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The New California Country & More Antiques Show

June 9th, 2013


This Tesuque bowl was priced at $3900 by Barbara Miles of Miles & Miles Trading Co., Pacifica, California, who was exhibiting at the show for the first time. How did she know about the show? “I read about it on the Internet.”


Dealer Lise Thomas of Modesto, California, whose vintage Mexican textiles and folk artifacts were new to the show, was asking $1800 for this Tehuantepec village dress. Everything is from Quiroga in the Mexican state of Michoacán.


Along with the show’s new aesthetic, its old aesthetic (American country) continues to be well represented. The rocking horse on the left cost $1695, the gold weathervane horse in the center cost $1495, and the black-painted rooster on the right cost $3200 from Sandy Linderman of Thousand Oaks, California.

Los Altos, California

The New California Country & More Antiques Show is under new management, and it really shows. It remains the show that it has been for 27 years––an American country antiques show with quilts, firkins, and weathervanes–– but now offers a whole other aesthetic with a range of cowboys and Indians and Mexican material layered over it. At the event on June 9 in Los Altos, the combination proved harmonious and complementary.

The change was evident from the first booth at the entrance, a double (triple?) booth manned by two southern California dealers who displayed the variety (and new mix) advertised on the show’s invitation postcard: Americana, folk art, and “treasures from California’s Golden Past.”

Twelve of the approximately 33 dealers were new to the show. Many of them offered highly decorative (and sometimes more than decorative) American Indian and Mexican material. Many of these new dealers are veterans of the Golden California show in Glendale, which is produced by this show’s new owners, Ted Birbilis and Sandy Raulston, whose own taste and inventory at their show booths and Pasadena shop includes Americana, folk art, and those treasures from California’s golden past. What looked to be many hundreds of copies of M.A.D. were available for the crowd to take home.

Although Ted Birbilis had never gone to the California Country Antiques Show either as an exhibitor or an attendee, he knew people who had. He “felt we were always on the same wavelength. I knew the show’s reputation and what it had been. Tom [Baker, one of the show’s previous and longtime producers] called me saying the show needed to be saved. I thought about it long and hard. The show needed some new life pumped into it. But we kept the core of the show—American country and folk art.”

Although “a lot of dealers who had been exhibitors were no longer there,” Birbilis continued, “everyone who was ever involved [in managing the show] was there.” He listed Bea Teer, who founded the show; Lori Moore, a cofounder; Tom Baker; and Tammy Martin, who sold the show to Birbilis and his partner, Sandy Raulston.

Although he didn’t have the actual numbers when he spoke to M.A.D., Birbilis said the exhibitors told him that there were more and younger people attending than in the recent past. “We ran out of food,” he said. Attendees were attracted by e-blasts, Facebook postings, a Groupon offer, and ads in the San Francisco Chronicle and the San Jose Mercury News. “My goal was to pull in a more diverse crowd to go with a more diverse group of dealers.”

Birbilis confirmed that there will be an October 20 show in Los Altos and that dealers are already signing up, even dealers who never have done the show or haven’t done the show in years. “So many shows no longer exist,” he said, “but people still want to go to shows.”

For information see (www.californiacountryshow.com) or call (626) 437-6275.

This pair of circa 1850 chairs from the Odd Fellows Lodge in Wappingers Falls, New York, was priced at $1200 for the pair by Rob Kowalski of Halliday House Antiques, Napa, California. “We are very pleased with the new management,” Kowalski told M.A.D. “The flow of attendees was solid through the day, and there was maybe a younger crowd. I hear the commitment for the October California Country show is firm.”

Tom Baker of Baker & Company, Soquel, California, was asking $1395 for this early 20th-century New England hooked rug decorated with a running horse. Baker was the show’s second promoter and ran it for 11 years. He said, “The new promoters, Ted and Sandy, are by far the best possible promoters to take over its reins, and I am very excited about the show’s future under their leadership.” Baker has exhibited at Roadside America’s “successful Glendale shows,” and they had exhibited at Baker’s shows, but not previously at this show in Los Altos.

In the booth of Atherton Antiques, Menlo Park, California, this folky 19th-century Austrian painted chest cost $800. “The new promoters’ ads seem to work,” said Christal Hassun. “The attendance has been good; there were about forty people in line when the show opened.”


Originally published in the September 2013 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2013 Maine Antique Digest

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