Eastern Tennessee pie safe, circa 1850, having geometric-punched tins on the front and sides, $1950 from Klint Griffin of Props, Mount Pleasant, Tennessee.
Agata tumblers made by the New England Glass Company, $495 each for examples without handles and $995 for the handled, were from Ed and Bonnie Jordan of Victorian Antiques, Onsted, Michigan.
Nineteenth-century blacksmith-made wall rack with five hooks at the bottom, $1098 from Warren Summers of Treasures in Time, Bingham Farms, Michigan.
A variety of early sporting goods and memorabilia from Doug and Diane McElwain of Sport & Spool Antiques, Goldsboro, North Carolina. Prices in the booth ranged from $6 to $350. “We sell a little of everything,” said Doug. “I’m hard-pressed to say which sport sells better.”
Pima letter basket, 1890-1910, $2200; Santa Clara black jars collected in 1930, made as a pair, circa 1890, north-central New Mexico, $1995; and Hopi mutton stew bowl, late 19th or early 20th century, $575, from Bob and Glenda Stover of Lebanon, Ohio.
Racecar weathervane on an arrow-and-ball bar, circa 1920, radiator paint over the original gilt, found in Maine, $1650 from Tom and Rose Cheap of Period Antiques, Scottsburg, Indiana, and Northport, Maine.
Industrial antiques included two curved sections of a conveyor from a staircase factory in Logan, Ohio, priced at $95 and $65; a three-shelf factory cart, $375; a six-drawer filing cabinet on a stand, $145; and a 15-drawer filing cabinet on a wooden cart, $265, from Fred and Sheri Quick of Architectural Revival, South Bloomingville, Ohio.
During the Lebanon Antique Show, held January 19 and 20 at Bowman Primary School, Lebanon, Ohio, one hallway was lined with more than just cobalt-decorated stoneware and blacksmith-wrought ironwork. It was adorned with art from a classroom project called “Lebanon’s Starry Nights.” In a twist on the Vincent van Gogh masterpiece, students created their own images of a star-filled sky on a dark night.
The results were intriguing, showing the diversity and creativity of young, untrained artists. The pictures included pine trees and houses, snowmen and crescent moons. One featured a large swirl in orange and red, like a ball of fire. Another depicted a homestead flying an American flag. It all came down to interpretation.
The antiques show offered much of the same. There were interpretations, but the adults also added a bit of attitude.
As required by law, the exterior doors of Bowman Primary School swing outward, but they might as well be revolving. At least that seems to be the case with the door used by the show’s managers, who have changed early and often during the past decade. The latest person at the helm is Bruce Metzger of Queen City Shows, Shandon, Ohio. He replaced Jennifer Sabin, who replaced Gerry and Janet Nagel.
Metzger is no stranger to the business. He runs three regular shows—Ohio Country Antique Show, held semi-annually in Wilmington, Ohio; 20th Century Cincinnati, a highly popular Modernist show; and Tri-State Antique Market, a one-day indoor/outdoor show held monthly May through October in Lawrenceburg, Indiana.
The Lebanon show, regardless of who’s running it, is a product of the Warren County Historical Society, which has long used the event as a fundraiser. What the show has lacked, however, has been stability. Promoters have come and gone, locations have changed, and the emphasis on antiques was blurred during a period when the historical society offered booths to traditional craftsmen, people who displayed their recently made redware or Windsor chairs.
And yet the Lebanon Antique Show has survived. Not that there weren’t a few misgivings about how things were done this time around.
The biggest fuss had to do with the introduction of Modernist material into what largely has been a traditional antiques show. Those complaining weren’t raucous. Actually, the dissenters were relatively quiet when someone with a reporter’s notebook and a camera was nearby. One dealer danced around the issue by posing it in the form of a question: “What do you think of Modernism? Is that something you like?” It seemed an off-handed way to poke and prod.
People might not have been speaking to the press about it, but they were talking to each other about their concerns over the Modernist items on the floor. At least some of those comments got back to Metzger. “I heard rumors yesterday of some grumbling about that,” he said during the first day of the show.
Of the 50 dealers who set up at Lebanon, only two brought Modernist material. Judson and Karen Fults of Lakeview, Ohio, offered traditional antiques on one side of the aisle and Modernist on the other. In another corner of the same room, D. Scott and Kathryn Adams of The Gallery Kathlyn, Fairborn, Ohio, mixed Modernist with Art Deco.
Less than a month before the show, Metzger hadn’t expected any mid-century modern to be on hand. Despite running one of the most popular Modernist shows in the Midwest, he didn’t recruit those dealers. He did, however, add a smattering of Art Deco. Otherwise, the show would be business as usual.
“It’s a pretty general mix, from early twentieth century back to late 1700’s,” he said several weeks before the event. “There are strictly country dealers there you will see from Ohio Country, and then there are dealers offering more formal-type Continental and American period antiques. There are a couple of dealers who have early sports-types of things. It’s pretty varied.”
All that was true. The show also included a booth specializing in high-quality lighting, one with a strong slant toward industrial antiques, and one with Native American pottery and baskets.
The Modernist items were a late addition. Fults asked to bring some things, and Metzger agreed. “I’m not trying to turn this into a Modernist show,” he said.
There was irony in the bemoaning that resulted—the historical society’s museum, which covers a variety of time periods, includes Modernist designs by Russel Wright, who was born and raised in Lebanon.
In the end, the grumblings were more of an annoyance than anything. The inclusion of Modernist objects wasn’t a conspiracy to turn the Lebanon Antique Show into something new, nor was it an agenda. “People say, ‘The promoter did this.’ But sometimes it just happens,” Metzger said.
What also happened was that the show offered the usual assortment of antiques that buyers have come to expect. If anything, the Modernist material made the show stronger by giving options to customers who have no interest in painted furniture, Staffordshire porcelain, or 19th-century landscapes.
Mimi Morgan of Bryn Sion Antiques, Florence, Kentucky, noted, “I had a lady come by and say, ‘This is the best Lebanon show I’ve been to in years.’”
Similar to the experience of viewing those art class paintings by the elementary school children, how one saw the Lebanon Antique Show was largely a matter of interpretation. Then again, isn’t it that way on any given night?
For information on the Lebanon Antique Show, phone the Warren County Historical Society at (513) 932-1817 or visit (www.wchsmuseum.org).
Ornate two-story birdhouse with a full porch wrapping around three sides on both levels, 20" high x 35" wide, found in northern Ohio, $600 from Scott J. Lippert Antiques, Dexter, Michigan.
Originally published in the May 2013 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2013 Maine Antique Digest