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The "New" California Country Antiques Show

Alice Kaufman | October 20th, 2013

At East Meets West, Los Angeles, the 1900-10 hand-hooked rug from Centre County, Pennsylvania, was priced at $2850, and the 19th-century Bradley & Hubbard rooster doorstop with “fantastic paint” was $1250.

Faith Viland of Phoenix, Arizona, was asking $1295 for this pre-1800 Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, geometric paint-decorated child’s chest with a dovetailed wooden-pegged bottom.

At Miles & Miles Trading, Pacifica, California, this basket signed “Nelly Wallace” was tagged $2100. Barbara Miles said the basket was “possibly Pomo.”

“A cutie!” read the tag on this 19th-century “well-carved” pheasant on driftwood that came from the Midwest. It was $1150 from 4th of July Antiques, Sunnyvale, California.

California Country & More Antiques Show, Los Altos, California

The new California Country & More Antiques Show  publishes what reads like a mission statement on its Web site ( “If you’re from the west coast, why spend the time and money to travel east when you can find the same quality and prices on antiques here as you’d find at east coast shows and shops?”

That mission has been validated many times over by the show’s 37-year history. The show was held on October 20, 2013, in Los Altos, California. The show is, to quote the Web site again, “the longest running show of its kind on the west coast.” It may also be the only northern California show to offer “American Country & formal furniture, folk art” and more, such as “California Rancho, Monterey Furniture, Spanish Revival, Spanish Colonial, Mission, Mexicana, American Indian, California & Southwestern Fine Art.” Perhaps “more” also includes the weather, which is almost always warm and sunny, and the picnic food, which is served at long tables covered with checkered cloths.

To Eugene, Oregon, dealer Lona Wilken, the most important goal of the show’s promoters was “getting young people to come,” and come they did. “I saw them, and I saw them buying,” Wilken said.

Promoter Ted Birbilis attracted a younger crowd (as well as the show’s regular fans) by using social media and Web-based postings and advertising in local papers such as the Palo Alto Daily Post, “which is in every Starbucks,” plus the San Francisco Chronicle and M.A.D. “I’m still working on it, and I’m open to ideas,” he said.

Birbilis believes the October show had “a little more diversity of material” as compared to the June show, his first as promoter. Fewer dealers exhibited this October, but, he said, “Last year, there wasn’t any October show. This show deserved to be saved, and dealers are becoming more confident,” more willing to sign up in advance to exhibit, and more invested (literally and figuratively) in Birbilis’s vision of “keeping what the show is known for and bringing in complementary material.” Several dealers who were “on the fence” about exhibiting this time “came to the show and bought.”

The next California Country Show is scheduled for June 8, the second Sunday in June. Come for the strawberry shortcake; stay for the antiques. For more information, contact Ted Birbilis at (626) 437-6275.

This circa 1825 hand-painted Pennsylvania German bride’s box was priced at $1750 at the booth of Halliday House Antiques, Napa, California.

Anaheim, California, dealers R.S. and Carolyn Machtolff of Machtolff’s Mercantile were asking $1500 for this 1930’s “probably American” handmade wrought-iron galleon weathervane.

Don Phelps of Alamo, California, was asking $2800 for this set of Navajo carved cottonwood women’s healing ceremony dolls. Phelps believes they either came from a museum or were used as children’s teaching aids, much as kachinas are used by Pueblo Indians, so that children can recognize the deities when they appear in ceremonies.

Burlingame, California, dealer William Warmboe’s colorful display of 1930’s Bauer tableware was attracting crowds of admirers. The prices ranged from $200 to $300.

Originally published in the February 2014 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2014 Maine Antique Digest

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