Published: November 22, 2004
“In May next spring I will be celebrating 35 years of antiques shows at the York Fairgrounds,” Jim Burk said recently, having just completed the 2004 season with his November 4-6 Greater York Antiques Show & Sale in the new York Expo Center West. This fall he tried something new, opening what has always been a two-day show on Thursday afternoon at 3, and then running both Friday and Saturday.
“Opening a day before the other two shows on the fairgrounds not only gives more time to our regular visitors, but also allows the dealers from the other two events to see what my exhibitors have to offer,” Jim said.
Did this Thursday opening work for him? “I think it went well,” he said, mentioning a gate of 928 people. He did allow that on Saturday the gate was off, but attributed it to those who came the first day and then did not return. As for the buying, it was mixed, as can well be expected when more than 300 dealers exhibit at the same time and at the same location.
Newsom & Berdan of Hallowell, Maine, was set up in one of the front booths at the show offering a selection of early furniture, signs and decorative accessories. “The show is going much better than I thought,” Michael Newsom said, indicating they had sold a nice decorated table and a Hepplewhite table. “People looked at the Hepplewhite table on Thursday and came back to buy it on Friday,” he said.
Stephen Corrigan of Stephen-Douglas, Rockingham, Vt., exhibiting from the first booth to the left of the entrance, said, “People seem more willing to buy this time and we were very busy on opening day.” He indicated that price did not seem to make a difference, “if someone wanted an object, they bought it.” By midafternoon on Friday five more sales had been made including a blue-painted tavern table, a small step back cupboard, an Eighteenth Century tavern table in black paint, lots of smalls, a fluted panel door and a small floor cupboard.
To the right of a bed, centered in the booth of Olde Hope Antiques, New Hope, Penn., was a portrait of a boy, holding an ostrich feather, with his pet rabbit in his lap. It was signed on the reverse “Silas Pinckney Holbrook, age 1 yr 10 mo, painted by Isaic A Wetherbee Sept 1839.” This oil on canvas measured 24 by 30 inches and was probably from the Boston area. A Pennsylvania paint-decorated dower chest with printed family fraktur, poplar, was from Centre County, circa 1820.
James Kilvington of Dover, Del., offered several pieces of furniture including a five-drawer chest with turned feet and painted black and yellow half-round trim pieces down the front edge. It retained the original glass pulls, dated circa 1835-40, and came from the area north of Harrisburg. “This chest is tall, which carries it off very well,” Jim said.
Harry Hartman of Marietta, Penn., offered a large collection of yellowware, some Pennsylvania chalk pieces, redware and iron pieces, all of which were selling. A large running horse weathervane, signed Harris, circa 1880, iron head with worn yellow painted surface, was shown at the front of the booth, along with a small size leaping stag weathervane, again with fine surface. Harry spent a good bit of time before the show opened checking out any Christmas ornaments offered by other dealers.
One of his main interests is the grape cluster ornament and he has gathered a great many of them over the years. “I do one tree each year just for the grape ornaments and I have found many different colors. There must be close to 100 on the tree when I am finished decorating it,” he said.
Tom Longacre of Marlborough, N.H., was having a good show, along with working in several rounds of golf at a nearby course. An oil on canvas of a newsboy hawking his papers was sold the first day, along with a faux bamboo painted dressing table, a large banner weathervane with gilt surface, several early gathering baskets, a rocking horse and a portrait of a cat. “Opening day was good for me, and sales continued right through Friday,” Tom said.
A bright schoolhouse quilt of Missouri origin, circa 1930, hung against the back wall in the booth of Barry and Lisa McAllister of Clear Springs, Md. Attracting much attention was a collection of eight stoneware pieces arranged at the front of the booth. Among the stoneware was a Boston jug of large size decorated with a large cobalt stag, fence and tree. A Rochester, N.Y., jug bore a large, bold, cobalt flower.
One had to weave a path between the pieces of furniture offered from the booth of Thomas Brown of McMurray, Penn. A nice pair of card tables with turned legs, mahogany, was marked sold on Thursday afternoon, but still available was a New England maple tavern table with oval top, circa 1740, shaped apron and pad feet. Also of New England origin were a circa 1760 maple side chair with rush seat, vase and ring turnings, Spanish feet, and a Connecticut slant front desk of small size with fitted interior, circa 1780, in cherry wood.
“The show has been fine, but not grand,” John Philbrick of North Berwick, Maine, said of the first two days of the show. Selling mostly smalls, his sale included a fine Seventeenth Century leather tack-work trunk, an Eighteenth Century needlework picture, three ceramic pieces and a banister back side chair.
A tall case clock by Emmuel Meity, Lebanon, with moon dial, stood in the booth of Steven Still Antiques of Elizabethtown, Penn., and in the corner of one of his cases was a nice child’s or doll’s chair, bow back, in black paint with flower decoration, Pennsylvania origin.
There were a good number of eagles for sale at this show, carved or cast in a variety of materials. An outstanding ex-ample was in the booth of Terry Dwyer of Barto, Penn., a 531/2-inch wingspan bird of carved wood, old white paint, 30 inches high including the rock on which the bird was perched. Among the furniture in the booth was a New England decorated child’s chair in yellow paint with decoration on the splats, rush seat, circa 1820, and a stack of three paint decorated six-board chests, all with turned feet. The largest box on the bottom was with yellow and red sponge decoration, red paint covered the middle one and yellow sponge decoration was repeated on the smallest one on top.
Bertolet House Antiques of Oley, Penn., offered many country smalls, including a collection of baskets and painted pantry boxes displayed on a green painted Pennsylvania bucket bench. A portion of the walls of the booth was covered by early signs, including “Chalfont Post Office,” “Realtors,” and “Keystone Store.” Cathy Skyes of Antiquebug, Wolfeboro, N.H., arranged her booth with shelves across the back and filled them with interesting objects such as boat models, nautical objects, pictures, carvings, some pottery, and toys.
“It has been a good show for us,” she said, naming sales that included a running horse weathervane, a boat model, period candlestand in red paint, and a chest of drawers with carved twisted columns in the front.
“Greg has such an inventory he could fill six or eight booths if they were available,” Jim Burk said.
Russ Goldberger of Rye, N.H., said his wife Karen questioned both his purchase and the sales potential of a painted wooden tombstone, circa 1934, of Maine origin. “I think it must have been used as a stage prop at some time,” Russ said, “but I liked the ‘wind’ limerick on the front and hope someone else will.” It reads, “Where’er you be let your wind go free, For holding my wind was the death of me.” As of Friday evening it had not sold. However, Russ did report some good sales and was in the middle of a decoy transaction on the second day.
Offered from this attractive booth was a collection of Crowell carvings, a fire bucket, decorated, circa 1820, once owned by “N. Chandler, Concord, N.H.,” and a chrome yellow and red decorated Sheraton one-drawer stand, circa 1820-30, of Maine origin.
A large farm table with two-board top, two drawers, turned legs, mid-Atlantic origin, dating from the mid Nineteenth Century, was in the booth of Elizabeth Wojcik of Raleigh, N.C. She also offered a New England Nineteenth Century rocker with rush seat, apple-green paint with yellow striping.
Lewis Scranton of Killingworth, Conn., said the show was “not bad, we have had some good sales,” and listed a six-board chest from Windsor, Conn., circa 1700; a tin box, paint decorated, probably from Connecticut and of rare size and form; a double silhouettes; iron toaster; hog scrapper candlestick; wick trimmer; and burl bowl.
“The show has really been good for me, I have sold well and bought some nice things as well,” Fred Giampietro of New Haven, Conn., said. Among his sales were a signed Harris running horse weathervane, a pair of twig rockers, several wood carvings, four tugboat paintings, a game board and many smalls.
David Good of Camden, Maine, and Sam Forsythe of Columbus, Ohio, showed a very nice New Hampshire Queen Anne tavern table in old red with cut corner top, a large redware loaf dish with the letter “G” written in slip four times across the bowl, shown with a redware plate with the same letter written twice, both pieces by the same hand. Four courting mirrors lined one wall, all in good condition and one retaining the original wooden case.
A pair of copper flame finials with strong green surface was displayed on top of a two-door pie safe with six punched tin panels depicting urns and flowers in the booth of Douglas Wyant of Cassopolis, Mich. The pie safe sported a red sold ticket. Les Holstner Antiques of New Albany, Ind., showed a large table with painted base and two-board top, from a log cabin in Indiana, along with a chair table with round top in old red paint.
A cloth horse racing game, very colorful, hung in the booth of Rustic Accents of Nashua, N.H., along side an oil on canvas showing Hill Farm in Elizabethtown, Penn., 1896.
“I had what I called my patriotic wall with my own collection of things, including painted eagles, shields and some flags,” Charles Wilson of West Chester, Penn. “I decided to sell it all and start something new, so most of it is here,” he said. By midafternoon on Friday, the Wilson booth was mostly dotted with screw heads indicating where some of these things, plus other pieces, had hung. “A couple of the things Marilyn Gould had seen at my house, and she quickly bought them,” Charles said. About the only piece of real note left was a framed American flag made of red, white and blue paper roses.
In addition to flags and eagles, Charles sold a painted blanket chest, a Red Goose cast iron string holder in the original paint, several trade signs and a painted pedestal.
Next year will mark the 35th year for The Greater York Antiques Show and Sale, an event that has, over the years, drawn many of the country’s top collectors and been the source for countless antique treasures. And for years the spring show dominated the Memorial Day weekend, only recently moving to an earlier May date. In 2005 however, Jim Burk will be moving his show back to the Memorial Day weekend, running Friday and Saturday, May 27-28. He will again be in the York Expo Center West and plans on having about 100 exhibitors.
“We will see how it goes,” Jim Burk said, “but we are looking forward to our 35th anniversary show and we will produce the best possible Greater York Antiques Show & Sale.”
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