Published: November 18, 2003
– Barry Cohen found an excellent way to celebrate the tenth anniversary of his fall York Tailgate Antiques Show. He left his motel room venue and moved into Memorial Hall on the York Fairgrounds, the very site of the Jim Burk show he was tailgating in the first place.
But to set the record straight, this was his second show on the fairgrounds following his first venture there in the spring, the York County Classic Antiques Show. That show, conducted at the same time as Burk’s spring Greater York Antiques Show, was in a neighboring building and now that Jim Burk has moved to the new Expo Center on the fairgrounds, Barry has taken up permanent residence in Memorial Hall. Now, since all that is clearly understood, let’s concentrate on the Classic of October 31-November 1.
The York County Classic Antiques Show has scored several notches in the plus column. First, it has escaped the motel way of doing a show, partly outside and up and down staircases. Some of the dealers kept their rooms warm, others cool, creating an unhealthy climate for shoppers. With the announcement of a new show on the block, some of Barry’s dealers left for another venue, causing him to go out to seek new dealers and turn up some exhibitors who were new to the visitors. And with strong competition just a short walk across the fairgrounds, his dealers appeared to go all out both in presentation and material, resulting in a show that will continue to hold its own during this York scramble.
The York County Classic was the first of the trio of shows on the fairgrounds to open, welcoming a large gate for early buying at 7 am Friday. People filled the lobby of Memorial Hall, and part of the crowd spilled outside before the opening gun. Visitors wasted no time entering the building and immediately there was a scurry of people up and down the aisles, all trying to take in the entire show before Frank Gaglio opened his new event, The Pennsylvania Antiques Show, at 9 am.
As that hour approached, the crowd at the Classic dwindled considerably, leaving very few shoppers in Memorial Hall. As the day progressed, however, and all three shows had opened, people came back to see what they had missed in the first pass, and also to firm up some purchases after checking out the goods at the new Expo Center.
The Rathbun Gallery from Wakefield, R.I., had a neat booth, well lit showing off furniture that included a lift-top country cabinet in painted walnut, New England or New York State, an rdf_Description in the original red stain that would have probably spent its active years on the counter of a country store. It dated circa 1820-40. A Sheraton table, three-board top, breadboard ends, 67 inches long, circa 1820-35 and probably from New York State, was also offered, as was a post office sign originally from Scott, N.H., now Dalton, N.H. It was all original with black lettering on white ground, with a black molding surround. Nancy Schneider was at the booth and noted, “It is nice people wander around the shows and take their time, it seems healthier that way.”
Bob Jessen and Jim Hohn-wald of Fitzwilliam, N.H., have been at the show since it started and spoke well of the move and to a more conventional show. As of the end of the first day, “We have not sold any furniture, but a good number of smalls including several pieces of painted treen,” Bob said.
An interesting wall cupboard hung at the back of the booth, New England origin, circa 1800, with a divided interior. Its original use was probably an apothecary. Resting on a sawbuck table at the front of the booth was a 23-inch-diameter wooden bowl of New England origin, late Eighteenth or early Nineteenth Century, with a green painted exterior shown to advantage with the bowl upside down.
A number of pieces of furniture in the booth of M. Sparger Antiques, Mount Airy, N.C., included a Pennsylvania Dutch cupboard in old red paint, two drawers over two doors in the lower section; a box of drawers in gray paint that probably came from a country store, and a pine two-board table with breadboard ends, tapering legs, measuring 7 feet 91/2 inches.
Shortly after the show opened a red sold tag appeared on a round-top chair table with scrubbed top in the booth of Country Treasures of Preston, Md. A selection of round painted kitchen storage boxes was displayed on the shelves of an early bucket bench, while a collection of nine mortar and pestles in red, blue, green and brown paint filed a shelf nearby. Berks County was represented in the booth by a painted and decorated blanket chest, late Eighteenth or early Nineteenth Century.
One never knows what will be offered from the booth of Marc Witus of Gladstone, N.J. A green-painted horse head hitching post was in one corner, a collection of close to a dozen coverlets was displayed on a rack at the center of the booth, and to the right several cases held collections of watches, cuff-links, rings and miniatures. “Help yourself,” he told one visitor who was interested in miniatures, while he measured the diameter of store display dishes marked “Pure Butter” and “Margarine.” To further show the variety of his inventory, early in the show he sold a collection of cap bombs and a medicine ball dating from World War II.
The corner of the booth was held down by a Pennsylvania Chippendale walnut tall-case clock, Lancaster or Reading, measuring 7 feet 10 inches tall. It rested on an arched bracket base with feet and had a bronze and silver dial. Other rdf_Descriptions sold the first day included a Pennsylvania tavern table with drawer, two paintings and a needlework sampler, either English or French.
A large colorful sign advertising Sherwin-Williams Paint took up a large part of the back wall in the booth of Carolyn Wilson Antiques, Mendon, N.Y. In addition she offered a nice tea table with tiger maple base, and for the country store collector a stand filled with seed packets with the original label of the Card Seed Company.
Herb Propst of JHP Quilts & Antiques, Hermann, Mo., said on Friday afternoon, “No furniture has moved, but I have sold about seven quilts, and the more expensive ones.” Most of the quilts shown were from Ohio and Missouri, with a few examples from New England. Furniture shown included a country Chippendale mule chest, New England, one board top, one drawer, bracket feet, with red-brown painted surface, and a chair table in cherry wood with a 471/2-inch-diameter top. A stack of painted firkins was among the accessories shown.
Darwin D. Bearley Antiques of Akron, Ohio, was not having a good day on Friday, causing him to mention, “I think I brought the wrong load.” Among the quilts he offered was one signed and dated “McKee, 1891,” decorated with flower, the sun and the lettering “God is Love” in the center.
“Things were not selling so well in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, so I needed a change and this is my first show in Pennsylvania,” Brett Cabral of Auburn, N.H. said. By late opening day he indicated a “good show,” selling a selection of yellowware, pieces of redware, a tramp art clock tower, two fences that surrounds Christmas trees, a tea table and six-foot-long folk art pencils.
“All three shows are good and both the managers and the dealers have done an exceptional job here on the fairgrounds,” exhibitor Lilly Mersky of Paradise, Penn., said. Among the furniture shown was a painted three-drawer desk at a height that would require the user to be seated on a stool, a miniature Empire sewing stand and a figured maple highboy with a fan carved in the lower center drawer.
One of the dealers set up near Philip and Kathleen Seibel suggested they close their booth for a bit and everyone take turns selling. That comment came as the result of a string of sales by this Catskill, N.Y., couple, including a country server, a tall worktable with white surface, a Hudson Valley blanket chest with blue paint, and “lots of smalls.” The Seibels, celebrating 30 years in the business, now do only five shows a pear, three in Rhinebeck and two in York.
Red, white and blue seemed to be the colors for Nancy Stronczek of Greenfield, Mass., for those colors were brought out in a large star quilt hanging at the back of the booth, a child’s dress with silver stars, some bunting and an Uncle Sam outfit. Bobbie Pries of Westfield Center, Ohio, exhibits in both the spring and the fall York Classic and this time reported selling things “from little to big.” In addition to the smalls, furniture included a traveling trunk in bittersweet paint, a wing chair, a drop leaf table with red surface and a one-drawer lift-top chest.
“This has all the makings of becoming a Nashville of the North — lots of dealers, one-time parking with three shows within an easy walk, and a short menu,” Robert Hockaday of Hockaday & Moriarty Antiques, Otter Creek, Md., said. After the first day he indicated the show had been good for him with sales that included several trade signs, a silver tray marked Kirk, a well-preserved Paddy and The Pig mechanical bank and a pair of whippets, salesman’s sample size. Of special interest was a 30-year collection of stoneware, 41 pieces, all by Baltimore makers and with a number of different incised addresses. For example, Chas. W. Siebert was a seller of wines and liquors, M. Shakman & Co. was wholesale druggist, and J.C. Wheeler sold groceries and liquors. “We have had lots of interest in the collection,” Robert Hockaday said, “and one person who is considering it has several offices in Baltimore and on the same streets as marked on some of the pieces.” Several cases of jewelry were also in the booth, attracting a good deal of interest.
Thomas and Julia Barringer of Stockton, N.J., indicated that “lots of interest” was shown by the people who came to the show and some of those returning later in the day said, “We like this show the best.” Several pieces of furniture were sold by the Barringers including a Hepplewhite table and a clothespin Windsor side chair, as well as many smalls.
“We were doing just fine until 11 am when the people decided it was time to move on to the next show,” Neil Quinn of Mary Carden Quinn Antiques, Floral Park, N.Y., said. He did log a good number of sales, however, in the opening hours including a signed and dated game board, a rug, a blanket chest, a child’s wheelbarrow in bittersweet paint and a pair of 18-inch tall candlesticks made from tin cans and a child’s tin horn as the shaft. “Signs are hot right now,” he said, remembering an early morning sale of a double sided sign that read “Meals for Lodgers.”
Michael Kellogg was pleased with the show and on the first day sold a pair of painted frames, stone fruit, stoneware, a couple of wooden clock faces, a painting, some painted treen and a couple of red, white and blue still banks.
“It all went well, easy in and easy out, as there are lots of doors in Memorial Hall,” Barry Cohen said. So now with the kinks worked out of the new facility, he is looking ahead to next spring when the York County Classic Antiques Show opens with 115 exhibitors May 7-8. Prior to that date, Barry will be staging his annual Antiques Manhattan at the Altman Building on 18th Street in New York City, January 16-17. For additional information, 703-914-1268.
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