By Tom O’Hara
ATLANTA, GA. – The second weekend of every month Atlanta hosts the “World’s Largest Monthly Indoor Antique Show,” a gathering of more than 1,000 dealers in 2,400 booths in two heated and air-conditioned buildings.
More than 20 years ago Don Scott, from Ohio, began his Atlanta career working with another show promoter to develop a large reoccurring antique show. After several years he went out on his own, buying a former retail outlet now called the Atlanta Expo Center, which he quickly filled on the second weekend of every month with antiques dealers and their inventories.
His format was to have dealers drive into the building to unload in their space while allowing buyers to shop at the unloading time for a low admission fee. Very simple and successful, so much so that a few years later Don bought another building across the interstate highway. Now known as North Building for the original site and South Building for the later addition, they are combined as one monthly event, connected by air-conditioned buses running back and forth all day.
Setup is Thursday 6 am to 6 pm with shopping all day. Regular show hours are Friday and Saturday, 9 am to 6 pm, and Sunday, 10 am to 4 pm.
This reporter was there at the April 10-13 market as an exhibiting dealer, shopper and writer.
Thursday at 7:30 am the joint was jumping. About a third of the dealers were in the building already, unloading and in many cases, beginning their setup. While that was happening people were wandering about carefully weaving around antique furniture, boxes, booth props and walls, carefully examining the antiques… “Do you have a base for this corner cupboard?”… “Yeah, its not off the truck yet, there is one on that Sheraton table.”
Other comments included, “What do you have on those shield back chairs…are they period?” “They are so much each and I’ve got eight, the other three are over here.” “Do you have any more Rose Medallion?” “Yeah, these eight boxes are all Rose Medallion and some Rose Mandarin, too.”
It is really very exciting, so long as buyers watch their step, and do not walk in front of a moving truck or van. By late morning the two buildings look a little less like a loading dock and more like an antique show. And the sold tags are usually springing up all over the place. The PA system is requesting that porters come to the office for buyers needing help with their purchases and asking individual dealers to return to their booth for a waiting buyer ready to negotiate.
Friday through Sunday is a normal antiques show, which due to its enormous size offers great selection and competition favoring the buyers. It is not by any means sold out of the good stuff by the early buying. As an exhibiting dealer on three occasions in the last eight months, we found a variety of rdf_Descriptions to buy for resale on Sundays each time we have been there.
The offerings are a very wide variety but the emphasis or perhaps we should say that which is in the greatest quantity would be Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century dark hardwood furniture, usually nicknamed “Brown” and “Continental.”
Among the furniture was a server attributed to a North Carolina maker of mahogany plank and veneer (on yellow pine) with lion’s paws feet. The piece was in excellent condition, circa 1830, and priced at $2,475. Around the corner was a parlor settee and companion chair, East Lake style, newly upholstered but there was no dealer and no price tag for additional information.
Matt Zakreski of Woodstock, Ga., which is within an hour’s drive, has been a regular for years. His booth in the South Building is American country, especially painted wood furniture and accessories. The centerpiece of his exhibit was a yellow grain painted six-board blanket chest from Eastern Pennsylvania. Priced at $1,150, it looked like a basic piece for Mahantango style paint decoration, but with the boy-girl hearts and distelfink. His background was a hanging whirligig pattern quilt and a small collection of Windsor chairs in various styles.
Each month Jim O’Kelley brings a variety of furniture and usually a selection of tall-case clocks, i.e., grandfather clocks, all made in England we presume, as he shops there often. This month he offered a clock with brass works made by Green of Prescott, England, circa 1819-1832. The face had a moon phase top, the case was mahogany and it was priced at $4,800.
Several pond boats were found this month. Bluenose was sold by the time we saw it but was a pleasure to see. At five feet long and with a mast of six feet, Stuart Little could have lived on board.
Richmond dealer Vernon Creekmore is among those who setup every month. He had many early American-made pieces including a North Carolina chest. His most interesting offering was a pair of Charles II English-made chairs. The legs and back were framed by rope turned columns and the seats and back were handwoven cane. The price was $2,250, which for their excellent condition and age (circa 1680) did not seem to be off the mark.
Everything there is not strictly American or European. Rita McNair, Foley, Ala., had several pieces of Asian furniture including a Nineteenth Century Japanese settee recently imported to the United States. Intricately carved in the lightweight mahogany found in the Pacific, it was priced at $1,975.
Englishman Colin Strong, now living in Florida, had showcases filled with small curiosities, handguns and scrimshaw. One of the most interesting pieces was a thread winder in ivory for $1,250. From the Nineteenth Century, it was made of more than a dozen separate pieces, each carefully carved and decorated. Another dealer offered a tapered stack of green Leeds featheredge platters for about $1,200.
Gene Best, Mocksville, N.C., is another dealer setting up nearly every month. He brought a hand-carved slightly larger than life-size pintail decoy. Made in North Carolina, decoy carvers used to make these models slightly larger than real so the duck and geese could see them from a longer range.
Charles Upchurch offered an oak Victorian dining set including a pedestal table and six pressed back chairs for $4,500. He is from Mableton, Ga., and had refinished the complete set.
A Georgia dealer brought an authentic bearskin rug to the show that he believed was from about 1925. On Friday morning a state game warden confiscated it and charged the dealer with criminal possession of animal parts, something he claimed was a jailable offense. The dealer was not arrested but he has to go to court and he is out the bearskin. The warden said “it would probably be burned.” We suggest dealers check with the local authorities before bringing animal skins, heads, etc, to any antique shows.
Red Montgomery lived at one time in the Connecticut Valley but after World War II, he began trading in antiques… it was more fun than engineering. At age 83, he is still doing it at Scott’s each month with early American furniture he finds mostly near his current home in Florida.
People get into antiques as a business in many different ways. Belinda Walker is a full-time flight attendant with frequent flights to England and France. On her layovers there she manages to get in some shopping, mostly for small objects, which she can then carry home for her shows.
Some booths are a jumble of odds and ends that require careful review to find good stuff. One such setup was filled with several oil and kerosene lamps, early candlesticks, several carved decoys and more. A few booths were early sporting goods and fishing tackle. Another was entirely tables, lamps made from old things such as coffee and tea tins, tin milk pails, ginger jars and more. There are even a few booths with textiles and fabrics.
In wrapping up our visit and this review, Scott Antique Market is a very big, well-run, monthly offering of antiques and decorating rdf_Descriptions. Well managed by Don Scott, with help from several family members and staff, it is a smooth, successful business and a good source for buying. The second weekend of every month you can call 740-569-4112 for information or visit the website, www.scottantique market.com. Even though most space is booked by regular monthly dealers, there are enough skipping a month now and then for occasional visitors to find space.
Scott Antique Markets are also in Columbus, Ohio, monthly, from November to April, and in Tampa, Fla., in January only.
See you there soon.