Published: October 25, 2011
The Original Round Top Texas Antiques Fair, hosted by Susan and Bo Franks September 28⁏ctober 1, saw more than 250 exhibiting dealers offering antiques and collectibles from the earliest American styles through Biedermeier from Europe, lacquered furniture from Asia and even some of the later industrial fashions for the home and workplace.
Begun as a venue for American country-style antiques in “The Big Red Barn,” the show has expanded over the last five years with the addition of the air-conditioned marquee Continental Tent and the Big Red Barn Tent to allow for expanded inventories and styles, including many dealers that specialize in Continental, industrial and even some later Nineteenth Century styles. Carmine Dance Hall, located just over the hill, also offered air-conditioned space as part of this show.
A primary destination during this week of antiques shows, the show saw buyers come in great numbers from the 9 am Wednesday opening through Saturday’s closing, all on the hunt to find that something special.
Myrleen Harper of Harper House Antiques, Pasadena, Texas, sold well with her furniture collection. Finding new homes were an early New England tap table, a collection of banister back chairs, also from New England, and a large wall-hung pewter hutch.
The Vernons, Brenham, Texas, sold most of the furniture they set up at the show’s opening. Glenwood Vernon has been exhibiting at Round Top for almost every show since the beginning about 40 years ago. For this most recent event, sales included nine pieces of furniture, including two cupboards, a pie safe, a daybed and a miniature cupboard, along with many smalls. Living just 30 miles away, he was able to restock from his shop inventory during the show for even more sales.
Ann Sams of Sometimes Boutique, Midland, Texas, sold a popcorn quilt about 7 feet wide and 4 feet long of the American flag, with 48 stars, early in the show. It was on display in the lobby of the Big Red Barn with the sold tag on it.
Betty Hayes, Quitman, Texas, has been collecting and trading in Texas country-style goods for most of her adult life. She had a very full booth as the show opened Wednesday. Her sales were primarily the little things she brought †household objects from the Nineteenth Century.
Randy Nicholson of Cypress Creek Antiques, Comfort, Texas, found an unusual rolltop desk. Made by Alliance Mfg Co. late in the Nineteenth Century, it had two tambours, or rolls, incorporated into it. One was the traditional outer roll closing the work surface and all the cubby holes, but the second was inside, concealing files for account slips that probably were the credit sales. It sold late Saturday afternoon to a local shopper who had to think about it for some time before “pulling the trigger,” according to Nicholson.
John Orban Antiques, Cadiz, Ohio, sold its horned love seat. Made from water buffalo horns with leopard skin covering, Orban said it may have been a custom-made piece.
Tony Henninger of Manor House Antiques, Knoxville, Tenn., was showing a rare Blue John box, probably for cigars, and made before 1800. He told an interesting story about the material. Blue John is a fluorite with an unusual color and pattern, and found only in Castleton, England; noted silversmith Matthew Bolton tried to corner the market on it. The supply of Blue John is today exhausted, making his box rare and valuable.
Piqué, Sharpsburg, Ga., offered its collection of early quilts and coverlets. Of particular interest was a crazy quilt from Massachusetts, circa 1875. Their sales through the show were fine, according to Julia Kelly-Hodenius.
Betty Bell, Dallas, Texas, featured a vintage feather tree with more than 400 glass icicles. She also had a child’s costume of Uncle Sam that she sold during the show. Specializing in Christmas decorations, she also was showing a Belsnickle in chalk from Pennsylvania, rare and in excellent condition.
Dafa, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Stevens Antiques, Philadelphia, were sharing an oversize space in the Continental Tent. Their collections included Nineteenth Century hardwood and veneer furniture made in America and Europe.
Bruce and Barbara Johnson, Kennebunk, Maine, found an early eagle that was an architectural element. In gold leaf and paint, it was in very good condition. Their sales included two sets of chairs, eight Regency chairs and six tiger maple, a Massachusetts bowfront chest that Bruce believed to be made by Seymour, a Biedermeier chair that had belonged to Kaiser Wilhelm II and more. He said, “It was our best ever [show] there.”
Zane Moss, New York City and Sharon, Conn., was a new exhibitor at Round Top. Among the antiques in his collection were a ladder used at Kew Gardens, London, in the middle of the Nineteenth Century and a bear from a carousel ride. Most furniture was English from the Georgian era.
Sandy Worrell, Houston, found a Connecticut corner cupboard in her recent travels in Maine. The piece, signed and dated 1823, was painted in pinprick design to simulate the grain of a more valuable wood than the pine and poplar used. Another piece in her collection that drew a great deal of attention was an early wheelbarrow in very colorful paint decoration.
A step back cupboard in cherry with some pine underwoods was offered by Boultinghouse and Hall Antiques, Midway, Ky. Probably from Pennsylvania circa 1800‱810, the cupboard featured original rat tail hinges and replacement drawer pulls, with bracket feet.
Faith Viland, Phoenix, brought some of her collection of early American folk art. On display was a child’s pull toy of a horse and rider wearing a stovetop hat, original painted surface, with all four wooden wheels intact, circa 1860; also, a dummy camera on tripod with the photographer’s name painted on the tripod. Viland said it was early Twentieth Century. There were also several primitive paintings and a Hudson River School oil on canvas in her collection.
After the show ended, Susan Franks reported that her attendance figures were within five percent of her best fall show. Dealers were also remarking that they had good sales at Round Top.
The next edition of the show will be April 4‸. For more information, 512-237-4747 or www.RoundTopTexasAntiques.com .
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