Published: June 17, 2008
“We were delighted with the show; attendance was up from last year, and all of our exhibitors are planning to return next year,” Gretchen Davis, show manager, said at the close of the 11th annual Historic East Berlin Antique Show. This event, which benefits the East Berlin Historical Preservation Society, opened with a preview party on Thursday evening, May 29, and then continued for two days at the Community Center. Twenty-eight dealers took part in the show, some in the large main hall, four on the stage and the remainder spread out in several of the smaller rooms in the building.
Billed as “The Great Country Show,” it offers everything from kitchen smalls and Staffordshire to dry sinks and corner cupboards. For example, the booth of Beverly Jadus, one of several from East Berlin, showed a New England chair table with pinned base, circa mid-1800s, with a 45¾-by-46½-inch top. Also on offer was a New England Eighteenth Century banister back armchair with splint seat, turned feet and old black painted surface, and a bucket bench/dry sink, circa 1800, that had been scraped down to the original blue/gray paint.
Blue Dog Antiques of Stafford Springs, Conn., had a room that was just opened for show use this year and it was filled to capacity with many objects, including a rare Nineteenth Century Indian shutter door in the original mustard paint. Cy Stellmach said, “We have this long booth and it has worked out well for us.” A collection of pewter, including salts, candlesticks and plates, filled one shelf, and at the end of the booth a ship diorama of New Jersey origin featured a ship with wood-carved sails.
Of interest was a six-board chest from Soap Hollow, Somerset County, Penn., shown in the booth of The Passes of Mechanicsburg, Penn. The chest, with the original red-painted surface with gold stenciling on the front, “AM 1845,” is believed to be the earliest known Soap Hollow blanket chest. It measures 45½ inches long, 20½ inches wide and 24½ inches high. A stack of six painted pantry boxes was shown near a collection of redware turk’s head molds.
From nearby New Oxford, Penn., Reilly & Jenks offered two dry sinks, one from New York State in mustard over old blue paint with three unusual lift lids in the top section and two doors in the lower portion, and the other, also of New York origin, two doors under an open top, with the original blue surface. More blue paint was on the interior of a small hanging cupboard of Southern origin.
Another local dealer, Wannemacher’s Antiques, had an early Pennsylvania jelly cupboard with later grain painted decoration, a pie safe with 12 punched tin panels, and a paint decorated two-drawer blanket chest.
Windsor, Conn., dealer Pottles and Pannikins showed a fine collection of iron, some for the hearth and some lighting, along with an iron handled bedwarmer with brass pan and lid, Dutch origin, dating from the Eighteenth Century. A late Nineteenth Century settle was of pine, and a dry sink in the original red had two doors and a small drawer.
A goat wagon in blue, with red wheels, was displayed on top of a Pennsylvania sawbuck table, circa 1830, in the booth of Ellen Katona and Bob Lutz, Greenwich, N.J. Also shown was a Connecticut fanback Windsor side chair in old finish, circa 1780, and, as usual, a selection of doorstops.
Peter Diehl House Antiques of New Oxford, Penn., shows a great number of pieces of furniture in a rather small booth, but it all seems to fit and this year included a four-drawer chest from York County in the original paint decorated surface by John Rupp of Hanover, Penn. The piece had glass pulls and scroll feet. A Pennsylvania six-board chest, paneled ends and turned feet, original decoration, was listed as having come from the Margaret Schrack estate, Sugar Valley, Clinton County, Penn.
Ivy Hill Primitives from Langhorne, Penn., was loaded with country things, including wooden plates, firkins, baskets and pantry boxes, as well as a New Hampshire hanging corner cupboard in the original salmon paint, Eighteenth Century, with rosehead nails. A spice chest, mid-Nineteenth Century, had three “shot” drawers.
An early cupboard, circa 1790‱810, was in mustard paint and stood in the booth of Lion and the Lamb, another local dealer. Several double weave coverlets were offered, along with a New England tavern table, circa 1780‱800, with painted base and one-board scrubbed top with breadboard ends.
A Nineteenth Century grain painted Pennsylvania jelly cupboard, applied molding and porcelain pulls, was shown by J and J Murphy Americana of Gettysburg, Penn. Geese were painted on the front and sides of an early wood bin in mustard/green paint, and an 11-drawer apothecary, circa 1850‱875, retained portions of the original labels on the drawer fronts.
When something is shown under a glass dome, it is generally worth a look. Such was the case in the booth of The Nosey Crow of Dover, Penn. Here was an Eighteenth Century wigmaker’s head form in solid cherrywood, with fine face details, probably from New York City. The wig was from the Nineteenth Century and retained the original Philadelphia label listing Anthony Boch as the maker; he started making wigs in 1854. Thirty-two tin candle molds were mounted in a wood frame, and a selection of coin silver spoons was shown.
Local dealer Andrea Hollenbaugh Antiques offered some interesting child’s games, including The World’s Fair A-B-C’s and Picture Blocks, 1876, by McLaughlin and showing the agricultural buildings and the horticultural buildings. All lined up in the original box were 100 soldiers on parade, lithographed, also by McLaughlin.
“We are very fortunate to have a waiting list of about 30 dealers who would like to do our show, but we do not at present have the room,” Gretchen Davis said. She is, however, working with the center to obtain more space and it looks promising for next year. “We would like to enlarge the show a bit more,” she said, “and we are also going to try to hold our preview ticket to $12.”
The show is the second fundraiser for the society that maintains five historical buildings in East Berlin. The committee has thought about a fall show, but at present it is not in the cards. “We have our Colonial Day event every fall, which draws well over 10,000 people, and it is our major fundraiser,” Davis said. “Right now that is all we can handle.”
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