Antiques Show Offers Furniture Without Glitz

March 25, 1992|By Ellen Nibali | Ellen Nibali,Contributing writer

Been looking for a chance to buy American? The Mid-Atlantic AntiquesMarket this Sunday is almost 100 percent handmade American -- and more than 100 years old.

The only show of its kind in the region hasperiod furniture in paint.

"That means no reproductions and still in the original coat of paint," explains show promoter Sims Rogers of Cambridge. "None of what I call the 'glittering glitz' -- decorations of collectibles."

Sixyears ago, Rogers saw a need here for a different kind of show.

Then she saw the place -- the Howard County Fairgrounds -- that "anybody can find coming from anywhere." The site suited her fine, because she wanted this show to draw top-drawer antique dealers and buyers from around the nation. And it did.

"The first year the big Quonset hut caved in four weeks before the show," recalls Rogers. "The first show I had ever attempted to promote. First, I panicked," Then she rented the other fair buildings and five tents, and the show went on.

Show attendance has blossomed to 3,500 a day. Its reputation pulls far-flung dealers with such colorful names as Red Montgomery, Black Dog and Borghis Garofalo. They offer new prospects for collectors who attend a lot of shows and tire of seeing the same things over and over.

More than 115 dealers will present their wares, many in room settings, which shows unusual care for a one-day show.

"It has a good mixture of architectural and more formal antiques, but emphasis is on less sophisticated, more rustic country antiques," says dealer Steven Shapiro, of Shapiro and Stambaugh in Hagerstown, who specializes in folk art and quilts, eccentric and off-beat antiques.

Special features will be coverlet collections and regional furniture prized bycollectors who specialize in, for example, Southern and Shenandoah Valley pieces.

Old holiday decorations and toys, painted furniture,crocks and stoneware are among the offerings of Tom and Judy Whitmore of Keeping Room Antiques in Ellicott City.

"Dealers save for this show," say Judy Whitmore. "We put aside nice things especially for it."

The resultant crowd is "large and attentive," Shapiro says.

"At some shows, the buying public goes, instead of going to the mall that day," Shapiro says. "But this is not a hyped-up show where dealers tend to put their thumbs on the scales. Prices are decent. That's why so much buying goes on.

"Other shows tend to be either high end or low end," she says. "We have a high end, but it's not out of the question."

Early admission from 7:30 to 9 a.m. is $10. General admission from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. is $5.

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