Published: November 14, 2000
The Greater York Antiques Show
YORK, PA. – When Jim Burk walks around his Greater York Antiques Show smiling, you know things are going well. And he was all smiles over the November 3-5 weekend as the show pulled in the largest opening gate on Friday, and a spurt in attendance on Sunday.
“Overall we were up close to 600 people for the show,” he said, “and we had the usual mix of dealers doing well and some not doing so well.”
This show, which celebrated its 30th anniversary this year, continues to be one of the most popular antiques shows on the fall schedule and always draws a good crowd of serious collectors.
“We have missed only one of Jim’s fall shows since the beginning,” one collector of Pennsylvania furniture said, “and that was the year we went to Europe. Other years vacations have been planned around the dates of this show.” And that rings true, as the same faces are there at the opening gun year after year to check over the sea of furniture, folk art, textiles, pottery, and other avenues of collecting offered by the 125 exhibitors.
“It is hard to come away from the York Show without buying something,” a visitor was overheard saying as he came in past the entrance table. How true; and there were many happy dealers as a result. But then again there were some exhibitors who felt the show was “off,” that furniture was moving slowly, and that “if you have great smalls, they will sell.” But regardless of the fast approaching election and the unsteady stock market, people came to York and had a good time, either buying or just looking.
Russ Goldberger of Rye, N.H., noted, “People were very selective and were here to buy top quality things.” He said that among the decoys he was offering, the best of the group sold. Included was a miniature brant carved by Crowell, and an owl from Swisher and Soule of Decater, Ill. Other sales were a white painted and decorated dressing table, a couple of hooked rugs, a one drawer stand, several painted boxes, and a grouping of miniature craved birds.
Stephen-Douglas of Rockingham, Vt., found furniture slow moving and sold only one piece, an open door cupboard. “Other than that it was a good number of smalls,” Stephen Corrigan said, mentioning several pieces of treen, early china, and a very good portrait of a cat.
James Grievo of Stockton, N.J., offered an attractive pair of portraits, pastel on paper, of Mr and Mrs Lyons, Newark, N.J., 1814-1816, by Michael Williams. Several pieces of furniture sold, but remaining at the end of the day was a green painted corner cupboard with glass door on top, circa 1830-60.
“I sold to people from Georgia and Florida, among others,” Majorie Staufer of Medina, Ohio, said. A blanket chest in the original paint, a country stand, and a hanging wall cupboard were among the rdf_Descriptions sold on the first day. Furniture remaining included a New England country sofa in the original blue paint, six feet long, circa 1820, and a small New England sawbuck table with two board scrubbed top and red base.
Two important armchairs were shown by Dennis Raleigh, Midland, MI., one an example from the Connecticut River Valley, black paint with rush seat, the other from the Delaware River Valley with the original black painted surface and rush seat.
Thomas Longacre of Marlborough, N.H., was having a good show with the sale of a pair of Federal side chairs in tiger maple with reversed heart cutouts, a couple of samplers, three hooked rugs, a large stone watermelon slice, and a red velvet tomato, “the best piece of velvet I have handled.” Still awaiting a buyer was an interesting child’s sled with carved swans on the front of the runners. The back of the sled was decorated with a painting of a lion, while an eagle was on the front.
Connie Hayes of Bellville, Pa., said that she had sold only one piece of furniture during the first two days, a decorated stand, but that quilts were going quite well. “There are a number of strong new collectors in the field,” she said, “and people are looking for high-end graphic pieces including Amish and Pennsylvania German examples.” Of late she has sold quilts which have been used as wall hangings in homes in Colorado, the Eastern Shore, and Nantucket.
Several pieces of furniture, including a corner table, drop leaf harvest table, and a bench with the original blue paint, were sold the first day by Jane Wargo of Wallingford, Conn. Sales also included a large band box with chariot decoration, a pastoral oil on canvas, and a hooked rug runner. A few pieces of painted furniture left the booth of Pam and Martha Boynton, Groton, Mass., included a pair of yellow thumb-back Windsor side chairs with decoration and a one drawer stand with reddish-brown surface. Martha noted, “We sold one of the largest braided rugs we have ever owned, 10 feet in diameter, and heavy.”
Several pieces of redware with slip decoration were sold by Sidney Gecker of New York City, along with a large chalkware cat, 16 inches tall and paint decorated. The rarest rdf_Description in the booth, and one which sold early in the show, was a Seventeenth Century latch with cut-out tulip design on both the top and the bottom. The cut-out work was as “jutsie” as you will find, according to Sidney. He also showed a Pennsylvania blanket chest, Lebanon County, circa 1800, with graining and sunburst decoration, turned legs and button feet.
“It has been a great show for us,” Carole Hayward of The Yankee Smuggler, Richmond, N.H., said. Lots of smalls were sold, in addition to a stepback cupboard, decorated blanket chest, harvest table, and one drawer blanket chest dating circa 1720. Carole has said that she will not take on the duties as chairman of the New Hampshire Antiques Show, but has agreed to serve as co-chairman with Bert Savage. The date for this popular event is August 9 through 11.
Lee Burgess of New London, N.H., sold a good number of pieces of Canton, along with a blanket chest in the original red paint. Twelve pieces of Bennington were sold by Charles and Barbara Adams of South Yarmouth, Maine, along with several pieces of blue spongeware and a corner cupboard in the original paint. “The spring York Show is generally best for us and last year we had our best ever here,” Charles said. He added that this show will probably surpass it before Sunday evening.
“This is our 29th year in York and it is always good,” Gordon Deming said. The Duxbury, Mass., dealer noted that sales had included a double door cupboard, lots of pewter, a spice cabinet, a miniature herb grinder which was probably a salesman’s sample, and a very fine Export teapot with a ship, flying an American flag, on each side. “It was from my mother’s collection,” Gordon noted.
Tucker Station Antiques of Louisville, Ky., was having a good show with the sale of a blanket chest from Smithfield, Maine, a portrait on ivory, a gameboard, several small boxes and baskets, and a hand on the end of a pole from an Odd Fellow’s Lodge. Choice rdf_Descriptions still available on Saturday afternoon were a miniature gameboard, checkers, in perfect red and black paint; an old squaw decoy of small size, Massachusetts origin, circa 1900-1910; and a splint basket with handle, perfect condition, with old white paint.
Harry Hartman, who can never have enough nice things to say about the York Show and lives just up the road in Marietta, was having a grand time. “One of my best ever shows here,” he said as he was selling a gamewheel which had horse decoration and was on the original stand.
He mentioned that he has sold seven of them over the past few years to one collector who hangs them all in his game room. “They are on the walls, well lit, and look great in this large room which has a pool table in the center,” he said. Other sales included a pair of cast iron whippets which once flanked an outside stairwell, an apothecary chest with yellow drawers in a red case, several painted boxes, a garden fountain, and a large collection of yelloware.
“I bought the Fiske cast iron life-size deer at the Machmer sale yesterday and someone heard about it and has already bought it from me,” Harry said. He added, “It was a real nice one and I was hoping to keep it about the yard for a bit.”
David Good of Camden, Ohio, has been doing the show for only three years, but reported many sales. He was in the process of trying to locate a box to pack a fine glass chimney a customer had just bought when he was asked how the show was going. He indicated that sales included a six-foot high stepback bucket bench in red paint, a Pennsylvania or Ohio decorated blanket chest, a massive pair of signed A. Howard andirons, a period wing chair, and some early American glass. “I feel that there is renewed interest in this area of collecting when I sell eight to ten pieces of glass at a single show,” he said.
“It is the dealers on the floor that brings in the crowds,” David Good said. “I am not saying that just because Jim Burk is sitting right here in my booth.” And it is true; Jim Burk puts together a dealer list which guarantees interesting booths and brings in a crowd of collectors, members of the trade, and those who just plain find antiques fascinating. We need more “York/Burk” shows on the circuit.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm