Published: June 19, 2018
Review and Photos by Greg Smith
ALLENTOWN, PENN. – The 8 am preview for the Antique City Show at the Allentown Fairgrounds snaked through the parking lot on a sunny and cool morning, and early buyers were sipping their coffees and keeping both eyes itinerant between their watch and the front door of the building. Bill Thomas’s June 9-10 show marked its third year at the Fairgrounds, whipping up 82 dealers who brought in tow a quality display of all things antique: from toys and holiday material to glass, paintings, advertising, pop culture figurines, curiosities, Americana and jewelry.
“The show is almost identical to last year,” Thomas said. “But by comparison, I think the material this year is better. We have a better representation and variety of things; it’s looking more like the Atlantic City Show all the time.”
A few hours after the show opened, Thomas remarked, “The early gate was very strong. It improved over earlier years. And it has been good so far; we’re packed.”
Squeezed into the eight long aisles, visitors to the show were able to find a broad range of dealers who brought with them an even broader variety of merchandise.
Antique toys were represented by a number of dealers who exhibit in the November toy show that takes place in the same venue, including Tom Sage Sr, Russ Harrington Antique Toys and Rich Garthoeffner.
Tom Sage Sr was fresh off the sale of his mechanical bank collection at RSL Auctions, but he was hardly out of inventory to sell. Sage showed off his collection of German tin toys, which he will continue on dealing in, including a Bing torpedo boat named the Rjurik, which was in brand new condition.
Rich Garthoeffner of Lititz, Penn., brought a Baird Clock Company wall clock emblazoned with advertising for Walkden’s Ink. “You see them,” he said, “but you don’t see good ones, and you never see examples in this condition.” Edward Baird made his name selling clocks to commercial enterprises with their own names on them as a means of advertising their products. The fronts were made of built up and painted papier-mache, which, over time, had a tendency to deteriorate, but Garthoeffner’s example was entirely original with hardly a scratch on it, bright paint and original key and pendulum.
Michael Harrington of Russ Harrington Antique Toys, Baltimore, featured a number of cast iron toys, including a wide variety of horse-drawn carriages and mechanical banks. A few standouts included a Royal Circus Farmer Van by Hubley, where a large head pops up and rotates out of a horse-drawn wagon as the piece moves forward. In mechanical banks, the dealer featured some notables by J&E Stevens, all with good and bright paint, including the Girl Skipping Rope bank and a Cat And Mouse bank.
A large, 6-foot-high blue and white porcelain garden lantern by Japanese ceramicist Kato Mokuzaemon was in the booth of Roy and Julia Rover, Hellertown, Penn. Roy had purchased the 6-piece lantern from another dealer when they moved homes, but he has only displayed it twice in the few years he has had it. Mokuzaemon came from a prestigious potting family in Seto, Japan, and he was a third generation potter, with his family’s kiln being passed down to each subsequent generation. The lantern was possibly made for Philadelphia Centennial exhibition.
Unique objects from the early Twentieth Century and onward could be found in the booth of Frank’s Specialties, St Cloud, Minn. Included was a patent model for an anchor winding machine that would have been mounted to a large boat, winding the chain in a figure eight form. The dealer also had other models, including a vintage model airplane engine on proof stand. He had done the Atlantic City show for 25 years and was pleased with the show’s new location in Allentown. When asked if he had driven all the way from Minnesota for the show, he replied, “You betcha.”
Scott Rosenman Antiques from Lutherville, Md., displayed a varied assortment of advertising, lithos and signage. A few hours after opening, Rosenman reported seven sales and expected to do many more. “People want items that are rare, high grade and unusual,” he said. “Their collections tend to be mature, so they’re looking to select items that they don’t usually see.” Rosenman featured a number of pocket mirrors with various advertisers on them, including Coca-Cola. The mirrors were popular at the turn of the century.
The show plans on being back at the Allentown Fairgrounds at the same time next year. For more information, www.antiquecityshow.com or 410-538-5558.
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