Published: May 3, 2023
Review and Onsite Photos by Tania Kirkman
WHEELING, W.VA. — After a three-year hiatus, West Virginia’s largest and longest-running antiques show made a triumphant return with its 2023 come-back, taking place April 14-16 at the Oglebay Institute in Wheeling.
Steeped in history, this time-honored show is known not only for its quality, but also integrity and devotion from its dealers and buyers alike. Often, the best gauge of any show are the comments overheard by patrons, and proof of Oglebay’s enduring legacy was ever present with one steadfast statement, “We’re glad to be back!”
The show did receive a bit of a facelift upon its return, including a location change, as well as the appointment of a new show manager, John Mickinak of Ligonier Antique Gallery in Greensburg, Penn. No stranger to the show, Mickinak has been in attendance as a dealer for more than two decades and co-manages the Greensburg Antique Show and Sale.
Upon taking the helm, Mickinak faced the challenge of not only returning after a three-year break but adapting layout changes for a modified show space due to an unforeseen scheduling conflict. With the help of a dedicated show staff, volunteers and a host of understanding dealers, the adjustment went smoothly, and the show was a roaring success. “It’s been a heck of a year, though incredibly rewarding, and we are glad to be back,” said Mickinak. Oglebay’s previous manager, Peter Chillingworth, oversaw the show for 17 years prior to his retirement after the 2019 show.
Mickinak also commented about expansions for the show and the need to adapt to a younger demographic, at the same time keeping the tradition that Oglebay is known for. “We are expanding the scope of the show to include more Art Nouveau, Art Deco and Midcentury Modern, and dealers have responded well to it.”
Event volunteers and co-chairs Stella Boldrick and Paula McClure had great things to say about the show’s long-awaited return, “It was a good restart; people have been missing the show and it is a nice way to be reintroduced. It is the caliber we are used to, and in order to preserve the show, and its dealers, we needed to move forward.”
Settled into the historic Pine Room at Oglebay, this year’s show had the addition of an outdoor tented area that included a lounge and rest area for patrons, adding a literal breath of fresh air to the layout. With 43 dealers from 12 states in attendance, there was a full house of both veteran dealers, as well as first time participants, filling the showroom floor. Early sales and a steady flow of traffic were present through the weekend, and overall attendance was in line with prior shows. It was easy for anyone present to realize — yes, Oglebay is back!
For Debbie Lund and John Woodring of Wheeling, W.Va., the return to the Pine Room was extra special. Lund is a third-generation exhibitor at the show, and the stage location of their booth was the exact same space her mother and grandmother used to occupy when the show was originally held in the Pine Room. Lund said that she has been attending the event since she was an infant and was pleased to once again be back in her family’s space at the show.
Their display included a vibrant assortment of antique country furniture, paintings, rugs, wallpaper boxes, crocks, books, coverlets, clocks and weaponry, incorporating a corner vignette to showcase midcentury furnishings and ceramics.
Other generational dealers at the show included Lara Rudd and Joyce Lee Goldstein of Lara Joyce Antiques, Westfield, N.J. This mother and daughter duo offered a fanciful mix of tabletop antiques and unusual collectibles. Items included Victorian jewelry, Black Forest carved wooden items, English smalls and porcelains, boxes and tea caddies, paintings, needleworks, antique camera equipment, and a variety of brass and metal objects.
Sewickley Antiques, LLC of Leetsdale, Penn., was one of the first dealers located in the entry gate of the outdoor space and offered a diverse group of American and European art and antiques. L. John Kroeck was pleased to be back, stating, “I’ve never had a bad show here.” He reported early sales of a Massachusetts secretary and a Federal period Patton & Jones, Philadelphia, mahogany tall case clock, circa 1810.
Fern Larking Kao of Bowling Green, Ohio, had a pleasing collection of fine ladies’ fine jewelry and accessories, which included Victoriana, designer clothing, handbags, hats, scarves, fashion items, perfume bottles, dresser articles and other small objects. Kao was one of the participants in the dealer Booth Talk series and presented on “Victorian Ladies’ Accessories.”
Patrick Hastings of Pittsburgh, Penn., had a walled art gallery that included traditional works on canvas, together with modern art prints, posters and works on paper. A few highlights were a large oil on panel “Man O’ War and Other Vessels on Choppy Seas” by Jean Laurent; a genre painting by Alexander Rosell titled “Beat That”; “Cows in a Landscape” by Maurice MacGonical, circa 1917; a pair of Paul Jones “After the Chase” paintings of terriers, circa 1859; and a large Victorian oil painting of King Charles spaniels. Hastings was the second presenter for the Booth Talk Series on paintings and fine art.
Dr Cynthia Marshall and Richard P. Jablonski of Butler, Penn., were on hand with fine vintage and estate jewelry, paired with African tribal masks. Marshall, an avid collector and dealer of storyteller masks and tribal artifacts, said that by Saturday’s noon hour she had already sold half a dozen masks to collectors. “Not all tribes carved masks, and many that I get have been deaccessioned from museums.” She went on to explain details to look for in authentic masks, “a couple ways to tell if they are old, is that you can see through them and breathe through them,” in addition, “they will have holes for placement of grasses around the face of the mask.” As for the masks and how they resonate with buyers and collectors, Marshall simply stated, “They connect with people as art.”
Marvin Wies Antiques of Baltimore, Md., set up in the outdoor space and brought a pleasing selection of Americana. A Harris & Co Black Hawk gilded copper full-bodied running horse weathervane was offered alongside whirligigs, frakturs, tramp art, butter molds, mochaware, antique sewing items, turned wooden bowls, candle boxes, tin lighting implements and trade signs.
John Cooper Antiques & Folk Art, Wilmington, N.C., has been doing the show for nearly a decade and reported “a strong crowd and a good show.” Saturday morning sales included a pair of light blue painted primitive chairs, baskets and a dry sink in original green paint, “the best dry sink you’ll see at the show today!” said Cooper.
Once Upon a Whimsy, Concord, Ohio, was a first-time exhibitor at the show, and had a lovely nook style set up inside the Pine Room. Toni Corlett was pleased to finally be in attendance for the show, having waited a few years for its return. She offered an assortment of antique silver and curio items, together with vintage linens, handkerchiefs, porcelains and glassware.
Paul Fischer Antiques, Indianapolis, Ind., had a diverse group of antiques and collectibles to suit varied interests, including children’s porcelain tea sets and miniatures, lighting, pietra dura plaques and jewelry. Highlighting the booth was a bronze allegorical plaque with putti by Madame Léon Bertaux for the 1889 World’s Fair Exposition Universelle in Paris, France.
Timeless Treasures West Mifflin, Penn., was on hand with a selection of traditional antiques blended with modern furniture and glassware. A piece that received a lot of interest from shoppers was a homemade architectural model of a Frank Lloyd Wright house.
Lancaster, Penn., dealer Francis Crespo Folk Art & Antiques displayed a fun and eclectic mix of animal and figural themed folk art and objects. Crespo said that he enjoys the use of color, and as an animal lover, he enjoys representing both subjects in his wares. He went on to say that many people were interested in and connected with the animal items he had on display. Sales were mixed across the board, including folk art carvings, paintings, Hubley doorstops, photo albums and a variety of other one-of-a-kind objects.
Christin Byrum, director of Museums at Oglebay Institute, was thrilled with the success of the weekend and shared a light-hearted moment that occurred, “A shopper assumed the show was closing early because she saw so many items being carried out, and we assured her that those were just people leaving with their purchases!”
Byrum concluded, “One of our takeaways is simply how wonderful and loyal our dealers are. They were flexible throughout the show, especially with all of the changes. One dealer commented how in his 40-year career he has found this to be the most ‘dealer centric’ show he has ever done.”
Exhibitors receive a multitude of complimentary perks at Oglebay, including a Friday night early buyers’ cocktail and dessert bar, Saturday evening dealer meet-and-greet dinner and museum tour, as well as a hospitality room that is available for the duration of the show.
Dates for Oglebay Institute’s 67th Annual Antiques Show and Sale will be April 5-7, 2024, once again reclaiming space in the historic Glessner Auditorium at the resort’s Wilson Lodge. For more information, 304-242-7272 or www.oionline.com.
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