was so surprised to see it on eBay. I found it in the last 24 hours of the listing. I couldn't resist. Thank you Linda.

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  7. SCORE! Wonderful, You didn't know it but I was watching the countdown with my mother visiting in Cleveland, very exciting :) File 2015 away indeed, on a high note my friend---

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    1. I should have known you would be watching once I told you I had bid on it. Thank you Linda. :-)

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  8. Such a find ! it's simple exquisite , I am glad for you
    Best wishes for a better 2016

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    1. Thank you Rosanna. I am wishing us all a wonderful 2016.

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  9. What a masterpiece! What luck you have had! It's perfect with your carpet.
    Geneviève

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    1. Thank you Genevieve. I was hoping it would look right with all the other things I have.

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  10. that is wonderful, congratulations with this stunning piece that you were so lucky to have got for such an amazing price!! Maybe you're right about the reason for no other bidders, but maybe no one was looking for it because it is so rare? And maybe it was meant to be and you could close this nasty year in such a positive way! I truly hope it is a preview of your 2016, wouldn't that be nice?

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    1. Yes it sure would be nice.

      Thank you Monique. It was so odd to find it by accident and then not to have any other determined bidders. I remember seeing it in the book so long ago. I have to find that book. I think it is in the attic.

      Wishing you a wonderful 2016!!!

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  11. Excellent. Finding these pieces from the heyday of miniatures is certainly thrilling. And blogs like yours are great to keep these amazing artisans alive long after they leave the earth. Very important. So many are forgotten if they only initialed their work, or worse left it unsigned.

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  12. That is exactly how I felt about it. owning something from that time is rather wonderful.
    Happy New Year Patricia!

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  13. C'est une pièce magnifique . Vous avez beaucoup de chance pour commencer la nouvelle Année Je suis très heureuse pour vous . Vous avez été trés gâtée . Je vous souhaite que l' année 2016 soit remplie de beaucoup de jolies surprises . Je vous embrasse

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  14. Merci Catherine. Vous et votre famille, une très Bonne Année Souhaitant.

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  15. Dear Catherine, I finally find the time to sit in front of the computer and learn all the news from friends (2015 was a year rather tiring for me). And now I see that you have had other health woes (yuck!) But luckily you conclude the year with this beautiful and successful acquisition. It is a stunning piece, and maybe fate would remind you that bad luck does not last forever; I'm really happy for you. I take this opportunity to wish you a 2016 more serene, and I want to share with you the purpose to be MORE present.
    With unchanged affection,
    Flora

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  16. Thank you Flora.
    It is so nice to hear from you. Wishing you and yours a very happy, healthy 2016!!!

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  17. Oh dear, I can't help but feel sorry for the seller but I'm very glad you won it, best home for it and out of that box. It's beautiful!

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