Published: May 25, 2004
Beautiful weather and a perfect day to be out in the garden – in fact, the first such day of the season on Long Island – coincided with the opening day of the Huntington Antiques Show, April 24, at Huntington High School. The two-day event suffered at the gate for the promoter and dealers, who assumed the weather was too nice for people to be inside. Fifty-one dealers in room settings offered high quality antiques and vintage collectibles, with only light Saturday response from the public.
On Sunday, the return of cool weather filled the aisles and became somewhat more rewarding to the show’s sponsor, The Huntington Historical Society, and while dealers did not make up for the light Saturday traffic, sales were much better.
The dealers for this show were predominately from Long Island, and many do the two other historical society shows in the area – Lloyd Harbor at Thanksgiving and Centerport in late March. These shows have the appearance of being a set in that they are managed by three friends – R.S. (Toby) Kissam at Huntington, Kissam and Jim Campbell for Centerport and Bill Grotheer for Lloyd Harbor – each working as volunteers. These men were exhibitors at this show, and when there is space available, they set up at the others as well.
Toby Kissam has been a collector and dealer of early maps and furniture from the late Eighteenth Century. It is not that far removed when told that one of the houses owned and maintained by the sponsoring historical society is the Dr Daniel W. Kissam House. Daniel Kissam was Toby Kissam’s great (times three) grandfather, living there about 1795. Campbell had furniture from a slightly later period – roughly Sheraton through Regency, dating from 1790 to about 1840, together with some fine art and high quality prints.
Karin Podmore of Centerport does Stella’s Triple Pier shows in New York City with Art Deco and Art Nouveau style. Here, she mixed it up with some early Nineteenth Century pieces, which sold early in the show. Part-timer Mary Ross (during the school year, she is a teacher) was present with a collection that could be called “Laura Ashley of 1900,” if there was such a thing, featuring soft pastel colors on turn-of-the-century furniture.
June Ainsworth, a resident of East Hampton, N.Y., was new to the show and, for that matter, this group. She does a lot of shows, including Marburger Farm in Texas, with a large collection of small antiques and a few pieces of furniture. Her collection has no limits as to style or time period or function. She just has to like it and be able to buy at a price lower than what she thinks she can get reselling it. She offered a 48-star US flag, an unusual birdhouse, lots of utilitarian wooden household objects and many small painted accessories. And in spite of light visitor traffic, she “had a good show.”
Small antiques were the stock and trade of several exhibitors. Phyllis Mack of PG Antiques, Merrick, N.Y., collects and sells various forms of vintage and antique glass. Blue Plate Special owner Louise Mason, also from Merrick, offered mostly Flow Blue porcelain dishes. Coming from Brooklyn, Ramsey and Zulli had a variety of early accessories, including porcelain, china and early bronze castings. Sayville, N.Y., dealer Barbara Peter offered her collection of Eighteenth Century kitchen and dining tools and utensils, which she displayed with her early American country furniture. Diana Higgins, Hampton, Conn., had an extensive collection of clocks, mostly early and made in America.
Furniture from the Eighteenth and early Nineteenth Centuries was available from various dealers at this exhibition. Philip Ludwig, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., had several pieces, along with paintings and early prints. From in town, Jean Lauer brought an early planters desk made of pine in original surface, circa 1800-1825.
Soheil Oriental Rugs, New York City, is owned by a native Persian who came to America more than 20 years ago. He is a true expert in Persian rugs, having lived with them all his life, and now he collects, restores and sells them. His rug exhibit was museum-worthy.
John Schneider is another local fellow whose business name is Empire Antiques. He had a large collection of early stoneware, crocks, whisky jugs and more. He also offered several early black powder hand guns. One such piece was a folding dirk percussion double-barreled pistol, circa 1850, priced at $695. The dirk is a small dagger or knife blade, which by pulling back slightly on the trigger guard snaps into place as a small bayonet.
This year’s event was only the second, and Toby Campbell said he expects there will be more. “There may be a change in the date, but that will depend on what facilities are available,” he said.
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