Published: May 1, 2007
On Saturday, April 14, 2007, the middle day of Frank Gaglio’s 23rd Street Armory Antiques Show, he had concerns about the weather. How would it affect attendance and how would it hamper the dealers packing out of the show on Sunday? “Attendance was down on Sunday and we had a light rain at pack-out, but all ran smoothly and we were out of the building on schedule based on previous years,” Frank said in answer to these questions. Saturday was the strongest gate, and Sunday’s attendance caused a total gate slightly below last year’s count.
The show, as usual, looked fine with a nice mix of folk art, furniture, fabrics and ceramics. “We have had lots of nice comments on the show this year,” Frank said, “and some of the dealers had really great shows.” This year the café was moved from the second floor down to the first level, and business increased for the caterer. One couple seated there on Saturday was discussing the merits of the show, mentioning “a good selection of dealers” and “we will have to eat and go back in to see if we can find more things to buy.”
The entrance to the show was arranged by Aileen Minor and featured a good sampling of garden antiques and a few weathervanes. All of the objects were for sale and displayed on both sides of the lobby of the armory. “We try to make it attractive for people coming into the show and it has worked out very well,” Frank said.
Kelly Kinzle of New Oxford, Penn., made a real statement with his Philadelphia dining table in plum pudding mahogany. Half of the exhibiting dealers could have fit around this circa 1825 table that measured 14 feet long and 55 inches wide. It descended in the Chambers family and extended across the front of the booth. Despite the size of the table, there was still room to display several pieces of furniture and a row of six tall case clocks. Mounted on the wall was an oil on canvas depicting a Pennsylvania farm, complete with fences, horses, house and barn in bright colors. It dated circa 1890 and was mounted in an old frame. A cast iron life-size Labrador, painted black and white, stood guard at one end of the booth with a red “sold” tag on its tail.
At the opposite end of the armory was the booth of Otto and Susan Hart of Arlington, Vt. “We just got this quilt and it is one of the brightest and most graphic ones were have ever had,” Susan said of the mosaic example hanging on the back wall. Dating circa 1860s and from New York State, it was cut and pieced wool in red, white, black and yellow. Two Art and Industry garden figures, about four feet tall, were from a fishing camp owned by the Phillips family of Washington, D.C.
Occupying one of the front booths were George and Debbie Spiecker of North Hampton, N.H. Specialists in American furniture, they offered a circa 1780 chest-on-chest with bold cornice over graduated drawers, 76 inches tall, birch and maple, and probably of New Hampshire origin. A Chippendale maple and tiger maple slant front desk, circa 1780, with an interior of pigeon holes over seven drawers, rested on a high scrolled bracket base. A Newburyport card table, shown at the front of the booth, was the first piece of furniture sold on opening day.
An interesting cobbler’s bench in old red paint, Pennsylvania, circa 1875, was against the back wall in the booth of Harvey Art & Antiques, Evanston, Ill. At the front of the booth, and in great contrast to the bench, were two Eighteenth Century Chinese armchairs, circa 1780, with old surface. The characters carved into the back of one of the chairs indicated that it had resided in the “Peace and Happiness” room of the house.
Aileen Minor of Centreville, Md., had the best of both worlds, showing a fine display of classical furniture in her booth at the front of the show and offering garden antiques in the lobby of the armory. The garden objects that did not sell in Philadelphia were among those pieces offered by her at the Botanical Garden Show the last week of April. Of importance was a New York mahogany classical pier table, labeled “Made by James Vint & Sons, Albany, N.Y.” It was circa 1890, of white pine and cherrywood, with the original white marble top. Another pier table, Philadelphia, was attributed to Anthony G. Quervelle and also had the original marble top. The mirror below was framed in gilt decoration.
Thurston Nichols of Breinigsville, Penn., filled his booth with painted furniture and folk art, including a large quill weathervane, a small carousel horse with a wonderful crust painted surface, a large painted and decorated Pennsylvania step back cupboard dated 1859, a large ship weathervane with green patina, and a selection of old and large Christmas balls.
Store advertising displays dominated one of the end walls in the booth of Charles Wilson of West Chester, Penn. From a dry goods store came a large pair of metal scissors, 36 inches long, black and silver; a Bakelite fountain pen, 27 inches long, was a trade sign advertising Waterman pens; and a rare Red Goose string holder, circa 1900, was in excellent paint. “We have had a good show, lots of interest, and sold a good number of things,” Charles said. Among those sold items were a polo player weathervane, a cast iron gate weight in the form of a bird, a cast iron winking owl, a large cow weathervane, four paint decorated wooden finials with stars, a clock trade sign and an eagle clock.
“I have no complaints,” James Grievo of Stockton, N.J., said on Saturday, listing sales that included an Eighteenth Century New England hutch table, an Indian war club, an inlaid side table, several still banks, an Indian carving, a small hand gun and a tall barber pole painted in the original red and white. Still offered from his booth was a nice farm painting, 1870, by B.S. Sharp, Rahway, N.J., and a Masonic pedestal with a shield on the front. Topping the pedestal was a large carved pine American eagle, 1890‱910, standing on a ball, unpainted, and measuring 40 inches tall.
One of the stars in the booth of Ed Weissman, Portsmouth, N.H., was a red painted Queen Anne highboy of Connecticut origin with the original brasses. Displayed on top of the highboy was a large fish weathervane, 37 inches long, circa 1850‸0, copper, with a great weathered surface.
Rutabaga Pie Antiques, Chesterfield, Mo., offered a Pennsylvania pine top walnut worktable dating from the late Eighteenth Century, two thumb molded drawers, turned legs and pad feet. It measured 29 inches high, 48 inches long and 33 inches wide. A brass double-arm student lamp with green wreath and torch decorated shades dated circa 1860‱880.
For the weathervane collector, Norma Chick of Autumn Pond, Bolton, Conn., showed an eagle, horse and sulky, horse, pig, cow and dove. A large painted metal sign in the form of a duck, circa 1900, hung on the back wall, and a five-piece Delft garniture set, circa 1760, Holland, was displayed on a mantel with Delft tile surround.
A trade sign from the Stoddard House & Café, white lettering on black ground, hung in the booth of David Horst of Lebanon, Penn. Below the sign was a mantel, circa 1800, chip carved and in the original painted surface. Of interest was an octagonal-shaped bird house with four extra rooms attached.
A painted Federal corner cupboard with a 16-light door over four drawers, red with gold striping, circa 1820, from western Pennsylvania, was in the booth of A Bird In Hand, Florham Park, N.J. The interior of the cupboard was attractively arranged with stoneware and redware, including some slip decorated plates.
Furniture filled the booth of American Spirit Antiques, Shawnee Mission, Kan, including a Massachusetts Chippendale tavern table in cherrywood and birch. It has a breadboard top, square molded edge legs, and descended in the Davis family of North Amherst, Mass. An American tea table with oval top over shaped skirt in maple, pad feet and old refinished surface, dated 1760‱780.
Taking advantage of the popularity of weathervanes, the Kembles of Norwich, Ohio, offered three large examples, a pig, a fish and a rooster mounted on an arrow. All were full bodied and of copper with gilt surface.
Offering some of the earliest furniture in the show was Colette Donovan of Merrimacport, Mass. A six-board blanket chest in poplar with old painted surface, single board top and original strap hinges, dated from the early to mid-Eighteenth Century, and a Hudson Valley storage cupboard with one long drawer on the bottom below two doors, salmon wash surface, dated from the early Nineteenth Century. The best part of the floor of the booth was covered by a large floral hooked rug that sold as the show opened to a Pennsylvania collector.
SAJE Americana of Short Hills, N.J., had a nice inlaid cherrywood Federal bow front chest with turret corners, Massachusetts, circa 1810, inlaid top edge and reeded posts on all four corners. A wind toy in the form of a man on a bone-shaker bicycle dated from the Nineteenth Century. “We kept a number of things back and put together one of the best selections of American furniture we have had in a long time,” Stephen Shapiro said of his booth.
Known for mantels, Francis Purcell of Philadelphia showed a Boston neoclassical example, circa 1820. Hanging over it was a portrait of a girl in a white dress, seated on a garden bench and holding a doll with yellow dress, by Joseph Whiting Stock. “We took these right out of our house,” Francis said of a pair of tall brass andirons with dog finials, Pennsylvania origin.
The Holdens of Naples, Fla., and Sherman, Conn., offered a small Nineteenth Century painted Pennsylvania blanket chest with paneled sides and front, turned feet, yellow and mottled black painted surface. From the Delaware River Valley was an early Nineteenth Century apothecary chest-on-chest in old red. The drawer configuration was 20 small drawers over three large ones. “We sold a lot of smalls,” Ed Holden said on Saturday, listing several pieces of glass, redware, silhouettes and a leaping stag weathervane.
Gloria Lonergan of Mendham, N.J., hung a mounted hooked run depicting a running horse, 44½ by 34 inches, over an arrow back settee in red and black rosewood graining, New England, circa 1820.
“It has been a strong show for us,” Dick Costa of Costa and Currier, Portsmouth, R.I., said. Sales included a pair of Hitchcock side chairs, stencil decorated, circa 1825″0; a number of garden objects, on oil on canvas ship portrait, a painted blanket chest and a Mennonite quilt, 7 feet 11 inches square, dating from the Nineteenth Century.
Also reporting good shows were Mario Pollo of Bearsville, N.Y., and Richard Rasso of Hudson, N.Y. Mario listed among his sales a bow front chest, tiger maple two-drawer stand, several painted boxes, some redware, theorems, a running horse weathervane and a Pennsylvania child’s chair. Rich Rasso said he sold a silver gorget, a painting by Thomas Willis, a rooster weathervane, a miniature blanket chest, several early baskets, a cannon model and a model of a sailing ship.
Rumors about the Philadelphia shows circulated widely over the April 14‱5 weekend with word that The Philadelphia Antiques Show at the 33rd Street Armory will probably be moving for 2008. Where that leaves the other two shows, Frank Gaglio’s 23rd Street Armory Antiques Show and Barry Cohen and Jim Burk’s Antiques at Philadelphia’s Navy Pier, is still up in the air. In time things will sort out, but as of the moment, Frank Gaglio is saying that “I am planning to be back in Philadelphia next year and have made some arrangements already.”
We will all have to wait it out to see where the cards fall.
See related story at www. antiquesandthearts.com/Antiques/TradeTalk/2007-05-01__08-48-16.html
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