After a hot summer of collectibles hunting in barns, flea markets and fairgrounds, the approach of autumn means it’s time to head indoors for collecting conventions and shows — and none are more diverse than the Atlantique City show in October.
Atlantique City is billed as one of the world’s largest indoor antiques and collectibles shows. This year’s fall show will be held Oct. 18-19 at the Atlantic City Convention Center. The show attracts up to 1,000 dealers from more than 40 states and three continents to serve 10,000 visitors.
The giant show holds possibilities for everyone, whether you are buying a 19th-century carved mahogany desk fit for a railroad baron, or content to sit at a folding table examining vintage railroad timetables and freight manifests.
To help visitors navigate what amounts to a collectibles bazaar, collectors may use a computer program called FindIt! The program matches 1,200 different categories of antiques, fine art and collectibles to exhibitors’ booth numbers.
Attendees also can have items verbally appraised by celebrity experts including Kyle Husfloen, editor of the Antique Trader Antiques & Collectibles Price Guide and Christopher Kent, host of the award winning, nationally syndicated radio show “Antique Talk” and host of the popular television show Flea Market Mania on the Americanlife Television Network.
This season’s theme is political memorabilia and what better exhibit to document the impact of politics in America than The American Presidential Experience. The sweeping exhibit dazzled audiences at both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions in Denver and St. Paul, Minn. The exhibit is created by political memorabilia dealer Jim Warlick. Warlick owns a political memorabilia shop in Washington, D.C.
The exhibit is made possible by WorthPoint.com, the Internet’s largest social network for researching the worth of antiques and collectibles. Several of the company’s “worthologists” will be on hand to offer their expert advice.
“At Atlantique City, we combine commerce with the educational side of collecting, and we wanted to partner with companies like WorthPoint that feel the same way,” said Eric Bradley, who produces the show.
WorthPoint, launched in November 2007, recently announced plans to acquire GoAntiques Inc., the oldest antiques and collectibles Web site and a significant online network for buying and selling antiques and collectibles. Its network includes 600,000 items from more than 1,300 dealers in 31 countries and the world’s largest antiques and collectibles price guide, PriceMiner.
“Atlantique City is the largest indoor antiques and collectibles show and it has been a destination for collectors for more than two decades,” said WorthPoint CEO Will Seippel. “We complement each other in important ways to better serve collectors,” Seippel said. “It’s a great partnership.”
Atlantique City was founded in 1986 as an antique toy show. It soon expanded to embrace nearly every category of collectibles and welcomes collectors with budgets ranging from a few dollars to six figures.
The Atlantique City show is held twice a year — in late March and mid-October.
Last March, more than 4,000 people were waiting for the doors to the two-day show to open at 9 am.
Bradley said the two shows have differing personalities. The spring show tends to offer more prestigious acquisitions. The fall show tends to offer a wider variety of collectibles and dealers are looking to move merchandise they have been holding for months.
“There is a little more dealing in the fall and the appraisal booth is very busy,” Bradley said. “Dealers find it’s a good chance to swap out inventory before they take on new inventory for the holidays.”
The show has maintained its diversity and quality because collectors still like to consider major purchases in person and verify an item’s authenticity and condition.
“Collectors have more confidence buying big ticket items in person, when they can talk with the dealer and inspect the piece,” Bradley said. “Our attendance might be a little lower than it was years ago, but the quality is up.”
Dealers fill the Atlantic City Convention Center with 18th, 19th and early 20th century period antiques and fine arts including Tiffany lamps and metalwork, American folk art, European and American bronze, drawings, prints, fine furniture, Asian art and antiques, glass, porcelain and silver, as well as fine estate jewelry.
True to the show’s origins, there will be plenty of antique and vintage toys, ranging from cast iron and tin windups to dolls, vintage robots and cars. The toys span eras from the Victorian to the Baby Boomer.
The October show will offer two additional features. The Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival will be held concurrently at the convention center; Bradley said the two shows will offer a shared discount ticket option.
The show will also feature the Atlantique City Resource Center. The center brings together companies that offer antiques-related products and services such as high-powered microscopes, insurance and high-tech identification methods. Antiques collectors and specialists can now visit these special services and products in a new breakout area on the show floor. Among the new exhibitors include BigC.com, Neglia Services and the Hamptons CVB. These and other special companies can be found in row 1700.
Joe Verrengia is a writer for WorthPoint. Formerly of the Associated Press, he lives in Denver with his wife.
Atlantique City Antiques & Collectibles Show
Saturday, Oct. 18, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Sunday, Oct., 19, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Advance ticket holders admitted 9 a.m. Saturday.
Appraisal booth hours: Saturday, 12-4 p.m.; Sunday, 12-4 p.m.
Atlantic City Convention Center
One Miss America Way
Main Entrance across the street from the Sheraton Atlantic City Convention Center Hotel
*All Advance Ticket holders are admitted at 9 a.m – a full hour before the box office opens at 10 a.m.
Advance Weekend admission: $25
Advance Saturday admission: $15
Advance Sunday admission: $10
GENERAL ADMISSION TICKETS:
*General admission ticket sales begin at the show at 10 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.
Weekend admission: $30
Saturday admission: $20
Sunday admission: $10