Published: May 1, 2007
“We love this location. We love the building and the management. Move-in is easy. Customers love it here. I got a call from a woman who was trying to decide which of the shows to come to. When I told her that we had free parking, she said, ‘That settles it! I’m coming.'”
Show promoter Barry Cohen of b4rTime settled into his temporary office to the right of the entrance of Antiques at Philadelphia’s Navy Pier and described his co-venture with York, Penn., promoter Jim Burk.
Cohen and Burk organize the largest of Antiques Week in Philadelphia’s three shows. Known for American country furniture and folk art, the 60-plus exhibitor fair boasts some of the biggest names in the business.
This was Cohen and Burk’s second year at the Cruise Terminal at Pier One, a waterfront facility on the pastoral campus of the old Navy shipyard, near Citizens Bank Park and Lincoln Financial Field, for all you Phillies and Eagles fans.
Over the years, exhibitors have discovered the facility’s conveniences, including proximity to I-95, inexpensive hotel accommodations nearby and a spacious, sunlit exhibit hall with an adjacent lunchroom.
They have also discovered the venue’s defects. The Cruise Terminal is a ten-minute cab ride from downtown Philadelphia, an inconvenience that Burk and Cohen offset by providing free shuttle transportation to and from the 33rd Street Armory, where the Philadelphia Antiques Show runs concurrently.
“We pick up the tab for the shuttle from the Cruise Terminal to the 33rd Street Armory. It disappoints me that the service isn’t a cooperative venture,” Cohen says.
Also, the Cruise Terminal’s roof has been known to leak. Victor Weinblatt congratulated the building management for anticipating this year’s downpour, which arrived late Saturday night and continued intermittently through pack-out.
“The building crew was very responsive. They were up there roofing on Thursday before the show opened. We got horizontal rain when we were loading out. We’d been to Home Depot and bought out their plastic sheeting department. We wrapped everything and got home safe and dry,” said the Massachusetts dealer.
Antiques at Philadelphia’s Navy Pier is the first Antiques Week show to open. Buyers line up early for its 10 am debut on Friday. Outside the entrance at 8:04 am, Howard Roth of Albany, N.Y., who buys fireplace equipment, was the first in line.
“I bought three pieces,” he said.
Many exhibitors reported lively trading through Friday morning. With the other fairs opening at noon and 4:30 pm on the same day, diehard shoppers tend to race through Antiques at Philadelphia’s Navy Pier, then come back over the weekend to shop at leisure.
“The gate exceeded last year by a small amount. Sunday’s attendance was not off, despite the great disparity in the weather from last year to this. Last year it was 55 degrees and sunny on Sunday; this year, it was 45 degrees and rainy,” said Cohen, discounting the role weather may have played.
Specialists in Pennsylvania furniture, Lisa Vander Lann and Jonathan Schill of Vander Lann and Schill Antiques sold a tall chest to an HUP Show exhibitor just as the doors opened. Their Federal tall case clock, case attributed to John Scudder, Westfield, N.J., was on hold a few moments later. The Exton, Penn., dealers are moving to Oley Valley, where they will have a large shop and barn.
Oley Forge dealers George Allen and Gordon Wykoff showed a paint decorated Bucks County hanging wall cupboard signed “Catherine Stauffer, 1800.” A matching cupboard made by John Drissel for Catherine’s brother, Abraham, is in the Esmerian Collection at the American Folk Art Museum. Raccoon Creek’s many sales included a pair of punched tin Moravian parade lanterns.
A third Oley dealer, Pierre DeRagon, fashioned his tripartite booth to resemble a small, well-appointed country house. DeRagon featured a Bucks Country cupboard, $9,500, filled with Nineteenth Century onion bottles, $300 each.
“We had a good set up,” said Pennsylvania and Maine dealer Michael Newsom, who unveiled a flamboyantly decorated York County bed, $4,800; a Nineteenth Century sheet-iron horse weathervane with traces of gilt clinging to its surface, $2,900; and a Montgomery County, Penn., tall clock, $16,500.
Known for color and whimsy, Weinblatt sold a green and white painted corner cupboard, a blue Quebec jelly cupboard, a green Vermont jelly cupboard, a set of large hanging shelves, an elongated one-drawer stand, game boards, hooked rugs, architectural pieces and a gold mirror.
“I’ve got to write receipts,” said Lederach, Penn., dealer Joseph Lodge, politely excusing himself to catch up with paperwork. His many sales included architectural iron and a tiger maple tall chest.
“We’ve sold right across the board: weathervanes, paintings, wood carvings and hooked rugs,” said New Hampshire dealer Cheryl Scott, who brought a Dunlap School high chest of drawers, $26,000.
Long Island dealer Doug Constant offered a set of six Salem, Mass., Chippendale side chairs with “owl’s eye” backs, $19,500.
A rare accordion action card table, $6,500, probably from Portsmouth, N.H., joined bottles, maps, and redware at Brian Cullity, Sagamore, Mass.
Roberto Freitas did not hold back, offering a Derr family Berks County paint decorated dower chest formerly in the collections of Chris Machmer and Ray Holland for $58,000. A Salem, Mass., Chippendale chest-on-chest was $415,000 and a Boston reverse serpentine chest of drawers was $165,000 in the Stonington, Conn., dealer’s stand.
A New Hampshire country desk and bookcase in red paint with a reeded front was $17,000 at Stephen-Douglas Antiques of Vermont and New Hampshire.
“Buyers are interested in glass, paintings and redware,” said Ohio dealer Sam Forsythe. Forsythe and his partner David Good combined smalls with early furniture, including a circa 1740 Hudson River Valley ladder back chair, $39,500, in old black over red paint.
Mary and Joshua Steenburgh filled their booth with hand mirrors, bottles and other country accessories and folk art. From Pike, N.H., Joshua Steenburgh doubles as an auctioneer, calling sales with his father, Archie Steenburgh.
“It was picked out of a house by Eleanor Ritenour,” Virginia dealer Malcom Magruder said of a mid-Eighteenth Century Virginia splay legged tap table with a scrubbed top and blue base.
Carved, cast and painted, eagles were everywhere. Russ and Karen Goldberger featured a patriotic painted tin shield from a Lebanon, Penn., courthouse. It centered an eagle surmounting a cartouche enclosing a sailing ship. The New Hampshire dealers sold a late Nineteenth Century architectural eagle.
Eagles in every size and shape also turned up at T.L. Dwyer Antiques of Barto, Penn., at John Sideli Antiques of Wiscasset, Maine, and at Thomas R. Longacre Antiques of Marlborough, N.H.
“I haven’t done a show since 1985. Shows are much better now. People are so much more knowledgeable,” said Smitty Axtell, who teamed up with his wife, Sandra, and Richard and Ellen Vlasak to create a cozy, antiques-filled display reminiscent of their Deposit, N.Y., shop. A highlight was a wooden eagle by Philadelphia carver William Rush.
“There are only six known,” said Axtell.
“I got it from a sprinkler dealer,” said Mertztown, Penn., dealer Frank Martin, who offered a large cast iron elephant lawn sprinkler, $4,500, with an attractively weathered painted surface.
The best game board in the show belonged to Massachusetts dealers Pam Boynton and Martha Boynton. The two-sided example in great old paint was $16,500. The Boyntons showed it with an oversized cow weathervane, $32,000, and a five-drawer walnut chest, ex collection of Clark Garrett, $26,000.
“It’s been a good show,” said Clear Spring, Md., dealer Lisa McAllister. “I sold a New York City springerle board, a piece of Baltimore stoneware by H. Remmey, good redware and a variety of smalls. Everything was expensive.”
Jewett & Berdan of Newcastle, Maine, added color to their display with an early yarn sewn rug, $7,500, and an appliqued table runner, $2,650.
Philadelphia 1876 Centennial bandanas turned up in several booths. William and Teresa Kurau had one in fine condition. Illustrating Memorial Hall, it was $245.
Folk art dolls headlined at Jane Wargo, Wallingford, Conn. A particularly nice pair of boy and girl rag dolls was $6,295.
Native American arts specialist Joan Wenger featured a Navajo Yei rug, $8,500, and Germantown weavings, $7,500 and $14,500.
New York dealer Blanche Greenstein snapped up a painted bed and homespun bed linens at Nancy Fishelson, Woodbury, Conn.
A wool and cotton woven coverlet attributed to Frederic Nevel, Dundee, Ohio, was one of many collector’s items at Trish and Don Herr. The Lancaster, Penn., dealers also offered an English pewter platter punch decorated with a scene of “Washington Crossing The Delaware” after Thomas Sully.
Michael and Sally Whittemore ornamented one wall with miniature portraits and silhouettes, including a pair attributed to Rufus Porter.
“I’m happy if things go smoothly and my dealers make money,” says Cohen, who focuses on results.
As Antiques and The Arts Weekly went to press, the venues for two of the three Antiques Week in Philadelphia shows were unconfirmed. “We’ll be back in Philadelphia in 2008 no matter what. Our show is a significant contribution to Antiques Week in Philadelphia,” said Cohen (see related story filed at presstime at www. antiquesandthearts.com/Antiques/TradeTalk/2007-05-01__08-48-16.html ).
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