Published: June 12, 2007
Rolling farmlands stretching in every direction make the county seat of York a regional breadbasket, renowned for its agricultural fair dating to 1765. The fair has grown over the years. Its 73-acre campus now accommodates a grandstand, track, Horticulture Hall, Memorial Hall and the Toyota Arena, a 114,000-square-structure completed in 2003.
It seems only proper that this marketplace known for prize poultry and pickles is also home to the best pickings of some of the antiques trade.
Two shows, the Greater York Antiques Show and Sale, organized by Jim Burk, and the York Country Classic Antiques Show, promoted by Barry Cohen, teamed up on May 18 and 19 at Memorial Hall East and West to offer collectors the best of the best, plus the rest.
More than 125 exhibitors assembled in two side-by-side wings of Memorial Hall, the cast of the original Burk show to the left of the entrance, the Cohen dealers to the right. Each side offered excellent displays of country furniture, accessories and folk art, with a smaller amount of formal furniture and other items mixed in.
The shows got off to a fairly quiet start on Friday at 11.
“We sold quite a lot of furniture,” said Michael Newsom of Newsom & Berdan, Maine and Pennsylvania. Nearby, folk art specialists Jewett-Berdan wrote up their Overlook Farm milk and cream trade sign.
“We did extremely well,” said Massachusetts dealer Tom Longacre, who bought well on the floor.
“Attendance was typical for our May event. Sales were typical for antiques shows,” said Barry Cohen, reached after the show.
“Attendance was within 70 people of last year,” said Burk, who looks forward to being back in Memorial Hall November 2″.
For New England dealers and collectors, especially, the York shows are a great way to see fresh material and new faces. Joining the large contingent of exhibitors from Pennsylvania were dealers from Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, North and South Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and Texas.
The book arts of Pennsylvania were on parade at Margaret Canavan, where an 1811 bird and floral prayer book illustrated by George Keller of Perry Township was $1,500.
At Tom and Bev Longacre, an 1803 Lancaster County fraktur bookplate by Johann Christian Strenge was $4,200.
Kelly Kinzle’s showpiece was a Centre County, Penn., blanket chest, $45,000, red with floral decoration and a bracket base.
A tulip-decorated dower chest from Berks or Lebanon County, ex-collection of Titus Geesey, joined a Philadelphia flat-top highboy ex-Jeffords collection at James Kilvington, Dover, Del.
Pennsylvania dealer Joseph Lodge matched a circa 1930 “Diamond in The Square” Amish quilt, $2,200, with a child’s pull toy, $1,475, and a pair of paint decorated Windsor side chairs initialed “AD.”
“For years, we went from door to door asking Amish families if they had hand knitted stockings or mittens. They brought out these, which were of merely sentimental value to them,” said Gene Rappaport, who festooned three walls of his booth with woolens in bright colors reminiscent of Amish quilts.
George Allen and Gordon Wyckoff of Raccoon Creek, Oley Forge, Penn., featured a rare Amish worktable with trays and a rare Lancaster County rice straw basket.
Trish and Don Herr of Lancaster, Penn., suspended a vibrant Nineteenth Century Lebanon County “Touching Stars” quilt, $3,600.
At Raccoon Creek and elsewhere on the floor, blue appeared to be making a comeback. Allen and Wyckoff used excellent design sense to create a cool, blue corner display including a blue Amish quilt, cobalt decorated stoneware and a mortised Berks County cupboard in splotchy blue paint that the dealers have owned three times in 25 years.
Coming off of a great private showing in April of a single-family collection of needlework, Ruth Van Tassel and Don Baumann arrived in York with formal Pennsylvania furniture and samplers. A small 1831 Lancaster County sampler by Elizabeth Ann Eberlein was $4,200.
“I owned a second one by the same girl years ago. It is now at the Heritage Center in Lancaster,” said Van Tassel. A pair of New Jersey side chairs, $18,000, and a Philadelphia lowboy, $28,000, were other highlights.
Bonnet-top tall case clocks, a Lancaster County step back cupboard and an West Chester, Penn., cross-stretcher Pembroke table starred at Vander Laan and Schill of Exton, Penn.
Painted and finished furniture mingled at Greg Kramer, Robesonia, Penn., where a lipstick red Soap Hollow chest of drawers made by Jeremiah Stahl, dated 1865, was $55,000. A Lancaster County inlaid fall front desk was $29,500.
Bertolet House sold a red cupboard early in the show.
Dan and Kathy Roe of Illinois featured a walnut rope bed with spool turnings, $1,450. Nearby, Pierre DeRagon of Oley, Penn., ingeniously divided the headboard and footboard of a tiger maple bed to make a pair of twin beds, $2,600 each. His attractive display showcased an unusual western Pennsylvania or eastern Ohio blanket chest, stenciled with silver and painted with black on a red ground.
Folk sculpture included a cigar store Indian princess, $19,500 at Ben Karr Antiques; a life-sized carved and painted figure of George Washington at Thurston Nichols Antiques; and a oversized, carved and painted plumed hat, an advertising piece, in Texas dealer Gary Bruce’s display.
Mainstays of the Burk event, Harry Hartman and Oliver Overlander filled their room-setting booth with fraktur, yellowware, a carved and painted bird tree, painted furniture and a pair of iron firehouse dogs. The Marietta, Penn., dealers stayed busy, selling from first to last.
“People come to me here for Shenandoah pottery,” said New York dealer Sidney Gecker, who also featured a dated 1832″3 miniature dome top box and a painted three-door blanket chest, probably from Upstate New York. Gecker is a source for ironwork, too. “Some of the best was made for Conestoga wagons in Lancaster County,” he said.
Lisa McAllister’s clever display kept her specialty yellowware in glass cases to the side and painted furniture and game boards front and center. An 1878 yarn embroidery with a variety of figures, including an eagle, was $2,800.
Another eagle festooned John Sideli’s Civil War recruitment broadside, already marked sold. “I love paper,” said Sideli, who has recently moved to Wiscasset, Maine. “I think it comes from having managed the Ephemera Society show.”
On hold at R.M. Grabowski was a large folio Audubon print of a swallow-tailed hawk. An 1819 Declaration of Independence engraved by John Binns was $7,500.
Textiles included a 1911 hooked rug, boldly conceived as a single flower on a geometric background, at RJG Antiques. Susan H. Worth of Union, Conn., also had a “1911” hooked rug, designed as two pinwheels within a sawtooth border.
Bob and Sandy Schuler of Teleford, Penn., were looking around for something to hang on their wall, recently made bare by the sale of a collection of Nineteenth Century pot holders.
“I ordinarily would not bring a costume, but I have a collector who buys them,” said Pennsylvania dealer Nancy Fulton, who displayed Miss Laredo, Texas’s rodeo wedding suit, white wool with gilt leather detail.
Salem, N.Y., dealer James Lawrence had a well-stocked tin doll’s kitchen, patented 1883.
A patriotic French noisemaker made for the American market was $650 at Ticky Talky Toys, Louisville, Ky. Next door, at Lyn Kay Shoppe, a Bliss Mansion dollhouse was $1,095.
Toys and holiday decorations were leaving Caroline Edelman’s booth as fast as she could write them up.
Spring York is a good place for garden antiques and architectural artifacts. Dan and Kathy Roe offered a marked Wood & Perot of Philadelphia iron garden chair, $885, of 1858. With weathered gray over old red paint, a pair of small, paneled doors with old hardware was $450 at Colleen Kinloch of Maine and Maryland.
“This is my 20th year at York. There is always energy, and business,” said Lisa McAllister.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm