Published: October 1, 2019
Review and Photos by Madelia Hickman Ring
NEW YORK CITY – The second annual Trading Day on Tuesday, September 17, at the Manhattan Art & Antiques Center (MAAC), was billed as “a revival of the famous orgy of trading” that previously took place at the Madison Avenue gallery of Alex Acevedo. For one day only, “traders, barterers and purveyors” were invited to bring items valued at $1,000 or greater to trade – or sell – with other dealers. And they did. More than 21 dealers took tables, with at least 50 more coming to join the 50 dealers in the center. Many dealers reported this edition of Trade Day was better than the first, which took place on April 30. The center supplied tables and a free buffet Chinese food lunch that caused the trading to stop momentarily.
It is not surprising that Acevedo, the architect of Trade Day, did arguably the most trades of the day. “I probably traded about 21 items,” Acevedo said in a phone call a week after the event. “One of the main things I acquired was a painting of New York Harbor by Frederick Sykes…it was a killer painting.”
Paul Anavian, who is the center’s manager, and for the past 18 years has kept a booth there specializing in ancient and Islamic works of art, Persian and Middle Eastern antiquities, commented, “As we are all aware, the antiques market has been shrinking over the past few decades, but there is still a fire that burns at its core, where there is strength in quality, both in the artifacts and those that trade in them, and the antiques center trusts it will be at the heart of the new awakening for decades to come. Trade Day is a great start for us in bringing the fine treasures of the past to those that can and will appreciate them and keep them for the future generations.”
Ava, N.Y., dealer John Tkachuk spread his things on two tables lining the windows that faced Second Avenue. A framed 13-star flag from a Long Island estate was among the things he had brought, but Tkachuk was particularly excited about an archive of images taken during the Apollo 11 moon landings on July 20, 1969. During the day, he traded a musical manuscript to another visiting dealer and recounted that on the trade day conducted earlier in the spring, he had traded a full-size portrait of Benjamin Franklin to a Philadelphia dealer.
One of the longest tenants in the center is Hoffman Gampetro Antiques. Ron Hoffman said he has been there for 42 years and said in the first Trade Day, he sold approximately 80 pieces of jewelry in one sale to another dealer, who purchased it within the first hour. In addition to jewelry, the gallery specializes in objets de vertu and porcelain works.
Intaglios, cameos and art nouveau jewelry were the focus of Hartley Brown LLC. Nicole Brown recalled that the first Trade Day had generated “very good business afterwards,” and she was hopeful that would be the case again this time.
“It was fun; I did not make any trades but sold a few things. It was a good day, and it was great to see some old faces. Both trade days have been good; this one was better. Alex does a great job; you have to give him a lot of credit,” said Robin Rafimayeri of Robin’s Antiques. “I think the more we do this, you’ll see a lot of people come in… it just takes time.”
F&P Associates has been at MAAC for 30 years and is an extensive gallery specializing in Nineteenth Century French furniture, Orientalist paintings and bronze and marble sculptures. Fred Botesazan said that now is a great time to buy and said some of their best clients are European, Asian and Persian buyers. Of the many things Botesazan pointed out in the gallery were a marble top bibliotheque cabinet by Paul Sormani and a rotary marble clock.
In a follow-up email a week after the event, Garrison, N.Y., dealer Bruce Gimelson could not have been more enthusiastic of Trade Day. “We were thrilled to attend the Trade Day II event. Alex is a master at putting on events like this. He once had two massive trade days at his Madison Avenue Gallery on New Year’s Eve 1998 and 1999, which was attended by hundreds of people. The Trade Days he has had at the Antiques Center mirror his old ones and had much of the flavor. On both Sandra (Thayer) and I attended we did quite well; at the first, we acquired a rare miniature on ivory of Abraham Lincoln and a slave sailor manifest of a Union Civil War ironclad that participated in the battle of the Monitor and the Merrimac. At this one, we obtained two rare signed baseballs, and a fantastic early Nineteenth century manuscript of the Star-Spangled Banner in the hand of a major American composer! Anyone who has a chance to exhibit at a subsequent event should most certainly consider it.”
It was too early in the day to report a trade or sale, but Nathan Horowicz said that on the first Trade Day he sold some “great” platinum watches and a large set of Tiffany Chrysanthemum pattern flatware.
One of the newest dealers to MAAC is Adam Weinberger, Adam Weinberger Rare Books, who has been there just three months. He said he participated in the first Trade Day, where he found a Seventeenth Century English travel book.
Morris Khouli of Palmyra Heritage Gallery was busy taping up a box after making a sale, but he was happy to put his tape gun down and show off some off some of the things in his booth. He said Trade Day meant “lots of people and lots of excitement” for the MAAC.
The back wall of Textile As Art was this Seventeenth Century Italian embroidered panel depicting Proserpine with her husband, Pluto, which was made for the Habsburg Dynasty. Hamid Tavakoli also pointed out an Eighteenth Century Chinese Imperial robe.
Acevedo has confirmed the next Trade Day will take place at the MAAC on Tuesday, October 29.
The Manhattan Art & Antiques Center is at 1050 Second Avenue. For more information, www.maacnyc.com or 212-355-4400.
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