Published: November 25, 2003
– It happens twice each year, spring and early fall in the Texas foothills between Houston and Austin. About 350 antiques dealers from all around the country gather together under the direction of John Sauls for a week of trading under his five enormous tents.
Dealers at the event have two days to load and organize their booths. The show opens on Tuesday and closes Saturday. This most recent show was from September 28 through October 4.
Marberger Farm began about 18 years ago as an upscale alternative to the various markets that had “tailgated” onto one of the earliest shows in the area (see separate story on Round Top, The Antiques Happening of Texas). John Sauls, an active dealer from Tyler, Texas, who had participated in Brimfield for many years, felt there was a greater potential market for a broader range of antiques than was currently being offered. Sauls, together with a partner, gained control of the approximately 40-acre site and started Marberger Farm Antique Show.
Very quickly it outdistanced the older shows in size, attracting many of the Eastern antiques dealers Sauls knew from his own earlier visits. This also brought more variety to the collective offerings. Now with 350 spaces filled with goods from all over the country, the flavor and style of the antiques is varied by period, design, form and function.
As a dealer, Sauls favors American-made household articles and he is especially fond of early quilts and coverlets. His merchandise is displayed in an old house on the side with a lean-to tented porch covering early furniture as well.
Three partners from Houston, Kay Ramsey, Susan Eaker and Maggie Austin, shop in England as well as America for late Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century antique accessories including a good collection of Staffordshire figurines.
A charming kitchen furniture grouping featuring a mixed hardwood Hepplewhite-style drop leaf table at $400 and four plank seat painted chairs ($1,200) was offered by Cottage Antiques. Terry Pfister, a dealer from Castle Rock, Colo., offered a wide variety of mostly Nineteenth Century articles including a harp, an ornate bedroom set with French design influence and Victorian fireplace mantels and cast-iron fronts.
Iron beds came to the show with Richard & Carolyn Machtolff, Anaheim, Calif. They tour the East all summer, buying and exhibiting; they even set up at Farmington, Conn., and Nashville. Their collection is varied.
Melanie Kenyon, Wymore, Neb., brought Nineteenth Century commercial and Industrial furniture from early stores and shops. This grouping included a very large carpentry workbench, spool cabinets, butcher’s chopping block, cupboards, toolboxes and more.
Bruce Mumford and his wife came from Oklahoma with a wide variety of quilts and coverlets and other small household objects. One of their first customers was John Sauls buying the quilt centerpiece of their booth.
Don Orwig put his best foot forward at the show (see the photo!). From Indiana, he always has a great collection of early store window advertising rdf_Descriptions.
Debbie Wold, Tulsa, Okla., offered majolica and early furniture. Suzanne Calhoun, Antiques Center of Texas, a group shop, set up a booth with furniture from a wide spectrum of design styles and periods, as well as early English porcelain. Lonnie Remlinger, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., had a collection of small antiques from England, France and America dating mostly from late Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries.
Dallas dealer Tom Collier’s offerings when gathered together looked like the office of a library with furniture, books and accessories. Steven Ball, Kansas City, Kan., was selling a wide variety of furniture in his oversized booth. This included several harvest tables in old paint, mahogany book cabinet with prismatic glass in the doors and even an Edwardian candlestand.
Ex-New Yorker now from Garner, N.C., Susan Curran-Wright trading as Snow Leopard Antiques sells mostly textiles including clothing, drapes and pillows. Known to many in the Northeast, she was exhibiting with help from her new husband.
Sandra Burke had an extensive collection of small Nineteenth Century photograph frames that she brought from her Minneapolis home. Also found were booths filled with early Nineteenth and Eighteenth Century furniture. East Hill Antiques, Sharon, Conn., sold a Vermont dry sink, some early Leeds featheredge porcelain and an early valuable pastel portrait of a little girl.
Texas dealers were well represented. Georgia’s Place Antiques had made a booth that looked like a country store, all the fixtures or furniture including a grain sales bin. Betty Smith, Tyler, Texas, had lots of early wooden utility rdf_Descriptions such as trays, wall boxes, humidors, candlesticks and more.
Marberger Farm Antique Show always draws big crowds ready to add to their own collections. The biannual event will be held again in the spring from Tuesday, March 30 through Saturday, April 3. John Sauls is a very outgoing, gregarious and busy man but he seems to always have time for the phone calls or emails so contact him for more information at 800-947-5799 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are visiting, there are hotels in Bastrop, Texas, 45 miles east, Brenham about 30 miles east or Austin or Houston each about an hour and a half away. Long distance travelers for the first time might shop Houston airfares on the web and rent a compact car, for there are shippers on site who will pick up from the selling dealer and ship to you.
Try the show, as it is the largest real antique show of the week and enjoy the visit.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm