Published: May 18, 2004
“It’s not like it used to be; we have too many dealers on the fairgrounds at one time,” Jim Burk said as his Greater York Antiques Show was about to open in the Expo Center’s West Hall on Friday, May 7. By 10 am that day a good crowd had gathered to shop the 111 booths in his show, but again, it was “not like it used to be.” Jim reported the gate down 50 percent on opening day.
It certainly was not the lack of good things to by, the presentation by the exhibitors or the overall look of the show, this year with wider aisles, that slowed down the gate. When the show opened it was evident that everyone had worked hard and there was considerable buying across the floor, mostly small objects and not a great deal of furniture. But it was all there to be had.
At the front of the show an articulated artist’s model of good size, with blue painted eyes, looked over the show from the booth of Kelly Linzle of New Oxford, Penn. It measured about 31/2 feet tall and had a dark original patina. An inlaid mahogany sideboard, circa 1790, was from Alexandria, Va.
Painted furniture dominated the booth of Olde Hope Antiques, New Hope, Penn., including two American armchairs, one with yellow decoration, the other in the same pattern but blue. The pair dated circa 1840 and was probably from a lodge. A New England cupboard, pine with painted and smoke decoration finish, 481/4 inches high, dated circa 1840, and a grain painted corner cupboard, circa 1830, was of Pennsylvania origin. The door in the upper portion retained the original 12 pieces of glass.
A transitional William and Mary Queen Anne highboy, circa 1750, was among the case pieces in the display of James Kilvington of Dover, Del. It was of Massachusetts or Rhode Island origin, flat top, and retained the original brasses. Two side chairs were also shown, one Queen Anne, American or English, circa 1750, the other in walnut, Queen Anne, circa 1750, Delaware Valley.
“I have never had one of those before,” Harry Hartman of Marietta, Penn., said of his child’s barber chair mounted on a metal base. The chair was actually a reduced version of a carousel horse, with tall back saddle to keep the youngster in place during the hair cutting. Spatter and redware were offered, and among the hooked rugs was one with a large running horse, while another had a pair of black facing roosters. A pair of cast-iron urns was displayed, each filled with spring flowers.
Charles Wilson of West Chester, Penn., weighed in with the heaviest decorative rdf_Descriptions in the show, including a grouping of windmill weights. The rooster varieties included a Rainbow Tail, circa 1880; a large “U” base, circa 1880-1920; and a Mogul, circa 1880, the largest one made. A circa 1880 Uncle Sam mail box holder was also in cast iron, as was a collection of doorstops and shooting gallery targets.
An eye-catching rdf_Description in the booth of Barry and Lisa McAllister of Clear Spring, Md., was a zinc vending machine for eggs in the form of a large sitting hen. It was made in Chicago, circa 1870. Among the pottery was a piece by John Bell, dated 1874, lidded jar with blue decoration.
A large Eighteenth Century New Hampshire dresser with H hinges and raised panel doors, stripped down to the original green, 651/2 inches wide and 82 inches high, was shown by Marie Plummer/ John Philbrick of North Berwick, Maine. Among accessories of the same period was a courting mirror, pine frame.
John Stroup, Jr, of Bellville, Penn., had sold a little bit of everything. “Yes, we did well,” Sally Stroup said, naming sales that included an antiques crop duster, dough tray, three-quarter bed, advertising picture, clay doves, two painted spice boxes, a baseball glove and ball, and an 1880 calico quilt. Bob Conrad, who shares a booth with the Stroups, has been doing the show for about six years and finds it very good. Among the mix of things he had sold were a store sign, a Lehn ware bucket and a miniature blanket chest.
“I asked Jim for more space this year,” Greg Kramer said, “and we worked out this area in the center of the show.” When it came to the design of the booth, Greg’s son Eric stepped in and did the whole thing. Several walls in the center were constructed to allow a free flow of people and several focal parts of the booth were visible at the same time from the aisles. “I am really pleased with what he did and have received a great many compliments,” Greg said. John Newcomer, who was on hand to help at the show, noted that “this arrangement gave Greg the chance to bring more things to the show, and with his inventory he could still fill the booth another six or seven times.”
Lots of painted furniture was available in the booth, including a decorated blanket chest with a leaping stag in the front center flanked by dogs in pursuit. It was in shades of salmon paint, mid-Nineteenth Century, and from Centre County, Penn. A Pennsylvania paint-decorated dower chest, ex Titus Geesey Collection, was done in the manner of the Jonestown School, Berks or Lebanon County, dating to the first part of the Nineteenth Century. A corner cupboard, Juniata County, was paint decorated, poplar, circa 1835-45, with a 12-light door over three short drawers and two paneled doors. The height was 851/2 inches.
Grain paint was featured in the booth of Russ and Karen Goldberger of Rye, N.H. It was evident on a sponged one-drawer blanket chest, circa 1820-30, Vermont origin, 371/2 inches wide, and also on a hanging cupboard with raised panel doors, New England, circa 1830. This piece measures 39 inches high, 23 inches wide and 91/2 inches deep and “is one of favorite things in the booth,” Russ said.
Redware, silhouettes, portraits, iron pieces, treen and lighting all filled the booth of Lewis Scranton of Killingworth, Conn. Furniture was also plentiful, including a chair table from the Mohawk Valley, N.Y., that was surrounded by a set of four Windsor bow back side chairs, circa 1800.
Jane Wargo of Wallingford, Conn., echoed the feelings of many of the exhibitors, responding, “I am doing OK” as far as sales were concerned. A plant stand, perfect for spring sprouts, was of wood, four tiers, late Nineteenth Century and in old red paint, and a two-handled splint basket was of large size, New England, dating from the Nineteenth Century. A sold tag was attached to a pair of tiger maple beds with scrolled headboards and finial topped posts.
“That’s my best, an important piece,” Eve Wilson said, pointing out a plantation desk from Waynesboro, Va., with flame decoration. Two doors in the top section covered three shelves, and two long drawers were in the lower part. This McLean, Va., dealer also offered a step back cupboard, red with blue interior. A long bench against the side wall of the booth had been sold.
An outstanding carving of a fish hung in a large open space against the back wall in the booth of Tim Hill, Birmingham, Mich. The salmon, carved by Mallock Bros, London, June 9, 1904, was a trophy for the salmon caught by Francis Scott Smith at Coulcomauch Pool. “This came out of a collection in Michigan,” Tim said, “and the collector lets one go every so often. He has about 40 of them, and this is one of the best.”
Ron and Penny Dionne of West Willington, Conn., had fewer weathervanes than usual, but were not at a loss for interesting things. A large hooked rug showed a farm scene with fence and barn, two horses and two dogs, while a trade sign in the shape of a watch advertised repairs and dated from the late Nineteenth Century. A bold figured tiger maple country Sheraton table, with old surface, dated circa 1840 and was from West Virginia.
Van Tassel & Baumann of Malvern, Penn., had several walls filled with early needlework including a large example by Mary S. Smith, born February 15, 1829, with houses and trees and a floral border. Complementing the samplers were a New York State carved mahogany Chippendale side chair, circa 1770, old finish with ball and claw feet, and a walnut Chippendale tilt-top candlestand with dish top and tapered shaft, suppressed ball and snake feet, circa 1770, of Pennsylvania origin.
Odd Fellows Antiques of Mount Vernon, Maine, had a number of pieces that had come from a lodge including a snake staff, a teaching tool that symbolizes wisdom, circa 1860, and a heart and hand staff, circa 1880, carved and painted. A large oil on canvas showed several cows, a work signed by Suzie, dated 1903, 29 by 42 inches, and a wood box dating from the Nineteenth Century was of large size and in old red surface. Buzzy, the four-legged partner in the business, was a bit under the weather at one point in the show, having eaten too many of the cookies offered to him by nearby exhibitors. He gave some back.
Phil and Jane Workman of New Boston, N.H., displayed a large hooked rug showing six deer in a mountain setting, a trade sign for “McCarthy the Tailor for Men and Women, Room 5, One Flight,” and a red bucket bench that held a selection of three round pantry boxes and a tole decorated pot.
A small Pennsylvania Dutch cupboard, original blue paint, found in the Port Royal area, was shown by Meredith Schuibbeo of Camp Hill, Penn. She also offered an Eighteenth Century child’s ladder back side chair, painted with rush seat, high back and low seat. A Lancaster county hanging corner cupboard, circa 1770, was in the original blue painted surface with a “holy cross” door.
Two large signs were in the booth of R.E. van Anda, Lititz, Penn., one for A.D. Gransden, general Blacksmith, with two horses, black on a yellow ground, pictured at the right hand end of the board. Another sign was for John Mullen’s Boot and Shoe Store.
A large two-piece cupboard in oak, with three central drawers, old gray paint, narrow shelves, found in a music store in Western Pennsylvania, was against the back wall in the booth of Jeff and Cathy Amon, Jamestown, Penn. A Pennsylvania grain painted wood box, scrolled cutout sides, 511/4 inches wide, had a compartmented interior.
Pennsylvania furniture was represented by Don and Pat Clegg, East Berlin, Penn., with a dark red grain-painted jelly cupboard in poplar, mid-Nineteenth Century, Huntingdon County, ex Zettle Collection. A painted dry sink, pine and poplar with the original hardware, circa 1830, was from Lehigh County.
Medina, Ohio, dealer Marjorie Stauffer offered a small-size wardrobe in the original mustard paint from Marrietta, Ohio, and a settle bench with two storage bins, Hudson Valley, in pine and all original.
Last fall, after the three York show closed, Jim Burk evaluated the situation and announced, “I will not be the last show to open again.” True to his word, this spring he opened at the same time as Frank Gaglio, 10 am on Friday. This fall, when four shows will be at the York Fairgrounds at the same time, Jim plans to open his Greater York Antiques Show on Thursday, November 4, running from noon to 8 pm. He will then continue for the next two days. When the others will open is still in the cards.
A year from now, when the spring edition of the York shows returns, Jim Burk will not be on the same dates as the others. “I am moving my show back to its original dates, Memorial Day weekend,” he has said. At this point the other three show promoters, Frank Gaglio, Barry Cohen and Bob Goodrich, have made no indication they will follow.
It is known that Mark Twain said, “If you don’t like the weather in New England, wait a few minutes.” The way it is now, we might very well substitute dates/times and Pennsylvania for weather and New England.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm