A terrific twosome: two antique shows two blocks apart

WINNETKA, Ill. — Antique lovers who were around Winnetka, Ill., March 6-8, were offered a great opportunity: two major antique shows, a few blocks apart, and on the same days!

The oldest of the two, celebrating its 40th year, was the Winnetka Antique Show, benefiting the Winnetka Community House. Forty-one quality dealers, from Illinois and 15 other states, enthusiastically exhibited their treasures. The majority of the out-of-state dealers were from the East Coast, and several said they looked forward to the Chicago area exposure.

Volunteer chair Luvie Myers and her committee prepared for a year for this show. She thought the crowd was a little slow, but steady. She also noted, “The economy is a huge challenge, but the antique market will come back.” In spite of economic worries, she observed that the quality of items displayed had not decreased. Luvie noted the special guest lecture by Chris Jussel, original host of the “Antiques Roadshow,” had been well received and well attended. The Chicago Tribune wrote about the show and quoted Chris’ view of the antique market: “At the moment, certain pieces of furniture are selling at about half of what they would have sold for 5 or 10 years ago.” The Tribune also noted this puts antiques very much in a “buyer’s” market.

Georgian Manor Antiques, of Fairhaven, Mass., demonstrated an English Regency rosewood davenport desk, made by Gillows, circa 1810, that exhibited exceptional wood grain and patina. With a mechanical writing platform and several side drawers, it could still function well today. It stood 35 inches high by 20 inches wide, and could find a spot in your home for $19,000. Owner Enrique Goytizolo noted he has presented at this show for 16 years and did feel that the excitement was a little less this year. On the counter side, he noted, “Some buyers are taking advantage of the moment.”

The Winnetka Antique Show prides itself on variety, and an unusual group offered was three Tang Dynasty tomb guardians, Lokapala, made between 618-907 AD. Trace Mayer Antiques, Louisville, Ky., offered the guardians, with their “fierce looks,” at $3,800 each. Trace opined the show was slower than usual but, in general, that he was doing fine.

Leatherwood Antiques, Sandwich, Mass., displayed a variety of choices for showgoers, including a New England homemade circa 1920 tripoli card game board. Maintaining most of its original paint and sized at 30 inches by 30 inches, it could be added to your game room for $1,100. Owner Mo Wajselfish said, “This has always been a good show for me,” and also noted a lot of old customers come back to look for additional items. He tries always to have interesting items on hand and said the economy has not been an issue for him as yet.

Malcolm Magrauder Antiques of Millwood, Va., proudly displayed a circa 1785 two-part pearlware spirit keg on a stand. The upper barrel was molded with applied grapevine and other decorations. It is marked “Wilson” and has a sterling silver spigot. You could store your spirits in it for $4,750. Malcolm thought the show was slow compared to the previous 10 years he has shown. He noted many past shows had drawn more Chicago buyers, and this show now seemed a bit more “small town” in appeal. He agreed, as did most dealers, that the economy has affected antique buying.

The Winnetka Woman’s Club held its 11th annual show just a couple blocks from the show benefiting the Community House. The Woman’s Club show featured 43 dealers from Illinois and 12 other states, and one from the UK. Show manager Judith Andersen thought the show looked good and that dealers were upbeat. She noted that attendance was down a bit and that there seemed to be more lookers and fewer buyers. It seemed to her that “some buyers are more focused and looking for only one wanted item.”

A new feature this year was a Modernism Room, with three dealers showing newer items and focusing on “decorator” needs.

Displayed prominently on the wall of Peter Nee’s Millwood Home Antiques booth was a monumental faience Russian platter, made in the 18th century. Sized 30 inches by 22 inches, it depicted different architectural buildings and primitive figures. He noted it was intended to depict several different cultures. This dramatic piece was priced at $14,650. Peter observed attendees were drawn to unusual things and were being selective in their buying. He also opined the “minimalist” look was in—one item on a desk, not several.

Derek and Tina Rayment Antiques of Chester, England, sell only barometers. One of their best examples was a large French Giltwood, 8-sided piece with heavy wood carving. It was made circa 1810, and signed “Binda, Paris.” Its size, 35 inches by 25 inches, and its ornate carving, especially at its top, made it even more desirable. It was priced at $12,500, which would buy delivery, hanging, and a guarantee that it would work. Derek said he has a large client base, which helps his sales in this area; he has done the Winnetka show often and has repeat customers.
When asked about the economy, he noted it is much worse in England, partially because they have a smaller country with less resources.

Wendy and Ian Stacy, Redcoat Antiques, of Sleepy Hollow, Ill., were exhibiting for the first time. They had spent several years on the waiting list, so were pleased that the opportunity to set up at the Winnetka Woman’s Club Show had arrived. Their booth featured many British and military items, including an unusual circa 1900 leather and brass Imperial German Pickelhaube (spiked helmet) with slight damage to the brass decoration and a replacement chin strap for $595.

Ian, originally from the UK, thought the attendance was steady but not crowded and that the quality of the show was very high.

 A circa 1900 carved rocking hobby horse with original leather, hair, paint and eyes was priced for $975 from Daniel’s Antiques, Chicago. It was an attractive piece in good, original condition.

When asked about the show, Dan thought attendance was “a bit slow, like most shows.” He also noted that there seemed to be fewer interior decorators shopping for their own, or their clients’ needs. His final comment was that, even in spite of the economy and buyers being more selective, “I am the eternal optimist!”

In spite of slowness in the market, most dealers from the Winnetka shows are optimistic about the future of the antiques market.

For more information regarding the Winnetka shows, contact the Winnetka Community House at 847-446-0537 or the Winnetka Woman’s Club at 847-446-1830.