Published: April 15, 2008
Meta Bleier, 82, who, with her husband Paul, operated Silent Woman Antiques for many years, died March 25 following a brief battle with cancer.
Meta was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., but spent most of her formative years in Richmond and Roanoke, Va. From 1942 to 1946 she attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
After graduation, she returned to New York and in 1948 she and Paul were married. They would have celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary this June. During that time, they raised five children, all while Meta was heavily involved in her community and synagogue, where she held many senior positions. Meta later returned to school, receiving a master’s in library science; she then spent a number of years working as a librarian in both pubic schools and libraries.
Meta and Paul had always been interested in antiques, and in 1967 they began collecting John Rogers Groups of statuary. Thus began a decades-long love affair with the works of this Victorian artist and during that period the couple accumulated one of the largest and finest conditioned collections of Rogers Groups in the country. Eventually becoming nationally known experts on the subject, Meta authored a book on John Rogers in 1971. A second edition of the book was issued in 1976 and in 2001 the book was republished.
Meta also accumulated one of the largest and most important collections of Victorian silver plated figural napkin rings in the country. In addition, her collection of Roseville brown Pinecone numbered in the hundreds. Meta authored many articles for a variety of publications and was a frequent guest speaker at antique events.
In 1970 Meta retired from her position as a school librarian and went into the antiques business full time. Over the next 22 years, she and Paul operated Silent Woman Antiques, selling from their home and exhibiting in as many as 15 shows a year. From 1975 to 1976 they also maintained a shop in the Second Avenue Antiques Center in New York City.
Meta’s taste in antiques was eclectic. She always displayed a variety of the most interesting in decorative arts, emphasizing uniqueness and beauty, rather than just seeking out important names. Her booths were always very dramatic.
Meta and Paul retired from the antiques business in 1995 and the couple settled in Florida.
A strong woman, with a decidedly strong but charming personality, Meta maintained her lifelong friendships with her “antique buddies” long after she took ill. She will be missed by all who knew her for her knowledge, taste, wit and loyalty.
She leaves behind her husband Paul, and four children, two daughters-in-law, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, all of whom she loved dearly. Her eldest son, Barry, predeceased her in 1997.
Memorial donations may be made to the American Cancer Society.
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