Published: April 5, 2011
The oversized $20,000 check from energy utility PECO to the Chester County Historical Society on display at the entrance to the Chester County Antiques Show during preview March 18 was certainly eye-catching, but the real eye candy was on the show floor, tucked into and around each aisle. With a hearty helping of Americana filling its booths, the 29th annual show was presented by the historical society at the Westtown School March 18′0, with PECO as its main sponsor.
Weathervanes certainly fit the bill of eye candy, and choice examples were sprinkled around the show, like nuggets of gold, for the eagle-eyed buyer to find and admire. A sunny yellow-painted horse weathervane drew visitors into the booth of Hilary & Paulette Nolan, Falmouth, Mass., while a 8-foot-tall, wonderfully aged copper banner vane with spire, ball and boxed directionals, circa 1900, pointed the way at Otto & Susan Hart Antiques, Arlington, Vt.
Colorful standouts included a New England hooked area rug, with an interesting leafy border in muted hues of celadon, cocoa and rose, circa 1900′0, at Steve Smoot, Lancaster, Penn.; a New England mahogany and tiger maple veneered chest, circa 1820, at John Chaski Antiques, Camden, Del.; and a rare set of six Delaware Valley ladder back chairs in original paint, with yellow rush seats, at Joseph J. Lodge, Lederach, Penn.
The frontispiece at FraMonT, Greenwich, Conn., was an oil on canvas painting, “The Coming Storm,” by Laurent Herman Redig (1822‱861), who was renowned for his painting in the tradition of Dutch landscapes, while Greshville Antiques and Fine Art, Boyertown, Penn., who featured a fine painting last year as its showstopper (which it sold at the show) went with a circa 1900 Brunswick Balke and Collender pool table that was catching many looks.
Hanes and Ruskin, Old Lyme, Conn., were well pleased with its sales, which were across the board. Veterans of the show for more than 15 years, Lee Hanes said they have been always been fortunate here and “we were not disappointed this year.”
Furniture sales included a wonderful Philadelphia comb back Windsor armchair in old paint and a fan back Windsor armchair, also in old paint and hailing from Philadelphia. An Eighteenth Century trestle table the dealers thought might be Scandinavian sold quickly.
Hanes and Ruskin also wrote up receipts for an unframed pair of portraits of a man and woman by an anonymous American artist, dating to 1830, several pieces of high-end British pottery, a set of Eighteenth Century American steel and bone cutlery knives and forks, a Grenfell rug and even some pieces of vintage Mexican silver jewelry.
This year, due to a variety of reasons from scheduling conflicts to health, the show had quite a few new faces. Among the new dealers was West Pelham Antiques, Pelham, Mass., which had a wonderful showing in its debut here.
“I was extremely pleased with the show,” said dealer Michael A. Weinberg. “I thought everything about it was first-rate: the management, the facility, the volunteers, etc. And I was more than satisfied with my sales.”
Weinberg wrote up sales for a Shaker oval box, an important New England family register, a mocha jug, several pieces of English salt glaze, Pratt ware figures, a miniature Taconic basket, a teapot, a miniature decoy, a presentation schoolgirl watercolor drawing, a Pennsylvania decorated lyre-back side chair and a folk art carpenter’s level with heart cutouts.
“The crowd seemed very knowledgeable, and interest in my pieces was very high †from the gala to the final hours of the show on Sunday, visitors came through my booth and looked intently,” Weinberg added.
Ruth and Stephen Dube, R and S Antiques, Monterey, Mass., said their most interesting sale was of a Georgian silver christening mug by Robert Garrard, London, 1807, that sold to a couple for their grandson’s christening that week. The dealers, who specialize in Eighteentharly Twentieth Century antique accessories, furniture and works of art, said that overall they had good interest in many items, several good sales and the probability of several more follow-up transactions.
Van Tassel-Baumann American Antiques, Malvern, Penn., mixed things up this year to make the show more fun. Instead of its usual extrawide booth in the center courtyard, the dealer opted for a smaller booth along the first aisle. They were able to leave their big truck home and had an easier time setting up, Ruth Van Tassel said with a smile during Friday’s preview. The change in location must have been a good omen, for the dealer enjoyed a really good show, with strong furniture sales and a variety of decorative arts.
A Midwest collector who flew in for the show and attended both days bought well throughout the show, especially in Van Tassel-Bauman’s booth. Here, he picked up a fine walnut ball and claw foot Chippendale side chair with two shells and carved knees possibly from Southeastern, Penn. (There is some conjecture that it could have even been from Delaware or Maryland, however). He also picked up a Chester County walnut tilt top tea table with a reverse dish rim, vase and ring pedestal and snake feet, and a great early Queen Anne walnut three-shell, trifid foot side chair.
Michael Leslie, Port ‘N Starboard Gallery, Falmouth, Maine, found that his weekend tally was ok, which he described as the “new normal.” Sales included two boat models, a telescope trade sign and a Walter Dean painting. If sales were off, his booth still attracted much interest and many compliments. Providing the economy continues its slow bounce-back, Leslie plans to return to the show next year.
The Hanebergs Antiques, East Lyme, Conn., did ok this year, selling rugs and Chinese porcelain, but then wrote up a walnut Hepplewhite chest of drawers just before the show closed, which helped, said Bob Haneberg. Greg K. Kramer, Robesonia, Penn., also did ok, selling mostly smalls, but across the board. Early Pennsylvania iron from hinges to utensils sold, as did some glass and a wonderfully decorated box.
William R. & Teresa F. Kurau, Lampeter, Penn., is renowned for its collections of historical Staffordshire and always offers a pleasing variety in its booth. The Kuraus rated their showing as “decent” with sales of a variety of items. They sold Philadelphia area views, Hudson River views and several pieces of “The Residence of the Late Richard Jordan” china. Children’s mugs, child plates, prints, a silhouette, folky primitives, glass, historical documents and even some arrowheads also found new homes.
“The Chester County Historical Society puts on a beautiful show with great dealers in a fine, well-lit facility,” they said, noting that many of the show’s visitors seemed to be from the West Chester, Philadelphia and New Jersey areas.
David Pownall Willis, Plainfield, N.J., was especially pleased with a sale he made to a young man at the show, probably middle school age, who was interested in historical items. After asking many questions, the boy looked at and bought from Willis a pair of Philadelphia coin silver salt spoons, circa 1850, by C. Bard and Son. The sale was not a high-ticket item, but Willis was thrilled to encourage a love and appreciation of antiques in the younger generation.
Audrey Hall, Dixon-Hall Fine Art, Phoenixville, Penn., was surprised to note her sales were to clients from New Jersey, not Chester County, and consisted of three paintings: one dating to the Nineteenth Century, and two from the Twentieth Century.
For additional information, www.ChesterCoHistorical.org or 610-692-4800.
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