Published: March 15, 2016
Review And Photos By Carole Deutsch
MORRISTOWN, N.J. — Collectors were out in great force at the Morristown Armory Antiques Show that was hosted by JMK Shows and Events February 27–28. For many years the show has been a favorite among antiques enthusiasts, who come expecting a wealth of interesting items, imaginative set-ups and knowledgeable dealers.
Allison Kohler, president and owner of JMK, reported that the gate tally reached a total of 2,500 and a great many of the attendees did not leave empty handed. “The dealers were bragging,” she happily stated. “People streamed in all day long on both days and virtually all the dealers reported good, and in many cases, exceptional sales. We really ramped up the advertising and, as always, we sent out 26,000 postcards, and it all paid off. Several dealers had little left to sell by the end of the second day.”
One of the high achievers was Mimi Gunn, Lafayette, N.J., who as early as noon on the first day was scrambling to reinvent her booth to fill in empty spaces only to have to do it all over again in short order. She had almost nothing to pack upon leaving. “They bought anything and everything,” Mimi stated. “I am fortunate to have a loyal following. One couple told me they came up from Philadelphia just to see me. It was a very rewarding day.” One of the main draws in her display was an interesting collection of wooden paddles and oars made in a variety of woods, including tiger and bird’s-eye maple. They dated from the 1920s–30s and 1950s, and were all in excellent condition, with some being signed “Old Town.”
Another stellar performance booth was that of Knollwood Antiques, Thorndike, Mass. Owner Richard A. LaVigné described his results as, “Out of this world! I have not gotten to sit down the whole time I’ve been here; it’s been that busy.” His booth, which was also almost completely empty by the end of the show, was stunning in its quality merchandise and artful presentation.
LaVigné, who is an interior decorator as well as a dealer, creates his booth six months in advance in situ in a warehouse before coming to the show. The results of the effort is an extravagant display that cleverly blends multiple genres, from ancient tribal to traditional English, American and Continental period antiques and fine art, to all mediums of modern.
Robert Lloyd Fine Art & Antiques, New York City, was a major draw. At the entrance to his booth stood a 4-foot-tall lobster holding a calling card tray, and the big fellow created a curiosity that was hard to resist. Upon entering the booth, not knowing what to expect given the lobster intro, it was a delight to find an outstanding display of original oil on canvas advertising proofs for Guinness by the S.H. Benson Advertising Agency, London. All were painted by John Gilroy (1898–1985), the lead artist on the Guinness account for Benson. Lloyd explained, “Benson had the Guinness account from 1929 to 1969.
When they lost the account, they abandoned their archives, and when the building was sold in 1971, the works of art disappeared. They surfaced over 40 years later, and we purchased the almost-complete archives, including the original sketches, watercolors, pen and inks and letters from the head of Benson to John Gilroy.” He went on to note that in December 2014 Robert Lloyd Fine Art was interviewed by CNN Money for a segment that aired under the topic of luxury Guinness Art. Despite the pricey aspect of these interesting works they were selling well and Robert was another well-pleased exhibitor enjoying a good show. What has the lobster got to do with all of this? Absolutely nothing. The figure stood in front of a New Jersey restaurant for 50 years before Lloyd acquired it to use as a booth attraction.
An extensive collection of Royal Doulton Flambé was presented by Seaway China Company, Dania Beach, Fla. Sales specialist Jeff Niquette was happy to explain the firing process to show visitors. “The process was exclusive to Royal Doulton in 1904. They analyzed and experimented with it for decades before they produced the glaze color by firing at a high temperature, and at the last minute they would suck the oxygen out of the kiln, causing an oxidation that would turn the porcelain oxblood red. At the time this was hard to control because they fired with the use of coal.” Displayed next to the extensive collection of deep red flambé was a figural white fox with tinges of blue. It was used as an example of how the porcelain would turn out if not extracted from the kiln at just the right time.
Anita De Old’s “Flowers Forever,” shown at her booth, Touch of Glass, Verona, N.J., made a sensational presentation. Anita arranges the elaborately decorated jeweled hairpins from the late 1870s to the 1920s in vases to form a flower-type arrangement. In their day, the pins were the crowning glory of a woman’s hairstyle and were made by local jewelers, as well as Cartier, Fabergé, Lalique and Tiffany. When women’s fashion went to short hair, the pins became obsolete, but they still hold their appeal with die-hard collectors who find them irresistible and have reinvented their usage. “Many use them in their wedding bouquets, either as accents or as the full bouquet,” Anita commented. “Others use them as a decorative display in their homes or dressing rooms. They make excellent tokens of a special occasion for guests attending an event.”
Chimney Corner Antiques, Newburyport, Mass., created a good deal of excitement with a vast and diverse selection of 300 Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century hand colored steel engravings and one-of-a-kind collages. The collages generated a great deal of attention as it appeared that show attendees were looking for rare and unusual items. The framed pieces were composed of a combination of American, English and French antique book plate engravings and trade cards that played to a central theme and were mounted along with a figural 3-D depiction befitting the topic. An arrangement portraying frogs in a natural botanical setting, as well as in storybook form, had the added element of a figural frog climbing up the corner of the outside frame. A vintage Statue of Liberty collage had a hand colored steel engraving of a tugboat in New York harbor, along with trade cards of the statue, and a 4-inch-tall souvenir statue of Lady Liberty ensconced within the setting inside the frame. There were about as many subject matters as there were items and the field for every genre of collectible was wide open.
Specializing in Native American Indian jewelry, Turkoi, Jersey City, N.J., brought a large display that included outstanding beaded and old pawn items, which owner Margo Moriarty states is the most highly collectible American Indian jewelry. “The term ‘old pawn,’ or ‘dead pawn,’ simply means an item that was pawned for cash but has never been redeemed, often referring specifically to American Indian jewelry,” she commented. “This was a common practice in the Southwest, and in times past the people of this area treasured their turquoise jewelry, not only as a thing of adornment, but also as portable wealth.”
JMK’s next antiques event will be the Waterloo Village show in Stanhope, N.J., June 11–12. For more information, www.jmkshows.com.
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