Brandywine Museum Antiques Show: A Perennial Crowd Pleaser

CHADDS FORD, PENN. — The Brandywine River Museum Antiques Show is an elegant tour de force of antiques, mostly American with a strong emphasis on Pennsylvania-made. Every year, this show impresses buyers with a dizzying array of choice items saved just for this show.

The four-day show, May 24–May 27, attracts a loyal cadre of dealers (turnover is very low) and an appreciative crowd of buyers. Dealers pack up Memorial Day perhaps a bit tired, but happy and usually with much lighter loads than they came in with.

Among the few new faces spotted here was Dennis Raleigh Antiques & Folk Art, Wiscasset, Maine, who was one of many dealers reporting good sales. “We were the new kids on the block at the Brandywine River Museum show and couldn’t have been more pleased,” said Dennis Raleigh.

As the show’s special exhibition this year was on weathervanes, Raleigh saved up several vanes for the show and was pleased to sell a choice example Saturday, along with folk art and good period smalls during the run of the show.

“Peter Chillingworth, the show manager, and his committee were outstanding and couldn’t be more helpful. We were received and treated like family during the entire show. Overall sales were excellent and we plan on a return encore,” Raleigh said.

Show veteran Aileen Minor, Centreville, Md., was in her usual spot in the museum’s courtyard, a fitting venue for her display of garden antiques and ornament. “I sold well, as I always do,” Minor said, noting sales included a beautiful grouping of wrought iron garden furniture, all from one estate that had been in storage since 1930, including a large table and six chairs. Other sales included standing wrought iron plant stands and a group of small tables, as well as several millstones, “which we bring every year since that is the logo of the museum.”

Other pieces sold in Minor’s booth were a large garden armillary on a classical pedestal, a charming diorama of a country house and garden with moss and mica in the original gold leaf frame, unusual flower frogs and small animal statues for the garden.  “By Sunday our back of the booth was empty,” she said, noting she is looking forward to next year’s show.

Lee Hanes of Hanes & Ruskin, Old Lyme, Conn., described the show as “fabulous, not just good but fabulous.” Looking at his receipts, he reported 22 sales, including a Connecticut highboy, an American portrait of a gentleman, an American sampler, a very rare decoy, quite a bit of Eighteenth Century creamware and a wonderful polychrome and salt glaze basket and stand. “It was very well attended. As always, this is one of our best shows of the year. I can say nothing but good things about it.”

“Brandywine is always one of the most positive experiences of the shows I do. People are receptive to learning and they’re very interested,” said Lisa McAllister, Clear Spring, Md. “I always sell there, a wide variety of objects. I don’t sell much furniture, but everything else. Both collectors and dealers buy.”

Bettina Krainin Antiques and Harold Cole Antiques, Woodbury, Conn., also were pleased with their weekend. “The show was absolutely super for us with great sales. We sold two weathervanes and a table and lots of smalls. The committee is always wonderful and makes each dealer feel special. I cannot say enough about them. It makes the show a pleasure to do,” the dealers said.

Priscilla Boyd Angelos, Fort Washington, Penn., has done this show with her parents since she was a little girl and has been doing it many years on her own. “Once again the show was great.  The committee works endlessly to promote and execute a wonderful event.” Her sales were very robust and included furniture, a clock, a table and blanket chest, mirrors, lamps, candlesticks and jewelry.

Doug Constant, Orient, N.Y., also extolled the virtues of the show, saying this being a small show gives all the dealers a chance to sell. “Low costs, smooth management, beautiful location and a fabulous committee add up to happy dealers,” he added. “The show had a steady stream of customers from preview until Monday afternoon. Unlike many shows these days, there is little turnover and a long waiting list. Most dealers I know had a good show...meaning they sold furniture including the dreaded brown wood.”

Constant wrote up tags for a small sideboard, a card table, a corner chair, a large pastel portrait by Champney, a Georgian silver pepper pot and some sterling jewelry.

The Hanebergs, East Lyme, Conn., reported having a “great” show, selling the best inlaid Pembroke table they have owned and a Boston bird’s-eye maple inlaid mahogany games table, as well as Chinese porcelain, Chinese furniture, Georg Jensen jewelry and some other great smalls.

Charles Edwin Puckett, Akron, Ohio, sold a very nice medieval illuminated miniature (from the Netherlands, circa 1475, in the style of Willem Vrelandt), several rare ancient Greek coins and a fine Sixteenth Century Ortelius map of the West Indies.

“It is a pleasure to do the show — the museum staff and volunteers are delightful to work with, and the venue is so striking that it lends itself well to a quality presentation.”

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