Published: April 27, 2004
It’s Texas – It’s Big
Marburger Farm Antique Show was again the largest single show in the Round Top week of antiques shows and markets, March 28 through April 3.
Promoter John Sauls said, “The Tuesday and Wednesday gates were the biggest ever – a new record. And, the week, while held down because of Friday’s rain, was at least as good as any before.” He added that with some new exhibit halls the show is now up to 400 dealers, also a new record.
Dealers for this event pay rents higher then most other shows and even so there is an enormous waiting list for exhibit spaces for the twice-yearly event. The antiques offered are strong on country style and especially so in Texas with lots of hot colors and Nineteenth Century primitives but that is not everything. Buyers are here for antiques, and they want a little bit of everything. John has managed to attract dealers from throughout the country so a little bit of everything is here. The show’s many large tents house from ten to as many as 70 dealers and there are now a half dozen buildings on the old farmstead with more exhibitors.
Susan Mick, Quincy, Fla., still shops in her native Ohio as well as in Florida, bringing a large selection of wall hangings, out of print books and some esoteric rdf_Descriptions (after all, she is an ex-school teacher). She also had furniture, household accessories and even a pair of snowshoes (from Florida??).
Gene Best, Mocksville, N.C., and Peter Spanos, shared a four-booth space under the overhang of one of the buildings. Gene carries late Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century furniture and Peter has art from current back 200 years. The combination made a very attractive booth.
Gene and his wife Diana also get into some cute and different rdf_Descriptions from time to time. He brought with him a concrete cow Diana had found that had been an advertising prop for Borden’s Dairy, Elsie the Cow. It was sold twice on Sunday during the unloading and at least once more before it left the show in midweek. During the week he then found the world’s largest pond boat (his joke) a nine-foot-long by eight-foot-tall model of a Nineteenth Century clipper ship. Its condition was very good and he felt he was going to put it away for Nashville’s Heart of Country in the fall.
Jennifer Mallon, Warrenton Va., was feeling like queen of the hill by the end of just the first day. She had sold several large pieces of furniture including an American made slant front desk, also known as a Governor Winthrop-style desk, to a dealer who offered the piece at another of the week’s shows.
Venice, Calif., dealer Casey Hale, trading under the name “Urban Country,” brought a set of six chairs, which might be categorized as Arts and Crafts, but by any name were unusual. Made of mixed woods with intricate inlays by John Shpies in the 1920s they were purchased from The Denver Museum of Art and offered for $19,500 at the show.
Dealers come to this show from near and far – very far in fact. The Los Angeles area dealers travel about 1,200 to 1,400 miles while exhibitor Virginia Renschen, Middletown, Conn., has a trip of a little more than 2,000 miles. Virginia brought a wide variety of antiques and had “the best show ever” selling early dishes, several chests, two sack back Windsor chairs and many small antique accessories. June Ainsworth is from East Hampton on Long Island, N.Y.’s eastern tip and she has been a regular at Marburger Farm for years, long enough that she has one of the inside spaces.
North Carolinian Jessica Pack brought her typical assortment of Nineteenth and early Twentieth Century dishes and dining accessories. Tom Cheap and Rose Reynolds are now settled in their new home in Scottsburg, Ind., but they still collect early American country furniture and accessories. Most of their furniture was painted early in its life, some simply for protection and some with great decoration. In a corner of their booth they had a tapered stack of blanket boxes from very large to a miniature on the top of the stack, all painted.
The distinction of furthest traveled went to Florence Porterman. She and her husband are retired Americans living in Ross-on-Wye, England. They come to the states several times each year with a large collection of Staffordshire dishes and figurines, art, small hardwood boxes and household decorating accessories. For this trip they also had two matching early Nineteenth Century brass chandeliers.
An interesting phenomenon has begun to happen here. The Round Top Week, and in particular Marburger Farm, had a few visiting promoters interviewing prospective dealers for the bigger Eastern shows. Paul Davis, ever the enterprising entrepreneur, came down for most of the week even though he had his Portsmouth, N.H., show at the Yoken Center on April 4.
Marburger Farm Antique Show happens twice each year with the event ending on the first Saturday of October and April. This makes the fall date September 28 through October 2, and next spring will be March 29 through April 2. To reach John, call 800-947-5799, visit or johnsauls.com.
Texas: selling, buying or just visiting – it’s worth the trip.
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