Published: October 29, 2002
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – Was it the perfect autumnal weather or the presence of Houdini’s memorabilia that made the antiques and collectibles disappear at this fall’s “Atlantique City” show?
Although the gate may have been lighter than years past, this writer saw a good number of booths displaying sold signs. No doubt the sale of large furniture rdf_Descriptions was helped by the show’s free 200-mile furniture delivery service, a convenience unique to this show.
This is the third Atlantique City show run by Ted Jones, who is making a concerted effort to go the extra mile working with his show dealers. Ted Jones’s reputation is tangibly increasing as confirmed by a number of dealers. Many dealers have substantiated this by saying things like, “You call show management once and they will call you back three or more times until they reach you.” Kathleen Rose Tarr from Victorian Rose Antiques finds it to be a “dealer-friendly show and loves doing it under the new management.”
Another of Ted’s goals is to increase the quality of dealers and customers at the show. Specifically, Ted wants to increase the number of high-quality furniture dealers. According to Ted, “Seventy furniture dealers were represented at this show, which is a good percentage.”
Since the new Convention Center is situated three long blocks from the boardwalk and there are no longer the casual walk-ins that were visible at the old Convention Center, Ted decided to introduce a new marketing tool to attract this clientele. Placing ads in the windows and lobbies of five casinos has brought back the boardwalk strollers. In addition, five casinos are now exhibiting at the show. Thus, Ted has created a symbiotic relationship between the show and the casinos.
Despite all of these improvements and efforts, consumer confidence is always a factor. This was echoed by more than one dealer. For example, Kent Monken from Style and Grace Antiques, said, “At first people were discretionary, but now they are circumspect.” Another dealer said, “It’s not Wall Street, it’s the economy in general.” A cautionary comment was also expressed by Joan Majeune from Toys in the Attic, “I don’t need 100,000 customers; just one customer with a $100,000.”
One dealer who did not allow the gloomy economic forecast to dampen her spirit was Rhonda Ford of Neat’s Antiques. The affable, exuberant Ford afforded a touch of Hollywood. Movie wardrobe departments have purchased her hats to use as patterns for period movies such as Titanic. Moreover, her clothing continues to be popular with Civil War reenactors, and Edwardian and Victorian club members.
Walking up and down the aisles of this concrete canyon, one is truly in an antiques wonderland. Some other booths that contributed to this atmosphere included James Kennedy Antiques, Ltd, which had an arresting cluster of brass telescopes. Lin’s Quilt Source had a kaleidoscopic arrangement of quilts. Best of France had monumental furniture and architectural rdf_Descriptions. Row after row of high caliber toys was seen at Bill Bertoia’s booth. Elegant Reflections was a decorator’s delight with their gilt clocks, candelabra and marble statuary. A mesmerizing collection of miniature dolls was seen at Anne Timpson’s booth. Marty Schneider had an impressive assortment of silhouettes.
But this show was more than just dealers. With a show that encompassed more than 101/2 acres of floor space and approximately 1,000 dealers, it goes without saying that even the most hearty and avid collector needs a break. With that in mind, management strategically placed two oases at the farthest distance from the entrance. One was the extensive and diversified collection of Houdini from owner Mario Carrandi and the other was free appraisal sessions. As opposed to the one-on-one, confessional-like approach, the appraisers wore microphones so that the entire audience could benefit from hearing what was assessed. It was like the Antiques Roadshow.
Finally there are two last points that manager Jones would like everyone to note. The corporate change from Krause Publications to F&W Publications will not change the quality of their publications. Secondly, collectors in the Midwest can look forward to a new show managed by Jones. It will be in Chicago at the Rosemont Convention Center on June 28-29, 2003. Now on to the Windy City Show!
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