Wright Auctions sells some of the most irresistible collections of vintage furniture and art in the world, and in mid-July it will launch a design aficionado’s dream collection. The house is auctioning off more than 100 pieces from celebrated Braun designer Dieter Rams–along with many other Braun designs by Rams protégés like Dietrich Lubs, which look, in the words of my editor, “more Rams than Rams.”
The collection is that of L.A. collector JF Chen, and it’s loaded with many of Rams’s seminal hits, including radios, turntables, shavers, film cameras, projectors, and alarm clocks produced by Braun around the midcentury. Rams’s influence cannot be overstated. He was the first industrial designer to turn mass consumer electronics into objects of desire, and the single greatest influencer to the last two decades of Apple’s dominant product line.
Some of the pieces up for auction are lesser-known gems. Somehow, I’d never noted Rams’s apparent obsession with lighters, and there are four wildly diverse models in this lot–which range from somewhat classic gas station fare, to cylindrical salt shaker forms, to a modular set of ashtrays with a cube, to something I’d call a complete 2018 vape aesthetic–despite that Rams designed it in 1980. Never have I so much wanted to pick up a smoking habit.
Any eBay stalker will know that in all cases, the auction prices start at reasonable amounts, and go as low as $75. Of course, bidding could go anywhere from there. Just be sure to note that, in some cases, you can actually still buy these designs brand-new. Rams’s leather 620 chairs are still available through Vitsoe right alongside his shelving, and Braun rereleased the ET 66 calculator (which you’ll recognize as the primary influence of the iPhone’s form) a few years back. It’s still on Amazon for under $50.