Published: September 25, 2007
Thousands of arts and cultural enthusiasts from the Mid-Atlantic and around the world celebrated the final days of summer at the Baltimore Summer Antiques Show, August 30⁓eptember 2 at the Baltimore Convention Center. The largest indoor summer antique event in the nation, the show featured the diverse collections of more than 550 international dealers drawn from the United States, Canada, Germany, Italy, England, France, South America and Asia, as well as a 60-dealer Antiquarian Book Fair.
The show boasted more than 200,000 individual items for sale, including a fine collection of Paul Revere Jr silver, a Cartier of London bracelet made of Columbian emeralds and square- and emerald-cut diamonds, and a map of America dating back to 1589 by Ortelius. From the experienced decorator to the casual shopper, the show had something for everyone and welcomed more than 30,000 attendees over its four-day run.
“It would take a lifetime of travel to experience all that the show has to offer, all in one place, all at one time,” said Kris Charamonde, co-owner and manager of the Baltimore Summer Antiques Show. “Additionally, the items at the show are attainable, with ticket price ranging from a hundred to well over a million dollars. The idea that there is something for everyone is what makes this show interesting and exciting.”
Robert Samuels, show co-owner, agrees. “The diversity and quality of items available attracts attendees from around the globe.” Samuels went on to say, “It’s like taking a walk through history. Everything that mankind has treasured for over the last thousand years can be found at this show.”
In addition to the collections of fine art, jewelry, silver, porcelain, decorative accessories, furniture, glass, textiles and more ranging from the antiquities to Twentieth Century design, the central location of the event and its proximity to several major metropolitan areas in the Mid-Atlantic makes it a destination over the Labor Day Weekend.
“I have talked to people from all over, and in particular I have had some great sales to people from Washington D.C.,” said dealer Charles Edwin Puckett. Several other dealers indicated significant sales to individuals based in New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.
First-time exhibitor Michael Sams of Michael E. Sams Interiors about sold out his booth on the first day of the show and had to bring in several new items for the remainder of the event. In particular, he sold a painting by Sir Edward Landseer that features Queen Victoria’s dog. Allegedly, Landseer gifted this painting to Queen Victoria. Verifying the history on this item could up the retail price by $800,000. Sams stated, “We are very excited about the show. We have sold several pieces and have developed relationships with new customers that will lead to future sales, which is just as important, if not more so, than selling directly at the show.” On average, most of Sams’ sales were between $15,000 and $35,000.
Robert Lloyd, Inc, found Tiffany silver pieces to be in high demand. Lloyd sold a seven-piece Tiffany tea set closely resembling a Tiffany tea set found in the Winterthur Museum. The asking price for the set was $28,000.
“Shoppers were fighting over it,” said June Greenwald of June Greenwald Antiques, commenting on a painting she sold titled, “The Law,” created by R.H. Ives Gammell in 1936. The asking price for “The Law” was $225,000.
Mark J. West indicated that his sales had been solid across the board, selling table glass dating from the 1700s to 1930s. Mark said that “every costumer I have sold to has been new. For me, the Baltimore show is really about forging new relationships and building trust.”
There has been a growing demand for Twentieth Century American furniture and Greg Nanamura’s sales at the Baltimore show reflect the trend. Most notably, Nanamura sold a Paul Lazio console for $6,800, a cabinet from the 1950s for $3,800 and another cabinet from the 1930s for $4,900.
M.S. Rau Antiques LLC started the show with impressive sales. According to M.S. Rau sales associate Susan Lapene, total sales had reached about $1.5 million by midday Friday. Significant sales included a Paul Revere Jr coffee pot that sold for more than $1 million, as well as the sale of other items, such as a slot machine, Tiffany silver and a bird box.
First-time exhibitor Camilla Dietz Bergeron Ltd found particular success when nine of 13 featured items were sold early on the show’s opening day. Specifically, a Nineteenth Century five-carat diamond and gold-topped ring sold for $32,000. Gus Davis of Camilla Dietz Bergeron Ltd attributed his success to the “energy of the show. I am so excited for next year.”
Asian art and antiques continued to pique the interests of show guests. Marvin Baer of Ivory Tower, Inc sold several items varying in price from a couple hundred dollars to $10,000, including Yabu Mei Imari Satsuma and a Kinkovan vase. Baer noted that, “all of the clients I sold to were new and came from places such as California, Tennessee and Texas.”
If the diversity and solid quality of items lining aisle after aisle in the Baltimore Convention Center was not enough to attract individuals with a passion for art and antiques, the event provided yet another reason to attend. New this year was an educational lecture series that was free to the public as well as show attendees.
“It has always been our goal to provide an environment that fosters the understanding and appreciation of antiques,” said Charamonde. “We added the lecture series to this year’s show as a way to enhance the total show experience, in addition to providing a service to our attendees and the community at large.”
Baltimore local Dr Gary Vikan, director of The Walters Art Museum, kicked off the series with a lecture on “Henry Walters & the Greatest Jewelry Collection of the Gilded Age.” Five additional lectures ranging in discipline and accessibility, including “Smiling Sichuan of the Han Dynasty” and “Living and Decorating with Antiques,” took place and were well attended.
Show organizer Judy Oppel called the lectures a “phenomenal success. We received such an overwhelming amount of positive feedback from lecture attendees that we have already begun discussing plans for an expanded lecture series in 2008,” said Oppel. “After each presentation, I was approached by individuals thanking me for coordinating the lectures.”
Lecture participant Matthew Baer of The Ivory Tower presented a talk on “The Meiji Period: Golden Age of Satsuma Earthenware” at 1 pm on Friday. “As a direct result of my lecture, I sold two pieces of Satsuma,” said Baer.
The Palm Beach Show Group acquired the Baltimore Summer Antiques Show in October 2005 and has made several changes to the event with the overall goal of increasing the size, quality and reputation of the show. In its first year managing the event, the Palm Beach Show Group added a fourth day, a full-service restaurant area on the show floor and brought on several new high-end exhibitors in addition to employing an aggressive promotional campaign to attract new audiences.
“Since the show opened 27 years ago, it has always been a great place for dealers and experienced collectors to trade. Through aggressive promotion, we have been able to make the event accessible to the public, which is what gives the long-running show new energy,” said Scott Diament, co-owner of the Baltimore Summer Antiques Show.
Building on the success of the 2006 show, which tripled attendance figures and increased overall sales, the Palm Beach Show Group added another 25,000 square feet of exhibitor space and a second show entrance. Other additions to this year’s show included a new restaurant as well as the expansion of the current restaurant and a coffee bar located in the Antiquarian Book Fair.
The 28th annual Baltimore Summer Antiques Show returns to the Baltimore Convention Center Thursday, August 29, through Sunday, August 31.
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