Ruth Rogers of School House Farm Antiques, New Holland, Pennsylvania, offered kugels, or German Christmas balls, priced from $50 to $1500.
This never-used rag rug in blues, yellows, and orange, 11' long x 3' wide, was $95 from Dennis Moyer of The Pennsylvania Farmer, Zionsville, Pennsylvania.
William and Teresa Kurau of Lampeter, Pennsylvania, asked $345 for the free-brushed pearlware teapot (top center), $750 for the pearlware coffeepot (left), and $245 for the teapot with a wooden replacement top (far left). The large basalt teapot (top right) was $375, as was the small basalt one (bottom right), and the basalt cream pitcher (center) was $150. The partial child's dinnerware set of enameled pink and green pearlware cost $475.
The whole family is in the business: (from left) Jason, Eric, and Greg Kramer of Robesonia, Pennsylvania. They had a booth full of Pennsylvania pottery, carvings, fraktur, and painted furniture.
by Lita Solis-Cohen
Antiques in the Valley, held the third Friday and Saturday of June at the Oley Valley Middle School in Oley, Pennsylvania, keeps alive the tradition of a high-quality country show in Pennsylvania. Now in its eighth year, it has thrived during difficult economic times and seems to get better each year.
The majority of the dealers did business before and during the show hours, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, June 15 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 16. None of them said they would not return, and even the few who said sales were off were philosophical about it, saying it was just not their turn.
The promoters admitted that with some older dealers retiring and fewer young people entering the trade, it was hard to fill the show, but they were determined to keep the quality high, so when a few booths remained unfilled, they allocated some extra space to dealers with deep inventories.
From its inception, the show has been run by a group of hard-working local antiques dealers and their wives: Peggy and John Bartley, Harry and Audrey Mosely, Brian and Sue Hart, Kelli and Mark Saylor, and Gene Bertolet and Chris Mabry. They volunteer their time to raise funds for the Oley Valley Community Education Foundation, which gives students scholarships to college. Five years ago they moved the show from the old high school gymnasium to the air-conditioned middle school a mile away where 60 dealers set out their wares in the comfortable gym, the lobbies, and the cafeteria. Pennsylvania Dutch food is supplied by local folks, and the annual plant sale, color coordinated and with first-rate material, creates an inviting entrance.
A sizable crowd gathered early and came to shop. Some came from afar to explore the historic Oley Valley, where horse farms, covered bridges, ancient mills, and iron masters' houses, now carefully restored, dot the rolling countryside. The early corn was in, the strawberries nearly over, and local raspberries, the first of the tomatoes, and other vegetables were available at the farm stands.
The Oley Valley Heritage Association and the Historic Preservation Trust of Berks County had tables at the entrance staffed with members eager to discuss local history and point out the local sights, such as the "Sacred Oak," believed to be 600 to 700 years old and used by the Lenape Indians as a sacred place. It was just up the road.
The dealers created arresting gallery displays, vignettes, and still lifes that gave this show style. Several dealers put glass tops on wagons or bins, turning them into vitrines to display collections of small baskets, sewing tools, or daguerreotypes. George Allen and Gordon Wyckoff had a group of cookie cutters dangling from thin wire attached to the ceiling.
There was a selection of paint-grained furniture, Dutch cupboards, blanket chests, and small chests. Textiles included quilts, coverlets, show towels, hooked rugs, and rag rugs in colorful designs and in remarkably good condition. There were watercolors, fraktur, and oil paintings of quality.
Judith Keefer and her son, Scott, of Blue Diamond Antiques came from Dearborn, Michigan, to show a broad selection of flow blue china, including rare turkey platters. Most of the dealers were from Pennsylvania, but a few came from New Jersey, New York, Maryland, and Virginia. Carlson & Stevenson came from Vermont, and Halsey Munson from Illinois.
Shoppers and dealers talked about how hard it is to find fresh material of quality. Dealers seemed to have edited their stock, knowing that it is quality that sells, and many seemed to price things to sell; when asked how much, they gave "the asking price," knowing that there would be negotiations.
The crowd on Friday stayed into the afternoon, and plenty of people left with packages. Those who did not buy said they had a good time just feasting their eyes.
For more information, phone (610) 987-3312 or (610) 779-0705; Web site (www.oleyvalleyantiqueshow.com).
Jim Emele of Dublin, Pennsylvania, asked $3250 for the bowfront cherry chest of drawers and $19,500 for the painting by Susan Waters (1823-1900), Puppies at Play. The tiger maple corner cupboard was $11,500; "It was made a few miles from where I live, and I had to go three hundred fifty miles away to find it," said Emele.
Greg Kramer said this shoemaker's bench in old red and blue paint is the best one he has ever had. Priced at $4250, it could be used as the ultimate coffee table and buffet for hors d'oeuvres.
Ivy Hill Primitives, Langhorne, Pennsylvania, asked $345 for the wooden hatchel for carding flax and $895 for the chimney cupboard. The baskets (top to bottom) were priced at $225, $265, and $295 (egg basket).
Collectors Kitty Bell and Ron Walter of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, bought this Bucks County coverlet and more. They wrote the book Stay at Home and Use Me Well-Flax & Fleece: Fiber to Fabric (2010), which accompanied the exhibition of their vast collection at the National Museum of the American Coverlet, Lazlo and Melinda Zongor's project in Bedford, Pennsylvania. Well worth visiting, it is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 4 p.m.