Success for the Original Miami Beach Antique Show

ombas_webIn a recent press release, the US Antiques Shows announced that attendance at their 52nd annual Original Miami Beach Antique Show increased by 10% this year. The show took place from January 31-February 4 2013 at the Miami Beach Convention Center. While we weren’t there, I certainly try to follow major antique shows and I’m always curious to see how they do.

The press release reported that the show attracted close to 900 established dealers. As Dan Darby, the group fair director said, “We are excited to report an increase in attendance and that buying continues to remain strong. This year we added antique seminars to the show schedule and were able educate hundreds in the antique community with the help of several of the most established professionals in the industry who spoke at the event. We look forward to continuing these traditions as part of our show in the years to come.”

In addition to the higher than usual attendance, antique dealers reported that sales were also up. As Jeff Cohen, N. Green & Sons said, “Throughout the Show weekend we noticed an increase in our sales and the largest crowds we’ve ever seen on the floor during the years we’ve exhibited. We’re pleased with the overall outcome this year and we’re looking forward to exhibiting at the L.A. Antique Jewelry & Watch Show this March.”

From what I understand, there was also a charity raffle during the show, which is always a lovely idea. They raised over $6000 to benefit Paws 4 You Rescue Inc. While I didn’t get to the show this year, I’m hoping to be part of it next year. I’ve already got it on my calendar for January 30- February 3, 2014!

Zarsha Leo: New Pub Features Monthly Artist

Not surprisingly, we aren’t very interested in sports. I wonder if you could find too many avid antique collectors who also love football and basketball games. Perhaps. But we don’t happen to be two of them! I was tipped off, however, to the new restaurant-bar franchise that has opened near our home called Zarsha Leo.

In the grand opening advertisement, the CEO Evan Burschkopf promised that, “Zarsha Leo will be a comfortable, down-home sports bar for sports enthusiasts. However, since we are opening in Asheville, we are sensitive to the artistic culture of the area and will be featuring a different artist each month.” Now that was talking to me!

So, my husband and I ventured over. The down-home cooking was delicious and we were able to somewhat ignore the sports shows blaring from the many tv screens around the restaurant. The artist of the month was a jewelry maker who I’ve loved for years, Minka Atka, and it was fun to see her work on display. This certainly won’t be a weekly hotspot for me, but as they feature a new artist, I’ll probably go back to check out it and I definitely appreciate the sensitivity they are showing to the city and our flavor!

Lincoln’s Life & Times: Reflections on His Birthday

Abraham LincolnOn the anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, it is interesting to look back at the man and at his use of language. As a historian and antique collector, I always find the study of history fascinating. Certainly, Steven Spielberg’s recent movie Lincoln has brought the man and his presidency into the spotlight at the moment. Many more people now know about his personality and his achievement.

What is less known, however, is some of the language that Lincoln used and the patterns of such language. Lincoln used the phrase, “In our hands” in various ways quite a few times, and the Shapell Manuscript Foundation has a number of their pieces that show this pattern.

In a letter that he wrote in Springfield on October 12, 1860 to William H. Seward, Lincoln wrote that it looks “as if the government is about to fall into our hands. Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana have surpassed all expectation, even the most extravagant.”

Later, in April of 1865, Lincoln went to the front to wait for Richmond to fall. The Secretary of War thought that Lincoln was putting himself in danger. Edwin M. Stanton wrote that Lincoln shouldn’t “expose the nation to the consequences of any disaster.” In reply, in a letter on display with the Shapell Manuscript Foundation, Lincoln wrote “Yours received. Thanks for your caution; but I have already been to Petersburg, staid with Gen. Grant an hour & a half and returned here. It is certain now that Richmond is in our hands, and I think I will go there to-morrow. I will take care of myself.” He wrote this on April 3, 1865 to the Secretary of War, Mr. Stanton, in Washington DC.

It is certainly interesting to see Lincoln’s repeated use of the phrase “In our hands” as we reflect on all that Lincoln did for the country on the anniversary of his birth.

$10 Million Coin Sells

I find antiques so fascinating partly because you just never know what is going to become valuable – and what you may have of value in your home! If you haven’t seen this report yet, those in the antique world will want to prick up their ears.


One of the first US silver dollars that was ever minted has just sold for the record breaking amount of 10 million dollars. They believe that this is the most that an auction house has ever received for an individual coin.  Interestingly, the silver coin started its journey in Orange County, California and was transported clear across the US to the New York Stack’s Bower Galleries in a Brink armored truck.

There are a few interesting tidbits about this coin. All 1758 of this first edition silver dollar were pressed on one day – October 15, 1794. And, historians think that George Washington, Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson may all have individually handled this coin since the minting was all done on that one day.

The lucky winner of the coin was New Jersey’s Legend Numismatics. They are a rare-coin firm and they do not plan to sell it anytime soon!

Nashville, Here We Come

NashvilleIf you’ve never been to Nashville, Tennessee, it’s a must-see on the Bucket List. If you have been there, you may want to think about February as the best time to return. We are definitely  making our reservations and marking our calendars already for next month. Nashville welcomes amazing antique dealers in February each year and they have some of the most unique show set-ups that I’ve seen anywhere.

First, from February 13th-16th, the Fiddlers Inn will have their annual antique show. This is, as they say, “an unusual, one-of-a-kind atmosphere.” The show is actually set in the hotel, so viewers can walk from room to room, seeing the gorgeous antiques and feeling the interesting ambiance of each location. The hotel rooms are turned into both wholesale and retail shops and the entire experience creates an airy, delightful way to shop for great antiques.

Then, without even skipping a beat, the Gaylord Opryland Hotel has a show that piggy-backs the one above. It runs from the 14th to the 16 in February and is called the Heart of Country 2013 show. It includes over 120 antique dealers of Americana, Folk Art and decorative art.

Of course, if you haven’t spent much time in Nashville, you may not know about the many other ways to fill your time when you aren’t shopping for antiques. You must go to the Country Music Hall of Fame. Grab a bite to eat at the Loveless Cafe. And, for a really unique experience, take the Nash Trash Tour. Now that’s an experience you’ll never replicate! Check out more ideas here and have a blast in Nashville with us!

Plácido Domingo and Barrett Wissman Create Plácido Domingo Festival


Placido Domingo and Barrett Wissman

Plácido Domingo and IMG Artists with Principal and Co-Chairman Barrett Wissman were thrilled to announce the first edition of the Plácido Domingo Festival. It took place in Seville and Malaga from October 25th through November 3rd 2012. The list of performers was vast and enticing, including:  Vittorio Grigolo,  Ana María Martínez, Joaquín Achúcarro,Ángel Romero, Nino Machaidze, Micaëla Oeste, Angel Blue, Pinchas Zukerman, Danielle de Niese, Nina Kotova and Ivo Pogorelich.

The festival started on October 25th at the Maestranza Theatre in Seville with a fully-staged production of Massenet’s Thais. More performances took place on the 28th and the 31st.

The festival by Placido Domingo and IMG Artists with Barrett Wissman also included four chamber concerts that took place in the Salon de los Tapices. On October 27th, Pinchas Zukerman performed with his trio. Spanish guitar virtuoso Angel Romero and Russian cellist Nina Kotova then performed on October 29th. Danielle de Niese was accompanied by Cameron Stowe on the 30th. The closing performance was a jazz evening that featured  Micaëla Oeste and Angel Blue on November 1st.

As Plácido Domingo said:  “I am thrilled that such wonderful and highly accomplished guest artists will join me for my inaugural festival.  These will be my first performances in the culturally rich and historically important cities of Seville and Malaga in a number of years, and I am hugely excited at the prospect of returning there, as well as establishing my own festival in my beloved homeland.  I hope the festival will bring attention to Andalucía, a beautiful and evocative region of Spain that has played such an important part in operatic storytelling.”

Barrett Wissman, from IMG Artists, said, “I am delighted to partner with Maestro Plácido Domingo in this new and exciting cultural initiative.  The impact that he has made on the global cultural landscape is nothing short of phenomenal as a singer, conductor and administrator.  My partner Alex Shustorovich and I are deeply honoured to be establishing a festival under Maestro Domingo’s patronage. The support and enthusiasm with which the festival has been greeted within Andalucía reflects the passion the people have for Maestro Domingo and his artistry.  We are also very grateful for the support that our presenting partners, the Maestranza Theatre, Orquesta Filarmónica de Málaga, the Real Orquesta Sinfónica de Sevilla, and the Real Alcázar have given us, as well as the support of the cities of Seville and Malaga.”

Enjoying Christmastime in Asheville

Nothing beats Christmas in Asheville. This year, as every year, we have a few fun activities planned for the week of Christmas. We are going to start, as we always do, at the Antique Tobacco Barn in town. It is actually nationally recognized as one of the best antique malls in the Southeast and it has received recognition in Southern Living magazine, through the Discovery Channel and with Budget Travel.

This mall is truly an antique lover’s haven. It has 75 independent antique dealers housed in one massive warehouse. Should you not find what you’re looking for there (how could you not!), you can always try the other 13 antique stores that are within a mile or two from the grounds.

Now, in addition to happy antique hopping, we are also going to shop in the Biltmore Village. This quaint area is right across from the entrance to the Biltmore Estate and has more than 40 shops and cafes. It includes picturesque tree-lined streets, brick sidewalks, period architecture and many other gems.

And, of course, we will drive around and admire the sparkling lights at the Biltmore Estate and see if we can’t get ourselves a tour of that charming and gorgeous residence! I’m looking forward to seeing the 68 trees that they’ve decorated inside the house and to admiring the gorgeous lights throughout.
Merry Christmas everyone!

Enjoying the Highland Fling

We’re having an amazing time at the Highland Fling in Florida (see my last post for more background information). My husband and I had a fantastic time at the opening party. Who wouldn’t enjoy sampling Scottish beers, listening to bagpipes and tasking haggis for the first time (eeewwwwww). There was even a Highland Whiskey Lounge which was a great deal of fun. The entire atmosphere is playful and inviting, while showing some of the best antiques and artwork I’ve seen in ages.

Yesterday, we listened to Miller Gaffney talk about art and culture. She’s worked for a number of art auction houses and commercial galleries. She joined Art + Auction magazine at one point years ago and has also worked as a Business Development Officer with LTB Holdings. She’s also on that show that I love – Market Warrriors – on Monday nights at 9pm. So, she gave an interesting lecture about finding great antiques and about moving up in the world of antique collecting and selling.

The other thing that I’ve enjoyed is the Decoration Resales part of the show. Here, they have all sorts of items for sale at reasonable prices including candle holders, household items and everything plaid you could possibly think of owning! We found some beautiful antique bottles that will be a great addition to our home and collection. One more day to go and certainly enjoying every minute!

Women’s Board Art & Antiques Show

Once a year we try to get to the Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center for the Art & Antiques Show in Jacksonville, Florida. It’s put on by the impressive Women’s Board of the Wolfson’s Children’s Hospital to raise money for the hospital.

Certainly, the worthy cause draws us there – and the artwork and action does as well. This year, the event will include a three-day showcase of collections from nationally and internationally distinguished art dealers. And the theme will be Scottish.

The show will include the following. On Thursday, November 29th there will be a benefactor preview reception (we’re not at that level yet!). Then, they will have the Highland Fling Opening Night Party which will be a black-tie celebration with a Scottish twist. Friday Vicente Wolf will talk about “Getting Inspiration” and the floor show will open at 11. We plan to stay around for the entire weekend and enjoy the sights, sounds and history of the amazing show.

We’ll be heading there from November 29th to December 2nd . Maybe we’ll see you there!

Sparkling New York Times Article Discusses Biennale

When I can’t get to important art exhibits and antique shows, I love reading about them vicariously through the more prestigious news sources. I was enjoying one article, for instance, recently from the New York Times that painted a beautiful picture of the 26th edition of the Biennale des Antiquaires in Paris in September. The fair, one of the most prestigious in the world, started in 1962 with 78 exhibitors and has grown to have 122 exhibitors with over 8000 total items.

As the New York Times article pointed out, many well-known exhibitors were showing everything from antiques and furniture to jewelry and art work. As they recounted about Phoenix Ancient Art with Hicham Aboutaam, “Phoenix Ancient Art, one of the leading dealers in rare antiquities, will present an amusing fourth-century bronze of a Gorgon sticking out her tongue.”

They pointed out that newcomers to the scene included Christophe Hioco, an antique dealer in Asian art, and Kalman Macklary Fine Arts Gallery from Budapest.

A Koran dating from the 18th century, given by Louis XV to his daughter Victoire was on display at the Biennale des Antiquaires, as was a 1963 portrait of Liz Taylor by Andy Warhol that was worth about $40 million.

The New York Times article explained that this year’s show featured more high jewelry, rather than vintage pieces. Cartier, Boucheron, Dior, Harry Winston, Piaget and Van Cleef & Arpels showed their finest collections.

Harry Winston, for instance, had a necklace with 146 carats of jewels, including 13 sapphires and 225 diamonds. The show organizer pointed out, as well, that many of the houses had doubled the size of their already-pricey stand for this year’s fairs. Cartier, for instance, had a 250 square meter room to display their items, rather than the 100 square meters that they used in 2010.

Christian Deydier, the head of the Syndicat National des Antiquaires, the national union of antiques dealers that organizes the Biennale, was asked about austerity in Europe. Mr. Deydier said, “The art market is doing well. Especially for exceptional art works, and likewise for luxury jewelry. The high jewelry houses bank on ultraluxury collections because they know that they will sell them.”