Published: January 23, 2001
The Season is Off and Running with the Washington Antiques Show
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The upbeat feeling in Washington, D.C. – with a new coach for the Redskins and a new US President – lent itself to a strong show during the first week of this new year; one which will hopefully set the tone for the coming antiques season.
With the loan exhibit and lectures focusing on ceramics, dealers handling this area did quite well, as did furniture dealers. Paintings seemed to be strong, too.
Norma Chick/Autumn Pond of Woodbury, Conn. was ecstatic. “This is the best show I’ve every had here. I sold a tiger maple server, Pembroke table, complete set of chargers and six matching Royalist Eighteenth Century plates, lots of delft, garden statuary, parings, a garniture set, and more. It has been wonderful. I’ve seen returning collectors and have made some new clients, too.”
John Suval of Philip Suval, Inc. of Fredericksburg, Va. was just as enthusiastic, saying he did extremely well selling from his entire range of Chinese and China Trade porcelain. “A number of people said how much they liked the loan exhibit and the lectures, and how informative they were. And, this translated into some sales for me. My booth chat did, too – in fact, it seemed like there were more visitors participating in the booth chats than previous years, and we sold as a direct result from our participation.”
This kind of activity is what has made the Washington Antiques Show so popular with collectors and dealers alike. Busch & Fielding Antiques of St. Joseph, Mo. were exhibiting for the first time this year and expressed that very thought, “We’re so happy to be here. This show has a good reputation and we’ve witnessed good interest with people constantly asking knowledgeable questions. We have done quite well and have sold furniture and smalls in our area of expertise which is Eighteenth Century French and continental furniture and accessories.” Some of those rdf_Descriptions sold included a pair of Eighteenth Century Italian chairs, a pair of Sheridan pole screens, a pair of French cast iron urns, and many smalls. “There’s a good mix of dealers in this show that offers a variety of merchandise.”
Joseph Rubinfine of West Palm Beach, Fla., along with his wife Ruth, also participated for the first time in this show. Their inventory includes historical manuscripts and documents, and Joe said he brought a good selection of “local” material – Eighteenth Century historical documents of Northern Virginia, Maryland, and the Presidents (Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln). “There has been a lot of very good interest and I’ve had some good sales. It has been a very good show. This area has always shown a lot of interest in historical rdf_Descriptions.”
FJ Carey, III of Ambler, Pa. returned to the show after a five-year hiatus. His extensive merchandise of Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century American furniture (New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island) and Chinese Export was impressive and attracted a lot of interest. “I have had some sales, and a good number of individuals who have asked to come visit my shop, located at my home in Southeastern Pennsylvania – which was Washington’s headquarters for ten days. I always have strong follow-up after shows.”
Louis Wine Ltd of Toronto, Canada returned for their second year to this show. They specialize in Eighteenth, Nineteenth, and Twentieth Century Georgian, Victorian, Art Nouveau silver and jewelry. “This has been a good show for us, and we’ve seen a lot more interest in silver this year. We have sold all periods and all types this year. But, the Smithsonian’s ‘Art Nouveau’ exhibit has added a lot of interest here in that period. We have seen some returning customers and have also made some new, very good clients. We have been very happy with the activity.”
Irvin & Dolores Boyd of Fort Washington, Pa. did well, too. Jonathan Boyd and sister Priscilla said sales were active, including a Pennsylvania corner cupboard, Connecticut Chippendale chest of drawers, whale’s tail shelf, Staffordshire, wall hangings, and smalls.
James M. Labaugh of Pound Ridge, N.Y. said it their show was “really good, probably one of the best shows we’ve ever had. It was really strong. We sold a lot of Chinese porcelain, Meissen porcelain, English porcelain, Staffordshire, and just across the board. In general there was a lot of activity and a lot of people bought. I got the impression that many people did well.”
An excellent show was had by Fiske & Freeman of Belmont, Vt. The first year in this show proved to be successful. “We’ve sold American and English rdf_Descriptions including furniture, a lot of pewter, Georgian silver, library table. We have a very positive impression of the show, and we feel the Internet played a role in some of the success. A woman was interested in a piece of furniture in our booth but wanted to show her husband. We told her it was on our Web site and she went home and showed him the piece on their computer. It sold.”
Gary E. Young of Centreville, Md. was very happy. He sold a set of eight Regency chairs, a pair of Chinese horseshoe-style chairs, a Queen Anne highboy, tables, portrait miniatures, paintings, and a number of accessory type rdf_Descriptions. He said, “This has been a very upbeat show.”
Hanes & Ruskin of Westbrook, Conn. said they had their “best show anywhere in 22 years. We have had 35 sales, including a highboy, fanback armchair, Philadelphia birdcage candlestand, miniature blanket chest, a lot of English pottery, English marine painting, three samplers, andirons. And, every sale was like butter – there were no problems. People were glad to be here and to purchase rdf_Descriptions. Most dealers I’ve talked with seem to be very happy with the results of the show.”
In the next booth (and with a shop in the next town to Hanes & Ruskin) was Oriental Rugs, Ltd of Old Lyme, Conn. This was their first year in the show and they were very pleased. “It was quite active, and we are encouraged by the number of people that have come through. They are knowledgeable and interested. We’ve sold to collectors here – mostly tribal pieces. We’re pleased to be here and feel we’ve done well for our first year at the show. It’s a nice anniversary present – we’ll be celebrating our 20th anniversary this month.”
Across the aisle was Elinor Gordon of Villanova, Pa. “It’s been excellent. Only the top of the line, important pieces have sold – both to established customers of mine as well as to new clients, which is nice. This show has been very strong for me.”
Mr and Mrs Jerome Blum of Lisbon, Conn. sold a Dutch brass double-tiered candelabra, pair of brass Eighteenth Century sconces, a couple of pieces of mochaware (“which is typical for us”), brass boxes. “In addition, there has been a lot of interest with some potentially great follow-up with my 1790 Federal sofa and Eighteenth Century Newport porringer table.”
Also from Connecticut, Edwin C. Ahlberg of New Haven did very well. “This has been an outstanding show. We sold a Chippendale cherry slant top desk, Massachusetts mahogany bowfront desk, Sheridan three-part table, Hepplewhite Pembroke table, miniature chest, smalls.”
E&J Frankel of New York City also did very well. “We’re particularly interested in the fact that of our ten very good customers in this area, seven came to the show and six bought from us. And, we made one new, very good client. The strength of our sales in this show has been on our early material from all areas – jewelry, scholars’ table things, paintings. It is interesting that this year the Chinese pieces sold across the board, but sales were slower with Japanese, Tibetan and Nepalese rdf_Descriptions.”
W.M. Schwind, Jr. of Yarmouth, Me. had a good show. “It has been very good and furniture has been strong. The attitude this year has been so positive, and there’s lots of interest. People have been here every day – from Preview on Wednesday night, right through Sunday. I don’t think there was ever a moment when there was not someone in a booth. This is a very positive feeling for the beginning of the antiques business year. We sold all of our painted furniture, including a country maple tavern table, two-drawer tiger maple sewing table, a set of six painted chairs; also two hooked rugs, lamps, glass, ceramics.”
Michael J. Whitman of Fort Washington, Pa. said the show had been very good for his copper and brass selections. “It feels very upbeat. We’ve sold across the board, including a Nineteenth Century copper fish kettle, early Nineteenth Century paktong doorknocker, candlesticks. It has been a strong show and we feel very positive about the people and the interest here. We’re also encouraged about the potential follow-up from here.”
Taylor B. Williams of Chicago, Ill. had a very good show, too, selling furniture and smalls – including his usual collection of English enamel boxes. “We’ve had collectors from Pittsburgh and Virginia who have come to this show specifically to see us here.”
Thomas Schwenke of Woodbury, Conn. related that the “general tone of the show, in my opinion, is very positive. I think that’s because of the very high social and charity commitment of everyone associated with this show. Being a charity show with a strong, dedicated group brings a life to the show that causes strong attendance and buying. I’m pleased that this show met my expectations, and I sold four important pieces.”
Another good show was experienced by L’Asie Exotique of La Jolla, Calif. “People come with a great deal of enthusiasm and energy. Over the years we’ve developed a clientele who continue to come see us and buy from us. Our offering is focused on Asian antiques that are not made for the export markets but have cultural importance within the countries that produced them. These rdf_Descriptions are religious objects, objects of devotion and ritual, folk art, textiles. We’ve had a good show, and the most significant piece that sold was a late Eighteenth Century Chinese wood and marble table screen.”
Kenneth Probst Galleries of Chicago, Ill. said his show was up considerably from last year and that he was one of many very happy dealers. He sold a number of oil on canvas paintings, including and American Impressionist beach scene, a California landscape, and a Pennsylvania landscape. “People come from all over the country and they bring those tastes with them, so the interest is not regionalized. This is a very eclectic market.”
The first week in January (right on the heels of the holidays) in a town that is apt to experience bad weather (and a significant snow storm did take place during the show this year), would seem an unlikely time for an antiques show – particularly one that would generate a strong gate and active sales. But this is just what the Washington Antiques Show did – offer a strong, knowledgeable and buying audience throughout. What a way to jump into the 2001 show season. The upbeat feeling may or may not have been initiated in Washington, D.C. by its new football coach or our new President, but for whatever the reason, this was a strong show and it has set the tone for the coming antiques season.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm