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Illinois women’s club hosts 71st annual antiques event
By Marvin Johnson

CHICAGO, Ill. — The Woman’s Club of Wilmette hosted its 71st annual Premier North Shore Antique Show on Dec. 1-2. In keeping with its antique history, it was again at its 102-year-old, spacious clubhouse. The clubhouse has numerous rooms of different sizes, which allows for creative merchandise displays.

This northern suburb of Chicago draws dealers and attendees from a broad area and surrounding states.

Rosanne Barrett, Woman’s Club Antiques Chair, was pleased with this year’s show. She explained that prospective dealers are carefully screened to ensure variety and quality of materials. For example, this year they had to reject several jewelry dealers to maintain a balance of merchandise.

She noted that furniture dealers are chosen based on their specialty area to provide furniture buyers with a broad selection. They also have added booths for repair of crystal, furniture restoration and silversmith work.

Part of the overall appeal of this event is its warm-and-cozy atmosphere with its dealers and even a small café on the lower level for food and conversation.

Monica Brinkman Antiques has exhibited at the show for about 12 years. The first day was so busy that she never left her booth and read none of the magazines she had brought in case things were slow. Brinkman now does only a few shows; and in general, felt her sales were the best in her high-end material.

One example was a Russian Distaff, multi-colored, dating from the early 1900s. It was made in the Archangel Region in Russian, which is in the Arctic area of that country. Priced at $425, it was designed as a wall display item.

A walnut, German Black Forest Clock was hanging in the booth of Greg Johnson Antiques. Dated 1889 and marked with its city of origin, it was for sale at $265. The clock runs nearly two weeks on one winding. Crowds at his booth were “steady,” he said, and Johnson sold two clocks and other items of silver on the first day. He felt the antique market was “picking up.” Johnson said he likes this show because it is traditional and deals with “real antiques.”

Don Williams of Kirksville, Mo. was a new dealer at the show. He said this show reminded him of many of the East Coast shows, which were limited in size but high on ambiance and quality. He also said more buyers were using high-end antiques as investment opportunities, not trusting the stock market or other options.

Williams’ booth sparkled with high-end treasures. Hanging on the wall was an encased Tiffany ivory opened fan, which included portraits printed on silk as part of its decoration. On the back it read, “Grand Pris, Paris, l878.” It carried a price tag of $2,000. Another piece, also Tiffany, was a blue on black bottle – either cologne or perfume – with matching stopper. Made in 1894, it was priced at $10,000.

Ralph Spano, a dealer from Milwaukee, Wis., had a wall of paintings and a booth filled with furniture. A WPA-era painting of a farm and farm workers was striking. It was 24 inches by 26 inches and was by Hulda Rotier Vischer. It was priced at $16,000. Hanging close to it was a small painting of a sailing ship done by Antonio Jacobsen of the Dreadnaught. It was 12 inches by 26 inches. It was available for $10,500. Spano thought the show was doing well, even better than last year.

Neil Zuehlke from Hartland, Wis. displayed a small chest that was designed to store jewelry. Made of mahogany, it was all handmade from the late 19th century. Its four graduated drawers had a lighter wood banding. The chest was 34 inches tall, 20 inches wide, and was priced at $795. Zuehlke reported “a lot” of sales including several paintings and furniture.

Verdigris Antiques showcased a Staffordshire cow with calf, height almost 8 inches. This size is quite rare and was priced at $750. They also had portrait paintings of a male and of a female with the same background of chair in each one. The painting’s size was approximately 30 inches by 25 inches. They appeared to be a couple based on their estimated ages. Both were unsigned and, based on the background, they were painted about 1830. The pair was priced at $4,800.

Owner Jerry Greenblatt stated the show was doing well, and attendees seemed to appreciate the rich history and tradition of the event. He also lamented the fact that many young people, or other buyers of furniture, do not realize the bargains that are available, at this point in time, in the older antique pieces.

Treasures in Time Antiques from Bingham Farms Mich. displayed an elegant Running Horse Copper Weathervane, which they had obtained in Ohio. This 19th century, undamaged piece was 29 inches long and 18 inches high, and priced at $1,298. Owner Warren Summers said he loved the show and noted many people who were holiday gift shopping and passing by some of his higher-priced items.

Contact: (847) 251-0527

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