Published: October 4, 2022
Review & Onsite Photos by Madelia Hickman Ring
YORK, PENN. – In recent weeks and months, antiques shows and markets covered by this publication have featured an increasingly larger number of vendors who sell modern or contemporary handmade crafts in their show booths. For antiques collectors and purists, the “Original Semi-Annual York Antiques Show and Sale,” which featured its 179th edition September 23-24, was a welcome respite from such offerings, with traditional American antiques front, back and center. The event had advertised 75 dealers but with several vendors opting out because of concerns for Covid-19 or other reasons, the floor hosted “between 55 and 60,” said show manager, Melvin Arion.
“It was a very nice show. Attendance was excellent on Friday with long lines. It was ample on Saturday, and they were buying. Most dealers were very positive,” Arion said when Antiques and The Arts Weekly reached him after the show closed.
Despite a slightly smaller dealer list, there were two new exhibitors on hand: Ziebarth’s Antiques & Auctions from Wisconsin and Clifton Anderson Art & Antiques from Kentucky.
“York was very good,” Zac Ziebarth said when we called him after the show. “It was our first time being out that way, and it was great seeing a lot of dealers we haven’t seen in a while.”
He listed a general mix of sales that included a sign, some silver, some small furniture, some stoneware and some painted smalls. He hopes to return to York, if not in February, then when the weather is more conducive to the 15-hour drive from Wisconsin.
Like Ziebarth, Anderson also had a good first time experience selling at York. He listed “across the board” sales of a couple of weathervanes, including the largest hollow-body horse vane he had at the show, some wood carvings, silver, a fraktur, a stoneware jar, two oil portraits, some cake molds and a couple of canes, all to new clients.
“I did the show to sell some of the Pennsylvania pieces in my inventory that I can’t sell as easily where I am. It was a good experience and I like how it was run. I had some pretty good networking there and bought a pretty good item during setup.”
At the front of the main show floor were Newburgh, N.Y., dealers Daniel and Karen Olsen, who had a good assortment of furniture, smalls and fine art for shoppers to choose from. Of particular interest was an Eighteenth Century Norwegian carved burlwood tankard.
Next to the Olsens was Gladstone, N.J., dealer Marc Witus, who said he’d been doing the York show “more years than I can count.” Flat display cases on tables at the front of his booth featured silver lighters, chatelaines, Victorian tape measures and coral and bell teething whistles.
Across from Witus, Steven Still had a lot of painted furniture for collectors of that niche category. Of particular note was a circa 1840 painted settee, a green-painted corner cupboard from New England, a dry sink, a child’s size green-painted settee and a Lancaster County compass artist box described as “large.”
Cape Cod, Mass., dealers Hilary and Paulette Nolan sold a small carved stone dog shortly after the show opened. Among noteworthy pieces was a stunning matched pair of Federal card tables, Salem, Mass., or Portsmouth, N.H., that Hilary said he had just gotten in from a Palm Beach, Fla., estate that had provenance to Ethel du Pont. A Federal serpentine sideboard, from Baltimore or Philadelphia, also had provenance to du Pont.
“York was interestingly good,” said Ron Bassin of A Bird in Hand Antiques. “We stopped doing it during Covid; this was our first time back. We were pleasantly surprised – we did well, far better than anticipated.” The Florham Park, N.J., dealer reported sales of weathervanes, a flying duck, two pieces of painted furniture, a Finnish guide sign, some candlesticks, a heart mat and a cherry tree sconce, to a combination of repeat and new clients.
Gene and Nancy Pratt had on prominent display an oversized late Eighteenth or early Nineteenth Century Seneca Native American feast bowl that Nancy said was unusual for its large size. She said they had acquired it from a man who said he had obtained it from a man on the reservation.
Hooked rugs were available in several options with Waynesboro, Va., dealers Chris and Bernadette Evans. Centering the back wall of their booth was a pair of similar geometric examples that dated to the 1930s, two different ones that would appeal to cat lovers, and one that had a composition of two birds in profile on either side of an urn.
“It was really good for us, one of our best York shows in a while. There was a lot of legitimate interest. It seemed a denser, louder crowd,” Chris Evans said, noting that they have been doing it for 15 or 16 years. He listed sales of stoneware, a blanket chest and a pantry shelf, a good weathervane, a small rug, textiles, baskets, redware and other smalls, with half of their sales made to people who were new customers.
While many of the dealers at the show have done it for a long time, a few dealers are relative newcomers, including Mario “Mo” and Reggie Sorisio. Set up across the aisle from the Evanses, the Sorisios have been going to the show for just about five years. It would be impossible to miss the Pennsylvania quilted coverlet with tulip patterns that the Leechburg, Penn., dealers said they had found at an estate auction in Ohio near where they live.
Swampscott, Mass., dealer Sandy Jacobs had a great selection of smalls, including a bird tree with pears and several folk art daguerreotypes. A few days before Rosh Hashanah, she was displaying a piece of early Twentieth Century Judaica, a relief carved panel with gilt Hebrew letters from a Torah ark that she had found in Massachusetts. It had been made by Sam Katz, a Ukrainian Jewish master carver who settled in Chelsea, Mass., and who is credited with carving 24 Torah arks in the Boston area.
“I sold folk art, [including] that wonderful bird tree with pears; daguerreotypes; two good, decorated boxes; soft paste pottery; and lots of jewelry, which is funny because I stopped bringing jewelry in any quantity years ago since the interest wasn’t there. This time it was another story and I sold Georgian, memorial, Victorian and even early Twentieth Century pieces.”
Jacobs’ neighbors across the aisle were Newcastle, Maine, dealers Tom Jewett and Butch Berdan. An animal theme was immediately spotted, ranging from a pair of carved white lamb doorstops, a spotted pig pull toy, a dynamic bird rendered in cobalt glaze on a stoneware jug, birds on a mounted hooked rug, a “cock-o-the-walk” rooster weathervane and reindeer-form Christmas decorations and toys.
“The show was very good; it was a nice gate on the first day,” reported Tom Jewett. “Some of our sales included a paint-decorated Pennsylvania bucket bench, a chair table in old blue paint, the rooster weathervane, a folk art cane, some holiday and lots of smalls.”
Berdan’s affinity for animals is certainly one shared by his mother, Betty Berdan who, along with husband Mike Newsom, also had a material culture menagerie on hand. Impossible to miss was a black cat boot scraper that is identical to one published in American Cat-alog, the catalog that accompanied a 1976 exhibition of cats in American folk art at the Museum of the City of New York. Berdan said she had acquired it locally.
Another booth with extensive animal imagery was seen with that of Green Lane, Penn., dealers Keith and Diane Fryling. From hooked rugs and weathervanes to wooden carvings and fine art, animals ruled the roost.
Pat and Rich Garthoeffner sold quite a bit of jewelry and a mix of toys, including a boxed Lionel standard gauge train, three penny banks, two cast iron Hubley automobiles and some holiday and novelty things. A brochure in their booth advertised that more than 300 lots from the Garthoeffner’s personal collection would be coming up for auction with Fred Giampietro in January 2023.
“As we get older, it’s time to pare down,” Pat told us. “It’s all stuff from our personal collection, nothing from our inventory.”
Louisville, Ky., dealer Lana Smith had a small booth that was chock-full of decoys, baskets and banks. Among her standout items were a number of beaded Iroquois objects in the form of a heart, a shoe, a bird and a purse-form pincushion. She said all had come from New York state.
Within an hour of the show opening, Bob Haneberg had sold a weathervane in the form of an automobile. One of the things in his booth that was fresh and “great” was a circa 1830 ivory swift that had a double tier that made it more complicated than single tier ones. Other things the East Lyme, Conn., dealer pointed out was the vibrant tiger striping on both a tall six-drawer tall chest and a slant lid desk.
“It was a very positive show,” enthused Stephen Score. “I sold a number of things, but one of the best things about it, after all these years, I got a chance to meet and talk with some truly extraordinary people who have interesting ideas and interesting lives. I just loved talking with them, it was a privilege.”
As he often does, Score opted for a minimalist presentation but what he had was, in a word, stunning. From a triple portrait by Samuel Miller (1807-1853) to a Halley’s Comet quilted coverlet, a few large and impressive pieces filled up the space nicely. He reported selling a carved seagull, an embroidered picture and an herb sorting and drying station in old blue paint he described as “fabulous.”
A few people were clustered around a Shaker desk and painted Shaker oval pantry boxes that Kelly Kinzle had. When asked if they were collectors of Shaker material, the New Oxford, Penn., dealer quipped, “Not yet!” An expansive booth was filled with an impressive selection of fine art, high-style and folk furniture and decorative smalls, including a three-piece spelter clock garniture depicting French firemen in action. It was inscribed on its base “Victime du Devoir, Parx Raphanel.”
Afterwards, Kinzle said it had been “a good show. I sold a good painting, pottery and smaller pieces.”
Lancaster, Penn., dealer John Kolar, had several interesting things, including a large whale weathervane that had been rendered from a single plank of white oak. He had gotten it from a picker from New England. Also, of interest was a green-painted Lancaster County, Penn., Windsor sackback armchair that had been in the collection of Bill du Pont, who Kolar said had been a personal friend of his. Rounding out what he was particularly interested in was an early red-painted frame with gilt highlights that had been handled by George Samaha.
The 180th Original Semi-Annual York Antiques Show and Sale will take place February 3-4. For information, www.theoriginalyorkantiquesshow.com.
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