Tag: Original Miami Beach Antiques Show
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.
The Miami National Antiques Show may be remembered best for me as the time I began to notice and learn about Sheffield plate. This is thanks to a Florida dealer with a British accent named John Forster. It wasn’t because of Forster exactly that I noticed a piece of Sheffield plate at the show, but it was he who gave me enough information in a brief amount of time that made me confident enough that I knew what I was buying. That’s what an antique dealer should be able to do.
I don’t think I had run into Forster previously at shows, but he seems to be a regular and features primarily barometers. Another dealer I spoke with knew him as someone who could repair any barometer, including the one in their booth. Before we made it to Forster’s booth, another had referred him as a source of information on Sheffield plate.
The presence of these kind of dealers can make a show for someone interested in learning as well as shopping. In a business where knowledge is money, finding dealers interested in informed customers can be refreshing. It was actually a small book on Sheffield plate we came into Forester’s booth for, the cost of which was refunded with the purchase of a pair of wine coasters.
Sheffield plate isn’t for everyone, but there did seem to be something to peak most anyone’s interest at the Miami National Antiques Show. As one dealer explained, there are two major shows this time of year in Miami, and this one has traditionally been a buy-and-sell for dealers ahead of the bigger (800 dealer) Original Miami Beach Antiques Show, February 3-7. Another dealer disagreed with that assessment, however.
In any case, there was a wide-array of merchandise including paintings, clocks, Chinese and Japanese art and decorative items, vintage clothing, jewelry, glassware and even a vintage movie projector and taxidermied rhinocerous (with replacement tusks).
One item we noticed was a figure of “Rising Day” by Adolph Alexander Weinman. Rising day and its companion, Descending Night were originally designed as fountain figures fort he 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco. Following the exhibition, Weinman reproduced both works in two sizes, one measuring approximately 24 inches tall and the other approximately 57 inches. Dealer Brian Sullivan also had the accompanying sculpture but hadn’t brought it to the show because of “an engaged buyer.”
Elinor Gordon, the legendary Chinese export porcelain dealer and scholar, has passed away more than one and half years ago, but items with her labels live on. A famous British Chinese export porcelain dealer told me that dealers usually take off other dealers’ label upon transaction, except those of Elinor Gordon, which provide provenance such that no dealer want to extingish. David Anthony, from MA brought two pieces of Chinese export porcelain, made specially for the American market, with the label of Elinor Gordon. In fact, the items were illustrated in her book – Collecting Chinese export porcelain. The plate and sugar bowl were part of the set made for Mehhitable Adams (1760-1824), a member of the distinguished Braintree, MA family. The cipher “MA” is painted in gilt. The hearts are rendered in rough de fer with green and blue enamel colors and gilt. The borders, in blue enamel and gilt stars clearly showed the classical period style. In the book, Elinor admitted that she purchased from a direct descendant of the family. Thanks to the book, now the future owner can enjoy the pieces without too much homework.
William Union had a booth full of paintings including one labeled as being painted by William Mills, which may have actually been Wilfrid T. Mills (1912-1988), of the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. The painting was adorable, but the signature was unclear and the painting was labeled as being completed in 1925, at which time Mills would have been only 13. In Union’s defense, this painting was owned and had been labeled by another dealer. Still, it goes back to the theme of being ready to fully inform a potential buyer about an object.
Christopher English’s booth is hard to miss. In the past, they have brought taxidermied squirrels (playing baseball!) to the Pier Antiques Show in New York. That was hard to outdo, but this time, they decided to bring something bigger – rhinoceros. Stephen, the co-owner, said that such gigantic animals were found in Africa or Asia. This particular one was hunted and made into taxidermy about 50 years ago. Wheels have been installed at the bottom of each foot, so that it can also be easily moved around the house. The asking price was$28,000.