Published: November 26, 2002
By W.A. Demers
NEW YORK CITY — Jutting out into the Hudson River, next to the Intrepid, its deck bristling with mean intent, the fall edition of the Triple Pier Antiques Show got underway on November 9-10 and was poised for a reprise weekend on November 16-17. The much-anticipated show, a staple of East Coast fall antiques activity, took place under mild, Indian summerlike weather, but
For Leanne Stella of Stella Show Mgmt. Co., the excrdf_Descriptionent over Triple Pier follows the strong momentum set by their two shows in October, Modern and Gramercy Park. “We’ve had a good start,” said Stella. “There’s a lot of excrdf_Descriptionent, and it’s a good market despite the economy. There’s money still turning over.”
Much of the energy, Stella said, is emanating from New York’s young fashionistas, who are looking for affordable, stylish and functional rdf_Descriptions and may be just starting out on the antiques and collectibles learning curve. “Moderne is very active,” she said. “It is flying out the door.”
Stella believes the first weekend of Triple Pier generally draws the avid collectors, while the second weekend has more of a retail market feel to it.
arises partly from its New York venue and more importantly from the fact that it encompasses such a wide variety of styles, genres and price ranges. Whether you are looking for an Old Master painting or bags full of funky fashions from the 1970s, there is something here for everyone in the unique selection of rdf_Descriptions on display at each of the Piers 88, 90 and 92.
For example, on Saturday morning a beaming Bob Gingold from Manhattan showed off an early and ornate Tiffany box he had just purchased. “I am very pleased,” he said, proudly pulling out of a bag a Moorish arabesque-looking metal box topped with agates that because of its Union Square mark was clearly a desirable and rare piece.
Pier 90 at 50th Street is where the Triple Pier Antiques Show started on Saturday, and it is home to decorative arts and Americana, including furniture, folk art, garden furniture, architectural artifacts, Arts and Crafts, period, primitives, rugs, quilts, rustic, ethnic and tribal arts, advertising, sporting and fishing, toys, games, dolls, worlds fair, books, maps, post cards and more.
Pier 92 at 52nd Street is devoted to classical antiques, such as formal furniture, art glass, porcelains, silver, ceramics, jewelry, timepieces, art, paintings, prints, lamps, lighting, clocks, Asian antiques and bronzes.
Pier 88 at 48th Street is a well-seasoned stew of Twentieth Century ingredients, and it is here you will find a young, energetic crowd feasting on everything from elegant Art Deco rdf_Descriptions, Moderne, industrial design, 40s, 50s, 60s furniture and furnishings, Fiesta tableware, chrome, aluminum, vintage fashions, luggage, radios, costume jewelry, hats, bags, shoes, linens, textiles, buttons, Bakelite, scent bottles, appliances, dolls and toys.
A fun booth to visit just for a visual treat is HG Limited, where Harry Greenberger, a collector with a quirky, artistic eye, had mounted a display of special tools that resembled hand guns. “The display really caught people’s imaginations,” said Greenberger as he surveyed what was left among the red “sold” tags, “and that may be because it was presented in museum style, with each tool mounted on a specially made stand.” The tools, including an Ideal tire groover (puts grooves in a worn tire), a Dennison swift attach tightener, spear fishing guns, paint sprayers, dremels, drills, nut crackers, hydraulic plungers — even a toll booth “gun,” will be replaced by the playful toy variety for the November 16-17 show.
The weekend shows take place in the glass-enclosed, climate-controlled Piers 88, 90 and 92 on 12th Avenue between West 48th and 50th streets, along the Hudson River. Show hours for the November 16-17 weekend are: Pier 90, Saturday from 9 am to 6 pm and Sunday from 11 am to 5 pm; Pier 92, Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm and Sunday from 11 am to 6 pm; and Pier 88, Saturday from 11 am to 6 pm and Sunday from 11 am to 7 pm.
…And the Pier Continues
Story and pictures by W.A. Demers and Carol Sims
Those three monolithic shows on Piers 88, 90 and 92 are a marvel to behold. The opposite of a time capsule, with Triple Pier, if you do not act quickly, millions of rdf_Descriptions representing human culture from the past few centuries can easily slip through your fingers. Stella Show Mgmt. Co. provides two shopping weekends with mostly different dealers and all new merchandise for each show. The piers are set up with about 200 dealers each, or 600 for the three. When this show comes into town, New Yorkers come out to buy.
Staggered openings on Saturday both weekends created eager crowds waiting to get in at each pier. The trade crowd (lighter this year) literally races down the aisles, eyes darting left and right. The goal is to finish scoping out and shopping the best from each pier in about an hour and be in line at the next pier for its opening. Retail buyers move more slowly and enjoy the browsing experience. Things started out at Pier 90 with decorative arts and Americana at 9 am, followed by Pier 92 with classical antiques at 10 am and then Pier 88 with Twentieth Century at 11 am. It is like eating a three-course breakfast, with each pier offering different fare. The still substantial crowd surged through the three piers and then settled into a more uniform mass for the rest of the day. (At noon Pier 90 was thick with customers.)
On Sunday all shows opened at 11 am with the staggered closings giving last minute buyers the extra “pier” pressure to make a deal. Pier 90 closed first, followed by 92 and then 88, thus all the dealers got the same amount of selling time, and shoppers had a reason to hustle.
As you might expect, many of the dealers hail from the New York City area, but Stella Show Mgmt. Co. also draws them from Ohio, Virginia, Florida, Maine, etc. In addition, while many American dealers travel to Europe on buying trips, Triple Pier has European dealers coming to America selling painted Bavarian furniture, French textiles, Danish furniture and other goods, both to American dealers and the retail crowd.
Weekend I: November 9-10
For Roy Mennel of The Bradford Trust, Harwich Port, Mass., the first weekend of Triple Pier was the gallery’s best show in three years. On Sunday, Mennel sold a 71/2- by 91/4-inch pastel, “Russian Street Scene, 1916,” by Leon Gaspard together with four other paintings. Harnessing the power of advertising even before the show started, Mennel sold a 25- by 30-inch Wilson Irvine canvas for $30,000 to a dealer who saw the painting advertised in the Triple Pier Show section in Antiques And The Arts Weekly. “It was our most expensive painting scheduled for the show,” said Mennel.
The first weekend crowd seemed somewhat less frenzied than in the last few years to David Mason of Mason Art & Antiques, West Cornwall, Conn. “I sold steadily to retail buyers from within or close to the city, instead of the European dealers that have always been my main customers,” he said. “People were buying nice quality things that they could buy for a few hundred dollars.” Mason sold an Art Nouveau Zsolnay vase to a Connecticut collector and an Old Master to Alex Acevedo, the legendary Madison Avenue art dealer and entrepreneur.
A serious Sunday crowd was how Joan Bogart of Rockville Centre, N.Y., characterized buyers on the first weekend of Triple Pier. “I saw many decorators returning with clients on Sunday.” She also reported a flurry of celebrity sightings late Saturday afternoon, including Geraldine Ferraro, Geraldo Rivera, Bette Midler and David Guest. “A client in the booth said there were seven stretch limos outside,” said Bogart, who brought a selection of ebonized, brass and walnut easels ranging in price from $2,000 to $5,000.
Diane Petipas of Mood Indigo, New York, N.Y., reported better than usual results for the first weekend, although she noted that there seemed to be fewer attendees “carrying bags.” “We had fewer sales but those sales that we did make were for higher ticket rdf_Descriptions to repeat customers,” said Petipas. “Buyers seemed to be asking for larger discounts this year and for the most part were not spending freely.” Mood Indigo’s major sales were for Bakelite jewelry, Russel Wright aluminum rdf_Descriptions and a 1939 New York World’s Fair flatware service for six.
David Rago, Lambertville, N.J., who has been doing the show for 18 years, missed seeing a number of his regular customers who did not come out on the first Saturday. “Saturday seemed off by about 30 percent in terms of people. Sunday seemed about normal – smaller crowd, well dressed, New York hip, babies pushed in high-tech, double strollers,” he said.
For Rago, the smaller number of people stopping by his well-situated booth near the entrance at Pier 90 may have translated into fewer sales, but “our gross was higher than usual,” he said. “There seemed a great deal of interest in higher end, and little interest in anything else.”
Rago said this is consistent with what he has been seeing in his private sales. “We have increased our ‘out of auction’ business since we redefined our Craftsman auctions partnership [furniture sold in Massachusetts, ceramics sold in New Jersey]. We’re placing a great deal of super high-end ceramics and virtually no sales at any other level.”
An exceptional piece of Beatrice Wood pottery that did not meet reserve at Rago’s modern sale two weeks earlier sold to a regular client was not able to make the sale. “Based on the catalog photo, the client said he did not think he was interested in the piece. When he saw it [at the Triple Pier Show], he bought it immediately, and expressed regret that he had missed the auction.”
At least one of the dealers said he believed the retail buying drove the action during the first weekend. “Whereas in the past we could count on strong dealer buying and buying from the New York trade, this year it seemed greatly diminished and retail buyers came in to pick up the slack on Sunday,” he said.
Dan & Nancy’s Antiques, Feeding Hills, Mass., had a wonderful show, according to Nancy Rivers. She described the opening gate on the first weekend as “very heavy. People were ready to get out and buy.” Sunday also brought a good crowd of serious shoppers, she said. “As usual, the sophisticated New York collectors were there, looking for unique rdf_Descriptions to purchase along with antiques enthusiasts from around the world. People were buying the big ticket rdf_Descriptions. Although we sold art glass and sterling silver, the fine art was getting a lot of attention. We sold some very good paintings.”
Rivers did notice that most of their clients were buying for collections and not for resale. “They were buying what they couldn’t live without,” she said.
The Rivers sold a decorated Tiffany art glass vase made for a special order. “We also sold a gorgeous New York coin silver covered mustard pot with elks’ heads as handles and an oil on canvas landscape by Thomas B. Griffin in a very beautiful ornate gilt frame,” said Rivers.
As for buying trends, Rivers believes that consumers are leaning more toward buying quality antiques as an investment for the future but also enjoying them in the present. To illustrate the point, she related, “At one of the previous pier shows we sold an oil on canvas of cows by New York artist Ogden Wood. Well, the couple came to see us at this year’s show. They told us that they built their fireplace surround around the painting and that they were selling their penthouse home. They gave us an Internet address so we could see what they did with the painting and fireplace. It is beautiful — with the asking price of $4.5 million!”
Similarly, the most interesting sale for Jill and Web Wilson of LooLoo Design, Portsmouth, R.I., during the show’s first weekend was to a couple who were renovating a home in the Hamptons. They purchased a circa 1900 marble sink and surround on the original brass bracket base featuring a rare square sink bowl. “They plan to design the entire bath around this piece,” said Jill Wilson.
Howard Auerbach and Ken Maffia of Auerbach & Maffia, Fountainville, Penn., found that there was a lot of interest in modernist jewelry, such as a cuff bracelet fashioned by Art Smith, a New York silversmith whose African American heritage influenced his sculptural jewelry forms, a selection of Ed Wiener pieces and the simple, elegant designs of Betty Cooke.
Also having a good show the first weekend were Michel Hurst and Robert Swope of Full House, Easton, Penn. Set up on Pier 88 with a “full house” of such Twentieth Century rdf_Descriptions as Milo Baughman club chairs, a mod Nicole eye lamp, circa 1969, streamline desk by Stow Davis and a walnut coffee table made by a student of Nakashima, the pair reported a strong gate both Saturday and Sunday. “We did quite well at the show and were pleased,” said Swope. “People were buying across the board – big ticket rdf_Descriptions as well as small.”
Weekend II: November 16-17
Weekend II is not Triple Pier redux. On Pier 92 every dealer was new. On Pier 90 only eight dealers from the first weekend were allowed to show the second weekend. Leanne Stella has a rule that “only dealers who have been with me from the beginning of the Piers can show both weekends and only with new displays and fresh merchandise.” Pier 88 had 20 dealers return for the second weekend.
“The European crowd was sorely missed,” said Stella who was grateful for an “average gate.” She said, “There was a lot less trade and more retail shopping. We know this because we process credit card purchases for dealers who need our service. From 11 am to 2:30 pm on Saturday we couldn’t keep up with the credit card sales. Those are retail sales; dealers pay by cash or check usually.” Stella described these credit purchases as big tickets — “$1,800 here, $3,500 there.” They had 340 credit purchases on Saturday and 315 on Sunday. “It was double what we usually do,” said Stella.
According to Stella, jewelry was very strong this fall while large furniture was off. One of her oriental rug dealers was very pleased, and one of here Asian antiques dealers sold 12 kimonos, whereas she normally sells one or two, reports Stella. Some jewelry dealers told her that they had had their best show ever.
On Pier 90 Odd Fellows of Mount Vernon, Maine, brought an appealing painting on plywood of various cartoon characters that had Dargerlike colors and an overall composition also similar to the outsider artist. They also brought an extra large, probably five feet tall, painted wood 3-D coffee pot.
Bob Baker of Poverty Hollow, Redding Ridge, Conn., brought several clear glass etageres that could also be used as cake stands individually.
Amy Parsons, Bedford Hills, N.Y., came with a large selection of quilts and featured a spectacular floral design quilt that had branches and buds intertwined to make 25 circles on a white ground. Each circle had four blossoms and four buds with a blossom in the middle.
Kevin Brown, Browns Antiques, Pawtucket, R.I., was very pleased with his first year as a Triple Pier exhibitor. “I did amazingly well. I talked to other dealers who thought attendance wasn’t great but I did gangbusters. I sold a lamp, Twentieth Century decorative arts, Eighteenth Century furniture. I had a little bit of everything.” His booth had the warmth and coziness of a gentleman’s smoking room. Rustic wrought iron lamps with mica shades cast warm light on his furnishings. “I met the nicest people. I have never laughed so hard in my life. Saturday morning right at the opening I was busy. It didn’t stop until 5 pm. Sunday started a little slow, and got real busy about 1 pm right up until closing,” said Brown.
Harry & Ginny, Brookhaven, N.Y., brought green-enameled tin pitchers and plates and other tinware, but was pleased to offer a head vase of Jackie Kennedy that came with figures of John John and Caroline. “Head vases sell well on Long Island,” said Ginny Coyne. “I bought 60 five months ago and only have ten left.”
Eckhart Scwab of Miesbach, Germany, had early Nineteenth Century Bavarian wedding cupboards. He has been coming to the United States to sell antiques to the trade for about six years. His largest cupboard was in pine and had the original escutcheons, lock and key.
Pier 92 offered countless jewelry displays, and silver, art glass, paintings, porcelain, Orientalia and formal furniture. You could not go too fast on this pier because it was jammed with smaller rdf_Descriptions. As the show opened the jewelry dealers were immediately mobbed. One gentleman bought a $5,000 bracelet for his secretary and a $5,000 bracelet for his wife, as well as a $17,000 necklace, also for his wife.
Cross Century Antiques, Sudbury, Mass., had an elaborate Victorian frame in silver with dogwood blossoms, Victorian bridal baskets and cases full of interesting smalls.
Dora Connolly of Baltimore brought a small Wedgwood majolica pitcher that she dated prior to 1892. J&J Antiques, Wallingford, Penn., had a good array of desk accessories.
John Weld of New York City brought some stunning pieces of majolica. One cobalt-colored covered dish had pink wild rose blossoms and a branch handle. A set of Minton tiles, various oyster plates, enormous vessels and countless other forms were on hand.
Janet E. Cutts of Gainsborough Antiques, Harleysville, Penn., brought a large Chinese embroidered silk bed cover in excellent condition with a remarkable rooster embroidered as the main motif as well as smaller birds and butterflies. The circa 1880 textile generated a great deal of interest at the show, but has not yet been snapped up by one of Cutts’s decorator clients. One of her interesting smalls was a bronze dish with a winged cherub and the words “love of the chase” in French, signed “Girande.”
Pier 88 was definitely a change for the eye, with Art Deco and modern furniture and lighting, booths and booths of vintage clothing and accessories and toys. There were cowhide-covered Eames chairs at the booth of Mark Frisman – Jad Attal, New York City. Baby boomers felt the tug in time, and the next generation responded to the clean look of many of the furnishings.
Right to the Moon Alice, Cooks Falls, N.Y., waited until the doors opened to take off the yards and yards of fabric that kept their coveted textiles hidden from view. Owner Alice Lindholm brought tiny bloomers, beaded sweaters, shoes and bags (although she did not bring her Frye boots from the 1970s — those are reserved for an upcoming museum exhibition). There were racks and racks of vintage clothing and more than a few prying eyes awaiting Alice’s okay to start shopping.
Vintage-Eyeware.com, Hudson, N.Y., brought frames to suit just about anyone’s alter ego. Hundreds were never worn, still on their original display cards. She brought glasses from the 1950s and early 60s by Fait Main and Vergo, handmade sun shades with original glass lenses. They also sold antique eyeware. One pair of sunglasses had sterling silver frames and green glass front and side lenses to block light coming in through train windows.
Joshua Mack, New York City, had a pinewood derby collection that would make any Cub Scout troop jealous. Kenneth Stern sold Scandinavian furniture, 1920s-70s, and Canadian lamps from the 1950s. Marsha Zig Zag brought Art Deco and More and More, New York City, had plumed band hats, illuminated glass grape lamps and sconces, and vintage luggage. A beautiful set of four chairs, table and sideboard of red-stained wood was featured at the booth of Tom Gibbs Studio, Barnesville, Penn.
Leanne Stella, buoyed by dealer comments from all three piers, said, “It was a New York crowd that spent freely.”
For information, 212-255-0200 or www.stellashows.com.
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