Published: May 18, 2016
Review and Photos by Laura Beach
YORK, PENN. — “Greater” is a particularly apt word for the Greater York Antiques Show, which returned to York Fairgrounds’ Memorial Hall East the weekend of April 30–May 1. This expansive presentation draws dealers and collectors from a large swath of the eastern United States, from northern New England west to Ohio, Indiana and Missouri and south to Kentucky and Alabama.
If the show’s geographic reach is broad, its focus is well defined. This bountiful presentation emphasizes Americana in all its variety, sporting depth in the categories of hooked rugs, weathervanes, redware, stoneware, trade signs and painted country furniture. Price points fall comfortably in the four figures for many pieces, less for smalls.
This was the first time the show — organized by Bob Bockius, Charles Whitney and Dave Strickler —opened on Saturday, rather than Friday. Bockius told Antiques and The Arts Weekly, “It worked out. Attendance was up slightly, by about four or five percent. Everyone is looking for younger buyers, many of whom are at work on Friday. There were nice sales both days. I’m encouraged.”
The Greater York Antiques Show had 71 vendors this time, Bockius said. The fair coincided with the April 28–30 Kutztown Extravaganza, a bonus for some traders but a conflict for others. The relaxed, two-day set-up contributes to the show’s reputation for dealer-to-dealer selling.
“It’s a good market with a lot of mom and pop dealers,” said Maine dealer Tom Jewett.
“I had a profitable show. Saturday was good,” said Massachusetts dealer Doug Ramsay, who offered a signed Harris horse weathervane of circa 1880.
“I just sold a Maine table with a one-board top,” Cape Cod dealer Hilary Nolan told us shortly after gates opened on Saturday.
Around the corner, Pennsylvania dealer Francis Crespo wrote up a set of hanging shelves in old paint.
Two of the field’s top experts in Pennsylvania folk art were front and center. Greg K. Kramer and Company of Robesonia, Penn., spread out near the lobby, erecting a series of room displays containing furniture, folk art and accessories.
Kelly Kinzle made an early sale of nine watercolor and ink illustrated leaves from an 1810 book recording the births of members of the Caldwell family of Elkrun, Ohio. James Caldwell and his wife, Rebecca, migrated from Pennsylvania to Ohio in 1809. The New Oxford, Penn., dealer displayed the pages with “Girl in A Red Dress,” an unsigned portrait of circa 1850.
“They love fraktur, scherenschnitte and other aspects of Pennsylvania heritage here. The county isn’t enough. They want pieces from specific townships,” confided Maryland dealer Bev Norwood, whose own booth showcased charming paintings and on canvas and paper, plus folk sculpture and painted boxes.
Robert Conrad Antiques, Yeagertown, Penn., offered a birth certificate for Johannes Marburger of Manheim Township in Schuylkill County, Penn., ex-collection of Richard and Rosemarie Machmer.
Manheim dealer Stephen F. Still showed a watercolor memorial for the Yessler family of Leitersburg, Md., with an English ball and claw foot wing chair.
Maine dealers James and Nancy Glazer presented a circa 1790–95 walnut tall case clock signed Ellis from Nottingham, Chester County, Penn.
Demonstrating a flair for display, Lederach, Penn., dealer Joseph J. Lodge set off salmon-colored birdcage Windsor side chairs, a blue hutch table and a grain painted yellow cupboard with a floral hooked rug and weathervanes.
“We sold around 50 books and gave out close to 200 postcards,” said John Kolar, co-author of Weathervanes: Three Centuries of a Pennsylvania Folk Art Tradition and co-curator of the exhibit of the same name at the Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum through December 31.
Maine dealer Dennis Raleigh brought a prancing horse vane, maker unknown. Horse, rider and sulky vanes were highlights in the booths of New Hampshire dealer Thomas R. Longacre and New York dealer Chuck White.
“Cushing was the only one who made this form,” Hilary Nolan said of his “Ranger” dog weathervane, a choice sculpture with beautiful patina.
“It got blown off a barn in a storm and has old repairs,” Tony Leone of Arborfield Americana said of a full-bodied rooster weathervane that he and his wife, Jan, displayed between two Nantucket lightship baskets, one marked Jose Reyes.
B. Hannah Daniels, Ken and Robin Pike, and Pat and Rich Garthoeffner were among the many exhibitors showing hooked rugs as art. For the bed, there was a circa 1880 Ohio Star quilt, also for sale by the Garthoeffners, and a Henry Dannert of Allentown, Penn., woven coverlet at Keith and Diane Fryling Antiques. An indigo blue calimanco quilt of circa 1810 blanketed Tex Johnson & Son’s back wall.
Doug and Cindy Robinson of As Good As Old Antiques in Lower Gwynedd, Penn., were proud of their Eighteenth Century New Hampshire crewel embroidered panel. Originally from a pole screen, the piece was conserved and framed under glass by the Malvern, Penn., needlework specialist Ruth Van Tassel.
Stoneware included a cobalt decorated York, Penn., 4-gallon jug by H.B. Pfaltzgraff at Robert Conrad Antiques; a 3-gallon pitcher, possibly by Remmey of Philadelphia, at Stephen F. Still; an incised eagle and shield decorated Ohio cooler at Kelly Kinzle; and a rare 25-gallon water cooler by U.S. Standard at David Horst.
Maine dealers James and Nancy Glazer arrayed choice redware. The selection included a miniature pictorial plate from the collections of H.F. du Pont and William Koch. Pennsylvania dealer Steve Smoot retailed a monumental sgraffito decorated redware charger by the late Lester Breininger.
Dennis & Dad Antiques and William R. and Teresa F. Kurau were highlighting Historical Staffordshire, while Maria and Peter Warren Antiques of Connecticut and Elinor Penna of New York accented their stands with figural pieces.
“I like Weller and Roseville. I came along too late to do Rookwood,” said art pottery enthusiast Jane Langol. The Ohio dealer presented an experimental Weller jar. The circa 1905–15 piece is illustrated in the book Weller Pottery: The Rare, The Unusual, The Seldom Seen by Linda Carrigan and Alan Wunsch.
A pair of Ohio Pottery frogs attracted noticed at Thomas Brown, McMurray, Penn.
“We never bought new furniture when we could buy old,” said Maryland dealer Lisa McAllister, who displayed a 38-drawer New England paint decorated apothecary chest.
“Its mate is in our kitchen and was in the ‘Safes of the Valley’ show at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley,” Judy Warren of Stonecrop Antiques said of a Virginia food safe in original blue-green paint with 24 punch-decorated tins.
Pennsylvania dealer Newsom & Berdan surrounded its New England stretcher-base chair table with a set of six New England Chippendale side chairs with carved ears.
Ohio dealer Hannah Humes showed a reeded Federal mantel from northeastern Maryland or Virginia with an inlaid Sheraton chest of possible Vermont origin and an Adirondack planter made of pinecone chips.
“It’s one of the best I’ve ever seen,” Maryland dealer Mike Vasilik boasted of his large, framed tinsel picture.
“It came out of a collection in Budapest, Hungary. It’s signed on back,” Kentucky dealer Bruce Rigsby said of “Doctor,” a painting on cardboard by Twentieth Century self-taught artist Bill Traylor.
Christmas antiques authority Beverly Weir Longacre kept her many fans supplied with tabletop trees and ornaments of every kind.
Pennsylvania dealer Cheryl Mackley was one-stop shopping for holiday antiques of all kinds. Hard to resist were her fully dressed composition rabbits of circa 1910–30.
Jim Glazer struck a whimsical note with Wright cast iron figural bottle openers of every description.
Mitchell Displays returns to York November 5 and 6. In October, the team sets up in Southfield, Mich., where it organizes the Southfield Pavilion Antiques Exposition and the Michigan Modernism Exposition.
“Michigan Modernism is doing really well. Attendance has doubled and dealer participation is up,” Bockius said.
For additional information, contact Mitchell Displays at 856-686-9000 or visit www.mitchelldisplays.com.
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