History Repeating Itself? Banknotes by Herbert Bayer.
Finances reigned in as a result of a botched adoption, the global financial meltdown, and a permanent condition of frugality, I will admit that I have not had the pleasure of buying anything from eBay for quite some time. Even if the economy were at full throttle, some of the amazing items listed at eBay seller room-606 would be beyond my reach. But that has in no way stopped me from perusing his droolable items of rare mid-century modern design history.
In my estimation, eBay seller Matthew at room_606 is one of the premier sellers of 20th century decorative arts and design. Randall Ross of Modernism101 online and on eBay, who I have mentioned before, is also a treasure trove of history and one-off design wonders who I enjoy every bit as much when I am in the mood to learn, and maybe someday buy (or trade as he has so generously offered). If I'm not drooling and learning from Randall, I go to room_606, who as he puts it, "sells everything from art nouveau, art deco, the Modern Movement and beyond. Expect quality pieces by Christopher Dresser, the Wiener Werkstatte, the Bauhaus designers, Charles and Ray Eames and Alvar Aalto among others."
Right at the very moment of this post, room_606 has a full set of six super rare Emergency Million Mark banknotes for the Thuringian state government in Weimar, 1923, designed by Herbert Bayer at the Bauhaus. Original Bauhaus typography and a fascinating artefact from a dramatic moment in the history of the last century. These hyper-inflationary bank notes from Weimar Germany, designed by Herbert Bayer at the Bauhaus, comprises all six number and colour variations. The impoverished Weimer Republic government was producing emergency notes - increasingly dramatic denominations - in a desperate attempt to combat acute hyper-inflation.
Boy, does this sound like history may repeating itself here?Anyway - the asking price for these rare notes? $899.99. A steep price on the surface, but a truly rare item that would be the envy of any Mid-Century design collector and/or history aficionado. Matthew has other amazing items for sale, and I recommend you check out his goods. I also recommend that you wear a bib.
As a believer and someone who tries to model a life in Christ, I realize that material things are of little importance—in this time in history especially, as many people are without basic food and shelter. I wouldn't want this post to come across flippant, unsympathetic or ignorant to the need that has reared it's ugly face, but share this as a way to share a larger picture of the joys surrounding what I and Rob Roy Kelly call "the hunt." It is really satisfying on many fronts, and can be enjoyed by spending little if any money, unless you choose to own some of these objects. Some people spend their money by going out to eat all the time. Some bet on football. Some buy movies or go to a theater. Instead of these things, I research all things mid-century modern and the people who have added significantly to this aesthetic. Through blogging, thrifting and research, I have developed a really special webnet of friends who share in this hobby. A few wonderful folk like Scott. And Dave. And Liz. And Jess. And Steve. And Chris. And Gerson. And Kent. And Stewf here and here, and Chris, and palebear, and many others. They selflessly share of their time and expertise, giving to the collective network of mid-century modern junkies like myself.
In tough financial times, design can be appreciated without spending money. Research, collaborate, share and grow. There's something really intriguing about well designed items from the past. The stories they tell. The history they represent. And the fun they are to pursue.