ALLEGAN, Mich. – Temperatures that reminded folks of July greeted shoppers attending the May 27 Memorial Day Weekend Allegan Antiques Market.
“The thermometer is flirting with that 100-degree mark,” said one shopper as she slathered on sun block, adding, “I’m ready with a hat, sun umbrella, sunglasses and some extra cash to spend.”
Vendors reported the usual mixed results of sales but most agreed there was a solid flow of traffic among the 400 dealers – the show’s capacity.
Allegan has the reputation of hosting good furniture dealers, as well as a blend of other antiques and collectibles.
Those who stopped by the booth of Wes Eichler and son Scooter were not disappointed. The father-son team refinished and offered a 44-inch 1890s round oak split pedestal table for $900 – with one surprise. The table opened up to more than 9 feet long with seven leaves! “When I first saw it, I said holy smokes, can you believe it?” said Wes, adding, “that table opens up forever.”
While some folks gawked at the table, others stopped to run their fingers over an original finish near-perfect oak bed with 6-foot fancy scalloped headboard priced at $510. Like many at Allegan, the Eichler team has been setting up in the same spot for more than 20 years.
Does antique furniture display well with a near-full-size wooden horse? At the booth of Randy Meyers it did! The West Chicago, Ill., dealer showed off a “barn fresh” 66-inch-long wood peg construction hollow horse in a jumping stance for a price of $1,500. Meyers said he purchased the horse recently in an Elburn, Ill., barn. He also offered a 6-foot-tall 1930s harvest cabinet, complete with original back-lit stained glass panels, that could be purchased for $500.
Still with a furniture theme, a 1930s heavy oak and metal folding chair wore the unusual Sante Fe Railroad advertising trademark and the statement “ship and travel Santa Fe all the way” could be purchased for $295 at the booth of dealer Jamie Stackhouse of Rockford, Mich. Jamie also showed off a 1940s spun aluminum 15-inch-round doughnut shaped AMI jukebox speaker priced at $150.
Wood of yet another form was seen at the booth of Thatcher Goetz of Goetzville, Mich. It was a hand-carved 19th century 33-inch-tall figure that the dealer thought resembled Robinson Crusoe. The oddball figure could be displayed at your place for $390.
And, if country primitive furniture was your desire, a stop at the booth of Nick and Faith Lukianenko of Grand Junction, Mich., was in order. While Faith showed household collectibles, Nick offered what some call “male-based” items, including a 1932 watch fob advertising “Boys’ State Fair School” with a bumblebee illustration for $85 and a 1920s Lepage double coil toy outboard motor standing 5 1/2 inches tall priced at $350.
A toy collector quickly snapped up a 16-inch 1920s roly poly papier-mâché clown, priced at $175 and thought to be made by Schoenhut, at the booth of Bill and Jean Kenyon of Grand Rapids. The eight-year Allegan veterans also showed off a 9-inch-long bisque piano baby signed “Schneider” for $76.
A “hard to find two finish” 12-inch-long 1950s McCoy bird dog planter was tagged $500 by Bob Demmink of Wayland, Mich. At the same spot, an 8 1/2-inch-long McCoy swan-shaped planter was offered for $500.
The booth of Chris and Mark Hill of South Haven, Mich., was filled with vintage antiques – plus a recent creation by Mark “to add a bit of color to our booth.” The creation was a 12-by-12-inch stained glass piece he called “Kaleidoscope” and priced at $165. The artist said he splits his time between antique dealing and his stained glass repair/construction business. While the couple quickly sold an early cast-iron bank for $200, a more recent money saver shaped like a wooden house and featuring a built-in music box could collect your coins for $35.
Money could be collected and dispensed with the No. 303 candy store National cash register shown by Walter Herbst of Grand Rapids. The original 1913 brass register featured a marble change top and a price tag of $775. An “Electricity is Life” 1916 countertop penny arcade machine offered a small electric shock for just one penny. It was explained that in the early days, some people thought electricity had healing powers and you could get what Herbst called “a heck of a shock” by holding onto two knobs after inserting a penny.
Twenty-year show veteran Mel Stoepker of Dorr, Mich., is known for his offerings of offbeat items, and he maintained that reputation with two items at Allegan. The first was a 1930s wood constructed queen bee trap, priced at $65. Trap collectors with a smaller budget could purchase a 4-by-4-inch Victor mouse trap capable of catching four mice at a time for $25.
Longtime vendors were saddened to hear that former Allegan Antique Show co-promoter Morrie Fulkerson died March 30 after a brief illness. Fulkerson partnered with current promoter Larry Wood in starting the enterprise in 1978 and decided to retire after 20 years, though he kept busy with antique buying and selling. He was known for his expertise in both Carnival glass and R.S. Prussia.
“Looking back, it was great to have such a nice partner for all those years,” said Wood. “It was a mixture of work and fun for both of us and our families.”
The Allegan Antique Market runs the last Sunday of each month through September at the fairgrounds in Allegan, Mich., a short drive from Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo.
For more information, call 616-735-3333.