Paul McCartney nabs rare Paul McCobb chair from Georgetown antiques dealer


Paul McCartney performs during his "Out There" tour, in Orlando, Fla. on Saturday, May 18, 2013. (John Raoux/AP)

One day a rare 1950s Paul McCobb chair is sitting in your Logan Circle living room, the next it’s being air-freighted to the London home of music legend Paul McCartney.

That’s what happened to Tom Preston, co-owner of Georgetown’s David Bell Antiques.

Preston says he and business partner David Bell were low on inventory, so he offered the McCobb Directional wing-back lounge chair for sale on the store’s Web site, 1stdibs.com, in March.

“It is the modern version of a wing chair,” says Preston, who bought it about six years ago. “I love the lines with the sculpted walnut arms and the cantilevered design. It is also extremely comfortable.”

Within a few weeks, they received some inquiries from someone who turned out to be a representative for Sir James Paul McCartney, 70, who is headlining a sold-out concert at Nationals Park on July 12.

McCobb (1917-1969) was a Massachusetts-born furniture and industrial designer who created sleek contemporary furniture, radios, dinnerware and other products. In the 1950s, his simple, well-priced line of modern furniture was very popular. Amid the recent craze for mid-century modern, his pieces have become highly collectible and have grown in value.

Preston won’t reveal what McCartney’s company (MPL Communications) paid for the chair, but he says that good McCobb pieces from that era usually go for $3,000 to $10,000.

The former Beatle joins the list of celebrity clients who have recently sought out David Bell Antiques either on foot or online and bought furniture. Other customers have included Gwyneth Paltrow, Jim Carrey, Lorraine Bracco and Elie Tahari.

“I do miss the chair,” Preston says. “It had a beautiful profile, and I will never find another one like it. But as dealers, we live with things for a few years and then they get cycled out. I’m still looking for a replacement.”

The home and design coverage of Jura Koncius has taken her inside hundreds of homes, from tiny studios in Penn Quarter to country castles in Warrenton. Jura also hosts the Home Front live chat, Thursdays at 11 a.m. ET.
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