Annual antiques show is a success

The 48th-annual Philadelphia Antiques Show attracted exhibitors across the East Coast for three days to display and view rare artifacts and collections.

Old Hope Antiques, Inc., displayed its “Game Cock Weathervane,” pictured right. Created in Boston in 1875, the piece has an asking price of $69,000 (Sabrina Jacot/TTN).

From San Francisco to London, 50 of the greatest art and antiques dealers came to exhibit and sell some of the world’s most precious items in the Philadelphia Antiques Show.  As the annual show celebrated its 48th year, locals and collectors from the East Coast were able to enjoy the presence of rare furniture, porcelain dishes, lamps, rugs and other forms of art and décor.

The Philadelphia Antiques Show is one of the premier antique shows in the nation. 

Patrick Conner, of the Martyn Gregory Gallery in London, said his gallery has been visiting Philadelphia for several years to display its antiques.

“This is such a well-organized show,” he said. “It is the right length of time for us dealers, and each year, we find it well worthwhile to come.”

The show ran from April 18 to April 21 in the Philadelphia Cruise Terminal at Pier One of the Navy Yard, located at South Broad Street. 

With big band and classical music framing its background, viewers can travel back in time, becoming better acquainted with the objects dealers have to offer.  Each gallery is given a space at the floor of the terminal, which is boxed off from the other dealers exhibiting.  This allows each exhibitor to display his or her collection as creatively as desired. 

Brant Mackley, a Temple alumnus, displayed his rare American Indian artifacts to show how attendees can use antiques to complement interior design. 

Mackley has a gallery in Hershey, Pa.

The show’s theme this year was “Presidents and Patriots: Philadelphia Portrait Miniatures.”  Each year, the Antiques Show committee designs a theme to bring together the exhibitions, as well as allow a loan exhibit to be displayed at the center of the show.  This year’s loan exhibit included a series of miniature portraits of various presidents and important people throughout American history.

The majority of the portraits were painted by the Peale family of Philadelphia in the 18th century.  The portraits were on loan from various private collectors, as well as the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

For a college student, the show acts more like an extravagant gallery than a place to purchase rare artifacts.  The $10 admission price for students benefited the University of Pennsylvania Health System.

Mackley’s gallery specializes in American Indian artifacts, while Conner’s gallery specializes in paintings from the China trade of the 18th century.  Other exhibitions specialize in English needlepoint, Chinese porcelain and Oriental rugs.

Blaize Lehane, a representative of the exhibit, said the gallery has been asked to come to the Philadelphia Antiques Show for more than 15 years.

“This is a prestigious fair, and we are honored to be asked to come here,” Lehand said. “We have a respect for all the dealers who come.”

With artifacts ranging from $500 to more than $65,000, the business is left to the dedicated collector and even to the world-renowned museums.  This is one of Mackley’s reasons he displays his works in the manner he does, as many of his pieces seem to belong in a museum atmosphere.

“Of course we sell to museums,” he said, “but there are a lot of private collectors as well that take a great interest in Native American art.”

Because his specialty is art and artifact, Mackley said museums are reluctant to purchase his works for economic reasons.

“There is reluctance from museums to buy Native American objects due to legal issues surrounding [the North American Gaming Regulators Association],” he said. “They are afraid Native Americans will ask for the objects back, which can cause a court case to develop.”

In addition to its diverse exhibitions and exhibitors, the Philadelphia Antiques Show had other events, including a series of lectures by Robert and Katharine Booth, curators of the miniature portrait loan exhibit and by Carleton Varney, a well-known interior designer from New York.  The show provided a small café for its attendees, offering gourmet sandwiches, homemade baked goods and a small bar.

The Philadelphia Antiques Show is described as “prestigious, well-organized and worthwhile,” as it has existed for more than 48 years.

The show is known as one of the longest-running antique shows in the nation.

The show displays appreciation for the arts and showcases the important people within the business, the dealers and collectors who care for the objects that make up our nation and world history. 

Nicole Welk can be reached at

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