You never know what you’re going to find at an antiques show.
As a dealer, you tend to think everyone will like the same things you do, and nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the category of “antiques” is extremely broad.
One of my favorite parts about participating in the Original Round Top Antiques Fair is seeing the things that other dealers specialize in.
Some, like Tin Cats Antiques, specialize in a specific period like the early Americana we sell, but others take a completely different tack.
As I’ve scoped out the other dealers at the show, a few have really caught my eye.
Franz Hellwig knows each of the pieces in his collection intimately.
Brilliant Cut Glass
The dealer across from us specializes in American Brilliant Cut Glass from the late 1800s and early 1900s.
Franz Hellwig is the proprietor, and his booth is dazzling. Light strategically placed around his booth radiates from thousands of glass facets.
The pieces in his collection are pure artwork, crafted by artisans that are extremely rare these days. Franz says there are probably about four or five guys in the United States who can do this kind of work. While I don’t know anything about cut glass, it’s clear Franz does. I’ve had the chance to listen in as he describes items to his customers, and he knows each piece intimately. He's great about explaining the intricate details even to a novice like me.
It’s hard to capture in words just how beautiful these works of art are, and it’s unfortunate that they don’t lend themselves to a house with six cats and a golden retriever.
Franz is a great guy, and we’ve really enjoyed getting to know him. In fact, that’s one of the things I’ve loved about the show so far. We have met some great people with interesting stories.
Franz doesn’t have an active web site, but if you’re interested in cut glass, email him by clicking on the link above, and he can email you photos of items you might be interested in.
I wonder if I can figure out a way to incorporate one of the smaller stained-glass panels into a woodworking project.
From Cut Glass to Stained Glass
One of the most unique booths at Round Top is the stained glass collection by Jim Blackmon.
He mounts his framed antique stained glass on wooden stands with backlighting to highlight the intricate work. Some of the pieces are very large, and I can imagine a decorator or homeowner finding a completely unique piece to accent a home and give it that focal point that everyone notices and talks about. Jim doesn’t have a web site, so if you’re interested in talking to him about his collection, give him a call at 727.643.7713.
I'd love to have one of these pond models in a library stocked with items from Dave White's Nautical Antiques shop.
It may seem odd that a landlocked Amarilloan would feel the lure of the sea, but I didn’t always live so far away from the ocean.
White’s Nautical Antiques specializes in seafaring items, and I drooled over his sextants, pond models of sailboats and half hulls.
A lifelong sailor, Dave White splits time between Maine and Gainesville, Fla., and it’s clear that he has taken his passion for sailing and turned it into a business he loves.
Dave is helping preserve a part of our maritime heritage, which was such a vital part of early America.
I don’t think there was a single item in his booth that I wouldn’t love to have.
So many books, so little time.
Love in the library
I love books!
I love to read, but more than that, I love to be surrounded by books. I don’t know why.
To me, there’s just something about them. Their bindings, their covers, the way they smell, even the varying shapes and sizes.
So, it’s no wonder I fell in love with Sonny Ideker’s booth, which allows you to forget that you’re standing in a big red barn and think for just a moment, that you’ve stepped back in time into an ancient library.
Shelves and shelves of volumes line the booth, and there’s even a big padded chair to sit in while you peruse items in the collection.
I haven’t had a chance to talk to Mr. Ideker, but I can tell he’s a man after my own heart. I wonder what his home looks like.
Country Accents Antiques owner Eva Lee knows how to run the store.
The Country Store
The neighbors right next to us are masters at booth decoration. The Country Accents Antiques booth looks like an old-fashioned general store with racks of dry goods and all kinds of cool little common household items from back in the day.
In addition, they have a lot of large wooden pieces, ranging from filing cabinets to bookcases to an old telephone booth that was very popular with the crowd.
Is it just me or is there something ironic about people snapping photos from their phones of people standing in an antique phone booth?
Besides having a great collection, owner Eva Lee and her crew at Country Accents are just plain fun. On Monday night, dealers provided hors d'oeuvres, snacks, beer and wine for customers, but the folks at Country Accents kicked it up a notch by bringing in a margarita machine. I don’t know if a little tequila prompted any extra sales, but it couldn’t have hurt.
Sizing up the Competition
Round Top doesn’t have the Americana dealers it once had, but there are still a few really good ones, and even though they are our competition, I don’t mind mentioning them because they have some excellent pieces.
Myrleen and Shelton Harper offered some great advice as we prepared for Round Top.
When you step into the Harper Antiques booth, it’s like you’re stepping into the drawing room of well-to-do family of the late 1700s. You can almost imagine sharing a pint with an officer in the Continental Army or a wealthy Boston shipping magnate.
Myrleen and Shelton Harper are two of the first dealers we met after forming Tin Cats Antiques, and their advice helped us better prepare for the show.
Harold Cole draws on 60 years of experience and knowledge when picking items for his collection.
Finally, we had the opportunity to meet Harold Cole, a well-respected dealer from Connecticut doing his first Round Top show. It only took me about 30 seconds after my mom introduced us to realize that this guy knows his stuff.
I watched Mr. Cole study a piece and couldn’t help but wonder exactly what details his keen eye was searching for to confirm or deny his suspicion about the authenticity of the item.
I can hardly wait to make a trip to New England so we can visit his shop.
Holding our own
There are a lot of nice, unique things at Round Top, but I have to say that I feel like we’re making a pretty good first showing, even if I am a little biased. We’ve received a lot of compliments on our booth, and there has been a lot of interest in pieces that Jami selected for the show.
I don’t have time to mention all of the dealers that caught my eye, but the show continues through April 2, so there’s still time for you to visit and pick out your own favorites.
I hope ours will be one of them.