Purchase Story

The York Show

Original Semi-annual York Antiques Show and Sale, York, Pennsylvania

The weather was gorgeous the last weekend of summer, September 20-22, when the 173rd Original Semi-annual York Antiques Show and Sale set up in Memorial Hall East at the York Fairgrounds, York, Pennsylvania. It was smaller than usual, with 20-some fewer dealers than the 96 booths on the floor plan. In fact, there were just 70 booths in all, and only three dealers new to the show. There were some good antiques to buy and a few blockbusters, and more than a dozen dealers sold well.

No one sold more than Betty Bell of Dallas, a leading dealer in holiday decorations. It was her second appearance at the York show; her first was two years ago. She sold a Santa on a donkey—both Santa and donkey are nodders—for $7250. That is nearly as much as the Philadelphia Federal bookcase that Kelly Kinzle sold to a young couple for $7500. “They had just bought a new house, and their parents brought them to the show to buy some furniture. After they walked around they figured they could not get a bookcase made for as much as this antique,” said Kinzle. “That bookcase would have been three times as much ten years ago, but then I would have paid three times as much for it back then. I just got it. I gave them a tin of wax and told them to dust it first and then wax it.”

Big Santa with a tree, 17" high, $4200 from Betty Bell of Dallas, Texas.

The tree-topper girl with a muff was $325 from Beverly Weir-Longacre of Marlborough, New Hampshire, who nearly sold out of Christmas ornaments by noon on Friday.

Other furniture sold. “Don Heller sold a set of Windsor chairs, a table, and a Dutch cupboard. The Hanebergs sold a tiger maple slant-front desk, and Hilary Nolan sold another slant-front desk,” said show manager Melvin Arion, but he admitted that attendance was off. “Friday was about the same as last year, but Sunday was slow,” he said.

One collector who came back on Sunday said he bought six things for prices he could afford. “It was the day to deal,” he said. “I found a Dutch Delft teacup and saucer, a real rarity because hot water tended to crack tin-glazed earthenware.” He said Lisa McAllister of Clear Spring, Maryland, had the colorfully painted tiny cup and saucer.

Dealers complained that presale buying was off, though several dealers said they were pleased with what they bought. “This show is just a sign of the times,” said a seasoned collector who would never miss a York show but made just two small purchases this year. Jeffrey Tillou said he made two big sales—a first-rate horse and sulky weathervane and a painting of Dixville Notch in New Hampshire—along with some folk sculpture, but he said it was not a brisk selling show.

Arion said he will accommodate to this new order and make the show shorter, but not right away. “I will continue with the three-day show for the winter show, January 31 and February 1 and 2,” he said. “The winter show is always stronger than the September show, but next fall I will go to a two-day show, Friday and Saturday.” Dealers have been asking for a two-day York show for a decade. Some said they want a Saturday-Sunday show; others are satisfied with Friday and Saturday, saying that Sunday is for football in September.

Having steered this show for 24 years, Arion said he is reluctant to make changes. He said he spent $60,000 on advertising, but in the future he will direct more to online promotions. “The dealers just don’t send me enough pictures of their stock to tell people what to expect,” he said. “We can post pictures on Facebook if we have them.”

The discoveries are part of the fun of any show, though preshow advertising with pictures often results in sales. Among the surprises you wouldn’t have expected to find at York this September was the largest cash register made by the National Cash Register Company, signed and dated 1913, for $3900 from Quakertown, Pennsylvania, dealer Jim Emele of Emele’s Antiques; a tooled leather saddle with sterling silver decoration for $1500 from Toby Chittum of Charley Horse Antiques, Partlow, Virginia; and a large pottery figure from the Congo on the stand of David Good of Camden, Ohio.

The largest register by National Cash Register, rose brass, in working order, signed and dated 1913, was $3900 from Jim Emele of Emele’s Antiques, Quakertown, Pennsylvania.

There is more than just traditional Americana, country gear, and folk art at York these days. There was some good English furniture, but it is mostly still Americana, some of it top-drawer. David Good’s yellow Weber box, the best of the best, was priced at $62,500. A collector could put together a top-rate collection of American earthenware from the booths of Samuel Herrup of Sheffield, Massachusetts, and David Good. Greg Kramer of Robesonia, Pennsylvania, and John Rogers of New London, New Hampshire, offered shelves full of traditional Pennsylvania redware. A pair of pristine classic Pennsylvania ladder-back rush-seated chairs at James Kilvington’s booth was $5500 the pair. A Shaker gentleman’s desk in bright salmon paint from the booth of Joan Staufer of Fresno, Ohio, was $10,000.

This Maryland china press in pine, poplar, and cherry, with unusual fenestration, was $8300 from James L. Price of Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He sold a Philadelphia Chippendale armchair.

What sold quickly? Bakelite jewelry from Pat Garthoeffner of Lititz, Pennsylvania, and holiday decorations from Beverly Weir-Longacre of Marlborough, New Hampshire, Alice and Art Booth of Wayne, New Jersey, and Betty Bell of Dallas. Bell sold more than anyone else in the show. She offered decorations for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

For more information, contact Melvin L. Arion at (302) 875-5326 or visit the website (www.theoriginalyorkantiquesshow.com).

This iron bowl of sparkle fruit was $650 from Pat and Rich Garthoeffner of Lititz, Pennsylvania.

Greg Kramer of Robesonia, Pennsylvania, asked $5500 for this spice box made in Maine in the manner of Pensylvania craftsman Joseph Lehn of Lancaster County. It was fresh to market; he bought it at the show. As usual he sold redware, stoneware, ironwork, a few pieces of spatterware, and glass.

Samuel Herrup of Sheffield, Massachusetts, asked $6500 for this Vermont secretary, circa 1840, with paint graining over poplar and a red-painted interior.

Dale Hunt of The Antique Store in Wayne, Wayne, Pennsylvania, asked $6500 for this rare English Victorian majolica cheese dome made by George Jones.

This redware jar with decoration that rivals abstract painting, probably Adams County, Pennsylvania, was $7500 from Samuel Herrup. The mocha-like drips of brown slip over the rich yellow base and minor losses to the glaze appeal to the modern aesthetic.

Steve Smoot of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, asked $2200 for this large barber pole with a hexagonal middle section, made in Pennsylvania, 1870-90.

The English secretary with bun feet, circa 1740, was $5500, and the pair of American Chippendale side chairs, $900, from Thomas Brown of McMurray, Pennsylvania. “I can’t find enough American furniture these days, so I buy English,” said Brown.

The miniature pie safe from Maryland or Virginia was $18,000, and the paint-decorated chest, made circa 1820 and decorated circa 1830, was $9500 from Kelly Kinzle of New Oxford, Pennsylvania.

This pair of Delaware Valley figured maple slat-back side chairs with painted rush seats, circa 1760, was $5500 from James Kilvington of Greenville, Delaware.

This mid-Atlantic pie safe, circa 1850, was $3750 from John Chaski of Camden, Delaware.

This repoussé copper mask with a verdigris surface from the Commodore Hotel in New York City, circa 1919, was $4700 from Heller Washam Antiques, Portland, Maine. When the hotel was purchased in 1976 and then remodeled before opening as the Grand Hyatt Hotel in 1980, 150 of these copper masks were removed.

Jane Langol of Medina, Ohio, asked $1500 for this wooden boat, circa 1920.


This yellow-painted box by Jonas Weber, 4⅞" x 7⅜", was $62,500 from David Good. “If I am going to get stuck with something in this market, it might as well be the best,” he said clearly enjoying owning what he offered. This box, ex-Bryson collection, had sold at a Horst Auction sale in 1992 when Good was the underbidder. A note inside read “David Good gets first refusal.” But he had to buy it at Ruth Bryson’s estate sale.

Jewett-Berdan Antiques, Newcastle, Maine, bought this blue-painted Maine dry sink at the show and sold it early Friday. The wood carver and taxidermist sign was $12,500; the iron rooster weathervane, possibly Canadian, was $1850; the fence post owl was $2200; and the finial was $950.

The New York state embroidered blanket, signed by the maker and dated 1831, was $3000 from Stephen-Douglas Antiques, Walpole, New Hampshire, and Rockingham, Vermont. The flat cigar-store Indian, painted iron, 1840s, was $6500.

Douglas Wyant of Cassopolis, Michigan, sold this early 20th-century painted metal sign advertising marine paints, priced at $1100.

Cast-iron fence posts painted white, from Illinois, $785 from Lana Smith of Masonic Home, Kentucky.

This Massachusetts walnut slant-lid desk, circa 1750, is similar to one illustrated in American Antiques from Israel Sack Collection,Volume I, page 191. The 42" high x 35" wide x 21½" deep desk with an inlaid compass on the lid, blocked drawers in the interior, and a fan-carved prospect drawer was $3850 from Hanes & Ruskin Antiques, Old Lyme, Connecticut.

Window bench with original gilt decoration, made in Maryland or Pennsylvania, circa 1820, $5200 from Steven Still of Manheim, Pennsylvania.

Scroll banner copper weathervane with zinc arrowhead and copper star on top, circa 1893, attributed to J.W. Fiske, $1450 from Thomas Longacre of Marlborough, New Hampshire.

Lisa McAllister of Clear Spring, Maryland, asked $3800 for this colorful hooked rug from York County, Pennsylvania.

Alice and Art Booth of Wayne, New Jersey, sell a lot of holiday items. They offered these German Santas (left to right): candy container, 14" tall, $2750; 13" tall, $2750; 11" tall, $2200; and 10" tall, $2200.

Joan Staufer of Fresno, Ohio, asked $10,000 for this bright salmon-painted Mt. Lebanon Shaker secretary dated January 23, 1878, on the back of the third drawer. A note written in 1975 related that Brother Joseph of the Second Family in Mt. Lebanon made “a gentleman’s secretary” for William H. Brown of North Adams.

This saddle with sterling silver decorations made by the Buford Saddle Company in Georgia in the 1930s was $1500 from Toby Chittum of Charley Horse Antiques, Partlow, Virginia.

The Reading blanket chest was $21,000; the farm drawn by Ferdinand Brader (Swiss/American, 1833-1901) in Ohio, $27,000; the red-painted mortar and pestle, $875; the sailor whirligig minus paddles, $1950; and the Boardman pewter tankard, $1600, all from Jeffrey Tillou of Litchfield, Connecticut.


Originally published in the December 2019 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2019 Maine Antique Digest

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