For at least three days, March 7-9, Winnetka – on Chicago’s North Shore – couldn’t be beat for good antique shopping, as two high-quality shows ran simultaneously, four blocks apart. Antique lovers look forward to this treat, which has occurred yearly for the past 10 years.
The older show, held in the Winnetka Community House, titled its production “Objects of Desire,” as it held its 39th annual event. Fifty quality dealers from 20 different states presented a wide array of “desirable” items.
Show manager Josh Wainwright discussed the show. “People who come are really interested,” he said, “and they have good taste.”
He also felt that younger people now often prefer a mix of antiques with contemporary. “The economy has made people more cautious but also more discriminating in their shopping,” he said, “and they’re prepared to buy if they find their desired item.”
George Allen, co-owner of Raccoon Creek Antiques of Oley, Pa., is a specialist in high-end folk art, which he felt is hot right now. At the front of his booth was a large pine, 42 1/2 inches high, hand-carved eagle, sitting on a ball. The piece had been found in an attic in Bucks County, Pa., and was in excellent condition. It was probably an advertising piece at one time. Carved about 1910, you could take it home for $22,000.
Also at Raccoon Creek were several small patchwork mounted doll quilts. An interesting pattern, 16 inches square, was called “Flying Geese.” From Pennsylvania, 19th century, it would warm your doll for $4,800.
Brita Bucheit, of Vienna and Chicago, had several beautiful furniture pieces. Found in Switzerland was a Russian bureau, circa 1800, mahogany veneer with ormolu mounts. Standing 59 inches high and 41 1/2 inches wide, it would make an incredible addition to any home. Its fold front opened to reveal six drawers and other storage space, and was priced at $15,000.
Jerry S. Hayes, dealer in fine majolica from Oklahoma City, Okla., is a veteran of the Chicago area market. Holding a prominent spot in his booth were two rectangular plates with a design he called “Fish Medley.” The prominent figures are fish but mixed in are eel, shells, frogs, and a background of flora and fauna. Made about 1870, you could take them home for $28,000 for the pair.
Jeff R. Bridgman American Antiques of York County, Pa., loves displaying his flags and equally loves giving customers their history. Framed on a wall was a “Wayne Whipple Flag.” Made about 1909, prior to American flags having a fixed pattern, Whipple presented this flag to the president (Taft), who approved, but the War Department did not. The design was rejected. The flag stars honor the first 13 colonies; then states admitted from 1776-1876, and the outside edge being states admitted after 1876. Made of cotton, size 14 inches by 23 inches, it could fly over your home for $5,500.
"Wayne Whipple Flag," offered at Winnetka Antiques Show in Winnetka, Ill., for $5,500.
In the second year of doing the show, Roberto Freitas, of Stonington, Conn., displayed a beautiful Pennsylvania German dower chest with heart design, original paint, dated 1798. It was priced at $24,000.
Take a quick walk down the street and you arrive at the 10th annual antique show held at the Winnetka Woman’s Club. The club is celebrating its 100th year. Forty dealers representing 17 states, Canada and the United Kingdom were exhibiting. A special treat was “Centennial Chocolates” created specifically for this 100th year (and they tasted great!).
Show coordinator Judith Andersen said, “Dealers are showing more decorative arts, trying to fit into the current market trend.”
She also felt the slow economy and fears of recession are impacting the antique business.
The show continues to have a significant waiting list for dealers, however. Donna Carr, volunteer show chairman from the Woman’s Club, said preparations for the show had started last June.
Bim Byers, American Eagle Antiques of Harrison Township, Mich., was showing an unusual Regency mahogany high chair, which separated to make a child’s chair and table. Made about 1830, it was priced at $2,500. Also in his booth was life-sized dachsund circa 1930, made of metal and pottery, and quite heavy. It was available for $3,800.
“What is predictable,” Bim said, “is inconsistency! Each show or area of the country seems to have its own special items of interest.”
Beautiful handmade checkerboard from Neil Zeuhlke Antiques at the Winnetka Woman’s Club Show.
A beautiful hand-made checkerboard, with original paintings on both sides, was shown by Neil Zuehlke Antiques, Hartland, Wis. The board also had the painted inscription “Presented to B.A. Merrell by his father, July 12, 1857.” Painted on an old breadboard, it was priced at $995.
One of the most spectacular, and expensive, items was a mid-16th century Russian icon (shown at left) in the booth of Dennis Easter from Palm Beach, Fla. Made in Russia, this large icon, 60 inches by 18 inches, was found in an estate in Berlin. It depicts the fourth son of Alexander Nevesky, who was a prince and was thought of as “the savior of Russia” because he defeated the Mongols.
He is considered a “military saint,” and has a halo to demonstrate his “saint” status. The icon is tempera over gesso on wood and was priced at $250,000.
Whimsy Antiques, Fenelton, Pa., had its share of “whimsy” items. Mark Stulginsky pointed out two hand-carved ventriloquist heads, made by an amateur ventriloquist in Indiana. Both were made about 1915 and used only by the artist. They both were nearly life-sized and one resembled Charlie McCarthy, for $1,500, and a bald-headed man could be yours for $1,100. They were both in working condition with mouths and facial features that moved.
The two shows presented a great shopping, looking, or learning experience for anyone with even a mild interest in antiques and fine arts. Attendance was good, food was available at both shows, everyone was friendly, and it was fun. What more could you ask?