Published: October 24, 2017
Review and Photos by R. Scudder Smith
WESTPORT, CONN. – It is impossible to know how many of our readers attended the 33rd edition of the Southport-Westport Antiques Show on April 25-27, 1997. So for those who never made it to the show, or even never heard of it, or did go and it has long been forgotten, this page will either be new or a refresher.
This popular show moved around a bit, with a stay at the local country club before moving to the Fairfield County Hunt Club at 174 Long Lots Road, Westport. There it took over the riding rink where the dirt floor was carpeted and some of the dealers had to cover their expensively upholstered furniture to protect it from the birds that lived in the building. Aside from the birds dropping by, and the row of outdoor facilities, the rink held the 66 exhibitors comfortably and the show always looked fine.
The show committee was large and well-organized, with a number of groups each assigned to some function of the antiques show. A great deal of attention went into extra events during the run of the show, including a house tour featuring five elegant homes in the two towns, garden party, lectures and wine tasting.
This was the first year that the show opened under the management of the Antiques Council, an organization (still going) of a group of dealers who banded together, and that year Diana Bittel was president and Nancy Boyd served as liaison for this show. The council was not new to show management, for it already had under its belt shows on Nantucket, Gladstone, N.J., Western Reserve Antiques Show, Maryland Historical Society Antiques Show and the Antiquarian and Landmarks Society antiques shows in Hartford, Conn.
The show was well-attended all three days, and a real mob turned out to get a first-hand look at the show during a preview party on Thursday evening. Many people dressed up for this party, refreshments were piled high and the drinks flowed endlessly that evening. A high percentage of the dealers got off to a good start during the preview, and it was always interesting to hear Steven Weiss of Gemini Antiques talk about the sales he had made.
A brief walk and look around the show saw a nice painted blanket chest and a wonderful Hepplewhite table in the booth of Donald Sack, Victor Weinblatt covered his walls with early signs as he still does to this day, Wayne Pratt offered the “best girandole mirror we have ever had,” and Peter Eaton showed a secretary bookcase, among the best case pieces he ever had, that sold for $65,000.
Ricky Goytizolo of Georgian Manor Antiques ended the show doing almost four times what he did the previous year, and Bob Walin sold a slant-front desk, maintaining a record of selling a desk for eight years in a row at the Southport-Westport Show.
Jesse Cloud of Jackson Mitchell Antiques had several long case clocks in the booth, two had been sold and interest was strong in the third one, while Mo Wajselfish of Leatherwood Antiques noted, “this is one of the better shows because of the great mix of exhibitors.” He also mentioned that he had a good preview, selling five sailor’s woolies. Paul and Cheryl Scott listed among their sales three stands, several paintings and five pieces of Empire furniture, and Amy Finkel, a first-time exhibitor at the show, was having no trouble selling her samplers. She mentioned that she knew many of the people who came to the show, since, for two years she had rented space at Pat Guthman’s shop in Southport.
This show was reviewed in the May 16, 1997, issue of Antiques and The Arts Weekly and a glance at the show and auction calendars that week listed 48 antiques shows scheduled between May 14 to June 22, while 192 auctions were on the docket for the May 16 to June 29 period.
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