Antiques fans hunt through street fair Annual event held in Havre de Grace

August 29, 1993|By Adriane B. Miller | Adriane B. Miller,Contributing Writer

To an antiques hound, every old toy or old piece of furniture is a potential treasure -- which helps explain why crowds braved a heat index of 105 degrees yesterday to stroll the ninth annual Havre de Grace Antique Street Fair.

Stretching along the 400 block of Franklin St. at N. Union Ave., the fair gives antiques dealers from Maryland, Pennsylvania and Delaware the chance to display and sell their antique furniture, toys, china and glass. Its two-day run ends today. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free, and free parking is available nearby.

Duane Henry, owner of Susquehanna Trading Co. on North Union Avenue, has coordinated the fair the past five years. He said many of the approximately 20 dealers come from adjoining states year after year. Local antiques dealers enjoy it, too.

"We have a lot of dealers and antique shops and co-ops in town, and this gives them some exposure," Mr. Henry said. "You can spend a whole day antique shopping here."

Or antiques ogling. Mr. Henry opens the first floor of his home, which adjoins his shop, to fair-goers who want to see his private collection. His dining room is full of old mahogany pieces that have been buffed until they glow, plus china, glassware and decoys.

Sam and Carol Sheetz, who own Grassy Creek Antiques on North Union Avenue, have a large collection of oak and walnut tables on display at the fair. Mr. Sheetz said find ing good antiques in Maryland is getting more difficult.

"The good pieces are finding homes and they aren't coming back out," he said. "They are getting passed down through families, which I guess is the way it should be."

Mr. Sheetz and other dealers said many of their antiques now come from northern states, including Pennsylvania, New York and Massachusetts.

Warner Gambill, owner of Antique Accents and Refinishing in Northeast, said he is still waiting to stumble upon the find of his life, such as the original copy of the Declaration of Independence an antiques dealer in Pennsylvania found behind the paper backing of a painting he bought for $4. That lucky dealer sold the rare copy for $1 million.

Melvin Lewis, owner of The Lewis Expedition at 454 Franklin St., said he once found two guns hidden in a secret drawer of a desk he had purchased for $30. He sold the guns for $700.

Such finds don't happen often, dealers admit. But they add to the appeal of buying and collecting antique furniture and other items.

Rhoda Lammer, who has moved temporarily to Havre de Grace from Florida, said she has yet to find any unusual or valuable items in the antiques she has bought. She just appreciates the quality and workmanship of the pieces. She has several in her home and was hoping to find more at the fair yesterday.

"I've always bought a lot of antiques," she said. "They outlast the new furniture, they can always be refinished and they just have more class."

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