North Side antiques show offers city venue for dealers
What's old is what's new at Calvary United Methodist Church in the Allegheny West neighborhood of Pittsburgh's North Side.
The historic church — which dates to 1893 and houses restored Tiffany stained glass windows and a Farrand & Votey organ circa 1895 in the sanctuary — will be the setting for the first Old Allegheny Antique Show on Sept. 12 and 13.
North Side resident Martin Fuess is spearheading the effort to bring a high-caliber antiques show featuring 20 dealers from Pennsylvania and Ohio back to the city.
In years past, such events were held locally around town, including at the former Syria Mosque and the Carnegie museums in Oakland, he says, but today, “there are very few venues in Pittsburgh for dealers to sell. We decided to bite the bullet and go for it.”
With the current popularity of antique and vintage items, Fuess says it's a good time to provide a convenient location for sellers offering a diverse assortment of antiques and collectibles including furniture, pottery and porcelain, toys, holiday, glass, artwork, jewelry and more.
Karen Vassilaros, one of several dealers located at Mahla & Co. Antiques in the Strip District, will bring pieces from her collection of sterling silver by American silver makers and fine estate jewelry, such as platinum engagement rings and ornate brooches from the '50s.
She also will have for sale a Victorian antique cylinder music box, featuring a mandolin movement with eight melodies, priced at $6,500.
“At one time, 10 to 15 years ago, these music boxes were highly sought after, bringing up to $10,000” when the economy was stronger, she says.
It's important for the first antiques show at the new venue to be a big success, Vassilaros says.
“We are all very optimistic because Martin has a true knowledge and experience in promoting shows,” she says. “The nice thing about this show is its broad spectrum of antiques — from high-end art to beautiful furniture.”
Andrew Hohenfeld of Mayfield Heights in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, specializes in fine estate and costume jewelry, silver flatware and hollowware and will bring a variety of each to sell.
Among his pieces will be a vintage 18-carat white-gold, ruby-and-diamond cocktail ring circa 1960s, priced at $1,095; an 18-carat kelly-green enamel rose-cut diamond bracelet circa 1940s-'50s, priced at $2,850; and a retro 1950s white-gold diamond bypass-style ring with a price tag of $950.
Hohenfeld says despite the current sluggish economy, antiques are still a good bet.
“People want to invest in something tangible. Good quality will always sell,” he says.
Joan Rudolph, a dealer at Antique Junction, Canonsburg, will have an English tea caddy and a pair of Staffordshire porcelain dogs among her items for sale. She agrees that antiques never go out of style.
“I really think in a lot of ways, the antiques business is recession-proof. What's ‘in' will come and go, but people will purchase antiques for investment and for enjoyment,” she says, adding, “I can't enjoy any of my stocks.”
Fuess says a portion of the proceeds from the inaugural Old Allegheny Antique Show will help support the preservation and maintenance of the church. Food items will be available for purchase at the Calvary Cafe, and at 5 p.m., visitors are welcome to stay for a special recital featuring the historic church organ.
Candy Williams is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.