Published: March 27, 2012
Now in its third year, the Atlantic City Antiques and Collectors Show has its feet planted firmly in the Atlantic City Convention Center and is growing exponentially each year, on course to become a destination event.
Conducted March 10‱1, the show boasted its largest attendance to date under the management by JMK Shows, and show manager Allison Kohler said the time is now right to expand the show to a twice-a-year event. The show will return here October 13‱4.
In the next five months, Kohler plans a huge marketing and advertising campaign to lure collectibles dealers, including toys and dolls, of the sort that used to do the old show in Atlantic City. Her plan is to keep growing the show and her efforts have not gone unnoticed by both dealers and customers, who have responded favorably so far. Kohler has focused on keeping costs low for dealers, making load-in and load-out easy and heavily advertising the show; this year she upped the ante with billboards. As drivers entered Atlantic City via the Atlantic City Expressway, a billboard for the show greeted them.
A tireless promoter, Kohler has already produced seven shows this year and sees the market is on its way back up, saying of all her shows, all but one had good attendance, buying and a great energy on the floor. “This is a place that can sustain a second show,” she said of Atlantic City.
Contracts for the fall show went out to dealers Sunday morning and started coming back into the show office that day. Many customers who came in the office that afternoon to run credit card sales, noticed the contracts and were pleased to hear the show would be back in the fall, Kohler said.
An exhibition on fashion and accessories was a popular addition to the show last year and Kohler is working to incorporate a special exhibition for the fall edition of the show.
“We’re committed to the show, the convention and visitors bureau is committed to the show and the convention center is committed to the show,” she said.
From fine pottery and delicate smalls to in-your-face, larger-than-life pieces, the Atlantic City Antiques and Collectors Show had it all under one roof. The show featured a group of dealers offering an across-the-board variety of antiques, mostly smalls, that had something for all collecting tastes.
Walking the wide aisles, one could find everything from paintings to art pottery and jewelry †both fine estate and costume pieces †to vintage chocolate molds, political buttons and vintage fashion. Funky pieces included a 12-foot-tall Ronald McDonald and a vintage “one-armed bandit” slot machine with a handle, unlike the modern version where all one does is push a button.
The motto of Obnoxious Antiques, Beverly, N.J., is the more unique and odd, the better. Judging by the dealer’s oversized and over-the-top offerings in its booth, we would have to agree. Standing tall above the booth was the Ronald McDonald figure holding the hand of a boy and girl, which was certainly an attention grabber at the show. The rare piece dates to the 1950s and is a prime example of Americana culture. Other highlights included a Sinclair Aircraft gas pump and a Zoltar the fortune teller, along with “Falstaff the Fat” and “Torture-Proof Man” sideshow banners.
“It was a good show&ot the best we had, but considering the economy, we were pleased,” said dealer John Polito. “For us it’s always the funky type things (that sell).” Sales this time included a stainless steel New Jersey Bell telephone booth, an upright porcelain hand dryer, a coin-op telescope and coin-op binoculars, along with a taxidermy bear rug, some carnival knock-down bottles and a bunch of smalls.
Scott Pioli Antiques, Englewood Cliffs, N.J., reported a fine showing, not as busy as he had hoped, but with some solid sales, which included a good Coca-Cola clock in near-mint condition and aptly, an Atlantic City Steel Pier sign.
Bruce D. Horton, Bridgeport, Penn., was also pleased with his sales. “It was a nice show, nice attendance and Allison did a great job trying to get the dealers in and out.” Horton sold a Tiffany silver box, a bronze, among other items, and he received several callbacks on items after the show from people who had been there but not ready to commit to the item at the time. The dealer also was happy to meet new clients.
Michal Feinmesser, What Once Was, Highland Park, N.J., has done the Atlantic City antiques show in the past under a different promoter and decided to give it another try this time around after hearing positive feedback recently from other dealers.
“I had a chance to walk around and thought the show was good looking, and it turned out to be a decent show for me,” she said, noting that two sales stand out in her mind. “I sold a beautiful early Georg Jensen pin and two sets of Juliana jewelry. Juliana jewelry was never marked so it takes some knowledge to recognize it.”
Ginger Rogers may have donned a disguise in the 1935 film In Person but Class Menagerie, Bolton Landing, N.Y., prominently displayed the eye-catching poster from that film on his outside booth wall along with a film poster for The Payoff , also released in 1935.
Many collectors appreciate the elegance of American brilliant cut glass and Memories, Dunellen, N.J., had a booth full of ABCG and elegant Depression glass, mostly from the late 1800s to the 1940s, while Gary Lindberg, St Paul, Minn., featured fine jewelry, including a wonderful Riker bracelet, circa 1890, with sapphires and unusual link-styling. The Riker (later Riker Brothers) jewelry firm was renowned as one of the few American companies to create plique-à-jour enamel jewelry in its day and is celebrated for its Art Nouveau pieces. The dealers said they last saw a Riker piece with this styling about 25 years ago.
Specializing in fine china and pottery, Laurel Antiques of Maine, Buxton, Maine, offered choice examples of Limoges, American Belleek, art pottery, Rookwood and Weller, along with costume jewelry. At the show, dealer Bob Brandow extolled the workmanship of decorator Polia Pillin, whose work he likens to that of Picasso but has not been given her just due in the annals of pottery history yet. A new book from Schiffer Publishing, Pillin Pottery, by authors Jerry Kline and Mike Nickel may change all that, he hopes.
For more information, www.jmkshows.com or 973-927-2794.
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