GREEN BAY, Wis. — The 56th annual Green Bay and De Pere Antiquarian Society Antique Show & Sale, which has become a Green Bay tradition, was held in the graceful setting of the Rock Garden Banquet and Conference Center in Green Bay, Wis., Nov. 16-17, 2012. Twenty-eight vendors from around the Midwest gathered bringing a wide array of antiques and collectibles.
From beautiful 19th century furniture in exquisite, original condition to a rainbow of Miriam Haskell jewelry to flocks of vintage decoys, wandering the show room floor was a feast for the eyes during the pre-Thanksgiving sale. Nearly every booth was set up to showcase the inventory to its best advantage, and overall the dealers were friendly and engaging.
The non-profit show is held each year to raise funds for the Antiquarian Society’s grant program, which supports regional historical museums and sites by providing grant monies for the preservation and restoration of cultural artifacts. Show chairperson Maria Zehren says the Society has made a tradition of attracting dealers with high-quality merchandise and treating those dealers well. Benefits afforded the dealers include free food and soft drinks during set-up, hostess committee members giving dealers breaks from their booths so they can browse the show themselves, and even volunteers visiting each booth dispensing treats.
Don Mueller has been in the antiques business for 35 years. He filled his show space with exquisite quality furnishings and accessories, such as a circa 1870 sewing cabinet ($795) topped with a pink ruffled glass bride’s basket ($345), a bronze washed statue ($595) atop a circa 1890 oak Victorian marble-topped pedestal (also $595), and a circa 1920 reverse painted table lamp ($1,295) surrounded by tin clockwork toys. He said he likes this show, especially since it’s been at the Rock Garden, because it’s easy to load in and load out, and it’s nice – it doesn’t feel and look like a warehouse. Look for Mueller’s shop in Milwaukee, Wis.: Pierce Regal.
Jeanine Thomas, from En Vogue, Hinsdale, Ill., specializes in Miriam Haskell jewelry; she says, “Miriam Haskell is the Coco Chanel of the United States”; her couture costume jewelry is all handmade and is “classic, multi-generational jewelry.” Thomas has set up at the Antiquarian Society’s show for the last 15 years, regardless of the location; she says this show has been “consistently good” with loyal customers visiting her each year. In addition to selling Miriam Haskell jewelry, Thomas upcycles knotted and broken jewelry pieces into new, one-of-a-kind creations. A percentage of her sales is contributed to the MRSA Survivors’ Network (www.MRSAsurvivors.org), of which she is founder and president. The organization is dedicated to providing support, awareness and education about MRSA.
Dealer Yankee Collector Richard Gersten of Harwood Heights, Ill., was back for his second year. Gersten offers a variety of Civil War antiques and other Americana, including a dozen Raddant Brewery bottles included in a circa 1920 wood Menominee Marinette Brewing Company case for just $100.
Dealers John and Linda Welsch of Fond du Lac, Wis., specialize in Native American art and artifacts. They’ve been collectors for more than 45 years and have a “man cave” filled with Native American items. John said he has a lot of fun with it and sets up at a few antique and Native Americana shows to thin his collection. The Welsches offered a selection of stone mortar and pestle sets for $265 to $395 and an Oneida Iroquois woman’s red velvet cap with beadwork, circa 1950, for $295. They also offered a spectacular Sioux Indian man’s fully beaded vest with American flag and teepee motifs, circa 1890, for $13,500.
Jerry and Frances Rosenau of Times Treasures Antiques, Portage, Wis., say the Antiquarian Society Antique Show & Sale has “always been an excellent show for us. We sell well and we buy well, too.” The Times Treasures booth was filled with brilliant costume jewelry, including a rhinestone bracelet and necklace set in perfect condition for $259.50. The space also offered a selection of collectible glassware, such as an Indiana Glass/Lancaster Colony Corp. Pinwheel and Star (1908-1920) punch bowl set for $67.50 and a Northwood Strawberry dish for $124.50.
Jan LaMay offered a tempting variety of antiques in the Collectors Paradise Antique Mall (Middle Inlet, Wis.) space. La May has been in the antiques business for 30 years, and has owned a store for 20. She reports that outdoor décor is selling well, as well as “trappings for man caves.” The Collectors Paradise kiosk offered a pair of mission style cabinets for $375 and 36 volumes of original Hardy Boys mysteries, also for $375.
This is the third year Ted Slaton of Ripon, Wis., has attended the Green Bay Antiquarian Society show; he says, “They take care of the dealers real well here.” Slaton, who has been in the antiques business for 27 years, has a large shop in Berlin, Wis., filled with everything from musical items to primitives and Mid-Century; he prides himself on the huge variety and competitive pricing. At the show, he offered a Tonka livestock truck in original paint for $195 and a selection of decoys for $200 to $400. When asked what’s been selling well for him, Slaton replied, “Advertising has been real strong,” such as guy-related items like hunting, sporting in general, gas and oil.
Caroline Moes of Carolina’s Once in a Blue Moon in Green Bay, Wis., offered pristine hand-printed vintage linens, vintage clothing and jewelry, original art and quality glass. A circa 1860-1870 Bohemian ruby glass tray with gold edge was tucked into the Once in a Blue Moon display with a price tag of $220.
Steve Fulford of Weathervane Antiques from Marinette, Wis., has been setting up at this show for five years. He says that interesting smalls are selling well for him. At this show, he offered a pair of chip-carved boxes: a sewing box for $115, and a larger tramp-art box for $325.
A name familiar throughout the Midwest is Mary Lou’s Crystal Repair from Joliet, Ill. Mary Lou has been repairing broken treasures – including glass, china and porcelain – for 45 years. She says she spends just about every weekend at shows, but she always loves coming to Wisconsin. Her motto is “We’ll mend your memories.”
Fern and Bill Chapman of Indian Creek Antiques from Mukwonago, Wis., have been setting up at the Antiquarian Society show for “many, many years”; they say what sells is different at each show, but “this is the nicest place.” Indian Creek showed off a board loaded with vintage and antique hand tools priced from $3 to $20, and a cache of vintage cookie cutters priced from $3 to $4 apiece. One of the interesting offerings in their space is an early 1900s herring keg offered for just $45.
Carol Hageness of Sunshine Treasures (Milwaukee, Wis.) says she has done this show for 10 years. Offering stunning silver and fine estate jewelry, she says this show has loyal customers. A pair of the stars of the Sunshine Treasures kiosk is a Sir Christopher tea set by Wallace priced at $2,850 and an 8 1/2-inch Whiting repousse style sterling bowl with gold wash, circa 1860, priced at $2,250.
A custom-made Chaumet French brooch in 18 karat gold featuring 5 carats of rubies, 2 carats of emeralds and 1/3 carat of diamonds was offered at $4,450.
This is the fifth year at the Antiquarian Show for Rosemary Stein of Rose Brit Antiques & Collectibles (www.rosebrit.com); she says, “Vendors are treated like royalty. They’re very sweet to us.” This is the only show Rose Brit sets up at. One of her offerings this year was a child’s carved rocking chair for $150.
This is one of the two shows a year at which Gary Linders of Once Again Antiques & Restoration sets up his eclectic mix of antiques and vintage decor. He said nautical items were selling very well at this show. Linders also offered framed Kraft cheese ads for $15 apiece; decoys for $65 apiece; a Fiesta divided dish set for $210; and an enameled steel dough riser for $68.
Phil Klamm’s Weather Vane Antiques booth was filled with interesting items, including a pair of Oddfellows officer’s standards ($98 each), carved wood printing blocks ($23-$24 apiece) and a pair of finely lithographed Union Suits advertisements for $115 apiece. A vintage slag glass lamp with yellow glass and intricate metalwork was offered for $650.
A sense of camaraderie and optimism permeated the rooms of the 56th annual Green Bay and De Pere Antiquarian Society Antique Show & Sale by both the dealers and the show-goers. Whether dealers offered fine transferware china or weather-worn decoys or vintage advertising, each was impressed with the way they were treated by the show organizers and an army of volunteers. Mark your calendars for the 57th annual show, which will be held the weekend before Thanksgiving 2013.