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The Heartland Antique Show

Don Johnson | June 1st, 2013

Susie and Rich Burmann of New London, New Hampshire, asked $16,500 for the Pennsylvania or Ohio paint-decorated blanket chest, dated 1833, and $7800 for the 29½" long copper prancing horse weathervane with an iron head, late 19th century.

Blue and white coverlet with a corner block lettered “RY/ By D.I.G./ 1839,” made by David Isaac Grave of Wayne County, Indiana, who was known as the Quaker weaver, $1550 from Indiana dealer Donna Almon.

Bob Zordani and Heidi Kellner of Z & K Antiques, Urbana, Illinois, asked $7500 for this Civil War canteen with patriotic designs added after the conflict, the back lettered “C.H. Davis/ Co. G. 12th/ Mass.” The “Soldiers’ Home” footstool, lettered on both sides, was $495.

Walnut and poplar cupboard in old blue paint, western North Carolina origin, $2900 from Klint Griffin of Props, Mount Pleasant, Tennessee.

Early 20th-century pictorial quilt titled “The Homestead” and signed “F. Cochran,” $17,500 from Greg K. Kramer & Co., Robesonia, Pennsylvania.

Richmond, Indiana

Shortly before the 9 a.m. opening of the Heartland Antique Show on June 1 at the Wayne County Fairgrounds in Richmond, Indiana, promoter Jennifer Sabin held a door as shoppers were ushered into the lobby of the Kuhlman Center. It was just starting to rain.

“Everything that could go wrong has gone wrong,” she said with a wry smile, as if laughing at the matter would lessen the severity.

Sabin ticked off a list of unexpected setbacks. The building was in use immediately prior to the show, affecting setup. There were problems in getting the dealers’ walls in place. The tent company didn’t show up. Allergies and sinus issues were making her sick.

Then there was the weather. The day’s forecast called for showers and thunderstorms, with the possibility of severe storms bringing large hail and strong winds. Despite scant traces of blue sky to the east, as the fair weather raced away, the potentially troublesome storm front was already establishing itself overhead.

The serious nature of the forecast became evident when the show staff used the public address system to announce where people should take shelter in case of an emergency. The tornado that devastated Moore, Oklahoma, only 12 days earlier was still fresh in mind, and Sabin wasn’t taking any chances.

“My goal is by four p.m. nobody dies,” she said. She wasn’t joking.

Sabin added, “What happened out there in Oklahoma was terrible.”

There were 140 dealers on hand, the same number as last year, so the forecast didn’t affect the size of the show, but the crowd seemed smaller, and sales didn’t appear to be as lively as in Heartlands of the recent past. Nonetheless, the show justifiably retains a solid reputation for great things, resulting in loyal, repeat customers and a fair number of newcomers.

Among the first-time buyers at the show was Ian Berke of San Francisco, looking for stone books. Having flown in specifically for the event, by midday he had purchased two stone books while passing on several others. For him, it was a good trip.

Across the floor, however, many dealers gave a less than enthusiastic response when talking about sales during the day, speaking in tones more related to vespers than a fire-and-brimstone camp meeting. People, it seemed, weren’t letting loose of their money without some serious deliberation, as if the storm clouds had darkened moods as well as the day.

If sales were a little tight, it wasn’t due to a lack of great things. This latest edition of Heartland offered as strong a selection of Americana and antiques as ever, punctuated by an exclamation mark that came in the form of truly fantastic pieces scattered throughout the show.

Two quilts were among the standout items. From rugs to samplers, textiles are always available at Heartland, but it has been a while since a knockout quilt was offered. Michael and Betty Berdan Newsom of Newsom & Berdan Antiques, Thomasville, Pennsylvania, offered a 19th-century album quilt from Crisfield, Maryland, priced at $18,500. Just as impressive, Greg Kramer of Robesonia, Pennsylvania, had an early 20th-century embroidered pictorial quilt, titled “The Homestead” and signed, picturing multiple phases of rural life, that had an asking price of $17,500.

There was great furniture, as always, ranging from an 18th-century tap table in original green paint, priced at $3550 by Halsey Munson of Decatur, Illinois, to an 1833-dated paint-decorated blanket chest of Pennsylvania or Ohio origin, tagged at $16,500 by Susie and Rich Burmann of New London, New Hampshire.

Smalls included a canteen decorated with a patriotic motif of crossed American flags and a red, white and blue shield on a green ground, with the name and unit of a Civil War soldier, priced at $7500 by Bob Zordani and Heidi Kellner of Z & K Antiques, Urbana, Illinois. A late 19th-century German clockwork nodder rabbit was offered at $4000 from Kit Carter-Weilage of Ticker Talker Toys, Louisville, Kentucky.

Throughout the day there was rain, but the severe storms never materialized. In the end, Sabin summed up Heartland with two words. “I’m happy,” she said. Everyone went home alive.

The fall edition of Heartland returns to Richmond on November 16, while Heartland East in West Friendship, Maryland, is slated for December 14. For more information, phone Sabin at (843) 812-0282 or visit the Web site (

Kiln sign from Missouri, 1930’s, $475 from Paula and Tom van Deest of Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Mid-19th-century oil on board Hicks school farm scene, Cuyahoga Valley, Ohio, 15¾" x 24¼" (sight size), $3600 from Robert Zollinhofer of Medina, Ohio.

Bottle-cap chain measuring 18½' long, $1495 from Leslie and Marvin Wies of Baltimore, Maryland.


Philadelphia comb-back Windsor armchair, 18th century, $7500; Connecticut Queen Anne cherrywood candlestand, $2700; American school oil portraits, $6200 the pair—all from Rich Myers of Valparaiso, Indiana.

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

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