Published: January 6, 2004
– The nation’s capital has many traditions — some political, as with the President or Congress, some related to historical events and some as refreshing as cherry blossoms. Among its more esoteric traditions are the symphony, the ballet at Kennedy Center and the few important antique shows in town. One of the longest running shows there, and in fact in the entire country, is the DC Winter Antiques Fair at the DC Armory.
Now managed by Sha Dor/Papabello Quality Shows, in one form or another this event has been a tradition for more than 40 years. December 5-7 saw the beginning of a blizzard, a terrible snow and ice storm at the Friday morning opening of the show, but still the 125 dealers and customers gathered at this downtown site to buy and sell antiques. Postshow interviews with several dealers indicated that they were pleased with the overall sales for the weekend.
Cloverdale Farm Antiques had a very large booth with early American and English furniture and vintage jewelry. Their sales went well in small antiques in spite of this year’s trend of poor furniture sales, according to co-owner Lee Dempsey. This Oxford, N.C., dealer who does a variety of shows from Northern Virginia to Atlanta and also Brimfield, will be back again.
Trading as “American In Paris” Gary and Carol Konkel were pleased with their sales totals for the weekend. As first-time dealers to this show they brought their typical Americana-style furniture and furnishings but also some jewelry, Empire period pieces and Orientalia. It turned out to be a good assortment for as not much country or Americana style sold they did okay with the jewelry, an Empire veneered chest, an Asian carving and more. The Konkels have a shop in Paris, Va., thus their business name, and are now doing some shows.
Vilnis & Company, Strasburg, Va., has been a specialist in hardwood furniture circa 1800. At this show the dealer had a large collection of Federal-style pieces including a sideboard, several chests of drawers and a game table with rope turned legs. Vilnis himself was one of many dealers caught in the storm and late to arrive at the show Friday.
Father and son team Dick and Kevin Timme, Killingworth, Conn., came with a diverse collection of home accessories, art and furniture. Shortly after opening Dick said they were already doing well with early sales to dealers and first customers.
Berwyn, Penn., dealer Roger Tunis specializes in fine art but he brought a few pieces of furniture to fill out his booth.
Karen Stewart left Robert home in Wakefield, R.I., as he has had a few health issues lately but she did very well anyway. In fact she said the show “…was excellent,… absolutely wonderful.” Sales included a French country table and eight chairs, a French vanity and “lots of smalls [antique accessories].”
Andrew Harley, Heidelberg, Germany, traveled the furthest for this show bringing a large collection of country style furniture and accessories. Mimi’s Antiques was only coming from Columbia, Md., with Empire and Regency period antiques. Peter Piper Antique Pickers, also a local from Arlington, had an early mahogany desk, Georgian style with Hepplewhite influence in excellent condition priced at $2,500.
Oriental rugs and Asian furniture were the main theme of Adairs Halligan from Arnold, Md. The Nulls, trading as Buck and Barb’s Oak Cupboard, moved last year from Maryland to Cape May, N.J. After nearly selling out in Atlantique City in October, they had restocked and did this as one of their regular shows.
Blue Lion Antiques, Williamsburg, Va., always has a large collection of tools in its shows. Owner Ben Scherer also collects and trades in other small household antiques, especially unusual early lighting.
The start on Friday was in terrible weather, keeping visitors away. On Saturday, local people were probably catching up on the lost day. Sunday, according to all dealers interviewed, was very busy. Show manager Sandy Franklin said their customer counts reflected strong Sunday attendance. Two dealers said those who came, came with a purpose, to acquire some antiques whether to furnish their home or for holiday presents. From observation the deals were good as antiques are priced at a low market value this year and at this time of year.
Sha-Dor/Pappabello produces DC Armory Shows several times each year; the next is March 5-7. They also have the Lee District Antiques Show and Sale February 14-15 in Alexandria and other shows in the Washington-Baltimore area. For information watch the calendar in Antiques and the Arts Weekly or contact Sandy or Art at 301-933-9433 or visit www.pappabello.com.
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