D’Amore produces D.C.’s Big Flea

More than a thousand booths were filled with about 500 dealers gathered in two giant exhibition halls 20 miles from Washington in the shadows of Washington Dulles Airport for D’Amore Promotions D.C. Flea on Jan. 7-8. Among the largest antiques and collectibles markets in the East, the event has been a standard for eight years now with many of the dealers doing it every time. The show is so big the setup takes two days in the vast World Trade Center, as the show site is called, on Route 28 between the Dulles Toll Road and Interstate 66.

D’Amore has been producing antiques and collectibles flea markets in the East for the past dozen years, from New Jersey and Pennsylvania in the North to Winston Salem in the South, with Virginia as its clear favorite marketplace. Its shows in the Old Dominion have included Richmond Roanoke, the Tidewater and this Chantilly site. Although D’Amore does not give out attendance figures, there were many thousands of visitors each day this January weekend. Dealers have called the event “Virginia’s Brimfield.”

Merchandise is open for all exhibitors to bring whatever they believe fits an antiques, decorator or collectibles audience, but as the promoter’s instructions have said: No Beanie Babies. The dealers know visitors generally have come to shop for the home with furniture and decorating accessories as the dominant merchandise.

Setup was a busy day, but still a day for the dealers to wander and find those articles for their next show. In one such booth there was a tall pantry cupboard in old cream-colored paint and no price tag. Shortly after taking the photograph, the piece was moved to another booth because it had been sold.

Ben and Betsy Spencer, Granville, Ohio, brought a pair of French Provincial chairs made in the 19th century with fresh upholstery. Priced at $750 each, they went home with someone else from the show. Jeanne Kauffmann of Flint Hill, Va., lives near enough to be considered a local dealer. For this show, she brought a large assortment of early country-style furniture, including small accessories for the home. Her booth was organized to show a variety of textile objects including several braided and hooked mats.

Ed and Terry Ward drove from Bridgewater, Va., with early advertising and a large collection of stoneware. Terry brought yellowware in assorted sizes and forms for her regular customers, along with a variety of pantry items such as the tins for household and kitchen dry goods.

Peggy Stewart is a longtime dealer from Wakefield, R.I., who carries both American and European painted furniture. Her centerpiece for this show was a complete dining room set — table, chairs and corner cupboard. Under the Pines was offering strictly American with pine and oak furniture in fresh finishes. The owners, Ed and Carol Correia from Sterling, Conn., had a Hoosier kitchen cupboard in excellent condition with all the correct attachments, including the flower bin, tambour door, inside spice shelves and paint in excellent condition. The price for it was $1,495.

There were two work tables, one on top of the other, in Dennis Christiansen’s display, both of Southern yellow pine in good condition. The Warwick, N.Y., dealer also had a yellow Southern pine safe, priced at $795. Another Man’s Treasure is the business of Eve and Roland Moore, Cambridge, Md. An American-made Regency period chest of drawers was sold at $700 along with an Empire chest, with rope turned columns and butterfly mahogany veneer front drawers, for $900.

A large quantity of colorful Majolica was decorating the Federal and early Victorian furniture in Bob Shelton’s exhibit. The Sandy Hook, Conn., dealer has been doing this show since the first and said his sales are always good.

Other ceramics on display included early Pattern glass from Pendulum Antiques of Harrisburg, Pa. Russell Hoffman had a selection so large it could be a Pattern matching service for the antique beakers. Sweet Evelina’s Cups and Collectibles from Centerville, Va., was just that — fine porcelain tea and coffee cups from England and America. Stoneware was there in many booths but Ginny Puca specialized in ironstone. Her exhibit was dominated by the 19th-century Pearl ware in many forms and patterns.

Many of the dealers were showing some more finite antiques. Carolyn Gallier from Mechanicsville, Va., offered vintage garments and other early textiles. Tools were the primary collection from Applewood Antiques of Fairfax, Va. Carol Paulson was offering a collection of early blanket chests. The Suffolk, Va., dealer also is part-time staff for the promoter.

Another specialist is Diane and Doug McElwain from Goldsboro, N.C. Their collection is sporting goods, mostly American sports and games, and also some exercise equipment. Nearby was a booth with one table covered with marine navigation lights and another with early padlocks. This exhibit was John Clifford’s from Monticello, Ind.

Variety is the spice of life, and it sure works on filling this show.

Look for the show again March 4-5 and three more times in the coming year. D’Amore Promotions also has similar events in Richmond and several other Eastern cities. Call (757) 961-3988, or visit their Web site, www.damorepromotions.com.