Antique City Fun Fair draws big Saturday crowds in suburban Philly for 300 exhibitors of toys, antiques and collectibles

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Terry McMurray, Binghamton, N.Y was prepared to outfit an apothecary shop circa 1850 with all the necessary paraphernalia.

Norm Schaut, like the retired race horse he is, cannot stop producing shows. His Spring 2011 Antique City Fun Fair for Collectors at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in the Philadelphia suburbs, April 9-10, 2011 drew about 300 exhibitors. This is the second event in the new location and Schaut was pleased with the results. “This is a good building for a new show in these tough economic times, and having this many dealers, just look at how many people are waiting to get in,” he said, pointing to a crowd of hundreds waiting for the Saturday morning opening.

Automata and Mechanical Toysis a book for anyone drawn to simple, entertaining mechanics. The book features 21 leading makers, each with a distinctive style.

Exhibitors and shoppers on opening day were all pleased and happy to be together shopping and sharing their collections. So many of the exhibitors were the originals from Schaut’s Atlantique City Antiques & Collectibles Shows of year’s past including Uwe Heintze from Lengenfeld, Germany; Tim Turner’s Timeless Toy’s of Leamington Spa, U.K.; Bob and Delores Kelly of Alfred N.Y.; Kit Carter of Ticker Talker Toys and Folk Art from Louisville, Ky., and more. For so many of them it was a reunion with the customers. In fact as this reporter was canvassing the aisles there were even inquiries about past show managers, Ted Jones and Eric Bradley, both of whom are close acquaintances of this reporter and many of the long time exhibitors.

Many exhibitors are hopeful the Fun Fair is the harbinger of a bright and positive future. Some wish it will usher in a “second coming” of the antique toy business, a rebirth of what they enjoyed in the late 1980’s and 1990’s when the sales were terrific. If this show was an indication of the future, most dealers felt there was hope, at least. For most, sales (while not fabulous) were good enough to inspire feelings the business was indeed coming back.

An original dealer, Loy Harrell, owner of Hawks Nest Art and Decoys of Hinesburg, Vt., said he had an excellent show. Sales included eight decoys on opening day alone in addition to some toys and a modest amount of furniture.

Finish Line Collectibles of Campbelltown, Penn. exhibited early painted Pennsylvania furniture, including a bright yellow pie safe with original punched tins priced at $4,500 and a two-over-three-drawer Sheraton chest in dark red finish.

A newcomer for the Fun Fair was Red Barn Antiques of South Egremont, Mass., a specialty dealer in early electric lighting. While sales during the show were less then record setting, owner John Walther said contacts made at the show created some post-show sales, which when added to his gross made for a successful weekend.

The show is planned as twice yearly so look for it again this Oct. 8-9, 2011. More information is available at the show’s website or by calling 800-822-4119.

Rosemary Kanizer's Dolls and Accessories
Rosemary Kanizer’s Dolls and Accessories

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More Images:

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The Sword and Pen, North Wales, Penn.
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Adele and Alan Grodsky, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
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Hawks Nest Antiques and Decoys, Hinesburg, Vt. was selling decoys, similar to pieces in his books on Saturday
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Andy Yaffe Toys has exhibited at various Norm Schaut's shows since the early days at the original convention center on the Atlantic City Boardwalk.
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