Bob Bockius of Mitchell Displays took over the management of the Greater York Antiques Show when Donna Burk, widow of Jim Burk, decided to retire in 2012 and sell the show. Since then he has put on two shows a year. His loyal core of dealers say they like coming to York, Pennsylvania, four times a year, twice for Melvin “Butch” Arion’s long-running Original Semi-Annual York Antiques Show & Sale in February and September and twice for Bob Bockius’s Greater York Antiques Show in November and May.
This Scottish yellowware pitcher with dendritic decoration was $3400 from Lisa McAllister of Clear Spring, Maryland.
The late 18th-century paint-decorated Pennsylvania chest with a blue ground was $9000 from Greg K. Kramer and Co., Robesonia, Pennsylvania. The turned bowls are 19th century, probably Ohio, and were $995. The paint-decorated footstool was $1295. The red-painted miniature chest with black-painted molding was $2950. The painted chair was $950.
Figural stoneware jug in the form of a man with a cutaway coat, circa 1850, with cobalt and applied decoration, 13" high, $78,000 from Kelly Kinzle of New Oxford, Pennsylvania.
Bockius got 50 dealers to set up in the Memorial Hall at the York Expo Center for his May 6 and 7 show. There were fewer dealers this time because the dates conflicted with Brimfield and the Antique Garden Furniture Fair at the New York Botanical Garden. Moreover, dealers said they did not like the Saturday and Sunday schedule and have convinced Bockius to go back to the Friday and Saturday format in the fall. “It was my New Coke moment,” said Bockius sheepishly at the show.
Despite all the griping about not enough dealers to draw a huge crowd, the dealers who came brought the best they could muster, and many of them sold well. They brought some first-rate furniture, ceramics, textiles, signs, paintings, holiday items, dolls, and Native American pots, baskets, and rugs.
What’s more, the people who came to shop seemed knowledgeable and engaged, and many walked out with packages. Dealers said they sold furniture, too. Dealers in ceramics Dennis and Ann Berard of Dennis and Dad Antiques, Fitzwilliam, New Hampshire, and William and Teresa Kurau of Lampeter, Pennsylvania, all said they had “a decent show.” Kelly Kinzle of New Oxford, Pennsylvania, sold a rare early paneled walnut chest made in downtown Lancaster that had been in the Shelley sale at Pook & Pook in 2007. Ruth Rogers of School House Farm Antiques, New Holland, Pennsylvania, sold an old wagon. Michael Newsom and Betty Berdan of Thomasville, Pennsylvania, said they sold furniture, including a walnut Dutch cupboard, a harvest table, a couple of one-drawer stands, chairs, and more.
The 19th-century dancing man was $1650 from Lana Smith of Louisville, Kentucky.
Staffordshire plaques picturing bareknuckle prize fighters Spring and Langan were $1200 from Elinor Penna of Old Westbury, New York, who shared a stand with Bill Shaeffer. Tom Spring, an English bareknuckle prize fighter, was the heavyweight champion of England from 1821 until he retired in 1824. His real name was Winter, but he changed it to Spring when he became a professional boxer. Jack Langan was an Irish fighter whom he fought for a purse of 300 sovereigns. The fight drew a crowd of 40,000 and lasted 77 rounds. Spring won and then retired to run the Castle Inn, which became the unofficial headquarters of English boxing.
This Zuni pot with a heartline deer was $6500 from Steve Smoot of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Diane Farr of Boalsburg, Pennsylvania, said she sold a fraktur by Samuel Benz, a piece of mochaware, several pieces of early pearlware, a Hannah Davis hatbox, and more. “We sold quality goods,” she said. “And we sold more on Sunday than we did on Saturday. People came at the end of the day, and they came from as far away as Kentucky.”
Though the crowd was smaller, there was a steady crowd from Baltimore and Virginia as well as Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Dealer-to-dealer business was good.
Tom Jewett of Jewett-Berdan Antiques, Newcastle, Maine, said he likes coming to York four times a year even though he and his partner, Butch Berdan, left on Saturday night to get a head start to Brimfield.
Dealers said they preferred when York was a Friday and Saturday show and complained about the change in hours from an 11 a.m. Sunday opening to a 10 a.m. Sunday opening, and about the fact that a champagne reception at 3 p.m. on Saturday was held after the crowd of early buyers had gone, so there were few people left to celebrate. Some dealers complained that not enough people came, but those who sold well said those who came were there to buy. A lot of dealers said they hope Bockius succeeds because he is such a nice guy.
This redware Moravian roaster was $395 from Tony and Jan Leone of Arborfield Americana Antiques, St. Louis, Missouri. “A chicken just fits,” said Jan.
This boldly painted four-drawer chest with high feet and a backsplash was $2800 from Jewett-Berdan. The New Jersey theorem was $1650, and the watercolor of kittens was $1250.
Liz and Dave McElroy (right) of J.K. Nevin Antiques sold two pieces of furniture to the National Park Service for the Arlington House, the Robert E. Lee Memorial, formerly named the Custis-Lee Mansion, in Arlington, Virginia. After the show, they pictured the tables on their Facebook page with the tagline, “We are so excited to be able to visit them when the restoration is complete in spring of 2019!” Here they are shown with dealers Joan and Robert Conrad of Yeagertown, Pennsylvania. “We bought the table from the Conrads and used it in our kitchen in Downingtown. Now we are moving to a house near Pottstown, and the table is too big for our new kitchen,” said Liz McElroy. The McElroys said a cheddar, red, and gray Irish Chain pattern quilt on their wall on Saturday afternoon was the third thing that had hung in that space. They also sold a painted overmantel and a large portrait of three Philadelphia children.
Bockius said he will be careful not to schedule a show to compete with Brimfield again, and his fall show will be a week before the Delaware Antiques Show in November, so that those who come down from New England can stay on. “We are continuing to vary our advertising to get new collectors, and we saw a lot of them this time,” he said. He said he’s building up momentum to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first Jim Burk show in York in the fall of 2019. “I hope Donna Burk will be there and as many of the old-time dealers as possible,” said Bockius. Recalling the memories of the good old days should energize the market. “I am determined to get the enthusiasm level back to where it used to be, and I see it coming,” he said.
Bockius now knows that the timing of shows is all important. The fall edition of the Greater York show will be held on Friday and Saturday, November 3 and 4, just a week before the Delaware show, which is November 10-14 with a preview on Thursday, November 9.
For more information, call (856) 686-9000 or check the website (www.mitchelldisplays.com).
Steven Still sold this three-wheel wooden cycle, something you don’t find at every show.
Holden Antiques, Sherman, Connecticut, asked $2950 for the four-drawer chest with grain-painted red and black sides and smoke-decorated drawer fronts with the hardware replaced. The painted sheet tin train weathervane, 14½" high x 76½" long, was $4400. The Union Army sword, signed by J.H. McKenney and decorated with an eagle and Union shield, has a sharkskin grip and a scabbard and was priced at $570.
This large framed print on linen depicts Queen Caroline and supporters of the British Constitution, 1815-20. It was $1200 from William and Teresa Kurau of Lampeter, Pennsylvania.
Originally published in the July 2017 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2017 Maine Antique Digest