Most bookends are a pair of identical metal sculptures: two identical dogs, two identical temples, two identical busts. One bookend sits at one end of the collection, the second sits at the other end. Much less common is a “mirrored” pair of bookends—a duo which face each other (as mirrored opposites). These are less common because it takes more work to produce them. First, two different models must be sculpted from which two different molds are made. And, as the pair is cast, chased (cleaned-up), patinated and polished, the two pieces must be kept-together as a unit—they are less “interchangeable” because there are two separate and different components. And, of course, a mirrored pair is a little less easy to marry to another stray bookend later in life—should one mate wander off.
What are the benefits of a mirrored pair of bookends? Well, first and foremost, the rarity of such a design makes the pair more interesting and valuable. More cost and effort were expended bringing the pair to creation. Secondly, when placed at opposite ends of a row of books, both bookends will “face forward,” into the room. And, should one use the bookends as ornaments—say, as decorations on a mantlepiece—they can face inwards, towards each other.
The Asian elephant bookends above, made in the 1920’s, are cast in bronze (not iron, which is also more commonplace). And they are “mirrored,” making them amongst the rare 2-5% of all vintage bookend designs. To learn more about them, please click on the photo above.
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