Published: March 23, 2004
Steady streams of antiques hunters flowed, meandered and eddied through the corridors and rooms at the John Jay High School on March 7 as Cord Shows Ltd debuted its first annual Cross River Winter Antiques Show. The one-day show, presenting a sold-out roster of 65 exhibitors, drew nearly 1,000 people and raised $6,000 for the American Legion, according to show promoter Vivien Cord, who added that she was gratified by the warm welcome and cooperation the show received from school officials and custodial staff.
The Cross River show replaces the Rye, N.Y., event that was the late winter mainstay of the Cord show calendar. Cross River, which is in the town of Lewisboro, bordered by Katonah, Bed-ford, Pound Ridge and North Salem, may be a greater hike for some who were keen on the Rye show, but it is conveniently off Route 684 and is also in the heart of Westchester affluence.
Following the looping trail through five or six areas within the high school, visiting the show dealers’ booths was a souklike experience, not unlike being in a bazaar. Turning the corner or heading into a corridor’s cul-de-sac, showgoers were treated to many surprises among the diverse mix of merchandise, and the slight disorientation was pleasantly stimulating for the casual Sunday shopping crowd.
Larry Butchen, one of the Butchen Boys of Wantaugh. N.Y. (his brother Murray is the other), pronounced the Cross River venue as “a nice location” for the show. Butchen’s love of antiques came across in his enthusiastic commentary about the treasures he had brought to the show – many of them old iron pieces. He showed, and quickly sold, a large Eighteenth Century wooden compass that had a nice patina and the “thumb marks” that calibrated such early engineering tools.
Butchen Boys also displayed an Eighteenth Century baker’s shovel that had been carved from a single piece of oak, a matchbox holder from the 1900s with built-in striker and whimsical mice, a Civil War bayonet, a French pocketknife with a Damascus steel blade, a Hamilton Beech ice cream scoop from the 1930s, a portable foot warmer for a carriage from the 1800s with carrying handle and an interesting pair of cast-iron andirons in the form of Hessian soldiers. “After the Revolutionary War, Hessian soldiers, who fought for the British as mercenaries, were very unpopular,” said Butchen. “Using them as figures on such menial rdf_Descriptions as andirons demonstrated Americans’ resentment of them.”
Devices and Desires, South Easton, Mass., is run by Charles and Lucile Berg, who, along with about 25 percent of the dealers at Cross River, were participating in their first Cord show. The Bergs specialize in Americana up to 1820-1840 and only sell at shows. They said they have spent the last two months buying at auctions and estate sales in New York, Maine and New Hampshire and are also deaccessioning rdf_Descriptions from their own collection.
They were showing, among other rdf_Descriptions, a Victorian fire screen from the mid-Nineteenth Century with Continental needlework from Warminster, England; several Nineteenth Century stone-ware jugs ranging in size from 9 to 12 inches and in colors from gray to brown and caramel; redware Turkhead molds from the Northeast, circa late Eighteenth to early Nineteenth Century; and a finely detailed portrait, artist unknown but believed to be an American, of a lady of seemingly severe demeanor from the late Eighteenth Century.
Just off the longest corridor inside the high school, the colorful majolica displayed by Lorraine Halpern of Jo’s Company begged to be examined. Halpern’s business is named after her daughter and she has a shop at the Hiden Galleries, an association of 175 antiques dealers in Stamford, Conn. Halpern brought an English Fielding & Co fan and scroll “basket” piece with an unusual shape, bow handles and shell feet. “It has an unusual Asian influence,” said Halpern.
One of the popular features of the show was an on-site appraisal service contributed by Jack and Rosie DeStories, who own Fairfield Auction in Newtown, Conn. At $5 per rdf_Description, some 80 showgoers plunked down their attic finds or family treasures to have their value assessed by Jack DeStories. DeStories said the most interesting rdf_Description he examined was an American Federal tankard, circa 1830, that he valued at $3,000-$4,000, and the most common rdf_Descriptions were Franklin Mint-type commemoratives that rarely exceed the value people have paid for them.
Waiting in line, Madeleine Minucci and Margaret Gembecki from Yorktown, N.Y., had brought some of their grandmother’s belongings, such as a clock, gold trim candelabras and a stereopticon. Seen again later during the show, they said they were very pleased with the appraisals they had been given and were very impressed with DeStories’ encyclopedic knowledge of antiques. Proceeds from the appraisals were donated to the American Legion.
For information, 914-273-4667 or www.cordshows.com.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm