Published: February 13, 2017
Review and Photos by Greg Smith
YORK, PENN. – Ten illness cancellations did not stop show manager Melvin “Butch” Arion from filling Memorial Hall to the brim with more than 98 exhibitors for the February 3-5 Original Semi-Annual 168th York Antiques Show and Sale. “We sold out,” said Arion, as he looked out from his post at the bustle of dealers setting up the day before the show opened. Without issue, the cancellations were filled with fresh faces and new merchandise, offering attendees the lush reserve of material history in line with the quality and mixture that they have come to expect from the mainstay show.
“The enthusiasm was back with the crowd, and it was a good crowd,” said Arion. “They had interest, asked questions, and they bought like it was the old times.”
From corner to crevice, each square foot overflowed with quality material that spanned antique American furniture, fine art, transferware, antique jewelry, folk art, textiles, toys, Chinese porcelain, rugs and primitives.
Toys of all shapes and colors could be found with Don and Betty Jo Heim, Jersey Shore, Penn. “It’s our second time doing the show,” said Don. “But we’ve shopped it for years.” With a new booth location and plenty more wall space, the dealers are getting comfortable at York, bringing with them their collection of quality mechanical banks, planes, toy figures and brightly painted cars of all sizes. Among their selection of mechanicals, a Boy Scout bank stood out in good paint and quality, made in the early Twentieth Century by J.&E. Stevens Company in Cromwell, Conn. The bank was designed by Charles A. Bailey and featured two Boy Scouts around a campfire, one holding a flag that raises with the action as a coin drops into the teepee behind them.
Hilary and Paulette Nolan, Falmouth, Mass., featured a tiger maple Pennsylvania highboy with such vibrant grain that it appeared as if it was smoldering on fire. The piece was from 1780 and featured cabriole legs and stocking feet. Right in front of it was a late Nineteenth Century Windsor settee with mixed woods and a Pennsylvania origin. Hilary Nolan said it was likely a Centennial piece.
“This is exciting,” said Nolan as he walked to the back of the booth and stood next to a James Herring portrait painting of a male sitter. “It’s nicely designed and untouched.” The painter was known for occupational portraits and was featured in American Folk Portraits: Paintings and Drawings from the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Center.
“We are early lighting and furniture people, those are the two things that have been consistent,” said Larry Bryan of H&L Antiques, Princeton, N.J. The dealers had an early flurry of sales with many pieces selling right out of the gate, including a William and Mary corner chair, an Eighteenth Century tavern table, a fine pantry box, a carved lion and a painted bed board.
An early Vermont one-board top worktable sat behind a white painted Nineteenth Century rocking horse with a rich leather saddle in the booth of Country Treasures, Preston, Md. “My love is good country painted things,” said the dealer, as he looked into his booth of good, old paint. Reds, oranges, blues and pinks emanated from the lively display of furniture and objects, most from New England and many hailing from Pennsylvania. On the left wall sat a blue bucket shelf with quality dovetailing that housed decoys and early American cobalt decorated stoneware.
A nautical-themed pedestal made in the mid-Atlantic region sat toward the front of the booth of Joseph Lodge, Lederach, Penn. It took the form of a bowtie rotated on its side with tramp art appliques over an original blue-painted body, open shelving on the bottom and a hinged-door cabinet with a drawer above on the upper half. Lodge believed the piece to be made in 1885. In the opposite corner of the dealer’s booth was an 1850s Pennsylvania corner cupboard. “It looks like it could have been made 20 years ago,” said Lodge. The piece barely had a loss, scratch or mar to the original red-orange exterior grain paint.
Sandy Jacobs and Scott Bassoff featured an eight-car Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad train model that wrapped around the walls of the Swampscott, Mass., dealers’ booth. Painted in black and deep reds, the set was made in the 1920s as a commission for the grandniece of the founder, John I. Blair, one of the wealthiest Americans of the Nineteenth Century.
“I love that it is to scale and everything is working on it,” said Jacobs as she knelt down to pull open the doors and point out the details. So true to the real thing, the piece even had a bit of old graffiti work to the side of one of the cars. The engine featured the signature ‘D.L.&W.’ emblazoned on its side, but depending on who you asked, those initials meant something altogether different. Folks of the time nicknamed the line “Delayed, Linger and Wait” in response to the railroad’s reputation for running behind schedule.
“We can make room for it,” Tom Longacre said to his wife, Beverly, with a smile on his face. The Marlborough, N.H., dealer had the same smile that all collectors make when they want something for themselves. The object in question was a terrific pretzel trade sign for Richard Struller’s pretzel business, circa 1860-1900, and originally found in Pennsylvania. The piece featured original toasted brown paint and white painted salt specks on a soft pretzel that hung outward from the wall on a bracket, about 16 inches tall. The dealer also had a Vermont hooked rug with a resting cat and detailed borders and an Eighteenth Century demilune table with original red surface, beaded apron, champhered legs and pegged construction.
Climbing up the corner of Stockton, N.J., dealer Jim Grievo’s booth was an impressive black forest carved hallway stand featuring a mother bear on her hind legs with thick, flowing fur under a tree that rose upward with branched coat hooks and three bear cubs playing around in the canopy. The piece stood about 8 feet tall.
“I just got it,” said Grievo. “It’s a great, early one. Probably the best one I’ve ever had with the carving, color and the cubs up top.”
Grievo also exhibited two portraits by William Bunell, depicting a man and woman sitter, circa 1820, that sat above an Eighteenth Century New England blanket chest on a nearby wall.
This was Lewes, Del., dealer Matt Greig’s fifth time selling in York, the dealer carries American and European glass, pottery, folk art and early antiques. He featured a hooked rug with scalloped edges and bright color made in New England in the early 1900s; “Welcome Galagain” written around a homely scene with a house and dog before a bright blue sky. His selection of glass, both American and European, included an 8-inch Ohio amethyst bowl made around 1850.
“I sold 33 items in all,” said Greig. “I had a good Friday, Saturday and Sunday.” One of those sales came in form of a 1930s Rock-ola slot machine. “The company made jukeboxes too, but their slot machines were a little more rare.”
A newcomer to the show, Michael Whittemore Antiques and Folk Art, Punta Gorda, Fla., had no issue fitting in with a booth of vibrant trade signs, folk art whirligigs, weathervanes, stoneware and other American antiques. Along the back wall hung a large, black trade sign with gold lettering advertising the W.E. Knowlton carriage business. Sitting in the center of his booth was a farmer-made whirligig fashioned with found parts and a wonderful sense of humor. Behind the eight blade propeller and atop the primitive rectangular body was a carved horse-drawn carriage with a farmer steering his horse; on the backside was a rooster with a small propeller in his mouth.
A pieced and embroidered memory quilt hung on the wall of Bailey Island, Maine, dealers James and Nancy Glazer’s booth. The checkered piece dates to the early Twentieth Century and was likely made in Virginia, according to the dealer. The quilt featured 108 red, orange, blue and beige squares commemorating the maker’s family life, with squares featuring symbols, scenes and dates of different events, including “automobiling,” piano recitals, “a dark nite,” a pet bunny, going to camp, “follies of 1910,” visiting Chinatown in New York, and other personal memories. It was a wonderful book of stories, each square made with love.
Days following the show, Butch Arion was already making his way down the coast to warmer weather in Florida, leaving a blizzard and winter-as-usual behind. The manager was pleased with the results of the show and to have another successful edition under his belt. “I hope to rest,” he said.
The Original Semi-Annual York Antiques Show and Sale will return September 22-24 to the York Fairgrounds.
For additional information, www.theoriginalyorkantiquesshow.com or 302-875-5326.
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