Published: April 16, 2002
By R. Scudder Smith
PHILADELPHIA, PENN. — “Someone told me that it takes five years to measure the success of a show and we have just completed our fifth year,” Barry Cohen, manager of the , said two days after the April 7 close of his show. He added, “We maintained a good gate, the dealers sold better than last year, we had many favorable comments from those attending, and we are looking forward to our sixth year in Philadelphia.”
Thomas and Julia Barringer of Stockton, N.J., are the last dealers to set up at the as their booth is right in front of the large loading door. “We have to wait for everyone to get in before they build our booth,” Tom said, “but it gives us a chance to walk the show before the real work starts.” In any case, they were more than ready when the show opened on Thursday evening, April 4, with a 7 to 9:30 pm run. Among the furniture in the booth was an 81-inch-long settee by George Boyd, Altoona area of Pennsylvania, with eight legs, grain painted, and a landscape painting on the back splat. A low-post bed dated circa 1830 and was in vibrant grain paint over salmon. Fabrics included a Bucks County appliqued quilt, “Carolina Lily,” circa 1880, 79 inches square, with green border. An interesting box, dated 1826 and with the initials “DK” painted on the slide lid, was among the rdf_Descriptions sold on opening day.
“I have not seen one in years, and now there are two at the show,” Julia said, referring to a campaign table in her booth. Her table had a label under it attesting to the fact that it was shipped from New York to Pennsylvania.
One of the front booths was taken by Barrett Menson Antiques of Townshend, Vt., who recorded excellent sales at the show. Of interest was a pair of Vermont snowshoes, unusual form, pumpkin painted surface, with wooden supports instead of the usual rawhide, and a small ship weathervane of wood with metal sail and old weathered finish. An early bowling game had ten pins and one ball, and a fine carved black doll had the original clothes and a painted face. “This is my third year doing the show and I sold very well, across the board,” Barrett said. In addition to some rugs and small folk art objects, he sold a nice painted chest of drawers.
Art and Kathy Green of Newton Centre, Mass., had an extensive collection of early glass and ceramics and sales included lustre jugs, blue and white transfer ware, Sandwich glass and a number of vases. Philadelphia dealer Darwin had a large wax fruit display under a glass dome that attracted lots of attention and was sold early in the show. This piece featured all manner of fruit, including a cut melon, apples, pears and grapes, along with a round pat of butter and a glass of sherry on the side. Included in the folk art line was a carved wooden and painted decoy, surrounded by seven small ducks all mounted on a board painted to simulate water. This piece was found in the attic of a home, occupied by four generations of the same family, in Red Bank, N.J.
Bud Weinert of Oxford, Mich., had a very small booth but recorded large sales. He sold several signs, one requesting “Passengers Remain Seated,” a Pennsylvania stand, several hooked rugs, an urn, wooden letters and letter stencils. Carvings in this booth included a collection of eight Oscar Peterson fish decoys, a “confidence” turtle decoy from either North or South Carolina, and a trade sign in the form of a fishing plug, red and white, that once hung in front of a bait shop. Gordon Converse of Strafford, Penn., noted that “this is a very easy-going show and Barry does a nice job managing it.” In addition to a number of clocks, for which he is known, Gordon sold several prints, a brass bed warmer, and a carved cat figure.
Malcolm Magruder of Millwood, Va., said, “I had a very good opening and was busy most of the time packing up things.” Sales included paintings, many pieces of ceramics, silhouettes and countless decorative country objects. After several days of selling, however, Malcolm’s booth does not even look slightly tapped. He is generally setting up his booth right down to the opening wire, and “it takes me about six hours to pack out, possibly 41/2 if I have help,” he said.
1848 House of Hamilton, Ohio, showed a large copper ship weathervane dating from the late Nineteenth Century, and a one-drawer blanket chest in old blue, New England, circa 1790-1800. A comb back Windsor armchair dated from the Eighteenth Century, while a “lulling” Windsor sack back armchair was of New England origin, circa 1800.
The Norwood’s Spirit of America, Timonium, Md., had a number of works of art including a signed watercolor theorem, circa 1830, Hartford, a urn of flowers, and an American School watercolor theorem, mid-Nineteenth Century, labeled Shaker dining side chair, Mt Lebanon, N.Y. A pair of white painted cast-iron park or garden benches was in the booth of Sally Good Antiques, Ambler, Penn., signed by the William Adams Foundry Co., 960 North Ninth Street, Philadelphia. One wall was covered by a summer/winter jacquard coverlet with urns of flowers in the border, executed in red, blue, green and white.
S. Scott Powers Antiques of Brooklyn, N.Y., had a striking booth, giving lots of room to the objects he displayed against the white wall. Of particular interest was a New Hampshire pyramid wall shelf dating from the early Nineteenth Century, triangular shelves over four drawers. It was the perfect object for holding a collection of small objects and measured 34 inches wide, 33 inches from top to bottom, and 7 inches deep. A maple harpsaw, dated 1875, was “found in Ohio” and would fit better into a folk art collection than a grouping of tools. This piece had a face carved into the flat stick that was used to adjust the tension on the blade. A tomahawk or ball club, 1760-80, was mounted on the right hand wall of the booth. It was a Native American object, maple burl, 281/2 inches long with the original surface.
William and Teresa Kurau of Lampeter, Penn., were having a good show selling historical blue with views of New York and Baltimore. “We brought some good examples with Philadelphia views, but so far no takers,” William said on Saturday afternoon. Other rdf_Descriptions sold included a Lafayette landing pitcher, a cast-iron nutcracker with an eagle head, and a large tole tray.
Tucker Station Antiques of Louisville, Ky., had one of the most interesting whirligig weathervanes in the show, a wooden example with a round piece that turned in the wind, and a painted fish on the tail of the vane. It measured 33 inches long and attracted the attention of most every folk art collector and dealer. A good portion of the wall space was taken by a collection of signs, the largest one for the Alco Tea Room offering “Sandwiches, Franks, Coffee & Tea, Homemade Cake.” The last line read “A good place to eat.” Other signs advertised a meat market, while one in yellow with black lettering promoted Colonial Homestead, Tourists & Meals.
American Eagle Antiques from Harrison Township, Mich., offered several pieces of furniture from the George III period including a circa 1800 washstand in mahogany, a diminutive chest of drawers, mahogany, circa 1790, and a cellaret, circa 1790, also in mahogany. A carved eagle head from Belfast, Maine, was shown in the booth of Jane Langol Antiques of Medina, Ohio, along with an oversized candy holder, German, in the form of a rabbit. Among the pieces of pottery were a jardiniere by Owens Pottery, 1890-1905, and an umbrella stand by Weller Pottery, “Glossy Bedford,” circa 1918.
Pennsylvania Art Conservatory of Berwyn, Penn., had an interesting selection of pictures, with some very well-known artists represented. An Emile Albert Gruppe oil on canvas, “Busy Morning,” was signed lower right and measured 30 by 36 inches, while a countryside with cows was signed and dated lower left by William Henry Howe. This oil on canvas measures 25 by 30 inches. A popular subject, “On The Brandywine,” was painted by Henry Lee Tatnall, Delaware, an oil on canvas, 22 by 36 inches, signed lower left.
A four-door panel cupboard, fresh from a historic home in Northern, N.J., was displayed by Windle’s Antiques of Centreville, Del. Other furniture included a Sheraton chest with flame birch drawer fronts, turned legs, Vermont or New Hampshire, circa 1810-1820, and a step back pewter cupboard with three shelves in the top section and two raised panel doors in the lower. It was in blue paint with red trim and of Pennsylvania origin.
An oval top table with splayed tapered lags, circa 1830, New York State, was in the center of the booth of Otto Hart-Susan Parsons, Arlington, Vt. A colorful needlework on homespun, Betsy Ross with flag, dated from the mid-Nineteenth Century and came from a Maine estate, and a cast stone fountain in the form of a seal came from a Palm Beach home. Of interest was an eight-foot-long beaded shell, circa 1900, that once decorated a ballroom in an Atlanta hotel.
A booth filled with furniture was set up by Roger D. Winter of Mechanicsville, Md., just to the right after entering the show. A large partners’ desk in pine with traces of chrome yellow paint was at the front of the booth, a piece with the original leather top, original brasses and 20 graduated drawers. It measured 48 inches square, circa 1820, and came out of Portsmouth, N.H. An Irish dining table in mahogany measured 72 inches in diameter and rested on a leaf carved column with sabre legs and casters. To complete this picture eight George III chairs were offered, Hepplewhite, English, circa 1790, composing two arms and six sides.
At one point on Saturday three of the exhibitors got together and compared checks, not the amount but where they came from. It was a far-flung field, including Michigan, Maine, Minnesota, Georgia, Connecticut and New York. Interestingly enough, there were no checks from Philadelphia. But it does show the draw that this week of antiques, with three shows, has for dealers and collectors.
This year about a dozen new exhibitors took part in Center City, and the show appeared stronger. “We are bound to have some new faces again next year,” Barry Cohen said, “and we will make every effort to increase the interest of the show with the next selection.” He said he will continue to have his Thursday evening opening, as “it gives the dealers from the other shows a chance to come over here before their event opens.” The gate for this opening has been growing annually.
There is no question that the three shows in Philadelphia at the same time have sparked more interest in antiques and brought many new faces into the scene. Center City, the smallest of the three shows, is pulling its weight.
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