Need help with Timo Sarpaneva Orkidea Orchid Vase

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Post by cps_goodbuy on October 25th 2011, 9:42 pm

Hi all,

I am searching for information on my 16cm high Orkidea (Orchid) vase by Timo Sarpaneva and need some help. The information gathered below is what I have found but may be wrong.

I have searched online and can not find any information on the particular identification mark nor have I found any example with this specific identification. I am trying to identify the date of manufacture and any other details that this code may reveal as I am interested in the items background.

The piece is engraved: "55/1981 TS 1953" in the same engraving style as other Sarpaneva pieces.

Most Orchids I have found online feature the full signature followed by the piece number and where some end with Iittala such as "Timo Sarpaneva 1234 Iittala". I have also seen pieces such as candlesticks feature the initials "TS".

I began to think it may have been a later Iittala reissue, where the code represents: "Piece number/year of manufacture, designer’s initials, and design’s year". However, I have recently learnt that the reissues began in 1983 and so this doesn't match the 1981 year indicated on the piece. I have also seen Orchids which are identified as reissues but also feature the full signature, while I have read that really late Iittala pieces actually do not have the engraving. No other Orchid pieces I have seen are engraved in the same way as this one.

If anyone has come across this and can explain it to me I would be very grateful. Also, if anyone has information on other glass pieces marked in this way it may help in dating the piece.

Thanks in advance and will be back with photos if required!

Need help with Timo Sarpaneva Orkidea Orchid Vase Sarpan12
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Post by Nic on October 25th 2011, 11:43 pm

It certainly doesn't tie in with the Iittala signatures I'm familiar with.

The book, Iittala - 125 years of Finnish Glass, gives the two production dates as 1954 and 1985. Its production number is 3568. It also gives the year of design as 1954.

None of which would seem to have any correlation with the signature on your vase. Shrugs
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Post by cps_goodbuy on October 26th 2011, 12:18 am

Thank you for the reply and info!

I have read from resources online that the Orkidea was designed originally in 1953, both from sources like antique sales and MoMA New York. If you could double check whether that is the design year or recognition year of the design I would be very grateful. I have read that 1954 was when Sarpaneva received recognition for a number of his designs, both in magazines and the Milan Grand Prix.

http://www.moma.org/collection/browse_results.php?criteria=O%3AAD%3AE%3A5168|A%3AAR%3AE%3A1&page_number=1&template_id=1&sort_order=1
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Post by Nic on October 26th 2011, 2:10 am

The only year given in relation to the design is 1954 - in two different parts of the book. Much of its contents were compiled from the factory archives, and I've yet to spot an error within them.

Without a dated copy of the original design sketch it would be impossible to say either way with great certainty... but I'd bet on the book being right. And, in fairness to MoMA, they do only state 'circa 1953'.
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Post by Nic on October 26th 2011, 2:13 am

Just had a flick through some of the other designs in the illustrated catalogue section of the book - if there's a gap between design and first production date, it is noted.
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Post by cps_goodbuy on October 26th 2011, 11:42 am

Thanks again. Do you know of anyone I can contact for further info?
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Post by Nic on October 26th 2011, 11:46 am

We do have a member who knows a lot about Finnish glass - hopefully he'll drop in at some point.

Or you could always enquire on the Designlasi forums: http://www.designlasi.com/en
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Post by cps_goodbuy on October 26th 2011, 1:09 pm

Sounds good. I have a similar post on Designlasi and may contact The Finnish Glass Museum. Really hoping and looking forward to finding out more!
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Post by Nic on October 26th 2011, 2:13 pm

If you find out, then do come back and let us know. It's an interesting mystery. Happy
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Post by Nic on October 26th 2011, 3:03 pm

It might be worth contacting Designmuseo - they hold Iittala's archives: http://www.designmuseo.fi/
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Post by cps_goodbuy on October 26th 2011, 7:56 pm

Nic, Thank you for your help. I will investigate and return with an update. Happy
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Post by cps_goodbuy on November 1st 2011, 10:24 pm

Brief Update.

I found some examples with similar numbering in the following links. I was wondering about the signing conventions if anyone knows how they changed over time.

http://www.freeformsusa.com/glass/sarpaneva.htm

http://www.antiquesreporter.com.au/index.cfm/lot/45059-timo-sarpaneva-orkidea-vase-designed-1954-manufactured-by-iittal/

"Timo Sarpaneva 125/1985"
"Timo Sarpaneva 118/1986"
"Timo Sarpaneva Iittala 121/1989"
"Timo Sarpaneva - 3565"
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Post by cps_goodbuy on November 9th 2011, 11:46 pm

Nic, Thank you again for all your help and suggestions. I have come back with the answer thanks to Esatin at Designlasi.

This signing format occurred around the early 80's and appears to have been for collectors. Iittala's Glass Museum has an example from the same year: "10/1981 TS 1953". Additional information is on the Designlasi forum thread: http://designlasi.com/en/forum/need-help-timo-sarpaneva-orkidea-orchid-vase

I have a revised photo for the forum records. Now I just need to decide on somewhere suitable to display it!

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Post by Nic on November 10th 2011, 10:36 am

Oh, that's great news - thanks for coming back to tell us, and for the updated pic.
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