They bought a piece of furniture for $ 100 in 1950. Now it just sold for $ 48,000.

The original Eames wardrobe purchased by Nancy Allen and her husband in the 1950s.

DETROIT – Maurice and Nancy Allen know how to find a good deal.

A cabinet that the Michigan couple bought as honeymooners in 1950 for $ 100 was auctioned for $ 48,000 and was purchased by a national museum.

The room turned out to be a rare storage unit designed by mid-century modern masters Charles and Ray Eames.

Nancy Allen, now 98 and widowed, and her family hired The Shoppe Too, a consignment store, and Detroit Fine Art Appraisals to appraise her belongings before she moved to Pennsylvania to be with her children.

The cabinet was eventually auctioned off through Le Shoppe auction house and purchased by a curator from Eames House, a Los Angeles National Historic Landmark and Museum. It was once home to Charles and Ray Eames, the designers of the cabinet, before their deaths.

This sale is the largest sum ever paid for an original Eames storage unit, according to Terri Stearn, founder and president of Detroit Fine Art Appraisals.

“There are only four or five of these cabinets left in the world,” Stearn said in a press release. “Knowing that we have helped make this play a public institution loved by all has given us such joy. “

Known for their contributions to modern architecture and furnishings, the Eames met while studying at a Michigan art school. Much of their work is defined by a trademark geometric style and bright colors, as well as high functionality, according to the release.

“I knew this beautiful wardrobe was rare, but I didn’t realize how rare it was,” said Deborah Slobin, co-owner of Le Shoppe Too. “It was not a contemporary reproduction; it was an original.

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Slobin estimated a selling price of $ 20,000, which is already high for a storage unit. When it sold for $ 48,000, everyone involved was shocked.

“We never thought it would go that high,” Slobin said. “The next day, Nancy’s son and daughter picked up their mother’s favorite bottle of wine and her favorite pizza to surprise her with the news.

“When they announced the final number to her, a big smile spread across her face and tears of joy fell on her face. She told them, ‘Your father would be so proud.’”

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This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Cabinet Designed by Charles, Ray Eames Sells for $ 48,000

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