Published: June 12, 2007
Billing itself as “The Great Country Show,” the Historic East Berlin Antiques Show works hard to live up to its motto: “Fair Prices. Friendly Dealers. The Way Shows Used to Be.”
Staged each May at the East Berlin Community Center, the 26-dealer fair runs alongside the behemoth Greater York Antiques Show and the York Country Classic Antiques Show, 12 miles away at York Fairgrounds.
When dealers finish setting up on Thursday for the York shows, they head over to East Berlin, a quaint town in the middle of Adams County farm country. The village was founded in 1764, when a Prussian immigrant purchased 200 acres from Thomas and Richard Penn. Each house in the original town plan was required to be at least 16 feet wide and 20 feet deep and have either a stone or brick chimney.
Started a decade ago and operated by a volunteer force of 40, the Historic East Berlin Antiques Show raises funds for the East Berlin Historical Preservation Society, whose major activity is preserving five local buildings: the 1794 Swigart’s Mill, an 1832 log house, the 1892 Liberty #1 engine house, the Church Schoolhouse, and Red Men’s Hall.
“All show promoters worry about attendance, but we were very happy. We had just under 500 visitors, which is about typical for us,” said co-chairman Beverly Jadus.
“I was delighted with the show and our exhibitors were, too,” said co-chair Gretchen Davis.
The early buying preview got underway on Thursday, May 17, at 5 pm.
“We try to put on a good spread,” said Davis. “Some people wait in line to get in, then run right to the food.” Other shoppers make a point of staying for dinner in the area, said Jadus.
Dealers set up simple displays in three rooms on one floor of the Community Center. There are 15 exhibitors on the main floor of the small auditorium and another four on the adjacent stage, plus six more in galleries one and two.
Front and center are Ellen Katona and Bob Lutz of Greenwich, N.J. Their crisp presentation featured Delaware ladder back and Windsor side chairs and a splay leg, drop leaf table, plus tole, pipe boxes, a small cow weathervane and even snowshoes.
Nearby, Marvin and Barbara Eliot of Pottles & Pannikins got into the spirit with a red and green farmer, horse and wagon whirligig, $1,150, that was perfect for Amish country.
“It’s an interesting show with some nice things and the prices are not exorbitant,” said Barbara Eliot. Pottles & Pannikins used to do York, but switched to East Berlin because it is easy and convenient, plus they have good friends in the area.
A tulip decorated Pennsylvania dower chest attracted notice at Wannemacher’s Antiques of East Berlin. The Eighteenth Century Johannes Rank piece was $12,500.
Don and Pat Clegg of East Berlin showed decoys and other bird carvings. A Mason mallard drake was $875; a mallard drake by the Wildfowler Decoy Factory of Old Saybrook, Conn., $425.
Feather-edged Peafowl pattern pearlware was popular, turning up at The Nosey Crow, Dover, Penn., where a plate from the famed Deike collection was $1,450, and at Shaeffer’s Antiques of Glyndon, Md., where a teapot was $1,600.
Wendy J. Christie of Stevens, Penn., arrayed country textiles, china and cutlery in an attractive medley of indigo, cream and pewter.
On the stage, Burnside, Ky., dealer Lynne Dingus quickly made a major sale of a large oil on canvas portrait of three children, including a girl in a colorful tartan dress. Another exhibitor pitched in and trucked the painting down to the Baltimore buyer of the work.
Andrea Hollenbaugh of East Berlin sold handsome country smalls, folk dolls and samplers. A house sampler embroidered with birds and flowers by Mary Wallace was $1,150; a framed bird and branch stump work embroidery, $395.
Mulberry Antiques of Pittsburgh sold most of its big furniture. Also of interest was a Lancaster County basket, $225, a red tole sugar canister, $235, and a Whig Rose quilt, $975.
Three exhibitors in gallery one included Anne Pass of Mechanicsburg, Penn., who showed off her great eye for Pennsylvania textiles and smalls. “I like sewing antiques and Amish needlework,” she explained. A grained Amish shelf was $495.
In gallery two, Lion and The Lamb Antiques and Beverly A. Jadus Antiques of East Berlin set up alongside Homespun Antiques of Mentor, Ohio. Homespun featured a red and green Pennsylvania quilt, a primitive painted hanging cupboard, wicker and Staffordshire.
Lion and The Lamb’s Gretchen Davis showed a slant front desk on frame in black paint and a lift-top blanket chest with a prettily scalloped skirt. A late Eighteenth Century scherenschnitte valentine was $415, and a chalkware cat, $895.
“I always do very well with textiles and I sold a big, beautiful, early basket to one of the York show dealers,” said Davis.
Beverly Jadus sold a Nineteenth Century Sons of Veterans ballot box in original paint from St Williamsport, Penn. “It had a great wooden cannon sitting on top of it and a place for dropping in white and black balls. Another nice sale was a primitive gate leg of an appealingly small size,” Jadus said.
Added Davis, “At first we hunted dealers. Now they are hunting us. We tailgate the two major shows at York, but our reputation is building and we are developing our own clientele.”
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