Paul J. DeCoste Antiques, West Newbury, Massachusetts, offered a large collection of early wine glasses, which he said he had bought at Skinner. The earliest have baluster stems; later ones have air twist stems. Champagne glasses were $500 and $600 each; engraved glasses, $700 and $800 each; and common ones, $350. The two with baluster stems were more than $1000 each.
Margaret Johnson Sutor of Lafayette Hill, Pennsylvania, offered this circa 1840 tea set transfer printed with William Henry Harrison’s log cabin and the Columbia Star pattern by Ridgway, Staffordshire. It was $2500 and it sold. Collectors of transferware found plenty to buy at this show.
James M. Kilvington of Dover, Delaware, said this bowfront chest was made in Kent County, Delaware, by the McDowell-Stevenson shop, 1790-1800. On it is a historical blue Staffordshire transfer-printed platter with the arms of Delaware, tagged $17,500. “I have owned seven of these platters in the forty-five years I have been in business,” said Kilvington. The chair covered in needlework is Irish, circa 1715, and $8500.
Albert Rogers of School House Farm Antiques showed early silver bird-back spoons to an interested shopper at the preview.
Dixon-Hall Fine Art, Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, asked $3800 for the large still life and $3400 for the smaller one; both are by Marc Schoettle (1925-1982). The 62" x 40" Brandywine landscape by contemporary painter Jon Redmond was $6850.
Sometimes when you put an old plant in a new pot, it thrives. That is what is happening to the Chester County Antiques Show, a benefit for the Chester County Historical Society.
The show opened on April 5 with a preview party with its now famous oyster bar and continued Saturday and Sunday, April 6 and 7, in an equestrian building at the Phelps School in Malvern, Pennsylvania, a venue that had never been used for an antiques show. Plenty of people found their way there on the first gorgeous spring weekend. They liked the smaller and more intimate venue and said it reminded them of the old days, when the show was in the West Chester University field house. Moreover, Malvern is adjacent to Philadelphia’s Main Line, where many collectors live. Some good business was done.
Dealers were so skeptical of the move, the third in a decade for this show, that many dropped out. (Dealer James Price missed the show because he had the flu; he said he would be back next year.) The catalog did not list all of the replacements, but the show must go on. A floor plan with a list of dealers on the back was printed, and people found their way. Some of the dealers have shown at the Chester County Antiques Show for more than 30 years. They all brought the best they could muster—much of it, but not all, made in Pennsylvania.
There was some first-rate furniture, some fresh to market. High quality Philadelphia chairs, Chester County chests, a sulphur-inlaid corner cupboard, an 8' long sawbuck table, and a diminutive serpentine chest of drawers with blocked ends and ball-and-claw feet were some of the stars. There was early glass, English china, American redware and stoneware, needlework, and a broad selection of iron, including an iron fish roaster in the shape of a fish. Some dated and signed iron sold.
Among the paintings were some China trade scenes and a George Cope trompe l’oeil of birds a hunter bagged that had been previously unrecorded.
Two dealers in rare books and ephemera found an audience. One had a broadside listing the 265 members of the 1816 graduating class at Yale when Timothy Dwight IV was the college president.
As with any show these days, some dealers did just fine and a few said they had a terrible show. Lots of people came; lots of cards were given out; but not enough checks were written. Some furniture sold—a tall-case clock, a Massachusetts high chest, a Delaware bowfront chest, a good Windsor sack-back, a wood box, a walnut hanging corner cupboard, an Irish card table, and a Chester County tea table all found buyers. The booksellers sold well, and dealers in English ceramics were happy. Some dealers who show at the Philadelphia Antiques Show came to the preview to shop and left with purchases.
Among the show-stoppers was a large selection of 45 English wine glasses, including champagnes, in the booth of Paul DeCoste, who also brought along the earliest bicycle made by the Pope Manufacturing Company. By Sunday it was accompanied by a Pope Company catalog that DeCoste had bought from bookseller William Hutchison of Mendenhall, Pennsylvania, who said that it was the first book on bicycles published in America. James Kilvington had a pair of early 19th-century brass hot plates with their original heating stones, Dutch or English. Where will you find others? Ruth Van Tassel said her small sampler dated 1731 was the earliest stitched in Chester County. There was a lot more to discover.
The timing of the show was unfortunate, just a week before the posh Philadelphia Antiques Show. Some potential buyers said they wanted to wait to see what tempted them at the Philadelphia show before committing to a purchase in Chester County. Moreover, many had just paid their taxes. Despite a higher stock market and an uptick in house sales, some said they felt poor.
Dealers said that they had been assured that the show would be earlier next year, perhaps returning to its traditional mid-March date, but no dates have been announced. Show manager Wesley Sessa promised to have a working heater (dealers said they froze during setup). Dealers and the committee hope the Phelps School will use some of their rent money to have a parking lot and driveway paved. If it had rained, the parking would have been a muddy mess.
For more information, go to (www.chestercohistorical.org).
Ron and Joyce Bassin of A Bird In Hand Antiques, Florham Park, New Jersey, asked $3450 for this collection of grain shovels, three of them painted with landscapes, and all showing use.
This was the first time Dan Caucci of Back In Time, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, had ever taken a booth at an antiques show. He had beginner’s luck and made four sales including a Windsor sack-back armchair with crisp turnings, a wood box, and a miniature on ivory. He wanted $2800 for the Soap Hollow painted chest that was signed twice and had some restoration to the feet. Caucci is a musician; the guitars were $3500 for the 1860 German one, on the left, and $4200 for the circa 1820 French one, on the right.
Peg Sutor is shown talking about the fine points of transferwares to a client at the preview.
Originally published in the July 2013 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2013 Maine Antique Digest