Published: May 1, 2001
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – For the past 16 years, thousands of collectors make the spring or fall pilgrimage to Atlantique City for the world’s largest indoor antiques and collectibles show. This 24th show, stretching over 10½ acres in the Atlantic City convention center, brought new and old collectors in hefty crowds throughout the weekend.
The crowd is energetic and enthusiastic. Many wear tee shirts announcing “wanted” rdf_Descriptions. Dealers do not have to provide shopping bags; customers bring them. Show goers can find great examples of antiques ranging from art glass, lamps, and pottery to Bakelite, netsuke, and vintage posters.
Dotted throughout the extravaganza are furniture booths dealing in early American to Victorian to Asian furniture as part of the Grand Furniture Galleria. For those collectors who cannot keep up with the growing list of antiques shows on the East Coast, Atlantique City offers the opportunity to make connections with the roster of dealers as well as to stock up for the next six months. It is the only way to reach dealers from a wide-ranging compass of 50 states and 17 countries.
Knowing that, dealers save rare examples of napkin rings, radios, old money, medical antiques, boat models, holiday decorations, tin toys, and antique clocks for each stint in Atlantique City. Auctioneers such as Randy Inman, Bertoia, and Manion’s set up displays announcing upcoming collectibles sales. For those who are not yet consumed by the lifestyle called collecting, the megafair is a good place to start.
Nine aisles wide and ten aisles long, Atlantique City is best done in comfortable shoes, although many dealers, pickers, and collectors choose to ride it on razor or power scooters. The casual, spirited atmosphere is helped by the management’s organized production. Computerized lists of personal picks are available to shoppers, and plenty of park benches offer a respite from the traffic. The Computographic system identifies the booth locations for categories chosen among the over 1,200 possibilities. Clearly, the interest of the collectors is on the show management’s mind.
New records for attendance seem to be set with every show. Attendance at this 24th show was the second largest in 16 years. Each year, Norman Schaut, manager and producer of the two-day show, adds new elements to the show. For the second time, a free delivery service was offered for furniture to be delivered within 200 miles of Atlantic City. According to Schaut, over 500 pieces were delivered from the end of the show through Friday, April 13. “We will definitely do this again!” reported the manager. One reason so many dealers return year after year is the fact that they can rely on the management to provide the most extensive publicity possible, thus drawing in huge crowds of collectors.
A free appraisal stand featured Ray Mansfield, host of NBC’s Let’s Talk Antiques, who was available for customers who brought antiques from home, as well as for those who brought purchases made that day.
Also new this year was the Olde Tyme Antiques Fair, a special section devoted to Americana. This group of about 40 dealers was arranged in a town-square setting separated from the rest of the show with festive bunting and a flag exhibit organized by Dr Jeffrey Kohn of With All Due Ceremony, Elkins Park, Penn.
A new focus such as this may take some time to develop. The dealers, many of them well known on the Americana show circuit, brought pie safes, blanket chests, textiles, weathervanes, chairs, clocks, architectural pieces, and smalls. With more exposure, the fair has the potential to grow. It could, in fact, bring with it another group of collectors.
Overall, the show is as diverse as it can possibly be. What follows merely scratches the surface of an event that really should be taken in by every antiques enthusiast.
Dad’s Follies of Gibsonville, N.C., reported good sales both ice cream molds and chocolate molds. With the upcoming Easter holiday they sold a lot of bunnies, but noted that teddy bears and Halloween molds were also popular. Prices ranged from $89 to $2,400 for the tinned steel chocolate, pewter ice cream, or cast iron cake molds.
Country & Cabin Antiques of Stonington, Conn., brought along a nice advertising sculpture for Samoset Chocolates, $7,500, signed R. Farrington Elwell, a self-taught illustrator who lived 1896-1921.
Sandra Whitson of Lititz, Penn., is the first destination for napkin ring collectors, and according to the dealer, sales were consistently good. Along with her husband, Sandra enjoys exhibiting her Victorian figural napkin rings at Atlantique City. Her other wares included card recovers and toothpick holders.
Montgomery Street Antiques of Rhinebeck, N.Y., brought silk and feather fans, vintage christening dresses, a French Victorian three-piece clock set, an Eighteenth Century kneehole desk, and a French Art Deco iron floor lamp.
Grins & Smiles & Giggles & Laughs of Lansing, Mich., and Dallas, Tex., brought store signs ranging from a Levi banner priced at $1,700 to a Big Boy restaurant sign priced at $3,500.
Rory Evans of McLouth, Kan., brought Frankoma, lots of advertising paperweights, change trays, and bottle openers in interesting forms.
Robert and Eve Adelman’s Hour Glass Antiques of Gray’s Lake, Ill., showed an impressive selection of English Moorcroft pottery, made during the same period at Rookwood. Called “Florianware,” it was made by MacIntyre Co. until 1913, and made in Burslem, England, until 1914, when the pottery moved to Stoke-on-Trent.
Circa 1800 Chinese export porcelains were available from Steve’s Antiques of Newton, Mass., while Noble Peddler of Torrington, Conn., offered New Milford Pottery, which was made up to 1909, and included the popular lettuce leaf design.
Majolica collectors could find rare oyster plates dating from 1850-1870 at Ida’s Treasures, Dresher, Penn. Ida pointed out an especially rare example that characterized the whimsy of the majolica period: a plate decorated with sunflowers. Her cases were filled with examples by Minton, George Jones, Wedgwood, and Samuel Lear.
Colonial House of Collectibles & Santa’s North Pole World, Berea, Ohio, exhibited a teapot and a vase made by Royal Doulton, circa 1906-1920. They were executed in one of over 400 Seriesware patterns named after David Henry Souter (1862-1935), an English illustrator and writer who later moved to Australia and became quite famous for his Art Nouveau style illustrations of cats. The pieces were inscribed “Trust not him that seems a saint” and “Pussy cat, pussy cat, where have you wandered?”
Paul Fink’s Fun and Games of Kent, Conn., brought unusual and rare Monopoly editions, two of which were produced before Parker Brothers had patented the game. Other important games centered in the Victorian genre. In great condition with beautiful graphics, the games included Bulls & Bears, The King’s Men, and The Game of Jumpers.
Cases of jewelry were highlighted by a vast selection of Bakelite offered by Ken’s Collectibles, Lebanon, Penn. The rarest piece was a 1930s flash green parrot pin priced at $2,250. According to Kenneth Sheldon, “The is the first pin I’ve ever seen in flash green. It’s also the first show I’m bringing it to.”
Steiff animals could be spotted in many aisles, inspiring new collectors and satisfying established collectors with a range of common to very rare examples. Charlene Upham of Mardela Springs, Md., had a ram, chipmunk, camel, and Scotty dog.
John Rollins of South Wellfleet, Mass., reported the trend that civilians were selling better than toy soldiers. The Olde Touch of Baltimore, Md., reported selling a little of everything, especially Meissen porcelain and glass by Lalique, Moser, and Galle. According to Lis Serrano, customers were definitely responding to the free furniture delivery service.
Risimini/McCloskey Art & Antiques of exhibited a wide range of holiday rdf_Descriptions, such as spun cotton snowmen and reindeer candy containers. An especially nice Dresden ornament was in the form of a pug and priced $350.
Black Americana was offered by New England Antiques of Queensbury, N.Y., with examples including a set of turn-of-the-century maroonware wall plaques at $6,000 and a shelf of 1880s puppets.
Nautical and scientific antiques were offered by James Kennedy of Durham, N.C. He exhibited Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century microscopes, telescopes, apothecary bottles, surveying instruments, and boat models.
Rags Rosenberg of Montgomery, N.Y., sold a set of great late 1890s glass syrup dispensers led by Orange julep and Grape julep and an Adams gum dispenser. Reflecting on a changing trend, Rags noted, “Advertising in dispensers is very strong, but sales in Coke rdf_Descriptions are down a lot.”
Robert Zollinhofer brought an Eighteenth Century schoolmaster’s desk, a circa 1870 arrow weathervane, and a circa 1900 Indian weathervane, while his display was highlighted by an Eighteenth Century tavern table attributed to Gaines, Rhode Island, priced at $28,000.
My Manor Antiques of New Market, Md., was exhibiting sporting art and select pieces of furniture. One highlight was a circa 1900 oil on canvas titled “Two Dogs and a Rabbit,” by Arthur Wardle (English, 1864-1949), priced at $28,000.
In the Olde Tyme Antiques Fair, George Harding of Wynnwood, Penn., showed a cherry, tiger maple, and tiger maple veneer chest of drawers dating circa 1840-50 and from New England, as well as a pastel by Ansel Clark (Rhode Island, circa 1810-20) from the collection of Elizabeth Tukey of Princeton, N.J.
Comfort Fish of Springfield, Mass., brought a large signed wash bench from Rangeley, Me., a New York State sheet iron black and white painted cow, among many other chests, architectural rdf_Descriptions, rugs, and works of art.
The Rathburn Gallery of Wakefield, R.I., exhibited an oil on canvas landscape of a red barn by Ellen Wales Hutchison (American, 1868-1937), circa 1900-1925, and a coastal watercolor scene by Philadelphia artist Carl Weber (1850-1921).
Blue Dog Antiques of Brooklyn Park, Minn., brought a 1750s Pennsylvania pine mustard sideboard, an 1860s Maine red pine jelly cupboard, a collection of eight blue wallpaper boxes, a stack of nice ticking stripes, and a set of four 1820 Maine butterfly Windsor chairs.
More cupboards could be found across the way from Kay and Bill Puchstein of American Heritage Antiques, Frankfort, Ohio. Examples included a late 1800s Ohio jelly cupboard and a circa 1830 cherry corner cupboard.
Joan and Bob Vivian of Crockett Ridge Antiques, Westfield, N.J., also exhibit at Coffman’s Antiques Markets in Great Barrington, Mass. For this show, they brought an especially nice tiger maple tall-case clock by Silas Hoadley, Plymouth, Conn., 1810-1840, with wooden works. Another noteworthy piece was a Limington, Me., secretary at the center of the booth which was marked “Feb. 21, 1808” inside the door. Sales included a child’s painted chest of drawers, a whale weathervane, wrought iron wall rack, a stoneware jug, and a stein.
The Olde Tyme Antiques Fair has much potential and room to grow. This time around, management brought out a good roster of recognized dealers, who added another element of quality to the show. For any new addition to a long-established show, it will take some time to get the word out to collectors of Americana that do not normally attend the show. A more centrally located physical layout for the Americana dealers may bring deserved attention from collectors.
In a statement issued before this year’s show, Schaut reflected, “Part of our mission should be to cultivate new collectors, to introduce the general public to the excrdf_Descriptionent and satisfaction of antiquing.” Addressing the trade’s concerns about conflicts issued by Internet collecting and a potentially softening economy, the forces behind Atlantique City strive to keep bringing thousands of collectors to a show where exposure and education are foremost priorities.
Atlantique City will make its next appearance October 20 and 21.
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