This Tiny Auction House Wants to Make an Antique Lover Out of You, One Oddity at a Time

·2-min read
Photo credit: Courtesy Catalog Sale
Photo credit: Courtesy Catalog Sale

A space-age shirt by Stephen Burrows, a 19th-century beekeep, and a horde of 1970s hand-drawn erotica: “I love seeing people embrace and appreciate the beauty of old objects!” exclaims antique dealer Eric Oglander.

Oglander is one half of a tiny, new New York auction house called Catalog Sale. Founded earlier this year along with fellow antiquarian Avi Kovacevich, Catalog Sale moves to democratize the world of design by offering lots starting as low as $25, with the highest starting bid beginning at $1,000—much lower than your typical East Coast house.

The pair will launch their second-ever auction, an amalgamation of 224 lots ranging from quirky folk art to arts and crafts furniture, this Sunday. “Our target audience is people who didn’t necessarily know they loved antiques,” says Oglander.

Both Oglander and Kovacevich are 30-something-year-olds with a gift for online sales and social media. In fact, they met roughly seven years ago through a digital project of Oglander’s—Craigslist Mirrors—a collection of funny and odd images of mirrors found solely on the classifieds site. Since meeting, both have gradually defined their respective areas of expertise—for Oglander it’s mostly folk art and ephemera, sold through the Instagram handle @tihngs; for Kovacevich it’s 20th-century modern furniture, sold via his account @non__house.

“More than anything, Catalog Sale is about new energy in the market and fresh eyes on the material,” shares Kovacevich. “The fresh eyes come from the freedom that Eric and I have carved out for ourselves in the marketplace. We’ve been fortunate enough to create our own respective areas based on what we love visually and appreciate academically, despite trends.”

The upcoming auction consists of a humble bundle of lots, all hand-selected by the duo. True to form, many of the items surprise, like a 17th-century memento mori skull or a colorful midcentury abstract painting. But the auction still manages to cover a wide number of aesthetic bases. For the classic design lover, there is a pair of early 20th-century ergonomic wooden chairs or an art moderne painted tray from the 1930s. Many of the lots are older than they appear to the untrained eye. “One of my favorites is a flame-stitch pocketbook from 1726,” notes Oglander. “It’s so modern graphically.”

The sale promises to delight with its sensitivity and unpredictable curation. “We are trying to curate every auction so that it speaks to both of us,” shares Oglander. “I’m so in love with these objects it’s almost kind of gross,” he adds with a chuckle.

The second Catalog Sale can be previewed online or at the auction house’s showroom in Ridgewood, Queens. Bidding starts here at noon EDT on September 26.

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