Published: November 7, 2023
Review and Onsite Photos by Marty Steiner
ATLANTA, GA. — Scott Antique Markets, which take place at the Atlanta Expo Centers, are an institution. Like any institution it morphs with the times, but also like other quality institutions stays committed to its primary mission. And it is utterly devoted to antiques!
Just as the rows of brick and mortar antiques shops that we saw in the past, there are generalist and specialist dealers at Scott Antique Markets. Specialists include those selling furniture, ceramics and porcelain, lamps, books, sporting art and antiques, paper, art and others. Just as on the antiques row, there is no order or grouping of these, requiring a complete walk-through to locate and review their various offerings. For the Scott show visitor, some of the regular dealers have permanent locations, while many others, especially the occasional dealer, change locations from month to month.
Antiques and The Arts Weekly visited Scott Atlanta Antique Markets at the October session, which took place October 12-15. The Atlanta event, which once boasted two major annual antiques shows, one at the High Museum and the Cathedral Antiques Show, now has neither. In the absence of these shopping opportunities, many collectors and casual browsers are rediscovering Scott’s Antique Markets there, which has 12 monthly editions. There are many regular exhibitors, but it also has others that are occasional ones; all bring fresh-to-market items for the astute shopper. And with 450 or more dealers each month, Scott’s is a superstore for buyers, professional or casual.
Scott’s Atlanta Market takes on a different feel in the fall. Pumpkins and Halloween may provide the décor but it’s the dealers’ booths that are the real treats. Fall also usually sees an uptick in traffic and related sales. This fall’s edition took place under an umbrella of misty, sometimes drizzly and cool weather; some dealers reported they thought traffic was slower than in previous years.
The mood of nostalgia that underlies collecting begins outside Scott Market with an old-fashioned vegetable stand at the North Building entrance. Baskets of fresh vegetables and a steaming boiled peanut cauldron remind the attendees of a time past with many such roadside stands as a major source of fresh produce.
For showgoers that made it past the boiled peanuts and fresh vegetables but hadn’t yet entered the building, David Stark had his tables piled with silver, books and a few larger items. A keen eye would spot souvenir spoons spanning more than a century of events, including world’s fairs. Spoons and various serving pieces are sold by their silver weight rather than individual price. Stark, who is based in Illinois, continually scours the Midwest for fresh inventory every month. Sometimes his booth includes furniture, advertising signs and even vintage luggage; no two months are the same. October saw an oak Morning Glory speaker table top Victrola. The hand-painted enamel flowers appeared original to the speaker. A pink frosted glass cocktail shaker in the form of an airplane had also landed on his table. It strongly resembled Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St Louis, possibly helping date it to the late 1920s, which would have been during prohibition! Stark quotes prices on the fly, so neither was marked.
Inside the North Building, the first dealer one encounters is Nancy Brumbelow, who offers pure nostalgia. Children’s items included a vintage Barnacle Bill, the Sailor Man Halloween costume ($35) and various Halloween and Thanksgiving table decorations. Also seen in her booth were an owner’s manual and several copies of Sacred Octagon, the magazine dedicated to the MG-TD, the popular 1950s British sports car. These are valuable to both the collector and to any owner of this classic sports car. Brumbelow has been doing Scott for 17 years, in this same choice location. Asked about traffic and associated sales, she reported slower than usual turnout and resultant reduced sales.
A step further and one encounters the world of classical antiques. Dr John E. Crews, one of America’s experts on English boxes, who is based in Atlanta, presented dozens of examples. His sales have not been significantly affected by the slow shopper turnout because he caters to a loyal following. He reported that more than half of his sales were to repeat customers, largely collectors and interior designers. Crews focuses on early tea caddies, 1790-1820, the “zenith of English box making.” He also sells many Regency and Victorian jewelry boxes as gifts for weddings, anniversaries and graduations. Writing boxes round out his inventory. His prices ranged from $325 to $425, with a few examples marked higher.
English boxes were elsewhere at Scotts as well. Peg’s Antiques from Birmingham, Ala., presented an English inlaid writing box. The lid features a buck deer at the center with bird and leaf patterns at each corner. It was marked “price on request.”
Ron Evans from Athens, Ga., also had some outstanding English boxes; he may have had the most traditional booth, too. An 1860-80 rosewood box with marquetry inlaid borders on the lid and front was $375. A rosewood lap desk with mother-of-pearl inlaid patterns on the top was tagged $375. Furniture included a single-drawer Sheraton mahogany and rosewood dropleaf stand on reeded legs with original casters for $450. An early 1800s sarcophagus-shaped mahogany wine cellaret was $1,375. Perhaps the most unusual furniture item at Scott was an American oak drink/serving cabinet with glass door and containing a decanter set with six cordial glasses for $625. All of this was arranged in front of Nineteenth Century American School oil on canvas paintings that were priced at $1,395 and $1,850.
Connie Walker, Barnesville, Ga., presented an “all of the above” booth with case pieces, accessories and original art. Showing that not everything is expensive, an interesting wood carving of an old man was only $56. He stood on a New England cherry server tagged $850.
Rawlings Antiques from Bowling Green, Ky., offered an eye-catching inkstand with bronze lion and pink marble base at $950. He also offered an unusual pair of French Nineteenth Century tapestry upholstered armchairs for $2,200. Like many other show dealers do during a slow show, he purchased items from other dealers that he later would sell to some of his regular regional customers. Chuck Rawlings commented, “I’ve been doing the Scott show for a while and appreciate that it happens every month. So much of our industry has just disappeared and we’re thankful for anything that is consistent.”
The show features a South Building that management provides a shuttle bus for those visitors who want or need it. In spite of low hanging clouds and occasional misting and drizzle, a number of dealers had set up shop in the designated area outside the South Building of Atlanta Expo. Among these was a nonprofit, All in Pink Charitable Foundation, offering a couple of original children’s pedal fire engines and vintage metal coolers, Coke, Pepsi and such.
Hamrick’s Furniture from Auburn, Ga., always pitches its tents outside stocked with a mix of furniture and advertising signs. Among his items were an oak cased cathedral-form table radio, probably from the late 1930s to 1940s, for $120. Close by was a primitive lift lid desk for $145. An early wood timecard clock and punch was not marked.
Burt Banich’s booth is strategically located just inside the side entrance of the South building, which is the main access to and from the outside dealers. He presents period lamps, stained glass, as well as bronze art objects primarily from the Arts and Crafts era. His knowledge of vintage lamps was obvious as he described a lamp to a prospective buyer.
The Atlanta area has always had a strong interest in — and market for — English and Continental furnishings and accessories. Olde British addresses the continuing accessory market with prints, copperware and other smalls. A large assortment of copperware, including kitchen measures, made up part of their offerings.
Mick Mundy and Richmond Desk Leathers have been doing the Scott Markets for 25 years and have been importing furniture from England for 40 years. “As a master craftsman cabinetmaker with my wife, a French-polisher, we restore everything by hand like it was done back in the day.” Among the pieces seen at Scott were a set of 12 mahogany Chippendale chairs circa 1820 and an 1860 mahogany bowfront chest.
Darren Rowan, Englishman’s Fine Furnishings, has been a mainstay for English furniture. His booth this month had sufficient offerings to furnish anyone’s castle. Among his offerings were an 1830 Georgian mahogany secretary/desk with satinwood interior drawers and compartments ($3,500), a reproduction 72-inch cherry with yew banding dining table ($7,000) and a circa 1920s walnut coffer with carved front panel, lift lid, two lower drawers ($1,100).
Art came in many forms at October’s Scott Market. American folk art included Lorenzo Scott, the artist, who was offering a few of his paintings. Scott, now 89 years old, is a lifetime Georgian. His work is in many major museum collections, so the opportunity to purchase directly from the artist is rare and a treat.
Other significant American folk art was offered by David Parker from LaGrange, Ga. Parker deals in antique pottery, primitives and folk art. Among the pottery items were marked whisky jugs. Antique bottles that attracted much interest included many milk bottles marked from local dairies. His booth walls were a gallery of well-known folk artists such as Cornbread, B.F. Perkins, Jimmy Sudduth and more.
Robert Calcagno, who has a reputation as one of America’s French Impressionists, lives and paints in both France and Jasper, Ga. He took up painting after a 47-year career as an attorney in Atlanta and sells his art directly to buyers as a regular Scott Atlanta dealer.
Sporting collectibles, especially fishing gear, were seen in a few different dealer booths. Olde British offered vintage reels made of wood at moderate prices, most under $100. A brass fox hunt bugle was perhaps the scarcest item in the booth. No price was given for the bugle.
West Georgia-based Carl Quertermus’ booth was a fisherman’s heaven. Rods, reels, lures, bobbers and even a few vintage bait buckets were offered. Quertermus is an emeritus professor of biology who taught for 47 years and whose passion since he was 6 years old is fishing.
He now shares that life-long passion with others through his sales of vintage tackle. Other outdoor field sports were represented in his booth by working decoys of ducks. These were not the high priced, made for display, examples but gently used veteran working decoys. Quertermus only does Scott and a few vintage tackle shows.
Frequently seen items but in uncommon forms draw attention and sales. While two- and three-drawer spool cabinets are frequently seen, larger examples are not. Located in a permanent space in the South Building, Tim Reed from Gainesville, Ga., offered a five-drawer J&P Coats and six-drawer George Clark examples tagged at $595 and $625, respectively. Both sold to a single, regular customer. He also offered a bedside stand with a single tiger maple drawer front for $165 and a three-drawer New England pine washstand for $295.
Atlanta is Delta Airlines’ corporate headquarters and, for the airline collector, Traveler’s Treasure and Rescue Reads offers everything from airline schedules, route maps, bumper stickers, travel agent desktop airliner models and some airline uniforms. A box of gauges taken from aircraft panels beckons aircraft owners and hobbyists. Tables piled with old books complete former Delta employee Chris Cochran’s booth in the South Building.
Atlanta’s Jack Prestia’s Big Chandelier offered a variety of antique chandelier types. For about 12 years, he has been bringing 25 to 30 hanging fixtures and six to 10 pairs of wall sconces to Scott, along with some art and furniture to create a room setting. This is only a miniscule sampling of his total store inventory of some 400 hanging fixtures and 100 pairs of sconces. Price range in his October Scott booth for a chandelier was $2,250 and up.
For glass, china and even a few pewter objects, John Baxter’s booth neatly displayed a number of items. Rows of Wedgwood Sunflower pattern dinner plates, Davenport blue and white transfer plates and English drabware filled one table display. Moderate priced Mary Gregory Bohemian glass trinket boxes suggested possible Christmas gifts at $165 to $245. Likewise, dozens of glass paperweights were mostly listed for less than $100. A striking Bohemian glass vase with etched, gilt and enamel decoration was marked $185.
There were several jewelry dealers present offering estate and vintage items. Nancy LeRoque is an Atlanta-based jewelry dealer who only does antique shows. She frequently includes a few non-jewelry collectibles in her booth. Among her non-jewelry items in October was a rare silver English biscuit box in seashell form. The box opens into three gold washed bowls; it was tagged $1,750. Nancy wore one of her offerings, a Kingman Arizona turquoise and fetish necklace with coral and shell accents. Compliments aside, the necklace was available for $1,200. Standing to the side of her booth was a George Edenfield Midcentury Modern fish sculpture. Known for his wood carvings, usually of shore birds, this 1985 example was $795. “I maintain an eclectic inventory specializing in high-style, classic midcentury pieces. Accessories include Victorian silver and dramatic works by known midcentury artists,” she offered.
The most unique booth at Scotts is John Forster’s Barometer Fair. Forster began working with antique barometers in his native England. He repaired, restored and bought and sold barometers. He continued those activities when he came to Sarasota, Fla., years ago. The entire walls of his booth are hung with working antique barometers. But that’s not all. Other scientific items are also offered. Early computer devices, telescopes and a working model universe are also presented. Realizing that potential customers may not know much about any of these items, he also offers a variety of reference books.
Reference books are usually part of any serious collector’s library and the books themselves are just as collectible. Recently moved to Atlanta from Ohio, Peter Marx’s Antique Mall Books (Quality Books for Discerning Buyers) offered a selection of Leslie’s Weeklys at $30 to $35 and Harper’s Weeklys for $20 to $25 except for Civil War at $40 to $50 with historically significant event issues at higher prices. Featured books ranged from a 1669 first edition printing of Sermons Preached Before the King ($400), four different signed Bishop Sheen books ($600-$1,200) and an Easton Press limited edition Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol for $700. Rare and most interesting was a three-volume Rights of War and Peace with all three volumes signed by one of the last surviving Revolutionary Continental Army Officers, Samuel Waples. This rarity was available for $1,000.
After all this shopping it’s time for a coffee break. Stephen Chambliss owns and operates Bearly Awake Coffee Bistro and Café in the North Building. Chambliss also has been a Scott antique dealer since he was 20. The Bistro is located in the midst of Chambliss’ antique offerings. To one side, children’s items can be seen. A rare horse tricycle was tagged $695.
Nearby a wood horse on rockers was $225. Perhaps the most unusual item is a fish-shaped pull toy. The fish scales are made from crushed bottle caps and the fish has airplane wings and tail, a true flying fish; no price was found. A Victorian doll carriage was only $125.
On the other side of the Bistro are toys for grown-ups. A pair of lamps with a stack of three bronze monkeys forming the base were $325; a primitive nutcracker, $125; and a large feed store size seed cabinet with 18 glass front and three undercounter drawers, it was marked $3,200.
The role of Scott Markets and others like them was a topic of conversation with many dealers in a variety of items. Some of these dealers had closed — or were closing — their brick and mortar shops. This was attributed to the combination of a reduced interest in antiques and resulting slow traffic, coupled with rising rents and other costs that makes it impractical to continue.
Others occasional or part-time dealers did not want the various pressures of online selling that includes a demand for a quick response to queries and shipments. Most of these dealers see Scott, and other similar shows as their main sales mechanism. Some even suggested that more such shows and additional locations will be the antique industry of the future.
The number of dealers at this edition of Scott’s Antique Markets took a slight downturn, which perhaps underlines the importance of these shows to the dealers. Some of the regular Scott dealers were preparing for another show at Round Top, Texas. Jessica Crawley, leasing director for the Atlanta Expo Center, observed, “It was not our best October because of Round Top in Texas right after us and the High Point (N.C.) Furniture Market on our same weekend.” She noted that all these shows have become the major, if not the only, outlet for many of these dealers.
In the meantime, Scott Antique Markets, both ones in Atlanta and Columbus, Ohio, continue to serve both dealers and buyers with a wide range of antiques, collectibles and more.
The Atlanta Expo Centers are at 3650 and 3850 Jonesboro Road. The next shows will take place December 7-10 in Atlanta and November 25-26 in Columbus, Ohio. For more information, 740-569-2800 or www.scottantiquemarket.com.
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