Published: February 14, 2006
Closing out a week’s worth of shows, which combined have come to be known as Americana Week, Stella Show Mgmt Co. opened at the Piers on Saturday, January 21, with Americana and Antiques @ The Piers. By far the largest of all the shows, this event boasts 300 dealers, for many of whom this is their only outing at the Piers.
For those seeking Americana in the vein of TAAS and The Winter Show, the place to be was Pier 92 as the quality Americana dealers are heavily stacked in the front half of the venue. “This is the most exciting of the Pier shows,” stated one dealer at the front of the line that began forming hours prior to the scheduled opening.
A huge crowd extending throughout the Passenger Ship Terminal and out into the street awaited the opening; as they entered at 10 am the show quickly became a hotbed of activity with sold tags appearing everywhere.
“Americana is hot,” stated Paul Thien of Firehouse Antiques, Galena, Md. “We have eclipsed our best Pier show ever,” he said while glancing at his watch and noting that barely two hours had gone by since the show opened. “This is a testament to the Stellas,” he said, “and a clear indicator of the power of Americana week.”
A large fish trade sign sported a bright red sold tag inFirehouse’s booth, a horse weathervane was being wrapped for ananxious customer and a large paper mache spread winged eagle thathad once graced a Masonic Lodge was also marked sold. Numeroussmalls that had previously been bagged and dragged off by customerswere also among the tally.
Across the aisle, a huge promotional leather shoe was available from Nancy and Craig Cheney, Newark, Ohio, albeit for a short period as it sold to one of the first customers to dash down the aisle. “Those are some mighty big shoes to fill,” commented a passerby as the transaction was being completed, perhaps alluding to the show filling the shoes of a weighty Americana Week show.
Also sporting sold tags within moments of the show opening, the Cheneys had tagged a large nicely painted sign in the form of a tin can and painted with a colorful label promoting “Sunshine Greens,” and a painting.
Limington, Maine, dealer Thomas Joseph offered his usualeclectic fare with items ranging from fanciful Continentalfurniture to a great pair of Bradley and Hubbard sun-face andironsthat moved from the both early on.
Also hailing from Maine and bringing a grand assortment of Americana were Robert Snyder and Judy Wilson. The pair offered a nice assortment of standing goose decoys, a full-bodied locomotive weathervane, trade signs and a couple exceptional game boards.
The booth of Michael and Sally Whittemore, Washington, Ill., featured a superb selection of Americana with the stars of the show, a pair of Fiske cast iron retrievers, guarding their booth. Weathervanes included a wonderful ewe with traces of an original mustard underneath and overall pleasing verdigris surface, and also a rooster weathervane that was proudly sporting a sold tag. Other sold items from the booth at opening included an Adirondack twig table that went out early and a large woolie depicting a ship.
Across the aisle was Akron, Ohio, dealer Chuck White and hisbooth resembled a peaceable kingdom of sort with lions dominatingthe back wall of the booth while the entrance was minded by aserene large, full-bodied cow weathervane. The lions came in theform of a large and colorful hooked rug as well as two large lionhead terracotta architectural ornaments.
A bull weathervane on the rear wall along with a nice large split-tail rooster vane were also among the offerings. Several nice pieces of early American pottery were also displayed with a redware jar in an orangish glaze with an ochre flower emblazoned across the front, a large Shenandoah redware pitcher in splashy glaze and a rare stoneware seated spaniel with blue highlights.
New York City dealer Joshua Lowenfels displayed an unpeaceable sort of theme, although quite eye-catching, with a large human-form steel shooting range target in an old rusted white paint that had been riddled with large caliber holes. The striking display also featured an early colorful tin cigar sign and a carpenter’s trade sign.
D.R. Wyant offered up three interesting montages made of early baseball catcher equipment and assembled to resemble human forms. The dealer also offered a host of trade signs from roadside stands, pharmacies and diners, along with an 8-foot-long slide rule, and a huge stub of a pencil measuring more than six inches in diameter and 3 feet in length.
Joshua and Mary Steenburgh were down from the north hills ofNew Hampshire with a select assortment of Americana. Josh’s father,Archie, took time out from his busy auction schedule to help outwith the show and the dealers reported strong sales including analbum quilt that sold from the rear wall of their booth right away.
It was replaced with a green and orange appliqué quilt that was being taken back down off the wall shortly after it had been hung, only to be replaced with a red and white geometric pattern quilt that was also sold in quick time.
“Weathervanes, whirligigs and, surprisingly, furniture” were all selling well from their booth. “I’m tickled, it’s been really great,” said the dealer within an hour of the show opening to the public.
“Its very desirable and very pricey,” stated Margaret Johnson Sutor, Lower Gwynedd, Penn., of a rare blue and white transfer Staffordshire pitcher decorated with Lafayette. The pitcher was among numerous select pieces of Staffordshire that also included several small landing of Lafayette plates and a large and attractive States platter.
Other sold tags around the floor that appeared within momentsof the doors opening on Pier 92 on Saturday morning included alarge grain painted cupboard in the booth James and Judith Milne,Thomas Longacre had numerous red tags hanging on a variety of itemsincluding a neat Deco tricycle, a barber pole, a large hooked rug,a lighted globe and a folky carved wooden automobile.
Jef and Terri Steingrebe had a sold tag hanging from a large tin hat trade sign in early paint and also a folky oversized tole teapot, and Parrett-Lich had sold a neat picket fence with painted wooden farm animals incorporated into it along with a nice oversized Old Hickory chase lounge and chair.
Conflicts with the Miami Beach show resulted in a truncated appearance for Pier 90 with Irene Stella commenting that the Pier was somewhat “weaker” than they would have liked it to have been. Still, there were plenty of good dealers and a nice rounded selection of merchandise served up.
From a folk art standpoint, one of the premier items to appear on either Pier showed up on Pier 90 in the booth of Watermill, N.Y., dealer Martin Cohen. Stopping viewers in their tracks was an exceptional Hunt Diedrich sheet metal weathervane in the form of two polo players.
The dealer commented that the piece had been in a privatecollection for a number of years and that it had been made circa1925. Also offered in the booth was a nice Aesthetic Movementbookcase/desk with blue tile inserts that had been made in theEastlake style by Kimbal and Cobus.
Mix Gallery, Lambertville, N.J., brought a good “mix” of materials ranging from a huge selection of the ever-popular vintage handbags to an aluminum chase that had been made for the SS United States. Another standout from the selection of furniture was a modernist aluminum desk that had been designed by P.B. Cow and executed by the Hunting Aviation Company in 1935. The strong industrial aviation look of the desk was nicely accented with Bakelite handles on the drawers.
Another dealer that was busy was Joseph Cantera as customers lined up at his booth to peruse a huge selection of leaded glass lamps and art glass by makers such as Handel, Tiffany and Lalique.
The next event on the Stellas’ schedule is The Modern Show, February 24-26. They will return to the Piers for the popular Triple Pier Antiques Show on March 18 and 19.
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