Published: January 27, 2004
– Antiques at The Armory, one of two events under the Stella Management banner to take place in Manhattan over the weekend of January 16-18, was the subject of a great deal of attention from the throngs of dealers and collectors in the Big Apple during Americana Week. The show, featuring a diverse offering of materials ranging from early American and folk art to Continental and Modern, opened to a huge crowd.
It quickly became apparent that the crowd would remained true to the buying trends that had been established during the opening days of one of Manhattan’s largest and most important antiques week. Buying was brisk at many of the displays around the spacious and good looking show, and remaining true to the name bestowed upon the week-long event, Americana seemed to be the hot rdf_Description in the Armory.
Show manager Michelle Oswald commented that the gate was up considerably for the opening on Friday and remained consistent with previous years for Saturday and Sunday, this despite the bitter cold weather and Sunday’s snowstorm. “Buying was dramatically increased,” stated Oswald, who said that many dealers commented that the show reminded them of “the good old days. Dealers were very busy,” she said, “and the level of clientele was incredible. The decorators were back out shopping, they have been a little hard to spot lately, but were back out in force at both of our shows this past weekend.
“There is always a nice mix of merchandise at the Armory,” said Oswald, “but the dealers that sell Americana did exceptionally well, which is as it should be this time of year — that is after all what the buyers are looking for.”
Leading the charge amongst the Americana dealers seemed to be Bearsville, N.Y., exhibitor Mario Pollo who within an hour of opening had a booth filled not only with quality merchandise, but almost as many sold tags as he had rdf_Descriptions. “We had a really good show,” commented Pollo, who stated that after Friday’s rush he “had to bring in more stuff.” A large sheet metal train weathervane was among the first rdf_Descriptions to sport a red tag in the booth, followed by a large and unusual limestone watch hutch in double steeple form with a robust carved man atop the piece.
Furniture also did well in the dealer’s booth with a Chippendale drop leaf table with ball and claw feet selling, along with a Vermont flame birch table and an unusual three-over-four-drawer New York State chest of drawers with strong carved architectural columns and ornately turned pulls. The dealer also reported sales of a chip carved mirror, a tiger maple stand, a carousel horse, two sets of andirons, a cast-iron urn and a variety of accessories.
Dorset, Vt., dealer Judd Gregory commented that busi-ness was steady at his stand throughout the entire weekend with sales reported by the dealer from Friday straight through Sunday. “Furniture sales were strong,” he stated, “although it was solid pretty well across the boards.”
Among the furniture the dealer reported moving was a New York City chest of drawers, circa 1810, by Michael Allison that sold as the show opened to the public on Friday. Other sales included a candlestand, a tiger maple sideboard and the dealer reported strong interest in his early ceramics with a couple Bellarmine jugs selling along with examples of delft.
“The crowds that came through on Friday were overwhelming,” commented Woodbridge, Coon., dealer Eve Stone. “We sold a lot of high-end pieces,” she said, adding that the “economy was percolating” again.
Nancy Wells was having a great show as the doors opened to buyers as her booth was also quickly filling up with red sold tags. Among the rdf_Descriptions to find new homes was a carved marble three-quarter- life-size figure of a recumbent border collie, a large tin top hat, a tin trade sign in the form of a child’s hat and a set of six French Provincial chairs.
Scott Estepp also had a large trade sign move from his booth shortly after opening, this one a large intricately carved wooden fish that measured roughly eight feet in length.
Bruce Edmonds of Village Braider commented that their booth contained “the most we have ever brought to a show,” which ultimately proved a good move as rdf_Descriptions were leaving the booth at a rapid rate. Items that sold almost immediately included a Seventeenth Century Italian Baroque table, an unusual marble carving with three putti, a pair of Flemish icon paintings on panel from the Grand Tour period and typical of the fun rdf_Descriptions so often seen in their booth, a funky pair of mid-Twentieth Century clown shoes.
While Americana dealers were out in force and actively buying, so were the Continental folks with Charlottesville, Va., dealer Kenny Ball reporting the sale of an Eighteenth Century Italian commode that went to an Italian dealer and will soon be making the trip back to the region where it originated.
Boston dealer Stephen Score was exhibiting at a couple shows during Americana week with a Continental air to his display at the Armory and a pure true-to-form Americana look across town at the American Show. Score did well at both venues commenting that within moments of the Armory show opening to the public he had sold an Eighteenth Century painted French screen with an overall blue ground and decorated with cinnamon-colored scrolls. He had also sold a set of four French landscape watercolors and a Scandinavian eglomise crest mirror.
A good selection of silver was presented by Janet Drucker including her usual fine assortment of Georg Jensen hollowware and flatware. Among the highlights offered from the booth was a rare set of Caravel flatware, a Henning Kopel design for Jensen that had been executed in stainless steel. The rare set was comprised of a complete service for 12 including salad and dinner forks, knives, butter knives, and soup, tea and iced tea spoons.
Several quilts with patriotic themes also graced the floor including a stellar Baltimore album quilt with a vivid spread winged eagle in vibrant colors. The piece was priced at $195,000, and according to dealer Toby Chittum, the intricately appliquéd quilt had never been laundered and was in an amazing state of preservation.
Jeff Bridgman also offered a patriotic quilt with his, priced at $15,500, featuring four large appliquéd eagles, one of which was clutching a 15-star flag in it talon. The piece had reportedly been found in a Maine collection and had an unusual border of red, white and blue butterflies.
Another of the patriotic quilts offered was in the booth of Susan Parrish with red and white stripes and a large blue field. The quilt was said to have been a suffragette money-raising quilt and it bore the names and slogans of hundreds of supporters for the cause. It had at some point in its history been entered into a quilting contest as it retained the entry tag and the first place ribbon that it garnered.
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