Renninger’s Florida, an escape for winter-weary northerners

While the thermometer hovered around zero in the Northern states, shoppers and vendors alike enjoyed shirtsleeve weather for most of the Renningers Antique Extravaganza at Mt. Dora, just north of Orlando, Jan.18-20.

A mixed bag of overcast skies, brief light drizzle, a possible tornado and sunshine were all seen for the event, with temperatures ranging from the low 60s to the high 70s.

Weather-related conversations overheard across the grounds included, “We left Maine with snow up to rooftops,” to “Don’t complain about 65 degrees – it’s 60 degrees colder in Chicago.”

hillview AT 2-20.jpg“I’m happy to be out of the cold Ohio weather,” said first time Renningers dealer Ann Howe of Sunbury, Ohio.

Many people stopped at her booth to admire an 8-inch-tall papier mache duck-shaped nodding head candy container, circa 1920s, selling for $350, and a 7-inch-tall jointed-limb cardboard toy, also 1920s vintage, tagged at $95.

Pottery collectors honed in on the booth of Lon Manning, York, Pa.
“This one is nice,” said the dealer, pointing to a 1910-era 13-inch-tall Fulper crystalline finish vase priced at $1,250.

He also called attention to a “rare and desirable” 1910 Fulper copper-dust finish 7-inch-tall jug with stopper for $850. The dealer said he has been returning to Renningers every winter for 15 years, calling attention to “good buying and selling and, later, for good golfing!”

marbles AT 2-20.jpgEleven-year-old Marc Hawkins might have been one of the youngest collectors at the show, checking out booths for his passion – collectible marbles.

The young man said he started the hobby “a few years ago,” and has “a couple hundred” in his collection. He added that he often tells people about his interests and asks if they have any marbles and, “if they do, I’ll hand them my business card and find out if I can buy them.”

The lad traveled to the show with his parents, Susan and Dan Hawkins, from Clearwater, Fla., a two-hour drive.

An unusual fancy early 1900s oak bedroom vanity – known as a “Harlow vanity” because of the style appearing in a Jean Harlow movie – was brought to Renningers by Jack and Laura Satterstrom, of Wildwood, Fla.

“I’ve only seen two in 30 years and I’ve owned both of them,” said Jack Satterstrom, who attached a price tag of $1,795 on the piece. “We’ve been setting up at Renningers exclusively for four years and have lots of repeat customers.”

The couple, who personally restore all the items they show, pointed out a 6-foot-tall quarter sawn oak vanity with beveled mirror for $1,200.
Dawn Lowery and Glen Winge teamed up to travel to the show from their home in Bruce, Wis., bringing along a “truckload of antiques and collectibles.”

brooch AT 2-20.jpgJewelry collectors stopped to check out their 2-inch 1930s Cushlow brooch, marked Czechoslovakia, for $58, a three-piece 1950s blue rhinestone necklace set, $175, and an 1890s two-piece metal 1?-inch embossed “man in the boat” picture button for $25. Winge said he would return next year and also bring some “good old Wisconsin bratwurst along with the antiques.”

Dealer Dave Dent spends time in both Detroit and Sarasota, Fla., and brings antiques to Renningers from both residences.

Buyer Andrea Barry of Orlando quickly purchased a 24-inch-wide, 78-inch-tall all-original oak hall tree from Dent, saying she was, “very happy with the price of $895,” and adding, “I’ve been looking for one that size for more than a year.”

disc AT 2-20.jpgShoppers and browsers alike stopped by Dent’s booth when he cranked up an 1880s countertop Kalliope disc music box complete with 10 bells and a price tag of $2,200. The dealer said he had purchased the music machine, “years ago in Vienna, Austria,” and had enjoyed it for all that time.

Although the extravaganzas draw upwards of 1,200 dealers to Renningers three times per year, more than 200 permanent dealers are housed inside to show on a regular basis at the same facility.

Toni and Steve Moody are among those dealers coming from nearby Winter Garden with a booth full of antiques, primitives and folk art.
“We start from scratch at each show,” said Toni, “and offer a fresh selection for my faithful following.”

Also showing inside were Gus and Kay Guzzardo, eight-year Renningers veterans with “fine furniture, glassware and more.”

Quickly selling to another dealer was a 5-foot-tall 19th century mahogany ladies desk with hand-carved bonnet on front. Moser glass collectors stopped to look over their 22-piece heavy enameled collection featuring cordials and drinking glasses priced from $125 to $295 each. At the same spot a 22-inch-tall 1920s-’30s folk art religious cross, constructed of pine cones, could be displayed at your house for $275.

A lighter dealer turnout was apparent at the January event, with some people blaming high gas prices, mixed weather conditions and the economy.

Heavy rains Saturday night and a tornado forecast that did not materialize locally were blamed for light foot traffic early on Sunday.

Promoter F. Doyle Carlton said he agreed with those observations, adding, “This business is soft all over the country,” but he was upbeat on the future of the antiques business.

He said, “Bizarre rumors of Renningers being sold continue to surface, with the latest being that Donald Trump had made a bid for $28 million.”
So far Carlton has not heard those now-famous words, “You’re fired,” and he says he doesn’t think it’ll happen anytime soon.

For more information on the Renningers Antique Market, call 352-383-8389 or go online to