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Oakmont’s Kerr Memorial Museum Antique Show marks 15 years | TribLIVE.com
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Oakmont’s Kerr Memorial Museum Antique Show marks 15 years

Candy Williams
| Monday, March 4, 2019 12:00 a.m
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An assortment of antiques on display at the 2018 Kerr Memorial Museum antique show, to be held this year March 8-10 at Oakmont Country Club.
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Junior docents from Kerr Memorial Museum will be dressed in period costume at the annual antique show fundraiser scheduled March 8-10 at Oakmont Country Club. They include Maddie Deem, left, and Julia Ciorra.
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“Speaking Dog” (circa 1885) is one of James Conrad’s cast iron mechanical banks that the Murrysville collector will have at the Kerr Memorial Museum Antique Show March 8-10 at Oakmont Country Club.

A sure sign of a successful event is whether people return to do it again.

At the upcoming Kerr Memorial Museum Antique Show, not only is the show manager returning for a second year, but each of the dealers from 2018 will be displaying their treasures for sale again on March 8-10 at Oakmont Country Club.

“All of the dealers are very good and they’re all coming back for this year’s show,” said Paul Polce, manager of the 15th annual antique sale, the major fundraiser for the Oakmont museum that celebrates the history of the region at the end of the 19th century.

He and his wife, Connie, specialize in 18th- and 19th- century country and formal furniture and accessories at their showroom, Ponzi’s Antiques in Trumansburg, N.Y.

The Polces have been coming to the Oakmont sale for six years and will have several items on display, including a Chippendale flat front desk (1760) made from tiger maple and an antique rosewood Canterbury (similar to a magazine rack) from the 1820s.

Two dozen exhibitors

In this year’s show, 24 exhibitors from seven states will have an assortment of furnishings, fine arts and decorative pieces from the 18th to 20th centuries.

They include James Conrad of Murrysville and Robert Conrad of Yeagertown, Mifflin County, two brothers new to the show but certainly not the antiques business.

James specializes in antique cast iron mechanical banks circa 1880s to 1920 and Robert collects and sells country furniture, folk art and antique Fraktur birth and baptismal certificates from the 1800s. They regularly display their wares at Big Valley Antique Center of Milroy, near Robert’s home.

James’s large collection of the highly collectible mechanical banks features moving parts that engage when someone places a coin in the bank.

One of his banks, titled “Bad Accident” (1888), depicts a boy driving a cart that upsets when another boy jumps out from behind a bush and startles a mule that rears up on his hind legs. Originally sold for $8.50 a dozen, the rare piece from J. and E. Stevens Co. in Cromwell, Conn., now sells for $2,450, he said.

A passion for antiques

James and his wife Janice have been collecting antiques for 54 years; Robert and his wife Joan have been collecting since the 1970s and became full-time antiques dealers in 2000.

“We have a passion for it,” Robert said.

Besides dealers from other states, the sale will showcase local dealers, including:

Ligonier Antique Gallery, Greensburg; Bedford on the Square Antiques, Pittsburgh; Tex Johnson and Son, Adamstown; Sewickley Antiques, Leetsdale; Stout’s Antiques, West Newton, and Harley Trice Antiques and Fine Art, Pittsburgh.

Something for everybody

Joan Stewart, co-chairwoman of the antique show with Jan Shoop and Diana Thompson, said one of the show’s strengths is that “there’s really something for everybody, whether you’re starting a collection or adding to one.”

She said it’s also a good opportunity for local collectors that love antiques to check out items from dealers in other states.

Several of the Kerr Museum’s junior docents, comprised of local middle- and high school students, will be on hand dressed in period costumes to tell visitors about the museum located at 402 Delaware Ave., Oakmont, and some of the unique items it contains.

The house in which the museum is located was commissioned in 1897 by a local physician, Dr. Thomas R. Kerr. Opened to visitors in 2002, the house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

During the antique show, lunch will be available in the country club’s dining area from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on March 8 and 9. The lunch is cash only and no reservations are accepted.

Candy Williams is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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