Published: November 20, 2001
By R. Scudder Smith
YORK, PA – Second only to the quality of the antiques offered by the dealers at , the grand weather was the topic of conversation during the first weekend in November in York. Jim Burk, manager of the show, noted “We had the best gate ever on opening day despite the warm weather that could have made people head off in different directions.”
Attendance slowed down a bit on the following two days, causing Donna Burk to comment that “possibly people were off swimming.”
The show had its usual two-day set-up for the exhibitors and then opened on Friday, November 2, at noon. In the past, the show has opened a couple of hours earlier, but this year management returned to the noon opening for all three days of the show. One hundred, twenty-five dealers filled the Memorial Building at the York Fairgrounds for this show, which benefits the Y’s Men’s Club of York.
There was some shuffling of dealer location this year. For instance, those who came rushing into the show to visit the booth of Pam and Martha Boynton of Groton, Mass., did not find them against the far outside wall. Instead, the Boynton firm was a few booths removed and in an end booth that provided more exhibition space for a collection of country furniture, a couple of early rocking horses, and a case filled with small objects including chalkware, mechanical banks and redware.
Case pieces included a step-back cupboard with closed top portion, several six-board chests including a green sponge decorated example, a tavern table with large overhand and a black-painted Windsor armchair that Pam was seated in and noted that “this is one of the best Windsors we have owned.”
James Kilvington of Dover, Del., was holding down the corner of the exhibition hall with a collection of furniture that included a paint-decorated corner cupboard with two doors in the lower section and six-light doors in the top portion. It had a bold molding across the top and colorful surface. He noted that “large pieces of furniture did not sell for me, but I did move a pair of Windsor chairs, a wash bench and a nice rocking chair.” He indicated that other sales included several quilts, paintings, a sampler and some redware.
David Wheatcroft of Westboro, Mass., was among the exhibitors at the show entrance portion of the building and exhibited a wall filled with interesting art and a good number of Pennsylvania watercolors. A striking street scene, oil on canvas painted by William W. Moore, depicted a carriage and sleighs store and a note by the artist wrote “As I Saw It In 1891.” This was a New England work, circa 1870. A large redware flower pot with ruffled rim, probably John Bee pottery, Strasburg, Pa., circa 1860-70, was displayed on a pedestal, and nearby was a pair of costumed black cloth dolls, the man in top hat and tails, circa 1880.
Jason Dixon of Lancaster, Pa., also in the entrance portion on the show, offered two wonderful splint baskets with handles, handsomely decorated in red, green and yellow paint. A large trade sign advertised Adam Scheidt Brewing Co Lager Beer, complete with foaming glasses and logo, and a New England card table, circa 1860, sported a grained surface with vibrant paint.
A portrait of Daniel Pinkham, Blackstone, Mass., 1847, attributed to William Matthew Prior, hung in the booth of Bruce Rigsby of Lancaster, Ky. Hanging in the corner of the booth was a clock trade sign, iron, for Ernst Schmidt. The fancy hands were painted yellow and read 10:08. A large portion of the booth of Ron and Penny Dionne, Willington, Conn., was taken up by a blue painted tavern table with turned legs. It could easily seat eight people for dinner. A game wheel, one of several about the show, was in red paint with yellow and green decoration and black numbers. Weathervanes are always shown in this booth and three running horses were against a side wall, positioned as if in pursuit of a large molded copper vane with gilt surface.
Don Walters and Mary Benisek of Northampton, Mass., were again at an end booth showing a nice pair of yellow painted and decorated Windsor side chairs, grain-painted seats, circa 1825 and of New England origin. Also from New England was a six-board chest in green paint with black and yellow decoration, and a pair of cast-iron cat andirons by Howes. These dated from the early Twentieth Century and has glass eyes to reflect the flames.
Sandy Jacobs of Rindge, N.H., offered a hooked rug depicting the clipper ship Bluenose, and a large figured tiger maple drop-leaf table that would seat eight people. It was American and dated circa 1820-40. A pie safe from Indiana, double tier with a set of drawers in the middle, was shown by Charles and Barbara Adams of South Yarmouth, Mass. Lots of Bennington pottery filled the shelves at the left of the booth, and tucked away under the center table was an 1842 Indian root club that was headed for Charles’ collection.
“I really enjoy these things,” he said, adding that “in the future I will pass it along to a museum of some organization to fill out a collection.”
Lewis Scranton of Killingworth, Conn., showed a portion of his large collection of New England redware, a nice step-back cupboard, a two-drawer blanket chest in old red, and a selection of silhouettes, some hanging on the walls and others in a reserve cardboard box in a drawer. A child’s wagon, green painted, was named Climax across the sides, while an impressive portrait of the Electra hung on the back wall. This ship was once owned by Senator Eldredge T. Gerry, who served as commodore of the New York Yacht Club from 1886 to 1892. This vessel was the flag ship from 1840-1884 and measured 174 feet long. It was powered by both wind and steam.
Donna Burk said that there were only two new dealers in the show this fall, but there were some who returned after being out for a time period. One of these dealers was Tim Hill of Birmingham, Mich.
“I did this show over 15 years ago and am happy to be back. It is exciting and fun to be an exhibitor here,” Tim said. He recalled that he was the first dealer in the show to have walls and “I backed up to the booth of Jim and Nancy Glazer. It was good for both of us as they hung things on the other side of the wall.”
Greg Kramer of Robesonia, Pa., had a large booth at the entrance of the show and offered a set of four smoke decorated Windsor side chairs, yellow ground with polychrome floral design on the back splat. The chairs were from York County and dated from the mid Nineteenth Century. A dressing table, with similar decoration, had a marbleized top, two tiers, with backsplash, while a step-back cupboard from Lancaster County, two doors, was in a nice mustard grained surface.
The sign across one of the end booths read “Wilkins & Courcier,” and offered a collection of painted furniture with a sampling of Shaker rdf_Descriptions thrown in. When questioned about the sign – we are all accustomed to Courcier and Wilkins – Bob Wilkins said that “it looks good for the moment, but it won’t last.” Suzanne was quick to agree. However billed, this booth had its usual good looks with offerings that included a New York miniature decorated chest from the early Nineteenth Century, a two-drawer Cape Cod blanket chest, grain painted and dating circa 1820, and a paint decorated Windsor armchair, Pennsylvania, black and yellow with double cornucopia design on the top splat, circa 1835.
A long table, 10 feet 1 inch long, quite narrow, and supported by four sawhorses, was at an angle in the booth of Stephen-Douglas of Rockingham, Vt.
“It was used when applying paste to wallpaper,” Stephen said, “but who knows what use the next buyers will have.” In addition to a case filled with interesting smalls there was a nice apothecary with 20 drawers and green painted surface. A pair of Brant decoys looked down from a paint-decorated step-back cupboard in the booth of Raccoon Creek, Bridgeport, N.J., while a small painted cupboard held a collection of 14 slip-decorated redware plates. Adding to the color in the booth was a stack of nine pantry boxes in shades of red, green, yellow, gray and brown.
“This is the best painted dry sink we have ever owned,” Jane Workman of New London, N.H., said of the one-door piece against the back wall of the booth. Truly this vibrant yellow grained painted piece was the first thing noticed in this booth. In the center of the booth was a scrubbed top hutch table with a pair of Windsor side chairs, black painted, pulled up to it. Across the aisle Jef Steingrebe of Bradford, N.H., showed a gutsy banner weathervane, molded copper, with a star design and large finial on top. A child’s sled was painted green with a sailboat design on the top, and from Manchester, N.H., a sign advertised “McQuaid, Electrician for the Police Department,” that dated from the early Twentieth Century and was once used on a float. A large peacock was carved of wood and electrified, “probably a store display,” Jef said.
A child’s seesaw that showed little abuse, with black stenciling on a red surface, was shown by Rustic Accents of Nashua, N.H. A nice six-board chest, grain painted, was base for a blue sponge decorated chest that in turn supported a red document box, dome top.
Debra Schaffer of Wiscasset, Me., brought a good number of pieces of furniture to the show including a four-board table with painted stretcher base, two pairs of rodback Windsor side chairs in old black, plus one Windsor armchair, and a pie safe with six punched tin panels. Sidney Gecker of New York City again showed a fine collection of chalk figures including a dove, rabbit, goat, birds, squirrel and deer, all sharing a case with pieces of stoneware and slip-decorated redware.
A Lebanon County blanket chest with painted panels supported a rooster weathervane from the Rochester Iron Works, a vane that once turned on the top of a New Hampshire church building. A Jewell horse weathervane, standing with one of the front feet lifted, had the kind of surface collectors crave. Steve Still of Elizabethtown, Pa., had sold signs on a prancing horse weathervane, a metal figure mounted on a sheet metal arrow, and a dry sink in old red paint.
The Yankee Smuggler of Richmond, N.H., shoed a beautiful paint-decorated chest of drawers from South Paris, Me. The piece dated 1825 had reeded columns and rope turned legs, and was either Sheraton or Empire.
“It is the best Maine chest we have ever owned,” said Ted Hayward. Also offered was a Noah’s Ark, 1866, including figures of both Mr and Mrs Noah, as a stack of eight finger boxes ranging in color from dark blue to bright yellow, with green, red and salmon in between.
Another child’s sled, this one with the name Helen spelled out, was in the booth of William Lewan of Fitzwilliam, N.H. A sandpaper drawings featured a view of the Hudson River, while a large collection of stone fruit was spread out over several tables.
“Stone fruit has become very popular,” Bill Lewan said, “and sometimes it takes customers a long time to pick out just the right selection.” As he said this, a cluster of women was picking up and putting down rdf_Descriptions ranging from a small nut to a large apple.
Joshia Beitel, a Moravian clockmaker who made his first clock at the age of 15 and his first eight-day clock at the age of 16, was responsible for the tall-case clock in the corner of the booth of Newsom/Berdan of Hallowell, Me. His clocks, with fan carved cases, were made in his own cabinet shop. Next to the clock was a bed with many turnings, a circa 1840 example in old red and from Lancaster County, Pa.
Several trade signs, including a red, white and blue one for a barber shop, and another advertising James River Cigars, hung in the booth of New York City dealers Kelter/Malce. A weathervane was in the form of a dog pointing at a bird by a tree, and tramp art was represented by a tree with a cross on the top. And as usual, this is the time of the year when Jolie breaks out some of her early Christmas tree ornaments.
A white painted wall was decorated by Meredith Schuibbeo of Camp Hill, Pa., with all manner of iron pieces, from ornate toasters to hooks, and from hinges to latches. Nearby June Lambert, Alexandria, Va., showed a cast-iron whippet for the garden, circa 1880-1900, in front of one of two fireboards, circa 1830. One of the boards was peaked, the other a rectangle, and both were shuttered with four panels, polychromed softwood.
“We have sold to a lot of out of the area people, some from the Midwest,” Russ Goldberger of Rye, N.H., said. Among the rdf_Descriptions sold during the early part of the show were several shorebirds, a Crowell miniature, a couple of hooked rugs, a folk art (piece in the form of a wood carved dog, and a six-board blanket chest). Unsold midday on Friday was a pair of garden post owls from Buffalo, N.Y., wood carved on both side with good patina, circa 1940. A large patriotic shield, circa 1900, red, white and blue, measured 34½ inches tall.
“We have had a good selling show,” Don Buckley of Buckley & Buckley, Salisbury, Conn., said, adding that “some furniture has been moving.” After selling a table from the front of the booth, he replaced it with a tavern table dating from the Pilgrim Century, cherrywood and pine, with old finish and measuring 48 by 28 inches on top, and 27 inches high. A mushroom banister back armchair has its origin in Littler Compton, R.I., and dated from the first quarter of the Eighteenth Century. It was of ash and maple, old finish, and “few such examples exist.”
A fine pair of barberpoles, red and white turned, hung on the outside wall at Olde Hope Antiques, New Hope, Pa. Measuring 47 inches tall, these poles had the original brackets and dated from the fourth quarter of the Nineteenth Century. A hooked rug showed a dog, Frost pattern, Maine, circa 1880, 33½ by 63 inches mounted, and a server with the original vinegar grained finish dated circa 1830. This piece was from Western Pennsylvania or Ohio and measured 42 inches high, 43½ inches wide. A red sold tag hung from a Pennsylvania rope bed, boldly turned posts, cut-out headboard, with old red surface.
Thomas Longacre of Marlborough, N.H., sold a six-foot long sawbuck table, a Blackhawk horse weathervane with “the best surface I have seen on this form,” a New Hampshire hutch table in the original red, a French milliners head, and a splay-leg stand. “I am pleased to see furniture moving,” he said as a result of these sales.
A black figure, 6½ feet tall and carved from the trunk of a tree, stood in the booth of Libby Wojcik of Raleigh, N.C. The figure came from Bill’s Tavern in Washington, D.C. and probably once held the menu for the establishment. A New England apothecary cupboard dating from the late Eighteenth or early Nineteenth Century, had a blue painted surface with open shelves in the top portion.
“I have had to redo my booth a couple of times, but I don’t mind a bit,” Joanne Boardman of DeKalb, Ill., said after selling a corner cupboard in salmon red paint. In addition, sales accounted for a cant-back step-back cupboard, a sawbuck table with rosehead nails measuring 6 feet 2 inches long, several pewter measures, some stoneware, fabrics and a number of tree plates.
Reports such as the one by Joanne Boardman led Jim Burk to note that “some of the exhibitors had their best shows ever this fall, and wood is moving.” He noted that many newcomers were at the show this time, which is a good sign, adding that “four people from Texas joined our mailing list.”
There are really no good reasons not to attend this show. It has the dealers, lots of real finds have been made there over the years, and it is anybody’s guess what is going to show up the next time. And best of all, it is going to all happen again in the spring.
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