Published: November 7, 2006
Marking 31 years in this small farming center, with antiques shows every week and extravaganzas three times each year, Renningers conducted its Antiques Extravaganza most recently on September 28–30.
Gerald Bashore, the firm’s general manager, said that more than 700 dealers were assembled in the buildings, sheds and tents for the start at 10 am on Thursday. When hundreds of shoppers were released, the antiques dealers began to unload their stock at the same time. Small antiques were placed on display tables and in showcases; furniture was shown in room settings and many special collections filled the average 100-square-foot space — the site was filled to overflowing for the buying public.
Early painted furniture, which is frequently identified with this part of the country, was found in good quantity, and much of it found new homes early on this first day. Tall painted cupboards were offered by Ken and Jan Silveri from nearby Hamburg, Penn. For this show, their furniture was offered in “as found” surface, including some in early faux grain paint and other pieces with later paint. The Silveris also trade in early transfer ware and quilts, most of them found in these eastern hills of Pennsylvania.
Another dealer with the furniture typical of the area was Jim Johannes of Barto, Penn. He brought several blanket boxes in early milk paint, a set of paint decorated plank seat chairs and a small dry sink.
Forms made of wood for large gears in their original paint colors were offered by Robert Ogden of Philadelphia. The forms were used to create images in sand, removed and then the sand was filled with molten metal to make the machine parts in some cases; in others, they were used as visual models of the real pieces, greatly oversized for demonstrations. Now they are considered a form of art and decoration for homes and businesses, selling well at antiques shows.
Taking a day off from their Kreidersville, Penn., shop, Sue and Dave Irons were there to sell and also to be sure the visitors knew about their shop. Their booth was overflowing with an assortment of furniture, including a well made early dry sink in pine with dovetailed joinery and original surface. Sue was also holding out a salt box that had been made with inset batons to prevent warping, which was priced at $770.
The biggest items in the booth of Ed and Patricia Seidel, Lewisburg, Penn., were their display cases, as most of their merchandise consists of small antiques. Ed was showing a carefully detailed blanket chest, which was only about 12 inches wide, 5 inches high and 4 inches deep with overhanging top in original multicolored milk paint. It sat upon a showcase filled with miniature baskets, all in excellent condition.
Not all the dealers were from nearby, as the market has a reputation for attracting buyers from throughout the Northeast. Mystic, Conn., dealer Dennis Jackson brought a large selection of early earthenware bowls in several colors. Also in his inventory was an assortment of firkins and pantry boxes, most in paint.
Another Connecticut dealer, Tom Nagy, Chelsea Hill Antiques of Hampton, was offering early hardwood furniture from America and Europe.
New Yorkers Jim and Barb Lesniewski of Saratoga Springs carry an extensive collection of early advertising canisters and sold well. There were about a dozen brands of coffee, just as many shaker cans of tooth powder and several brands of oat cereal. Trading as Country Lady Antiques, the Lesniewskis also sold early household objects such as coffee grinders and kitchen tools.
Gale Zelnick came from Mount Dora, Fla., with lighting devices of just about any style, except electric. There were Betty lamps, candlesticks, rush lights and hundreds of early oil and kerosene lamps.
Mainer Mike Gallant brought furniture and accessories from his Glenburn home. Czech glass is the specialty of Joe Mattis from Spencer, W.Va.
Robert Hay was there with a collection of Eighteenth Century New England furniture. Hay shops extensively in the area of his Plainfield, N.H., home for “those really great things, the unusual antiques that show how well made they were…” He added, “I’ve been coming here for awhile with them because they [customers] buy here.”
Bashore added, “We had a very good show in spite of the weather. In fact, the weather was better than predicted. We found our dealers were selling furniture again, and after the past few years that was most welcomed.”
Renningers presents its Kutztown Extravaganzas three times each year, on the last weekend in April, June and September. In addition, the firm conducts shows and antiques markets in King of Prussia and Adamstown, Penn., and Mount Dora, Fla. For information, www.renningers.com or 570-385-0104.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
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