Published: December 14, 2004
Thanksgiving Weekend, November 26-28, for the 23rd consecutive year was the time and the Williamsburg Marriott was the place for an antiques holiday weekend at which the 25 assembled dealers gave their own special thanks. Show promoter Bettianne Sweeney had the word out for her show, which attracted about 1,500 visitors and saw good overall sales of fine antiques in the room settings of the hotel’s ballroom.
The offerings at this show, while not vetted, are tightly controlled by the dealers and Sweeney to assure visitors that they are really antiques not collectibles or reproductions. In the recent past, some dealers have been told politely to remove offending rdf_Descriptions, and others who perhaps do not know the difference have not been invited back. This year’s newcomers were new only to this show, as each had ten or more years experience in the trade. Among them they found good success in what one dealer termed “a downer of a year selling antiques.” She added, “It was one of my best [shows] of the year, and I do many of the really big shows in New York, Texas and more.”
For many, this show has become a feature for their Thanksgiving holiday. For example, the Longs, who are residents of local community Kingsmill, have their adult children and grandchildren visit for the holiday. Staff of Colonial Williamsburg Foundation also spent part of their weekend at the show and in some cases spent more then just time. Ron Hurst, vice president of the curatorial staff, was there and made one dealer very happy.
Sweeney has been selective in her choice of dealers. To be sure, there is a wide selection of antique merchandise, but not an excess of tabletop exhibitors. This selectivity has created great loyalty among the dealers to her enterprise. Among regulars who have been there since the early days are Robert Woody, now of Pennsylvania, offering fine early silver, Josephine Hart Thrasher, Alexandria, Va.; and jewelry and furniture dealers Judy and Jerry Brill, Newport News, Va.
Ten-year veterans include McNeil and Reed, Delmar, Md., who offered furniture and a vast collection of Rose Medallion china dishes. Bill Shaeffer deals in exotic English porcelain.
Large booths filled with furniture were the offerings from Beatrice Pearl Antiques, Mocksville, N.C., Edgewood Antiques, Greenville, S.C., Period Antiques, Scottsburg, Ind., and Sharon, Conn.’s own Easter Hill Antiques. Northumberland Antiques is the business of Scott Cilley, Richmond, Va., and he, too, exhibited early furniture. He did well enough at the show that he was buying there to replace some inventory.
For next Thanksgiving, Sweeney plans to increase the show’s size with the addition of more ballroom space, allowing about 35 dealers. Even with the increase, she said she expects to be as diligent in watching the quality of the antiques. For information, 757-220-1299 or email .
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