Published: December 13, 2011
Williamsburg has only one antiques show and that is the Holiday Antiques Show, created and managed by Bettianne Sweeney. Sweeney has 30 of these shows under her belt. The Friday after Thanksgiving, November 25, was the date, and the show continued Saturday and Sunday.
This year’s roster of antiques dealers was 34 deep and represented 14 states, the United Kingdom and Canada. Some of the single-theme booths were ceramics, prints, Oriental carpets and estate jewelry. There were a few attractive tabletop offerings, but the majority were room settings in bright colored walled booths.
Opening night found quite a few sales, including a pair of portraits offered by Hanes & Ruskin, Old Lyme, Conn., a Windsor arm chair from Daniel and Karen Olson, Newburgh, N.Y., and some Eighteenth Century air twist wine glasses from Robert French Antiques and Americana, Portland, Maine. Other sales were made on that night by Brill’s Antiques, McNiel & Reed, Witt’s End, Northumberland Antiques and Sparrow’s Nest.
Gordon Converse of Gordon S. Converse Co. Auctions provided a verbal appraisal service for attendees for a small fee. The appraisals took place during show hours both Saturday and Sunday. Proceeds from the clinic were donated to a charity.
Stories of success among the dealers were mixed, according to Sweeney, although there were many nice sales. One dealer, Scott Cilley, Northumberland Antiques of Richmond, Va., nearly sold out. Neverbird Antiques of Surry, Va., operated by Bill and Joyce Subjack, had some strong sales, including a rare Virginia 1737 map that jumped into the hands of a Virginia collector.
James Island, Robert and Roxanne Werowinski, Charleston, S.C., were making a first appearance in Williamsburg, although they had exhibited in other nearby parts of Virginia in the past. They reported that a couple of things were out on trial, and if they stay, the couple will be satisfied.
Doing business as Witt’s End Antiques, Wallkill, N.Y., Chris Doscher and his wife, Karen, sold a desk, an English dresser and more.
Rex McNiel and Ben Reed, Delmar, Md., came out of retirement to join the group. Quite a few of their old customers came to see them and to buy. They reported a good show, having sold a lovely Chinese red hanging corner cupboard to be delivered back to the Eastern Shore, as well as a host of their export porcelains.
Steve and Lorraine German from North Granby, Conn., are known in the trade as Mad River Antiques and primarily as stoneware and textiles dealers. For this event, however, Lorraine became the “Christmas Lady.” She gathers antique Christmas items all year long and collectors make a beeline for her booth at opening. This year’s offerings included a mechanical Santa Claus from a department store front window in the 1950s, probably Hartford, Conn.
Brill’s Antiques, which has a shop in nearby Newport News, Va., did well at this show, selling an American Eighteenth Century cherry chest on frame, a circa 1760s pair of old Sheffield sticks, a hanging shelf, a grandfather clock and game table.
Swan Tavern is the crème de la crème of antiques shops in the area located in Yorktown. Mary Peebles said she does the show mainly for advertising purposes because it gathers most of the local buyers and collectors during one weekend. She also did some business during the show, closing with the sale of a chest at the very end of the day on Sunday.
One might think the dealer traveling the farthest distance was Mel Madsen, Antiques of London; although he resides and buys in England half of the year, he also has a home in Virginia. His partner, Warren Burls, lives in England and spends half of the year doing shows in the United States.
So the prize for the farthest travel was awarded to Barry Ezrin, Moffat, Ontario, Canada. His booth featured some of the most interesting folk art, which included two facing mid-Twentieth Century welded metal lions, a Frost lion hooked rug and a blue painted pie safe with unusual tins.
Attendance from members of two groups headquartered locally, the Friends of the Colonial Williamsburg Collection, a national organization, and the Antique Collector’s Guild of Virginia, a statewide organization, helped to promote this show. “Of course we’re nervous days before and even minutes before the doors open, but they always come through,” said Sweeney. “We’re very thankful.”
The show’s production credits go to Sweeney and her family, children and grandchildren, who are now old enough to sell tickets.
For additional information, www.holidayantiqueshows.com or 757-220-1299.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm