Ercol 354 Nest of Tables
Our very own design classic Andy Mayall takes time out to look in detail at an interior must have!
As auctioneers, we very often get asked the question “what should I buy at the moment?”
Although many people buy items at auction sale simply because they like either to collect or to furnish their homes, there are buyers who look to purchase with a bit of an “investment head” on, that is to say hoping to keep ahead of the game and on-trend with what is currently popular.
Market trends at auction sale, popularity and fashion has changed incredibly in the 30 years now that I have done the job, but one sector of the market that has emerged in recent years with a great deal of strength and popularity is mid 20th Century design. So why not take a look at a British furniture making icon; Ercol and in saying that, you can’t go too far wrong the 354 Nest Of Tables.
Designed by Ercol’s founder Lucian Ercolani in 1957, the pebble-shaped elm tops over tapered beech legs have become a mid century design classic, of typical clean and simple design. Combining functionality and elegance, what stands testament to the timeless appeal of the 354 nest of tables, is that they are still manufactured and retailed by Ercol today, in what is titled their ‘Originals’ range.
Prices at auction for a 354 nest of tables vary from in the region of £200 for a relatively contemporary nest, to around £500 for a mid century nest in good condition.
TOP TIP - These tables, as with other examples from Ercols ‘Originals’ range have been produced in both dark and paler colour ways or finishes. The darker finished examples are generally the more affordable at auction sale at the moment, but this is generally because it is a slightly more dated finish. The paler, or blonde elm and beech tables always seem to have more appeal when they come up for sale, as the finish offers more versatility in mixing with other furnishings of a similar period.
If you can pick these tables up in good condition either at auction sale or in a second hand vintage shop for a reasonable price, they are well worth the investment and will hopefully continue to be admired and enjoyed for many more years, just as they have since they were designed back in 1957.
Before you buy always take a moment to check that the legs are secure and that there is not too much wear to the tops. Don’t always assume that the bottom two tables in the nest are in as good a condition as the largest table. Half a century of use for wine glasses, coffee cups and ashtrays can cause marking to the tops, which although can be restored, will add further cost to your initial purchase price.
Auctioneers will usually be open for viewing prior to their auction sales, when you can wander around the saleroom and ask any questions that you might have - don’t be afraid to ask, as that is what the auctioneer is there for leading up to the sale. Equally so, they will usually welcome condition report requests prior to auction sales if you cannot attend the sale yourself. If viewing in a shop, ask the shop keeper if it is OK to take a closer look and again, ask away if you are unsure of anything.
Posted on 31 March 2020