Published: June 25, 2002
By Lisa Mullins Bishop
YORK, PENN. – The weather was beautiful, a welcome change from the cool and soggy weather that had become the norm for central Pennsylvania. But inside the York Fairgrounds’ Memorial Hall, buyers were eagerly inspecting the treasures for sale at Jim Burk’s annual Americana show. Buyers travel from around the country to attend this show, known for its quality antiques.
Attendance was what one expects for the May show, traditionally held Memorial Day weekend. “The first day we had 400 people. Saturday and Sunday were beautiful so we lost some people,” said Burk.
The 125 or so dealers reported good sales. The show had a new layout this year, courtesy of the fire department. Post-September 11 regulations stipulate that every exit door must be accessible. To accomplish this, booths were arranged in rows with no open areas at the center. Customers and dealers were disconcerted because they could not find their regular dealers.
“The customers weren’t happy that they couldn’t find their dealers. They wanted a floor plan,” said Burk. After adjusting to the layout, the dealers I talked to said they favored the new arrangement. “It makes the show look bigger,” Donna Burk said. She noted that the new layout opened up room for four new dealers. Because of cancellations, there were some new exhibitors. Altogether, there were about eight dealers new to the show.
Color was what buyers wanted, from vibrant quilts and textiles to painted furniture. Salt glazed stoneware prices are up and there were plenty of outstanding pieces to buy at the show. Textiles and jewelry were also strong sellers. Smalls were selling briskly, but some dealers found that furniture was slow moving. “Furniture was selling slow at first, but then it picked up,” Jim Burk said. “Expensive smalls were selling. There was one happy customer on the floor. The others missed it, but there was a $50,000 decoy on the floor. This customer got it for $2,000.”
In Larry and Judy Melvin’s booth, one of the few that remained in its usual location, a unique horn inkstand, $855, drew attention. Next to it was magnificent majolica shell compote for $695. The cherry Pembroke table supporting them had carving on its pedestal, $1,295. The Lebanon, Ohio, dealers reported selling a rare redware candle mold from Pennsylvania, a tilt-top table, and lots of smalls.
To showcase the iron cooking and fireplace utensils he had for sale, Bill Neyer of Birchland Antiques in Mount Joy, Penn., recreated an exact copy of a cooking fireplace in his booth. Neyer did a brisk business, selling lots of iron. Buyers from Texas purchased a crane, teakettle and other accoutrements to furnish their fireplace – even though the dry Texas climate precludes the use of a working fireplace.
Hard-to-find minilights were found at Zettle’s Antiques of Spring Mills, Penn. A red satin glass example was $475. Earlier lighting for sale included a pair of Nineteenth Century fat lamps, $1,275.
A very rare child’s Windsor chair with a Shaker patent, $1,500, was featured in Pat and Rich Garthoeffner’s booth. “I’ve never seen one before except in a Shaker book,” Pat said of the circa 1857 piece. The Lititz, Penn., dealers were having a phenomenal show, selling a Dutch cupboard, two weathervanes, two end tables, two children’s decorated chairs as well as plenty of smalls. Other pieces in the booth included a hooked wool rug, circa 1880, from Pennsylvania, $4,200, and a circa 1880-90 decorated cradle from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, $850.
An eye-catching Baltimore County, Maryland, album quilt, $11,000, was prominently displayed in the booth shared by Thomas Thompson of Carlisle, Penn., and Carol and Bob Lewis of Frederick, Md. They also had yellow ware, a marked Cowden and Wilcox crock, and a circa 1850 Pennsylvania sponge-painted blanket chest in pristine condition, $4,950. Carol said jewelry and textiles were selling well in their booth.
Wonderful examples of mochaware filled the shelves in William Lewan’s booth, including a rare agateware pitcher with face spout. The Fitzwilliam, N.H., dealer said it was good show for him.
Holidays were on parade in Peggy Frey’s booth. The Lancaster, Penn., dealer had a nice selection of Halloween, Easter and Christmas collectibles including masks, shakers, Santas and Easter eggs. In keeping with Memorial Day, she also had antique flags and a circa 1940 bed doll clothed in a patriotic dress. She also featured a reverse painted Pittsburgh lamp, circa 1925-1935.
Jeff Bridgman was another dealer whose booth had a patriotic theme. The first-time exhibitor from Dillsburg, Penn., had a large selection of antique flags on display throughout his booth. These included a very rare Civil War-era flag. He said he was having a good show, having sold six flags, a very unusual yellow ware pitcher, and a circa 1840-60 grain bin in gray paint with three overlapping lids.
Raccoon Creek of Bridgeport, N.J., drew plenty of attention with the rare salt glazed stoneware pieces for sale in their booth. These included a pig flask, an Eighteenth Century Philadelphia mug featuring a design executed with a leatherworking tool, a midsize cooler from Wengender of Haddonfield, N.J., and a water cooler with rare decoration of a deer with trees and a fence from Edmonds and Company.
Andirons in the form of anchors were priced at $1,750 in the booth of Dover, Del., antiques dealer James Kilvington. Also on display were a rare circa 1870 Hackney Stallion copper weathervane attributed to Fiske of New York, $34,000, and portraits of twin boys done in 1847 by Horace Bundy, $42,000.
Rae Gaiser of Potpourri Antiques in Ocean Isle Beach, N.C., had banks for sale from her private collection. These included a variety of fruit banks, a cast iron US mailbox, a ceramic snail, a cast iron elephant. As always she had a selection of prints for sale as well as ironstone.
Antique firearms hung in David Geiger’s booth. The Meadville, Penn., dealer had a Pennsylvania long rifle, whose barrel was signed “J.D.” and attributed to John Demuth of Easton, Northampton County, for $6,200, a Model 1795 Springfield musket, made in 1808, and a circa 1778 British “Brown Bess” infantry musket, $5,900.
Bennington pottery was showcased in the booth of Barbara and Charles Adams of South Yarmouth, Mass. Exhibiting for more than 20 years, Barbara said they sell every day of the show. “People come back during the show, and we sell across all categories,” she said. She reported selling two samplers, and paintings as well as some Bennington pieces at this show.
Marcy Burns of Glenside, Penn., offered a San Ildefonson jar with birds and cloud design for $28,000. A Navajo handwoven Indian rug with a pictorial border was $5,800.
A set of six Lancaster County plank bottom chairs, circa 1860-70, in salmon were priced at $5,800 in the booth of Steven Smoot of Lancaster, Penn. He also had a rare painter’s sample of a decorated chair crest for $850. A number of sleds were seen throughout the show and he had a Nineteenth Century example from the Paris Manufacturing Company of South Paris, Maine, $1,275.
At Olde Hope Antiques of New Hope, Penn., a Pennsylvania dower chest, circa 1790 from Centre County, Penn. was on display. The pine piece had its original polychrome finish and some restoration to its feet. The piece was illustrated in American Painted Furniture 1790-1880 by Cynthia V.A. Schaffner and Susan Klein. The chest supported a number of toleware pieces including a circa 1860 tea caddy from New York, $1,600, a circa 1840-1860 coffeepot, thought to be from Pennsylvania, $5,400, and a circa 1860 document box probably from New England, circa 1860, $1,600.
John Stoup of Belleville, Penn., had a fine walnut cupboard for sale in his booth. From Bedford County, Penn., it had its original finish. Also in his booth was an interesting Bakelite horse head from which dangled a horseshoe and other riding gear charms.
Malchione Sporting Antiques of Kennett Square, Penn., had a great-looking booth. On display was a rare Verety family hen merganser, circa 1900. The Seaford, Long Island, N.Y., piece still had its original paint, $995. A woven pack basket was $475.
Dolls were found throughout the show. Caroline Edleman of Royersford, Penn., had a circa 1830 sewing peddler doll in its original Quaker outfit for $3,500 on display in her booth as well as a black doll.
Fraktur hung in Dennis and Linda Moyer’s booth. Examples including an 1807 Martin Brechall birth/baptismal piece, $2,400. The show had less tramp art than in years past, but the Zionsville, Penn., dealers had a magazine rack priced at $475.
A colorful Midwest Amish quilt, circa 1935 was offered for $3,900 by the Hill Gallery of Birmingham, Mich. A New England painted Windsor side chair was $1,550 and a carved “Rough Rider” in original paint from New York State was priced at $28,000.
benefits the Y’s Men Club of the York YMCA. Jim Burk’s next show is scheduled for held November 1-3.
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