With the extreme weather most of the U.S. has been experiencing, most any event would be a good enough reason to head to Miami Beach. The Original Miami Beach Antiques Show is a particularly good one, however. Just the shear size of the event makes it hard for anyone to go away disappointed. The warm weather was icing on the cake.
For some frequent antiques show goers, just the thought of 800 dealers can make you tired. It’s good that many of the dealers at this show specialize in one thing or another. I was speaking with my sister on the phone and explained that a lot of the dealers had jewelry, and since it wasn’t a favorite thing to look at, I could move quickly through much of the show. “I love looking at antique jewelry,” was her response. “Then you should be in Miami,” I said.
Actually, I find its the booths with the most variety I stay in the longest. It’s hard to know enough about everything, so it’s here I look for the finds. It’s also sometimes thought these shows are expensive, and many people assume you can’t get as good of a price at an antique show as you can at an auction. At least in one glaring instance here I found that to be absolutely false. I knew it because I have the catalog from a major auction house and it shows the estimated price. This item didn’t sell and was through some unknown chain of events to be had at the Original Miami Beach Antiques show for less than half the low estimate.
The crowd here seemed pretty good, especially for a Super Bowl Sunday. Not only were the aisles full, but there seemed to be a good bit of buying going on. We heard one modernism/art deco dealer sold out. Another said loose diamonds were selling well. An art dealer who said he hadn’t had a particularly good show added that many other dealers seemed to be having a great show.
This show also attracts a significant international crowd, both in terms of dealers and customers. “The Italians are here and buying,” was one comment.
Some of the items we saw were revisited from the National Miami Antiques Show the weekend previous. There seemed to be a good bit of cross-over in this respect, although certainly not exclusive.
One item that stood out was a bronze bust of Emerson by Daniel Chester French. Offered by Post Road Gallery of Larchmont, New York, the asking price was $9,000. This booth had several items of particular interest that you might be able to identify if you regularly walk through American museums with good American decorative arts collections. Several items by Herter Brothers fall into this category.
A painting offered by Griffins Gallery of Collegeville, Pennsylvania also seemed to stand out. Once in the collection of the Chrysler Museum, this depression-era work by Jack W. Clifton title 98 Cents a Pound depicts a pig farm in Virginia.
Some of the more unusual booths featured antique safes, and another modernism falling into the category of Mantiques, although it’s not clear whether that is a family name or a masculin brand of merchandise.
There was plenty for the collector, and enough booths with a look aimed at the decorator. With a strength in jewelry, it seems that vintage fashion is a natural outgrowth. While we saw some of that in the booths, there was plenty more on the floor. This includes to be what seemed to be striped pants from the 1960s or 70s. It’s clear the Original Miami Beach show is a place not only to buy and sell antiques and vintage, but to be seen doing so in vintage.