Published: November 17, 2021
Review and Photos by Tania Kirkman
CHANTILLY, VA. – D’Amore Promotions hosted its much-anticipated DC Big Flea on November 6-7 at the Dulles Expo Center. As the largest antiques flea market in the Mid-Atlantic area, this buyer-friendly show covers a broad range of interests and offers something to suit all collectors.
The two-day event kicked off with a steady stream of shoppers on Saturday morning. Participants lined up early, and when the show opened a few minutes shy of the 9 am start, ticket holders were released and began an immediate hunt for treasures. Small crowds gathered around booths, and sales for the day began early. Attendance flowed steadily throughout the day, with an increased midday rush of families and shoppers of all ages. Sunday also saw steady traffic and the weekend was ultimately very well attended.
David B. Smernoff Fine Art & Antiques of New Haven, Conn., offered a tasteful art exhibition at the central entrance of the show. Mixing contemporary, modern and traditional art, the collection also featured eye-catching works by contemporary artist Angelo Blanda (b 1978) depicting skull portraits set against brightly colored backgrounds.
Art & Antique Gallery of Holden, Mass., was a returning veteran dealer to the DC Big Flea. William Union’s distinct collection presented traditional American and European fine art, including Hudson River paintings, impressionist works, landscapes and a selection of hunt prints.
Richard Mori Books of Franklin, N.H., displayed a pleasing selection of rare and antiquarian books, prints and ephemera. Excited to share a new addition to his inventory, Mori unfurled an unassuming red book from layers of packaging, revealing a fabled first edition copy of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Macmillan and Co., London, 1866.
Man in the Moon Antiques of Lansing, Mich., was on hand with a stunning array of antique and period jewelry. Specializing in early Georgian, Victorian and Art Deco items, a few notable highlights included a Nineteenth Century mosaic cross pendant containing a religious reliquary, a large Georgian double-sided hand painted elliptical mourning pendant and a late 1700s enamel, diamond and sepia painted pin/pendant, which was a memorial to Shakespeare.
Lara Rudd of Lara Joyce Antiques of Westfield, N.J., said she was thrilled to be back in attendance for the show, as this was only the third show back after taking a break from in-person events during the pandemic. Sales were great and she saw lots of interest in the eclectic mix of items offered, including Nineteenth Century needlework, mourning and sentimental jewelry, antique brass and metalware, carved wood boxes, paintings and instruments of photography.
Noble Vintage Clothier of Fredericksburg, Va., brought a variety of vintage fashion to cover a range of collecting interests. Heather Ramey said that this was her third DC Flea, and she looks forward to attending future shows. Having done events in New York City for more than a decade, she has found a new niche after relocating from New York to Virginia through live shows as well as online sales.
David Meelheim Designs of Lynchburg, Va., had a steady stream of activity in his centrally located booth, which featured a selection of handcrafted jewelry and rare gemstones, together with European artwork, antique furniture and decorative arts.
Easter Hill Antiques of Sharon, Conn., exhibited a welcoming home-like atmosphere in its booth, which was furnished top to bottom with traditional American and English antiques. The display included wing chairs, chests, gateleg, dropleaf, Pembroke and tavern tables, together with genre and landscape paintings, brass candlesticks, rugs and a folding rack hung with quilts and coverlets.
Sandra Fowler of Antique Articles, Dunstable, Mass., exhibited an array of Art Nouveau, Arts and Crafts and Art Deco period ceramic tiles. Fowler co-authored the book Art Nouveau Tiles, Circa 1890-1914, and claims to be the largest US dealer in antique tiles, in addition to carrying figural bookends and other decorative arts.
Things & Stuff Antiques of La Plata, Md., had an eclectic mix of fun antiques and folk art, including a sulky and horse weathervane, stained glass windows, spool cabinets, a coffee grinder, Bristol glass lamps and more. Steve Tillman explained that he and his wife, Patty, named their business in honor of his late mother, who not only loved antiques, but had a shop of the same name based in Monroe, Conn. When starting their own business, they decided to carry on the catchy business name in her memory.
Jack Papadinas of Jack Pap Antiques together with Karen Redinger of Redinger’s Vintage, both of West Simsbury, Conn., were returning dealers to the show. Table lamps illuminated the aisle, and included lighting by Tiffany, Handel, Bradley & Hubbard, among others. Accents featured Arts and Crafts candlesticks, art glass and pottery, as well as vintage textiles, designer scarves, jewelry and other accessories.
Patrick Hastings of Pittsburg, Penn., offered a selection of antique English art and paintings, including several monumental World War I propaganda and recruitment posters. Examples featured “Forward! Forward to Victory Enlist Now” depicting a cavalry horse and rider, and “Boys Come Over Here, You’re Wanted,” showing a map of England and France with a soldier in foreground.
Henry Bevers of Luna Blue Vintage, Lewisburg, Penn., joined forces with Brandy Gates of Biddy Girl Vintage to offer racks of eye-candy for the vintage clothing enthusiast. Their oversized booth was filled with vintage dresses, tops, skirts, coats, shoes, hats, purses and accessories in a range of sizes, periods, and styles. There was something for every vintage collector, and people were even trying on clothes in the aisle.
Walnut Cabinet Antiques of Maryland made another return to the show with an assortment of Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century furniture, folk art, quilts, porcelains, pottery and textiles. Standing prominently in one corner of the booth was a selection of diminutive models fashioned in children’s clothing items ranging in date from the mid- to late Nineteenth into the early part of the Twentieth Century.
Paul Severino from Silver & Such, D.C., said he was pleased with the first day of the show, having an early sale of a Tiffany baby cup to a couple who returned to continue shopping with him in the afternoon. Offerings included sterling flatware, candlesticks, hollowware and table decorations, as well as an English silver and cut-glass epergne and a pair of embossed silver hand-held panel fans for the person who might have just about everything.
The DC Big Flea and D’Amore Promotions received positive feedback from dealers, praising not only their affordable booth rates, but the convenient location of the event center, ample time available for set up and their reliably helpful staff. Strong customer attendance for these markets also remains unwavering. Numerous dealers have repeat customers who visit the shows, in addition to many patrons who travel from out of state to be in attendance.
The season for 2022 kicks off with the winter DC Big Flea to be conducted on January 8-9. Many dealers are already anticipating what they will bring to the show, and what kind of surprises they might have in store for returning customers.
For information, www.thebigfleamarket.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or 757- 430-4735
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