We began to gear up for the 2015 Delaware Antique show in mid-September. This was close on the heels of a busy Summer and Fall, following the opening of the new gallery. It was a new and far easier experience putting together the show from the gallery. The result was another great show in Delaware. The attendees are intelligent and well informed enthusiasts. The proximity of the show to Winterthur Museum seems to attract them and it is a pleasure to have them in our booth. They were eager to purchase furniture this year, which was good because we had a much larger booth along the back wall. The booth was almost twice a wide and full of nearly 20 clocks of various forms and even more furniture and decorations. Click here to view a brief video showing a portion of the booth.
Please be sure to visit us at our new gallery around the holidays and definitely join us next year in Delaware.
I am happy to share with my readers the news that we are signed up for the new Metropolitan Show in New York this January 2011. You are the first to know! The show replaces The American Antiques Show (TAAS) which has been held the last ten years at The metropolitan Pavilion in January. Just as previous shows have been for the benefit of The Folk Art Museum, the preview party for the new Metro Show will benefit the Museum as well.
The new promoter of the show is The Art Fair Company Inc. They are recognized for their very upscale art shows such as the highly regarded SOFA Shows in Chicago, New York and Santa Fe. Along with the fresh new face of the show, their goal is to preserve the core appeal of the TAAS Show, but to add some more contemporary art to the mix. I look forward to seeing some dealers in new categories such as outsider art and photography. I think this will be an excellent addition.
We want to encourage the collectors of folk art and American antiques who have historically attended the show to return in January, but we would like to see some younger faces as well. By adding some contemporary art to the show, I look forward to attracting more 30 and 40 somethings, who may just find that they like these old things that we call “antiques”.
I’ll have to stop calling this an “antiques show”. I certainly don’t want to frighten off any of my loyal collectors of antiques who would be disinclined to attend something called a “fair”. The fact is, younger collectors of art call these events “fairs”, and they would be disinclined to attend something called an “antiques show”. We all need to get together and enjoy the mix of fine art and antiques. So if you are one of my clients, who has never been to a “fair”, please be sure to visit us in January. No matter what they call the event, you can rest assured that you’ll always find some terrific objects in my booth! You’ll not be disappointed!
The American Antiques Show, held in New York during antiques week will no longer be the place to find us in January. In the midst of financial difficulties, The Folk Art Museum has chosen not to continue with the show that has come to be known as TAAS. The museum has turned the show over to The Art Fair Company, an organization that runs high end art shows. Under the new management, it apparently will be quite a different show. Karen DiSaia has done a great job of managing the show for the museum, but based on what I know about The Art Fair Company, I'm sure the new show will be terrific. Even though the name and ownership of the show will change, the Folk Art Museum will still benefit from the gala preview party. I'm looking forward to learning more about the show and the possibly of being an exhibitor.
Leigh and Leslie, the keno Brothers of Antiques Roadshow fame have a new show on Fox. It is called “Buried Treasure”. The new show is similar to, but different than their old PBS show which was called Find!. As with the old show, they travel the country visiting people who have objects that may have significant value. What sets Buried Treasure apart from the old show is the personal component. Leigh told me that they are looking for situations where the value of the objects can potentially make a significant difference in the lives of the owners. The problem with this scenario is that it eliminates a great number of the possible guests and makes it much more difficult to find good houses to visit. I don’t know how they accomplish what they do. The twins are just a few months older than I am, but I wouldn’t dream of trying to fit what they do into a day. I’m tired just thinking about it. In addition to filming the show this summer, Leigh has his auction coming up later this month and Leslie has a sale at Sotheby’s. Good luck with the new show guys.
I appraised clocks at the Atlanta Roadshow on Saturday, where we saw a nice selection of pretty good clocks. In all, five were appraised on camera plus I was interviewed by Antiques Roadshow Insider Magazine regarding a sixth clock. My fellow appraiser John Delaney went on camera with two pieces from a nice collection of high end reproduction clocks.
The two repro clocks that were taped for TV were a girandole and a lyre clock, both made by Elmer Stennes in Weymouth, MA. Elmer was a talented cabinet maker who specialized in creating excellent reproductions of the best and rarest early American clocks. He was also a murderer and died in a hail of bullets at the hand of still another murderer! active in the 1940s through his death in 1975, he produced what are today, some of the most valuable and sought-after reproduction clocks. In 1968, during an argument with his wife, he grabbed his .357 magnum and shot her dead. He admitted to shooting her, but amazingly, while awaiting trial he was released on bail and continued to make clocks. In addition to his name, he branded these clocks “O. O. B.,” for “out on bond”.
He served only 28 months of an 8 to 10 year sentence, but continued to make clocks while in prison. These clocks were branded “M.C.I.P.” for “Massachusetts Correctional Institute at Plymouth”, or with his strange sense of humor “made clocks in prison”.
Stennes was released in 1972 and he married again in 1973 (who would marry a guy that had killed his previous wife??). “live by the sword, die by the sword”, Elmer had made enemies and he met his sword in October of 1975. Two gunman bypassed the alarm in his home and executed him in his own bed. The intruders shot him five times and his wife seven. She actually survived and claimed that Stennes’ son had been one of the shooters. Many believed he had good reason, between Father murdering Mother and being written out of the will in favor of a new wife. There is also the question of how the intruders knew how to bypass the alarm.
The killings didn’t stop! Elmer’s Daughter took her own life the following year by stabbing herself. Her employer was murdered as well and a man who sold clocks for Stennes killed himself. I’m just glad not have been born into that family.
The legacy of Stennes and his clocks lives on. Collectors pay thousands of dollars to own his work. Watch the show next year to see if this appraisal makes it to television.
* Much of this information was taken from Jeanne Schinto’s article “Murder on Tick Tock Lane, an Account of Elmer O. Stennes”
Waiting in Eugene, OR. for a delayed flight to San Francisco after doing the Roadshow on Saturday. Looks like I'll miss the flight back to Boston once again. If anyone is aware of a dependable airline, I would love to know about it.
I'm Happy to report that I had good success in Eugene. I appraised a superb tiger maple Chippendale Chest-on-chest, made in Massachusetts or RI, circa 1795-1800. It was in great condition, with a terrific old surface and nice Chippendale brasses. It's amazing how many important new England antiques have migrated to distant corners of the States. Look for it on PBS next year.
Eugene was the first city where I appraised furniture for the show and I really enjoyed it. Twelve hours of standing, examining one piece of furniture after another is tougher than I thought, but being part of the Roadshow is well worth it.
I have recently returned from Antiques Roadshow in Myrtle Beach, S.C., where I worked at the clocks table with Sean Delaney.
As always, Saturday was a long day for all the appraisers and crew. Both Sean and I were happy to have been filmed with interesting clocks. He appraised an excellent wooden works antique tall case clock with the best folk art painted wooden dial either of us have ever seen. I appraised a super example of a Victorian figural mantle clock.
I worked at the furniture table when Roadshow kicked off the season in Boston a month ago. It was nice to host some of the other appraisers in my home city. I was filmed with a pretty interesting 18th century Goddard-Townsend school piece of furniture from Newport, Rhode Island.
The Queen Anne form appeared to be a dressing table (lowboy) with a carved shell, but turned out to be the base section from what would have been an important Newport high chest (highboy) with a carved shell. If it survives the cutting room, I hope you will have an opportunity to see the appraisal on the show next year.