Published: April 15, 2003
Review and photos by R. Scudder Smith
PHILADELPHIA, PENN. — , staged at the 23rd Street Armory by Barry Cohen, went “very well considering all that is going on,” according to management. On Friday, April 4, opening day, the gate was up from a year ago, but was softer on Saturday, with Sunday running about the same. The end result: “We were down a bit from a year ago,” according to Barry. This three-day event, now in its sixth year, opens with a reception on Thursday, 7-9 pm.
A shuttle bus ran between the Center City Show, Philadelphia’s Navy Pier Antiques Show and The Philadelphia Antiques Show at the 33rd Street Armory and “it worked well” Barry Cohen said. Several of the exhibitors agreed, noting people would arrive at the show in bunches, indicating the use of the shuttle.
Several dealers mentioned seeing the same faces on consecutive days, bearing out the shopping habits some collectors have when more than one show is in town. “Let’s see what is at the other shows before we make a decision here” was a well-used comment by many. Jo Calame of Rutabaga Pie Antiques, Chesterfield, Mo., reported a lady, with husband and two children in tow, returning to her booth a day later and going home with a large rug.
Thomas and Julia Barringer of Stockton, N.J., had a booth toward the front of the show and among the pieces of furniture offered was a Dutch step back cupboard in two pieces, old yellow surface over the original red, Pennsylvania or Ohio, with two eight-light doors in the top section, and two short drawers and two cupboard doors in the lower portion. It was among the things sold from this booth, along with a hooked rug, owl carving and several pieces of treen. Other textiles shown were a Star of Bethlehem quilt from Calpepper, Va., signed and dated 1888, and a felt table rug with scalloped edges, 601/2 by 431/2 inches, circa 1890. As for the show, “We have never had a bad one here,” Tom said.
A good show was also reported by Out of Hand Antiques, Claymont, Del. Furniture offered included a Massachusetts painted chest of drawers, circa 1815-20, from Chester Village. The name of the town, together with the initials of either the maker or the owner, is on the back of the piece. Against the right wall was a Mennonite wardrobe from Indiana, circa 1880, with two paneled doors and a grain-painted surface. Folk art included a hooked rug depicting two parrots facing each other, possibly Mennonite, dating from the late Nineteenth Century.
A large trade sign advertising a meat market hung on the right hand wall in the booth of Otto and Susan Hart of Arlington, Vt. It had red lettering on a white ground. As of Saturday afternoon, “the show was not quite up to last year,” Susan said, but they had been selling. A bucket bench, a jelly cupboard, pieces of cast-iron including a frog and several doorstops, a Civil War painting and two other small works of art had left the booth.
Among the things remaining was a portrait of a gentleman, school of Prior, N.Y., circa 1830; a table quilt, ribbed cotton background with velvet cotton appliqué, 4 feet 8 inches by 4 feet 6 inches, decorated with birds, fish, but-terflies and hearts, circa 1880; and a portrait of a standing horse, circa 1850, oil on board and of Connecticut origin.
Townshend, Vt., dealer Barrett Menson spent a good deal of his time at the show selling, and came away very pleased. A sold ticket hung from his large drop leaf table with green base and turned legs on casters, and also marked sold was a one-drawer blanket chest in old red with cutout ends. Several paintings, wood carvings and “smalls” were among the rdf_Descriptions sold. He offered a sandpaper drawing of the Hudson River with a large sailboat and two men in a rowboat in the foreground, a Grenfell rug depicting two flying geese in perfect condition, and a 96-drawer apothecary from a hardware store with porcelain knobs.
More formal furniture was in the booth of Virginia Nicholson Antiques, Holland, Penn., including an English gate leg dining table in walnut, original finish, circa 1780; and American breakfast table, classical revival, Boston origin, mahogany and mahogany veneer, circa 1825-30; and an English card table with one long drawer, ball and claw feet, handkerchief knees, dating 1750-60.
Painted furniture and folk art filled the large booth of Tucker Station Antiques, Louisville, Ky., including a hooked rug, 35 by 20 inches, with an American shield holding three stars, cotton and wool, Nineteenth Century. “There are some things that are really special to me and I love to be able to buy them,” Larry Tucker said, adding, “that rug is one of them. I sold it and have bought it back two times. This is my third go-around with it and I really love the piece.”
Furniture in the booth included a maple tea table from the Connecticut River Valley, untouched original surface, stop fluted legs, rare vine and star decoration, one board top, dating circa 1770; a small stand with a Parcheesi board top, circa 1890-1910; and a grained and painted hanging wall cupboard from Leigh County, Penn., Nineteenth Century, 261/2 inches high, 22 inches wide and 101/2 inches deep.
A visual standout in the booth of Jane Langol Antiques, Medina, Ohio, was a large wood louvered fan light hung on the back wall. In a light brown paint, this piece measured 80 inches wide and 48 inches tall. A wood and painted eagle had a provenance listing Sharpsburg, Md., the carver a veteran of the Battle of Antietam, 1862. One of the paintings offered was by Ray C. Needham, an oil on canvas by this Indiana artist, depicting a landscape with an early snowfall. After the winter we have had, it is little wonder the picture remained unsold.
One of the three Philadelphia dealers in the show, Accents on Design, offered a nice selection of country rdf_Descriptions and folk art including a cupid with arrow weathervane in sheet metal, some paint remaining, early Twentieth Century, New Jersey origin. A portrait of a Quaker woman holding a bible was by an unknown artist, oil on canvas, and the lady looked as if she had never smiled in her life. The picture came from the estate of a US senator from Colorado whose family lived in Pennsylvania during the Nineteenth Century. A pie safe, with old blue painted surface and six punched tin panels, dated circa 1830 and had one long drawer over two paneled doors.
A blue-painted wheelbarrow with wooden wheel was filled with large gold wooden letters which, when setup after the show opened, spelled “ANTIQUES” across the back of the booth of Warren Spector of Houston. George and Martha Washington were depicted in two portraits from Currier & Ives, while an interesting sheet metal weathervane, Nineteenth Century, depicted a hunter with gun and a deer. Painted boxes of many sizes were displayed about the booth, the largest from Chester County, Penn., circa 1840, with green grain-painted surface.
A Nineteenth Century pine mantle of the Federal period, painted white, was the backdrop for a collection of formal furniture offered by Pear Tree Hill Antiques of New London, N.H. A slant front desk of the same period, circa 1840, Hepplewhite style, with the original brasses and fitted interior, was against the side wall of the booth, while at the back was a country Hepplewhite four-drawer chest with cockbeaded drawers, cut nails, with Maine origin. On top of the chest was a collection of pink Sunderland in the “bubble” pattern including plates, creamer, cups and saucers, and pitchers, some pieces attributed to Charles Allerton & Son.
Campbell House Antiques of Baltimore also offered painted furniture and folk art including a number of whirligigs, such as a sailor from Nantucket and an English policeman, 26 inches tall, dating from the early Twentieth Century, and a large ventriloquist’s dummy. A New England two-drawer blanket chest in the original ochre and yellow paint dated circa 1800, and a display case held a nice collection of mocha. A double-sided game board, Parcheesi and checkers, came from the collection of Selby Shaver and was pictured in The Art of The Game. It was painted with the initials EBS and XMAS 1900.
Two tall-case clocks were shown in the booth of Gordon S. Converse, Strafford, Penn., one dating from the late Eighteenth Century and of English origin. It had a four seasons dial, inlaid case, circa 1785, 7 feet 1 inch tall, and was from either Liverpool or Manchester. A child with lamb was depicted on the lower glass panel in a Aaron Willard shelf clock, Boston, circa 1820. This clock was signed and retained an old finish. Sculpture offered included a detailed eagle on rock, carved walnut, American and dating from the Nineteenth Century.
“I do only two shows a year, Antiques Manhattan in January and this one in Philadelphia,” said S. Scott Powers of Brooklyn, N.Y., while giving his black-papered and meticulously arranged booth a final once-over. His love for treen was evident through a collection of carved handled knives and a good number of small objects in the cases. He also showed a painted and carved trade figure 15 inches tall, the head of a man, dating from the early Twentieth Century.
One of his tags mentioned the “tour-de-force of the turn-er’s craft” while describing an ash burl communion cup 153/4 inches tall. It dated from the Nineteenth Century and was probably a gift to a church from the maker. A Nineteenth Century fireman’s leather parade belt was stretched out on the wall, making it easy to read the red lettering “#1 HUMANE.” A delicate harp saw in maple was found in Ohio and dated 1875.
Exton, Penn., dealers Vander Laan & Schill had the large booth facing the main entrance to the show and had divided it for those who had an interest in more formal brown furniture to look to the left, while those who bought folk art and paint should head to the right. A very colorful basket quilt in red, yellow and green on a white ground seemed to pull visitors to the right. This textile was flanked by four shelves, each holding a piece of painted tole, three black ground and one red.
Across the front of the booth was a paint-decorated butterfly Windsor settee, circa 1800, with bamboo turnings, and on a platform was shown a Queen Anne splay-leg tavern table of New England origin, circa 1760-70. The rectangular top had cut corners and the legs were joined by a box stretcher. Three miniature chests were displayed on a paint-decorated chest of drawers, pine and poplar, grain-painted in green and yellow. The piece was the work of Karsten Peterson (1776-1857) of Winston Salem, N.C.
A large pair of scissors, made circa 1900 as a trade sign for a New York fabric store, hung in the booth of Darwin of Philadelphia. Other folk art included a grange hall lottery wheel, Nineteenth Century, in oxblood paint with black letters, from Bennington, Vt., and a large sheet iron prancing horse weathervane.
“This was the most successful show for brown formal furniture I have had in a long time,” Barry Cohen said, “and it was also nice to see textiles and ceramics moving.” He mentioned “just about all of the dealers did some sort of business and many reported good sales on Sunday.”
The next show on the Cohen calendar will be the York Country Classic Antiques Show on Friday and Saturday, May 9-10. This event will run the same time as Jim Burk’s York show and both will be on the York Fairgrounds. “People are excited about this new show and I already have a waiting list,” Barry said.
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