WILMETTE, Ill. – The 66th Annual North Shore’s Premier Antique Show, held Nov. 30-Dec. 2, had to compete with the season’s first significant snowstorm. In spite of several inches of snow, difficult driving and foggy conditions, the attendance was better than the previous year. The Woman’s Club, sponsor of the show, attributed the increased attendance to an aggressive marketing campaign.
Dealers from three states presented a variety of fine antiques. Greg Johnson, of Geneva, Ill., displayed a beautiful fireplace pole screen that sold for $2,100 the first few minutes of the show. Made of walnut, Victorian Renasissance Revival-style, with needlepoint screen, it could be raised or lowered to accommodate the fireplace. Johnson does about 15 shows a year and felt that silver and gold jewelry was selling well at most shows this past year.
Ralph Spano Antiques, Milwaukee, Wis., presented an excellent grouping of furniture and fine arts. On display was an oil on canvas portrait of Dorothy Graham, daughter of Campbell Graham, a well-known Irish merchant. Painted circa 1830, unsigned, size 28 inches by 38 inches, and with original frame, it was priced at $3,200. One of Ralph’s numerous furniture pieces was a New England-made Chippendale tiger-maple drop-leaf table, circa 1780. He pointed out the intricately pierced stretchers, which seemed very unusual. Priced at $3,800, it had many admirers.
“People today are more eclectic in decorating their homes,” Spano said, when asked about the state of the market. “They want functional pieces that look good.”
He felt mid-level furniture is “soft, but good quality transcends all time periods.”
Martha Peck Antiques, Lake Forest, Ill., displayed a wedding chest, priced at $2,795, possibly Hungarian, with original bittersweet and black paint and dated 1821. Size 46 inches wide by 22 inches deep and 24 inches high, it could hold many wedding gifts. Its bun feet had been replaced, which is not unusual for a piece of that age.
When asked about current interests, Peck said “People buy to use, not to display. There is less interest in collecting things than in the past.”
The show sponsor selected dealers that would present a variety of wares and American Indian items were included. Canyon Co., Chicago presented a wide offering. A Zuni Tribe Olla (open pot) from the 1930s was prominantly displayed. About 15 inches in diameter, it had colors primarily of cream and black. Purchased in Arizona, it was priced at $1,500.
Mike Goldman, co-owner of Canyon, indicated that Indian jewelry is very popular. As verification of that, two pieces sold during the brief time that he was interviewed for this article.
Michigan was represented by Perry-Joyce Fine Arts, of Sawyer. On display, on a corner cabinet, were seven copper measures, graduated sizes. Their wide-bases suggested nautical use. Made circa 1860, they had English markings and were purchased in England. Though not perfectly matched, they were described as complimentary. They could grace a corner of your home for $2,500.
Daniels Antiques, Chicago, primarily had furniture but a noticeable exception was an early 20th century whale weathervane. About 24 inches long, it had a beautiful green patina. It was purchased at an estate sale in Chicago, not a Boston antique shop, as you might expect. It was priced at $1,150.
Dan Popuch, of Daniel’s Antiques, felt sales were picking up at shows, but acknowledged that imports have presented a problem. He felt buyers are going for a special look, and pieces that can be useful in the home.
Co-chair Roseanne Barrett indicated there is a waiting list for dealers because of the good reputation of the show. This year it tried to consolidate wares and, as a result, all major furniture dealers were in one large room, to make furniture shopping easier. Show marketing stressed holiday gift buying, which seemed to help the gate.
Keith Stocker, antique dealer and show director, noted that cooperation between volunteers, staff, and dealers was excellent. “It’s a little gem of a show,” he said.