Published: November 4, 2003
While no one is proclaiming that the end of the national recession is officially here, the regular antiques and collectibles dealers at the monthly Metrolina Antiques & Fine Collectibles Show continue to report that quality objects are selling well and bringing fair market prices.
“We’re confident that our steady attendance numbers are one of the reasons our dealers have continued to sell well,” noted show manager Lydia Sullivan. “During an economic downturn such as the antiques industry has experienced for nearly two years now, the key to keeping dealers selling is to bring in more customers. With most consumers watching their wallets more closely, it takes aggressive marketing to sustain the sales levels Metrolina dealers have come to expect over the 32-year history of this show series. Whereas one in five shoppers may have made a purchase five years ago, in the current climate it’s more like one in eight. And that makes our job as show promoters both more challenging, and much more important to the individual dealers.”
Dean Bullis of Carriage Trade Antiques, LLC, in North Wilkesboro and Blowing Rock, N.C., has been selling at the Metrolina Antiques & Fine Collectibles Show for several years. He reported that while he has not set any sales records in 2003, he has nonetheless had a very successful year. At a recent show he sold a famille pose basin featuring four Imperial Court scenes surrounding a detailed central medallion for $1,900.
Also, the empty plate stands in the Carriage Trade Antiques booth attest to the continued popularity of English ceramics, particularly blue and white transfer printed plates and platters. Cobalt, brown, lavender and pink are also selling well. Five of 11 pieces sold on the opening day of the show and Bullis restocked before the next day, providing second day customers a chance at fresh inventory and himself with continued sales opportunities.
Sue Pruitt of Antiques, Inc in Charlotte, has also seen strong ceramics sales. She buys in England five or six times a year and most recently sold a charming circa 1860 English porcelain footbath, cream with blue, for $300. The buyer was delighted with the bargain.
Fine art is also performing well. Cynthia Rankin Antiques & Accessories, Lincolnton, N.C., sold an oil on canvas Scottish landscape that featured Highland cattle for $3,500. The circa 1870 painting was an early work by Henry Cooper, who was well-known for his rural landscapes and continued to paint and exhibit until 1920. The 23- by 31-inch canvas was still encased in its original heavy gilded frame.
Across the aisle, Lois Miller of Miller Galleries in Pittsburgh, sold a 1963 painting titled “Girl Sewing” for $150, saying that her strategy of offering paintings with interesting subjects and affordable price tags has kept inventory moving in her space over the past two years at the show.
The paint is applied to wood not canvas in the booth of Ben Bisseling from Banner Elk, N.C. He and his wife own The Grail European Antiques and specialize in painted country pine. He sold a cabinet for $2,300 and routinely sells similar pieces at that price point in Charlotte; he has been selling at the show for six years.
According to Joe Lewis, Yesterday’s Antiques & Collectibles, from Charlotte, his sales at the Metrolina shows have steadily grown over the past six years, too. He specializes in Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century tall-case clocks and keeps his inventory in the $3,900 to $6,900 range. He sold two clocks at the last show, a circa 1820 English tall-case clock and a circa 1840 Scottish tall- case clock, both eight-day movements, and priced $5,400.
French antiques importer Thomas A. Hensel from Murfreesboro, Tenn., brought a selection of mid- to late Nineteenth Century antiques. He sold a Louis Philippe buffet aux deux corps for $1,400 and a set of ten country French dining chairs with rush seats for $1,200 on the morning of opening day.
For Mary Evans, Larkspur Lane Antiques, smalls have dominated her sales book this year. She sold a shell box for $35, a 1940s tole apple mold for $75 and a 1930s tole lamp with a palm motif for $225 in the opening hours.
Nearby, Terry Peeler from Lincolnton, N.C., who has not missed a Metrolina show in 22 years, offered vintage solid mahogany furniture to clients who know this show offers good buys in 1930s through 1960s solid wood furniture. Peeler sold a diminutive solid mahogany china cabinet for $300.
Not only do these regular monthly show dealers keep an eye on sales trends, many of their buyers are sellers too. For example, buyer Alice Davis from Banner Elk, N.C., comes to the show to buy for resale in her Banner Elk shop and interior design business. Metrolina dealer Ed Bailey and his assistant loaded a farm table, a drop leaf table, a flour and meal bin, a set of four chairs and a stack of leather books into Davis’s Toyota van.
“Shabby chic is what is selling for me,” Davis said. “I’m going to paint that farm table and set of chairs that I paid $300 for, and then sell them for a lot more!”
The shows are conducted at the Metrolina Expo Grounds just off I-77 at exit 16A. For information, 800-824-3770, 704-596-4643 or www.dmgantiqueshows.com.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm