Trash or Treasure: Stainless steel sculpture origin a mystery

By Khristi Zimmeth
Special to The Detroit News
This is a prototype sculpture from a Finnish architect, owned by Jean Waid.


“I purchased this spectacular prototype sculpture many years ago,’  wrote Jean Waid in an email asking for help and additional information.

“It's brushed stainless steel. The woman helping with the estate sale said it was one of two prototypes by a Finnish architect. He gave it to his friend with whom he stayed when visiting in this area. Currently it is one spectacular paper weight and conversation piece. I would love to learn the name of the sculptor, where in the world the large sculpture is located, and an estimate of the value of this prototype."

Appraiser Brian Thomczek took a closer look at the small item at a recent appraisal session held at the Michigan Design Center in Troy. Waid pointed out that the piece had additional small  engravings on it that read W G 7 1 s with the numbers S38, 22 and 100.

“Any idea what these numbers signify? It weighs 14.2 oz is 3 and ¼”  high and 2 “ wide across the X center design. I believe it is a mid-century artifact. ... Please help me cross one item off my bucket list,” she requested.

Unfortunately, said the appraiser, those numbers ultimately may not prove especially helpful.

”They might be measurements but if it was an architect it could have been part of a building or a house instead of a sculpture so it's very hard to tell by just looking at it,” the appraiser explained. “It’s also possible that this could have been made for a museum or a church, so it's hard to tell anything definitively. My guess is that it was probably something along those lines but I'll see if I can dig up any more information.”

Unfortunately that didn't prove to be an easy task, Thomczek said.

“It could be anywhere in the world which makes this even more difficult. I have been to many outdoor sculpture gardens that had items similar to this but I wish I could give you more solid information. It is a very cool paperweight either way,” he said with a laugh.

Waid said she would love to know more information and that her son wanted it to be passed down to him someday. 

” I'd like to get a handle on it before I do that, “ she explained. “I only paid a couple of dollars about 20 years ago and it followed me home," she joked. It was the only thing I had any interest in at the estate sale. If if I ever find out where the larger one is I will have to visit it.”

Do you have an object you would like to know more about? Send a photo and description that includes how you acquired the object to: The Detroit News, Trash or Treasure?, 160 W. Fort St., Detroit, MI 48226. Include your name and daytime telephone number. You may also send your photo and description to If chosen you’ll need to bring the items to an appraisal session. Letters are edited for style and clarity. Photos cannot be returned.


About this item

Item: Sculpture prototype

Owned by: Jean Waid

Appraised by: Brian Thomczek

Estimated value: Undetermined