Indiana’s Tri-State Antique Market records largest crowd since ’03

Good weather, good merchandise brings thousands to famous Indiana antique show

Don Johnson

Mimi Morgan summed it up. Morgan, who operates Bryn Sion Antiques, Florence, Ky., was among the 250 dealers who set up at this year’s opening show of the monthly Tri-State Antiques Market in Lawrenceburg, Ind. Midway through the day May 6, 2012, she noted, “It’s a great time to buy.”

And buying they were. Sunshine and warm temperatures boosted attendance at the show, which features a variety of antiques and collectibles. It was the largest crowd since May 2003, according to promoter Bruce Metzger of Queen City Shows, Shandon, Ohio.

Read more: Learn more about Queen City Shows in the Antique Trader Summer Show Spotlight!

Sellers HoosierSmall Sellers kitchen cabinets, like this apartment-size example, are hard to find. Measuring 54 by 36 inches, this one was priced $850 by Richard Swabb of Brookville, Ohio. Photos courtesy Don Johnson.

“It was a perfect day,” said Metzger. “It’s been a long time since we’ve had a perfect day on opening day. With outdoor shows, if you really want to hit the jackpot, opening day is it. Last year we had the flood — talk about night-and-day difference. The year before that, lots of rain. The year before that, rain.”

The Tri-State Antique Market was due for a dose of good weather. When it came, so did the dealers – filling all indoor and outdoor spaces – as well a crowd. Sales were steady, as could be seen by the number of customers toting purchases.

“When someone is carrying a bag, you don’t know if they have a $5 item or a $500 item in that bag. That’s what Lawrenceburg is about,” said Metzger. “There is such a wide variety of price points and a wide variety of quality, it’s going to attract a lot of people.”

There were numerous things that could be purchased for $5, such as decorative vintage bricks offered by Dan Gray of Cosmos Pepper Farm, Wabash, Ind. “The last two shows, I sold all the bricks I had,” he said.

He also offered a selection of hickory furniture, including a bent-arm porch swing at $350; tall-back armchair, $160; and a side chair with damage to the caned seat was $30. The most eye-catching item in his booth was a Nystrum medical model with removable organs, circa-1950s, offered at $495.

Such variety, from bricks to furniture to unique objects, has been helpful in attracting younger shoppers – a group Metzger has targeted through the alternative press in Cincinnati.

Folk art snake poleA single snake wraps around a piece of wood on this 1950s cast-aluminum piece priced $675 by Dick Sollmann of Sales by Sollmann, Oxford, Ohio.

The diversity of the show means there’s something of interest for buyers of all ages.
Dan Fawcett of Cable, Ohio, offered several tin toys, including a Marvelous Mike bulldozer by Saunders-Swadar Toy Co., Aurora, Ill., with original box, tagged $395. A Space Capsule 5 battery-operated toy, TM, Japan, was $235.

Bob Cohen of Columbus, Ohio, showed a Crown Graphic camera priced at $475. It came with a Vulcanoid Handicase filled with accessories. He also offered a selection of American art pottery, including a Rookwood scenic Vellum vase with an autumn landscape by Fred Rothenbusch, 1928, at $3,000; Roseville Sunflower squat vase, about 8 inches in diameter, $675; and a Weller Coppertone frog for a fountain was $1,185.

Bob Diamond of Cincinnati offered a Roseville Silhouette nude vase priced $595; Brush McCoy jardinière, circa 1916, Art Deco design in burgundy with greens and yellows, $175; and a Roseville Futura candleholder in green and tan, about 4 inches high, was $395.

Sandy Caruso of Cincinnati had a 1984 Macintosh computer priced at $525. The outfit included multiple accessories. “It’s got all the bells and whistles,” noted her husband, Jerry, who purchased the computer new. Another technology-related item was a Weather-Hawk Remote Recording Thermometer, made by Taylor Instrument Companies, priced $125.

A Florida shell lamp decorated with a pink flamingo was $18, while 1940s to 1960s textiles in the booth ranged from curtain panels to bedspreads.

Dick Sollmann of Sales by Sollmann, Oxford, Ohio, had a mix that included a 1950s cast-aluminum medical sign showing a snake wrapped around a stick, priced $675; Black Forest wall shelf, two facing lovebirds, $125; and a hooked rug having 48 squares, each with a flower, was $225.

Among his artwork was “Butchering” by Marston Hadgin, oil on canvas, a scene looking out a window at three men butchering, priced $725. A rural farm scene by J. Snyder, oil on board, was $165; and a landscape by Joseph Trover, oil on canvas, was $425.


Marvelous Mike RobotMarvelous Mike Electromatic Tractor #1000 was made by Saunders-Swadar Toy Co., Aurora, Ill. This example, with its original box, was priced $395 by Dan Fawcett of Cable, Ohio.

Mimi Morgan always carries a selection of traditional antiques. Ceramics included a Millennium black transferware soup bowl by R. Stevenson, 1832-35, priced $110; Fort Edward, Hudson River historical cup plate by Clews, black transfer, $225; Adams Rose soup bowl by Alcock, $40; and a Persian rose platter by Ralph Hall, 1810-30, was $245.

A miniature-on-ivory group portrait signed Philippe, 1827, was $495; and a schoolgirl-decorated alms box with verse was $375.

Richard Swabb of Brookville, Ohio, had a line of vintage kitchen cabinets. Drawing considerable attention was an apartment-size Sellers, 54 inches high by 36 inches wide, priced $850. A full-size Sellers was $650, while a Nappanee kitchen cabinet was $800.

His fire-related items included three cast-iron Gamewell fireboxes at $135 each; brass bell off a horse-drawn fire vehicle, from Cedar Grove, Ind., $450; Queen fire extinguisher, Harker Mfg. Co., $50; and a Brookville Fire Department helmet was $200.
The Tri-State Antique Market requires merchandise be at least 30 years old. The show is held at the fairgrounds in Lawrenceburg on the first Sunday of the month, May through October.

For more information visit Tri-State Antiques Market.

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