Published: May 4, 2004
“We got off to a fine start on Friday, but both Saturday and Sunday were not as good as we had hoped,” Barry Cohen, manager of the annual Center City Antiques Show, said. He added, “We had the usual curve of sales, with some of the exhibitors doing well, others having a so-so show.”
This was the seventh annual show for Barry at the 23rd Street Armory, a facility that holds his 31 exhibitors comfortably and is only a short walk away from the 33rd Street Armory, site of The Philadelphia Antiques Show.
The double booth taken at the front of the show by Vander Laan & Schill Antiques presented a warm welcome to visitors through the display of painted furniture, folk art and country accessories. A Federal mantel in the original blue painted surface, circa 1780-90, of Virginia origin, was against the back wall and the space over it was cleverly decorated with a circle of early cast-iron hinges.
Contrasting with the blue mantel was a two-door tall cabinet, six panels in the front, in a worn yellow paint, and a sold tag was placed early in the show on an Eighteenth Century shoe-foot step back Pennsylvania cupboard, circa 1780-90. It was in two parts, with six-light doors enclosing the top section and two drawers over two doors in the lower part. Displayed on a platform was the Schwartz family decorated pine chest, Berks County, Penn., circa 1810-20. Chippendale in form, the piece measured 501/2 inches wide, 241/2 inches deep and 281/2 inches high. The bold graphic design was in red and black.
The booth of Campbell House Antiques of Baltimore was neat and orderly, with stacked shelves against the back wall holding a collection of mocha in various forms, including pitchers, mugs and shakers. Folk art included a New England child’s sled, Nineteenth Century, in the original red paint with a lake scene with sailboat painted on the seat. A portrait of a girl in pink dress, holding a leopard pull toy, American School, circa 1820, oil on canvas measuring 29 by 24 inches, sight, hung on the left wall in the company of two early whirligigs, one in the form of a policeman and the other a sailor.
Old Lyme, Conn., dealers Hanes & Ruskin showed a booth filled with furniture including a compact Chippendale secretary-bookcase in cherry wood, Connecticut origin, circa 1770. It showed dentil molding over raised panel doors. A Queen Anne highboy of New Hampshire origin, circa 1770, was against the back wall where it showed off its tiger and figured maple surface. It was in the style of Dunlap, with a deeply carved fan in the lower drawer, and it retained the original brasses. A high chest of drawers rested on cabriole legs, a Rhode Island piece 67 inches tall, and in maple.
Thomas and Julia Barringer of Stockton, N.J., were in their usual spot in the armory and had also expanded into a gallery setting offering a collection of works of art. “We decided to presents some of the pen and ink works, along with some brush and ink examples, done by my father, Henry C. Pitz, a Philadelphia area artist,” Julia Barringer said. By the end of the show a number of them had been sold, along with some country objects offered from the booth.
“It was not as good as last year,” Tom said, “but we did all right considering the times and the competition from the other two shows.” Well displayed in the booth was a portrait of Phineas Adams, attributed to Zedekiah Belknap, an oil on panel, circa 1820, complete with a family record. A collection of redware was shown, a tugboat model about two feet long had a great deal of charm and a grain bin with beaded decoration, taupe mustard painted surface, sat on a bracket base. The bin dated 1850-60 and was from the Delaware Valley.
A colorful Baltimore album quilt, circa 1845, with a red eagle in the center and several pots and urns of flowers, hung in the booth of Charley Horse Antiques of Ruther Glen, Va. Also offered were two fashion dolls, one of French origin, circa 1750-60, of wood, the other circa 1770-90 of wax. Both retained the original clothing.
Traveling the farthest to take part in the show was Tyrone Campbell, who runs a gallery of Indian art and objects in Scottsdale, Ariz. He offered a number of rugs, including a dramatic example with birds, circa 1925-30, and a classic Navajo serape, circa 1865, of Bayeta and American flannel. A second phase chief’s blanket, circa 1880, hand spun, hung in the middle of the back wall. “This is the first time I have been east to do a show since 1991, and never been in Philadelphia before,” Tyrone said. His last venture to this neck of the woods was in 1991 when he exhibited at Sandy Smith’s Folk Art Show on the pier.
Uncle Sam holding a flag, Currier & Ives prints and other objects projected a patriotic in the booth of American Memories of Wyncote, Penn. A jacquard coverlet, red and cream, made for the 1876 Centennial, depicted Memorial Hall, the only major building from the Centennial to survive to today. Well-known American figures were pictured in Currier & Ives works including General Israel Putnam, General Andrew Jackson and George Washington on his death bed.
“We had to remove five coats of paint to get back to the original smoke decoration and grained painted legs on this Queen Anne tea table,” Herb Windle said, speaking of a circa 1760 table of Massachusetts origin. This Centreville, Del., exhibitor also showed a Chippendale slant front desk in mahogany from Nottingham West, N.H., signed and dating circa 1780. The interior featured eight scalloped drawers and one hidden drawer.
R.M. Worth did not have to travel far from his Chadds Ford shop to take part in the show and he brought with him a large selection of furniture and some paintings. Dominating the back wall was a large oil on canvas that was almost entirely filled with a portrait of a white dog with red bow about its neck, standing on a green lawn. This work was by Jean Paul Selinger, Boston School, and dates from the early Twentieth Century. A mahogany Chippendale fretwork and parcel gilt looking glass, circa 1750, English or American, hung over a Philadelphia Chippendale carved black walnut highboy base, circa 1770-80, ball and claw feet, with a King of Prussia marble top measuring 241/2 by 451/2 inches.
Many piece of silver, including hollow and flatware, filled two cases in the booth of Britannia House Antiques of Haverford, Penn. In addition, the walls were hung with many paintings, including an American genre work, oil on canvas measuring 25 by 20 inches sight, 33 by 38 framed, titled “Giving Him Light.” It depicted two youngster passing a light for their cigarettes and was by J.G. Brown, circa 1885, signed lower left. Edward Lamson Henry was represented by an oil on canvas titled “Leaving Home,” showing a man and woman in a one-horse drawn buggy leaving a farm scene. It dates from the Nineteenth Century, 10 by 17 inches, original condition, and is signed lower right, “E.L. Henry.”
Articulated artist’s models in three sizes sat the booth of Jane Langol of Media, Ohio, and mixed in with a selection of early dolls, some miniature furniture, some tramp art including a red, white and blue painted frame, and paintings was a nice selection of art glass. “I am the only one offering any art glass in the show,” Jane said, pointing out some Weller pieces including a blue heron iris motif, 1920, and an Eocean pattern, circa 1908.
All manner of Staffordshire and pottery was offered from the booth of William and Teresa Kurau of Lampeter, Penn. “We have had a good show, selling up to closing on Saturday, and we had repeat customers from California who made several purchases,” Bill said. Two Liverpool pitchers were among the pieces that would make their way to the West Coast.
Rich Bottom Antiques of Purcellville, Va., had a nice selection of furniture including several pieces of Connecticut origin including a maple tall chest, circa 1790, and a Connecticut River Valley tall-case clock, Riley Whiting, Winchester, circa 1815, with 30-hour wooden works and old finish. Also with wooden works was a Seth Thomas pillar and scroll clock, circa 1819, with the original label.
Betsey Telford of Rocky Mountain Quilts, York Village, Maine, said, “I have no complaints, it has been OK, and the people who are buying are selecting the best quilts I have to offer.” She had 60 quilts for sale at the show, with another 450 back home at the shop. “All of my quilts date from 1780 up until about 1940,” she added.
Examples shown included an early chintz four-patch on point, circa 1840, of New England origin. It measured 96 by 72 inches, with a 20-inch tail, and had a homespun backing. An embroidered quilt in grandmother’s fan pattern, wool, circa 1885, Pennsylvania origin, 60 by 70 inches, hung on the right wall, and also shown was an Ohio star chintz quilt, circa 1830, measuring 59 by 80 inches.
“This sofa was taken to Cuba by a Philadelphia family in the 1930s, and was left there when they gave up residency there,” Robert Zollonhofer said. Last February he went to Cuba in his own boat and brought the sofa back to the United States. He has done wood samplings, finding all of the woods used are of American origin, and other tests on the piece, and he is still conducting research. It was priced at $1 million and as of late Saturday had not sold. “It has been looked over by a number of the top dealers in the country and so far I have not been able to attribute to a specific maker as there is no other example like it,” Bob said.
Barry Cohen says he has no plans to make any major changes in the show next year, but will continue on with a three-day event, remaining open through Sunday. Dates for 2005 are April 8-10.
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