All eyes on AC: March 29-30 show wows ‘em

On Saturday morning, March 29, the crowd lined up 2,000 deep for the 9 a.m. opening of the Atlantique City Antiques Show at the Atlantic City Convention Center. Automaton AT 4-16.jpgDealers, on their way to the show floor for last-minute preparations, navigated through the massive crowd and noted the buzz in the air as patrons jockeyed for position and planned their routes through the show floor, aiming for the dealers that were featuring their favorite treasure.

This African-American automaton is one of the best pieces of black memorabilia to be seen at the show. He’s fully functional and full of personality.

“The show certainly exceeded our expectations,” said Show Producer Eric Bradley. “The crowd we brought in has created hundreds of happy dealers, and considering the vagaries of the economy right now, thousands of happy buyers.”

Boat AT 4-16.jpgFine and folk art mixed freely on the floor of Atlantique City, as evidenced by the good paintings in the background punctuated by this fully functional boat model.

With upwards of 400 dealers on the show floor there was plenty for buyers to choose from. From high-end furniture, porcelain, fine art, toys and jewelry to pop culture, vintage clothing, ephemera and advertising, the March ’08 Atlantique City featured a little bit of everything.

Betty Boop AT 4-16.jpgBetty Boop is always popular at Atlantique City, but this floor stand of Boop with roller skates and waitress uniform was one of the most fun pieces at the show.

“It was a very good weekend for all of us,” Bradley said, “and we look forward to putting forth a greater effort to further revitalize this important show in October.”

As dealers began to pack out on Sunday evening once the show had finished, several hundred stopped into the show office to sign their contracts for the fall show, all the while marveling at the sizable crowds and at what they were buying.

Fine Art AT 4-16.jpgFine art brought some big money and a lot of attention at the March 29-30 Atlantique City Antiques Show.

No one item or area seemed to dominate the sales on the floor, though jewelry and furniture dealers uniformly commented on the strong sales and enthusiastic responses they received from customers.

Jewelry AT 4-16.jpgCostume and fine jewelry galore were available at Atlantique City, and crowds were in a buying mood.

There was much speculation before the show opened as to whether the crowds would come and as to whether or not they would be buying, considering how volatile the housing and stock markets have been in the last several months, but a turn back to more “traditional” investment seemed to be just what was on the mind of show patrons. Without any sure bets where to put their money on Wall Street, it was antiques that buyers wanted, and investments sure to retain their value and add decorative and artistic flair to their homes and collections.

Crystal Bowl AT 4-16.jpgThis magnificent cut crystal punch bowl was a definite show-stopper at the Atlantique City Antiques Show, at the Atlantic City Convention Center, on March 29-30. The next installment is Oct. 18-19 of this year.

“We had a very decent show,” said Matthew Baer of Ivory Tower Antiques out of Ridgewood, N.J., specializing in very fine Orentalia. “This was, overall, one of the best Atlantique City shows we’ve seen in recent years.”

Presidential pins AT 4-16.jpgPolitics were much on the minds of dealers and appraisers alike in this election year, and an abundance of political memorabilia fed the debate.

Atlantique City routinely offers a wide variety of specialists, especially in the area of antique toys, but 20th century material seemed to draw a significant amount of oohs and aahs from the crowd. One booth that saw a tremendous amount of traffic was You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet from New Haven, Conn. Proprietor Bob Adams, who – with son Sterling – unloaded a large selection of pinball machines, antique arcade games, furniture and a mind-boggling array of smalls (from cigarette packages to political buttons) said the show was beyond what he, as a longtime exhibitor, thought it would be.

Thangka detail AT 4-16.jpgThis image of a Green Tara, from a Tibetan thangka, or wall hanging, was just one of many hidden gems at the March 29-30 Atlantique City Antiques Show.

“It was wonderful,” said Adams. “The staff of AC is genuinely trying to make it better, and the crowd has been here and they were trying, too. Put very simply, this is a show that is going to get stronger and stronger. We do our part as dealers, the promoters do their part, and the buyers are doing theirs.”

“This show was good,” said Dorothy Loud, of Dorothy’s Antiques of Boca Raton, Fla., who drives two days to set up at the show. “It’s always been good.”

Punch AT 4-16.jpgMr. Punch, with his bright red nose and bright red clothes, was getting plenty of looks at Atlantique City.

Besides the uniformly good quality merchandise on the floor, patrons came to the show for several other attractions, including a special exhibition of sporting memorabilia provided by Hunt Auctions of Philadelphia, Pa., and the Saturday and Sunday appraisal event, sponsored by Alan “Mr. Mint” Rosen, of Vineland, N.J.

The special exhibition was highlighted by several selections from the Whitey Ford Collection, including his MVP plaque from the 1961 season, when Ford was part of one of the greatest New York Yankee teams ever assembled. Also in the exhibition was a game-worn cap from Babe Ruth that looked as though it has just come off the legendary slugger’s head, and the jacket that Lou Gehrig, perhaps the most beloved Yankee of all time, wore the day he delivered the lineup to home plate without his name on it, effectively ending his streak of games-played.

Garthoeffner Clown AT 4-16.jpgAn old clown with plenty to smile about at the March 29-30 Atlantique City Antiques Show at the Atlantic City  Convention Center, as the crowds flowed on Saturday.

All the items are part of a special sale Hunt will be holding this summer, during the Major League Baseball All-Star break, when the game will be held at Yankee Stadium. The Ruth cap and the Gehrig jacket should, individually, command hundreds of thousands of dollars apiece. David Hunt, president of the auction house, didn’t even want to venture a guess as to what price the pieces might command.Zoltan AT 4-16.jpg

The original Zoltan from Atlantic City’s Steel Pier, on the floor of the Atlantique City Antiques Show, wasn’t telling fortunes, but was available for purchase.

“Given that the game will be at Yankee Stadium, and that these are very special objects from some of the greatest Yankee players ever,” he said, “I have no idea what the prices on these will be.”

The fall edition of Atlantique City will take place at the Atlantic City Convention Center Oct. 18-19, later this year. For more information, call 800-726-9966, or go online to www.atlantiquecity.com.

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