Review and Photos by Tania Kirkman
WHEELING, W.Va. – Steeped in quality, the Oglebay Institute’s Annual Antiques Show and Sale has endured as a staple in the region, offering a consistent balance of American antiques together with glassware, ceramics, jewelry, fine art and decorations to suit distinguished collectors and a diverse buying crowd. Oglebay recently celebrated its 65th anniversary April 5-7 as West Virginia’s largest and longest-running antiques show.
Show manager Peter Chillingworth, who took over the event 17 years ago, sought to recapture the character of the show as he remembered from his early days as a dealer in American furniture and decorative arts in the 1960s. Through the years, he has achieved his vision and upheld the integrity of the show with grace and enthusiasm. “The show has maintained its size, and the dealers continue to fill booths,” said Chillingworth.
As a testimony to the dedication of the show staff and management, one statement rang true through the entirety of the show – dealers love being part of it. A preview reception, daytime hospitality and dealer dinner in the mansion museum were just a few of the amenities offered. Chillingworth stated, “We want all of the dealers to do well and have a good time while they are here and enjoy their stay at the lodge.”
The show boasted a full house, with more than 50 dealers from 12 states exhibiting in the historic Glessner Auditorium, adjoining rooms and upstairs level of Wilson Lodge. For many dealers, this is the kickoff of to their show circuit for the year, and for attendees, the sale offered one-of-a-kind opportunities. Friday evening featured early buying during a patron preview party and dessert with antiques. Saturday’s activities incorporated dealer booth talks, children’s programs, guided show and museum tours and a patron/dealer meet and greet.
“Buyers were enthusiastic at the preview event,” said John Cooper of Antiques & Folk Art, Wilmington, N.C., who sold an Eighteenth Century tavern table in original paint, treenware and folk art over the weekend. Linda Grier Antiques of Salisbury, Md., said she was pleased to have sold two large pieces of furniture to returning customers early in the show; a transitional Chippendale/Hepplewhite slant front desk on stand and a New England one-door cupboard in original salmon paint.
Toni and Joe Weaver of Catskill Antiques, New York and North Carolina, remarked on seeing “a sophisticated crowd that knows what they are looking at and appreciate the kind of antiques they see at the show.” They reported interest in several of their six-board blanket boxes, and sales ranged from primitives to early lighting and a painted mule chest.
Signature Antiques of Lakeview, Ohio, offered a nice mix of furniture, paintings and pottery, including crocks, redware and mochaware. Karen Fults shared a thoughtful viewpoint regarding the purchase of “brown” furniture – that millennials are seeing the benefit in purchasing antiques and appreciate the character and sustainability of a Nineteenth Century chest, for example, over a modern piece. We are going green, reducing our carbon footprint and making the shift from being a throw-away society.
Joining the show for the first time this year, Lara Rudd of Lara Joyce Antiques from Westfield, N.J., offered an eclectic mix of antiques and Victoriana, including brass, cameras, jewelry, paintings, silhouettes and samplers. Rudd commented that “there was a nice mix of customers who were interested in a whole swath of different things.” One treasure that went home with collectors was a rare 1830s brass “Cottage Jack” spit jack.
Private Stock of Cleveland, Ohio, was in attendance with art glass by Steuben, Tiffany, Webb, Galle, Mozer, Quezal and Daum, complemented by blown, pressed, colored glass and porcelains. Luther Yocom, a veteran dealer at the show, reported sales of Steuben, art glass and peachblow glass.
Cynthia Marshall Antiques of Butler, Penn., has been exhibiting in this show for the past 20 years, specializing in tribal masks and ethnic arts. Highlights in her booth included an Eighteenth Century witch doctor’s mask and a grouping of 100-year-old Ivory Coast tale-telling masks. A distinguishing quality of these items was that they were made for ceremonial use within the tribes and not produced for the tourist trade.
Chairperson Antiques of Riverwood, Md., presented a display of pottery and porcelains, including Wedgwood jasperware, blue willow, transferware, Limoges, early Nineteenth Century Spode, Quimper and French faience pottery, German hand-painted porcelains by Dresden and others.
Tom Heisey Art & Antiques of Newark, Ohio, was enthusiastic and had a great time attending the show. He remarked, “This is my working vacation!” and praised the great venue, hard-working event staff and the draw that this show has as a major fundraiser for the institute and its museum for its continued success. Heisey specializes in antiques, art and folk art, and has been attending the show for more than 20 years.
Carlese Westock of Woodland Park, N.J., exhibited an elegant display of clear and colored glass, with a focus on American and antique glassware. Her offerings featured stemware, cut glass serving items, decanters, candlesticks, colored and cranberry glass. Westock related that items sold well during the Friday evening preview, and that practical glassware and items, such as decanters, were popular with the crowd.
A noteworthy highlight of this year’s event occurred after hours, and not something that was on the show’s agenda. During the evening event for dealers, an announcement was made that show manager Peter Chillingworth had graciously donated his antiques reference library to the institute. The declaration came as a surprise to Chillingworth, who did not expect to receive such acclaim for his contribution; he had simply done it as a way to give back to the community that means so much to him. This recognition came as a high honor, and he appreciated sharing it with long-time friends and colleagues who were present for the show that has become such an important part of his life and legacy. Chillingworth looks forward to continuing his role as event manager for years to come.
Show dates for Oglebay Institute’s 66th Annual Antiques Show and Sale are already planned for next year, taking place on April 3-5, 2020. For information, 304-242-7272 or www.oionline.com.