Published: October 30, 2001
By Anne Gilbert
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Buyers were expectedly conservative at this year’s Mint Museum Antiques Show, in its 34th year, conducted October 5 to 7 in the Charlotte Merchandise Mart.
To entice buyers, there was a raffle with a $10,000 show shopping spree and an event featuring Michael Flannigan of the Antiques Roadshow, who answered questions about “how to spot a fake.” There was also a Mint Museum silver display from the collection of Mrs George R. Scott.
The antiques offerings were sometimes breathtaking, and always top quality. But, as anticipated, despite an air of optimism on the dealers’ part, the New York terrorist attacks had left an imprint. Everybody seemed to be holding their breath waiting to see if the black-tie crowd would be buying.
New York City antique book dealer, John-Peter Hayden, Jr. survived the city’s attack and brought rare colorplate books. They included the finest copy in commerce of Pugin’s 1826 book on Gothic furniture. A rare copy of Art Gout Beaute a journal of art, fashion and beauty for a year was priced at $8,500. “These are hard to find with the art pages intact,” David Hayden pointed out. “Most were cut out and sold to be framed as prints.” The earliest examples in the booth dated 1827.
Another New Yorker, Stan Rinehart (Rinehart Antiques, Katonah, N.Y.) brought a late Nineteenth Century Georgian style, tall-case miniature clock by W. Theridown and Co., London, tagged at $2,800 as well as several Eighteenth Century English pieces. “My season started with a zero at the Park Avenue armory sale,” he said. “However, my clients will only be affected emotionally, not economically.”
“It was not up to snuff,” said Susie Lorin of Asiantiques, Winter Park, Fla. “If it hadn’t been for our [usual] clients,we wouldn’t have done very well.” Among the rdf_Descriptions that did sell was a white jade elephant boy for $18,000 and a black and white jade snuff bottle for $9,000.
The Mint show, is always a favorite stop for collectors of Southern antiques. Aly Goodwin of Fourstones Gallery, Montreat, N.C., has been exhibiting since the Show began. Antique American quilts, usually with a southern heritage, along with southern pottery and furniture, are specialties that collectors have come to expect.
A true museum quality rarity was the circa 1750 botanical stipple quilt. “It required minute stitches on homespun with linen,” said Goodwin. It was priced at $35,000.
Another novel piece was the butternut cupboard with sunflower carvings. It still showed traces of the different layers of paint from earlier years. Goodwin found the early Nineteenth Century piece in Connecticut. It was priced at $6,900.
“Southern is our thing,” said dealer Joan Marcum of Schweiz-Mar Antiques, St. Joseph, Mo. A fine blanket chest from Kentucky was pronounced, “not typical” and priced at $13,500. An early Nineteenth Century mahogany mortar and pestle resting on blanket chest was priced at $1,000.
A southern huntboard was priced at $10,500. Several river cane baskets from the Carolinas and Tennessee were tagged at $1,450 each. However, a real showstopper was a colorful Vermont folk art quilt using trapunto work of wool and challis. It was tagged at $13,900. A small Quaker armchair, first quarter of the Nineteenth Century, New York, wore a $2,800 tag,
Dealer Ray Mongenas of Loveland, Ohio had to find a ladder to measure a monumental pine cupboard from Maryland for a potential customer. “I knew I should have measured it,” he said of the 9 ½ -foot tall, Eighteenth Century piece. It was priced at $271,500. “It took two of us two months to scrape off all the layers to this beautiful pine,” he said.
Roberta and Ray Van Orden (To The Point, Richmond, Va.) offered two wonderful examples of Eighteenth and early Nineteenth Century American furniture. A rare, circa1750 Philadelphia tea table with stocking feet was priced at $18,000. A circa 1830 New York fall front desk, attributed to Michael Allison was priced at $6,800.
“[Allison’s] work can be recognized by his oval inlays,” Van Orden pointed out. Some interesting smalls included a circa 1750, English air twist stemmed wine glass for $700 and a Bristol, cobalt blue rum bottle with original stopper, circa 1780-1810, priced at $750. There were also some goodies for gadget cane collectors. One of the most unusual was a traveling dentist’s cane, complete with instruments inside a coconut wood shaft.
One of the most popular and growing collecting categories is architectural artifacts, and those were displayed by Finnegan Gallery, Chicago, Ill. “Things come and go so fast we never know what we will be bringing till the last minute,” said dealer Marty Shapiro.
Choice was a set of Nineteenth Century French, arched, orchid iron window frames priced at $6,500 for the set. Appropriately displayed in front of them was a Nineteenth Century Fiske Neo-classical style cast zinc female statue. Another garden piece was a Nineteenth Century glazed terra-cotta holder for a dozen plants. From Scotland, it was 40 inches high and priced at $3,800.
Fran Campbell (Fran Campbell, Antiques & Interiors, Inc., Savannah, Ga.) had a charming display guaranteed to attract miniature collectors. There was a Nineteenth Century tilt-top American table priced at $599. It was topped with a three-piece, miniature, Japanese tea set in the blue willow pattern. It was tagged at $150. However, the most striking display in her booth was a circa 1870 Chinese elm, window panel priced at $3,900. In front of it was a writing table with blue and white Chinese porcelain.
“I’ve only seen two of these,” said dealer Jo Calame (Rutabaga Pie Antiques, Chesterfield, Mo.), referring to an 1890s English pond racer. “Many people think this was a child’s sail boat. Not so. They were raced by Englishmen around the turn of the century.” The price was $8,500. A large, mid Nineteenth Century carved, giltwood eagle had interest even with the $5,900 price tag. There was also an eye catching, wood-stenciled inkwell priced at $350.
“We usually do well with our 1830s American furniture,” said C. Lyman McCallum, Jr. (Chicora Antiques, Inc. Charleston, S.C.), a note of guarded optimism in his voice.
A choice piece was the Philadelphia sideboard priced at $48,000. It was finely carved and attributed to Joseph B. Babury workshop. A small, crotch mahogany work table, circa 1827 was tagged at $8,500. After the show he had some observations that seemed to sum up most dealer opinions. “Though the crows were large, overall it was very slow. The things that moved were decorative objects.” A good example were the large Paris, porcelain vases that sold for $14,800 the pair.
Jerry S. Hayes (Jerry S. Hayes, Oklahoma City, Okla.) brought some museum quality majolica. Among them a pair of neo-classical English figures representing art and music. The price for the pair was $11,500. A crab plate was tagged at $4,150.
A fine Connecticut Queen Anne desk in frame was the hi-light in the Patricia Barger booth (Patricia Barger, Fairfield, Conn.). It was priced at $19,500. Barger who can be depended on to always have one or two early American oils offered a circa 1873 oil, “Brighten Pilgrim” signed George Heure for $17,500.
“I may not have done very well,” said a dealer who asked to be anonymous, “but just like the stock market is going to go back up, show will antique show sales. Right now it’s a buyer’s market if they only realize it.”
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