|Starting Bid: $1.99||Winning Bid: $11.49|
|Paid: $0.99||From: Goodwill|
|Ended: 07/21/08||Winner: CA|
I am still intrigued that a used item such as the lowly mug ~ an “everyday” item ~ can sell for a decent amount. I used to pass up mugs until I saw how much they were selling online (not just eBay). The best example is the Windows 95 mug I wrote about here. Now I’m always on the look out for unique and interesting mugs.
This mug is designed by Laurel Burch, an American artist from California. I am familiar with Laurel Burch designs because of my quilting hobby; her fabric designs are highly prized by quilters. This mug’s design caught my eye and I suspected it might be a Laurel Burch design. The signature on the side confirmed that it was. Laurel’s most popular designs are her colorful felines, but this mug was different so I hoped it would be a good seller … and it was, selling for more than 11 times what I paid.
History: Laurel Anne Harte was born in the San Fernando Valley of California on Dec. 31, 1945. She grew up in a broken home and left home at 14 with only a paper bag of clothing. At the age of 19, she married a jazz musician, Robert Burch, and was the divorced mother of two by the time she was 20.
In the late 1960s, as a 20-year-old single mother, she found metal in junkyards to hammer into jewelry to support her two children. She began selling her jewelry from tackle boxes on the streets of San Francisco. Some local stores began stocking her creations, and a businessman, Shashi Singapuri, took samples of her work to China. In 1971, she went to China and discovered cloisonné, a kind of enamel work, with which she designed paintings and had the designs made into earrings.
In 1979 she split with Singapuri, and started Laurel Burch Inc. In the 1990s she licensed her designs to a dozen or so companies that now make and distribute her creations worldwide. Burch designed, among other things, beads, jewelry, paintings, T-shirts, scarves, coffee mugs and tote bags, but 90% of her designs derived from her original paintings.
She died on September 13, 2007, at age 61, from complications of osteoporosis, a painful bone disease she had her entire life.