Seven years ago, five couples got together and formed Oley Valley Antique Enterprises, and antiques lovers and collectors, near and far, are so glad they did. For it resulted in Antiques in the Valley, a show that has been growing every year in attendance and interest. As John Bartley, one of the organizers, said last week, “The show gets better every year, and our gate grew between eight and ten percent this time.”
We agree; the show does improve from year to year and one well-known Philadelphia collector, a regular at Antiques in the Valley, said, “We really enjoy coming here; the dealers are friendly and we generally come away with something.”
This year, the opening gate on Friday morning, June 17, was largely responsible for the increase in attendance †”The best opening we have had,” Bartley said †and people were finding things to buy.
Pennsylvania-based dealers make up well over the majority of exhibitors, thus accounting for the abundance of antiques native to the area, but a few other states are represented, including Rhode Island, Vermont, Alabama, Maryland, New Jersey, Illinois and Virginia.
The show leans toward the country, painted look, but there is a scattering of more formal furniture, The show promises lots of pottery, tinware, treen, a smattering of quilts, folk art, jewelry, etc. This year, ten new exhibitors joined the show, picked with an eye toward offering more variety. And for the convenience of the shoppers, a better and greater food selection was available in the cafeteria, with large tables and comfortable chairs.
The Oley show begins practically at the front door of the Oley Valley Middle School, with dealers filling the corridors, which lead to the two main exhibition areas, the cafeteria and the gym. While most of the exhibitors in that area suffice with a table or two, T.L. Dwyer Antiques of Barto, Penn., offered some furniture and folk art, and also displayed a handsome mantel that originally was in either Virginia or North Carolina. Of poplar and dating circa 1740, it boasted raised panels and applied half-spindles and came from a home in North Carolina. Taking up the major part of the back wall of the booth, it measured 71 inches long, 41 inches high. On it was displayed a circa 1880 New England banner weathervane with traces of the original gilt and verdigris surface, 48 inches long.
Joseph J. Lodge, Lederach, Penn., also set up along the corridor, offering a hanging cupboard in the original red with raised panel door and reeding on the stiles and cornice. It dated circa 1810. As usual, he offered several early weathervanes, including a fox, running horse, train and crowing rooster, a circa 1895 example attributed to Fiske.
A schoolmaster’s desk in old red surface, tapered lags, lift top over one drawer, was shown in the booth of White Horse Mill Antiques, Gap, Penn. A miniature Empire chest of drawers with turned feet and glass knobs dated circa 1830. A Nineteenth Century Federal card table in mahogany was offered by Debbie Turi, Roseland, N.J., and a hanging wall cabinet with arched panel door dated from the Nineteenth Century with a later Twentieth Century painted surface.
Neverbird Antiques, Surry, Va., hung the portrait of a young child with rattle and black and white dog center on the back wall of the booth, an oil on canvas, signed lower left by Ulysses Dow Tenney (1826‱908), one of the foremost New Hampshire painters during the Nineteenth Century. Of local interest was an Oley Township, Berks County, birth certificate fraktur for Mahlon B. Spang (b 5/30/1840).
A yellow and green painted wagon seat was in the display of DeLia & Lawrence Antiques, Little Compton, R.I., and among other painted pieces was a shoe foot drying rack in green. A spice dispenser by McKinney Everts & Co., with some of the painted advertising still intact, was in the booth of Mary Ann Ulmann, West Chester, Penn. A large wooden wash bucket in old red surface, two handles and cover was last seen by a young lady carrying it out of the show.
School House Farm Antiques, New Holland, Penn., filled a couple of tables with all manner of smalls, mostly of Pennsylvania origin, including a nice selection of redware slip decorated plates, large and small jugs and miniature pieces. Two large baskets held Christmas balls of many different sizes and a collection of grapes in red, green, blue and silver, many by Kugel.
From nearby Reading, Penn., Old Farm Antiques showed a set of six half-spindle plank seat chairs, paint decorated, Pennsylvania origin, from the booth at the front of the show. Three arched and green painted shutters hung on the back wall, constructed with stationary tops and hinged lower portions. A couple of them were open, acting as windows to display objects such as a wood painted birdcage and a canvas painted seated cat.
It took some time for Gene Bertolet of Oley to set up his booth, but when it was done, the tin candle molds were all in a neat row, the cabbage slices of various sizes were grouped, and one wall was dominated by large and small cutting boards. Rolling pins had their place on a shelf, and cookie cutters of many shapes were arranged neatly in a row and piled in baskets. And, as for baskets, two dozen were available, hanging from hooks and clinging to hat racks.
A late Eighteenth Century pewter step back cupboard in blue-gray paint, with recessed H hinges, was filled with pieces of stoneware and in the booth of Raccoon Creek Antiques LLC, Oley, Penn. One of the stoneware pieces was a signed “C. Crolius” pitcher, circa 1800‱810, Manhattan Wells, New York City, with a blue dotted design encircling the signature. It measured 11 inches high and 6½ inches in diameter. A painted dry sink was from Lancaster County, circa 1860‱870, unusual with two upper drawers over a high well over three drawers and two doors.
Van Tassel-Baumann American Antiques, Malvern, Penn., in addition to three walls of samplers, offered a number of chairs, including a pair of early Spanish foot maple and birch side chairs from the Boston area, circa 1730‱750, ex-Joe Kindig, and a pair of early Philadelphia Queen Anne side chairs, yoke crest rail and splat in the manner of William Savery, circa 1730‱750, cabriole legs with stocking feet.
Halsey Munson Americana, Decatur, Ill., showed an early Eighteenth Century New England stretcher base tavern table with one-board oval top at the front of his booth. The table was probably Essex County, Mass., with turned maple base, scrubbed surface, dating circa 1710‱714. Across the aisle, Donald and Verna Stump, Sinking Springs, Penn., showed a collection of folk art and some advertising pieces, including a large version of the RCA dog, Nipper.
Axtell Antiques, Deposit, N.Y., brought a varied selection of smalls, which pleased many collectors, and it was not long into the show before “Smitty” Axtell was saying, “This is a good show” as he sold a fine pair of leg calipers. A circa 1780 churn was of small size, several wrought iron toasters were shown, wooden scoops had finely carved handles, and a couple of stools were yellow painted and decorated. “We have found that wonderful, small things are still doing well, and we generally bring only one or two pieces of furniture to a show,” Smitty said.
Gloria M. Lonergan of Mendham, N.J., had a neat booth with lots of color, in part from a trade sign advertising “The Pantry,” with illustrations of a honey pot, tea pot, cheese and vegetables. Against the back wall was a cupboard of small size, two doors and paint decorated, Pennsylvania or Ohio, 65½ inches high, 42 inches wide and 15½ inches deep.
R.S.G. Antiques of Hanover Township, Penn., offered a large family record of the Lamb family, Worcester, Mass., and a pair of Masonic Lodge poles, paint decorated, was displayed in the back corners of the booth. Two rocking chairs and a small table, Adirondack twig, were shown by Deshner Antiques, Leesport, Penn., along with a nice pair of snow shoes.
Bertolet House Antiques, Oley, Penn., filled each corner of the booth with a cupboard; to the right an unusual Nineteenth Century country step back corner cupboard, and to the left a Pennsylvania nine-pane example, circa 1850, with an early Twentieth Century paint over the original red. A child’s Windsor high chair in gray paint was also decorated with a red sold ticket.
Three paint decorated blanket chests were lined up against the back wall in the booth of Greg Kramer & Co., Robesonia, Penn., and a hanging spice box with nine drawers had paint decoration. A sheet iron silhouette weathervane depicted a horse and fire cart, and among the large collection of redware was a wide selection of miniatures displayed on a corner set of shelves.
A red-painted bench, filled with a number of wooden bowls with red, green, blue and natural colored bottoms, was at the front of the booth of Country Antiques Two, Mullica, N.J. Of local interest was a signed and dated Amish star quilt, 75 by 79 inches, made in Oley.
The Norwoods’ Spirit of America, Timonium, Md., had a nice tramp art box with a rabbit carved on the lid, and a sheet metal weathervane in the form of a bull, mostly painted black.
“We like to keep things running smoothly,” John Bartley said, “and have set our dates for next year †June 15‱6.” The show will be at the same location, and from the start the school’s scholarship foundation has received a generous donation from the show’s proceeds. So mark your calendars.