The results of the National Arts & Crafts Conference at the Grove Park Inn, February 21-23, 2020

A long line of approximately 200 people wrapped around the bend just before the opening on Friday

The 33rd National Arts & Crafts Conference at the Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC, ended yesterday. We had a decent show, but nothing to write home about. We were breaking even by the end of Saturday and then made a few sales on Sunday to come out a little bit ahead.

There was quite of bit of activity in our booth on Friday
We sold this rare Marblehead vase with herons on Sunday

We didn’t sell anything major, but we sold enough other objects, including Tiffany glass, a superb Gallé Cristallerie pitcher and several good pottery vases.

The National Arts & Crafts Conference is one of our most pleasant shows of the year. Dedicated, knowledgeable, friendly buyers fly and drive in from all over the country. We look forward to next year’s show.

No shows until October 20, 2022, when we’ll exhibit at the Baltimore Art, Antique & Jewelry Show. Two weeks later we’ll exhibit at the Antiques + Modernism Show in Winnetka, IL, starting on November 4, 2022.

The results of the Palm Beach Show, February 14-18, 2020

There was a nice crowd minutes before the opening of the preview party on Thursday night

Thursday, 5:45 PM. The preview party started about 45 minutes ago. There were 75-100 people on line a few minutes before the opening. I generally hate preview parties because I never make a sale, but I have a feeling this is going to be the one where it might happen. I’m probably kidding myself, but we’ll see shortly enough.

Thursday, 10:00 PM. Silly me! The preview party is over and it was a bust, as usual. Attendance was reasonably good and there were a few serious inquiries, but no sales. Some of my clients said they’ll be back during the show, so there’s hope.

Friday, 4:20 PM. The show opened at 11 AM. Attendance has only been moderate. I remember when we exhibited a few years ago at this show the aisles were jammed. Not this time. There was some interest and a few seemingly serious clients, but no sales.

We’re jammed into our small booth, about 20% of the size of our booth in Miami Beach. If sales go well, we’ll keep bringing out more merchandise from under the table. We couldn’t put it all out in this tiny space. It’s a calculated gamble that if we lower our costs, we’ll come out with a net profit. Even with a small booth our costs are considerably higher than they were in Miami Beach.

Friday, 7:00 PM. Opening day is over with no sales. Hard to imagine. At this rate, the Palm Beach Show will never see us again. I hope to change my tune by the time the show ends.

2:50 PM on Saturday outside our booth

Saturday, 3:00 PM. The show has been open for about 4 hours. Attendance is moderate and interest has been slight. No sales. Astonishing! I’m looking at the crowd and no one, absolutely no one, is carrying a package with a purchase. So we’re not the only ones who aren’t doing well.

Saturday, 7:00 PM. You know it’s a bad day when all you do is give out business cards. The more cards you give out, the worse the show is going and we’ve given out many. We once met a dealer years ago who said he didn’t have business cards. When we asked him why, he told us that people who ask for cards are not customers. Grumpy, but wise old guy!

Sunday, 2:45 PM The show has been open for almost four hours. We finally made the first sale of the show, a pretty Ernst Wahliss Art Nouveau sculpture of a maiden. A small sale but at least we broke the ice.

Thomas Kail and Michelle Williams (photo credit Pip Hurley, courtesy of People Magazine)

The lovely Michelle Williams and her fiancé Thomas Kail visited our booth several times to admire a few Tiffany lamps, but unfortunately they didn’t make a purchase. Hopefully they’ll be back before the show ends.

Attendance is the strongest today since the show began. Let’s see if that translates into additional sales.

Sunday, 7:00 PM The third day of the show is over. We made an additional sale, but we are nowhere close to meeting our expenses, let alone a profit.

Tune in on Wednesday for the final results of the show. I’ll be shocked if they’re good.

We sold this lovely oil painting on Monday

Monday, 7:00 PM Two clients have shown serious interest in purchasing our Tiffany 17″ Poppy table lamp. The way the show’s been going, I’m pessimistic it will be sold, but hope springs eternal. In the meantime, it’s very difficult and depressing sitting for hours with nothing to do (except play spider solitaire and write my blog). We did make one small sale, but that was just a spit in the bucket. We have to sell something major to come out successful.

Tuesday, 7:00 PM Our disastrous show in Palm Beach is over. Now we have to race to Asheville, NC, for the National Arts & Crafts Conference. We’ll miss the first day of setup tomorrow as Asheville is 11 hours away by truck. We should be able to finish the setup in a day and a half on Thursday and Friday morning. The show opens to the public precisely at 1 PM on Friday.

I believe the Palm Beach Show was a bust for the following reasons. First the local buying public is getting really old. Most of them are past their collecting days. Second the show draws mainly from the local population and as I just stated, they’re not buying much. Some shows, like The Original Miami Beach Show, draw clients from around the world. Anyone who takes the time and effort to fly in, or drive from a distance, is a serious customer. Lastly the show promoters give away thousands of free tickets. If you live in the area and are bored, it’s a great way to spend the day. The show is as beautiful as any museum, so why not? Most attendees who come on free tickets are not buyers.

We haven’t exhibited at the show for the last four years. I had hoped we would do better this time in a smaller booth. Unfortunately we didn’t, so we will not be back. That’s too bad as it’s a lovely show in a great area, but we’re not in the business of losing money.

No shows until October 20, 2022, when we’ll exhibit at the Baltimore Art, Antique & Jewelry Show. Two weeks later we’ll exhibit at the Antiques + Modernism Show in Winnetka, IL, starting on November 4, 2022.

The Palm Beach Show opens to the public this Friday, February 14, 2020

The Palm Beach Show will open to the public this Friday, February 14, 2020, at 11 AM and close on Tuesday, February 18, 2020, at 6 PM. A preview party will be held on the evening of February 13th to begin the festivities.

A billboard in West Palm Beach advertising the show

We haven’t exhibited at the show since 2016, but decided we would try again this year in a small booth. It’s expensive for exhibitors to display there, so maybe the trick to make it work this time is to lower our expenses. You’ll find out if our strategy was successful by continuing to read my blog. (There will be an interim update on Monday, February 17th and a final update on Wednesday, February 19th.)

This fabulous Tiffany Studios Poppy table lamp is one of the many Tiffany lamps we’ll have at the show

We’re bringing great merchandise to the show including a fabulous selection of Tiffany glass, lamps, and desk sets. On the French side, we’re bringing a truly outstanding group of Daum and Gallé cameo glass, as well as a nice selection of pate-de-verre glass by Walter and Argy-Rousseau.

You can get two free tickets to the show by clicking here. Now that you have no excuses, I hope to see you at the show!

No shows until October 20, 2022, when we’ll exhibit at the Baltimore Art, Antique & Jewelry Show. Two weeks later we’ll exhibit at the Antiques + Modernism Show in Winnetka, IL, starting on November 4, 2022.

Fontaine’s Auction held an Antiques, Clocks & Fine Art auction on January 18, 2020

Fontaine’s Auction, Pittsfield, MA, held an Antiques, Clocks & Fine Art auction on January 18, 2020. Included in the sale were Tiffany lamps and the Edward Malakoff collection of Pairpoint lamps. Malakoff was the author of the book Pairpoint Lamps.

Pairpoint Owl puffy table lamp, Fontaine’s lot #1

The top lot of the Pairpoint lamps was #1, a very rare puffy Owl on the matching owl base. There are fewer than 10 known examples in the world. The final price realized was $65,000, against a pre-sale estimate of $25,000 – $40,000.

Pairpoint puffy Orange Tree table lamp, Fontaine’s lot #51

The second best lot of the Pairpoint lamps was #51, a rare Orange Tree puffy on a tree trunk base. It sold well above its estimate of $15,000 – $20,000, realizing $28,000.

The Pairpoint lamp market has been in a prolonged slump prices for decades, so it was nice to see some strong prices. There also were some good bargains on many on the more common lamps.

Tiffany Peony Border floor lamp, Fontaine’s lot #100

The top Tiffany lamp of the sale also wasn’t a surprise. Fontaine’s always saves lot #100 for the star of the sale. This time it was a Tiffany 24″ diameter Peony Border floor lamp on an unusual base. It sold for $125,000, against the estimate of $125,000-$175,000.

For the complete results of the sale, click here.
Our next show, The Palm Beach Show, is only 10 days away. You can get two free tickets to the show by clicking here. It will be held at the Palm Beach Convention Center, February 13-18, 2020. We haven’t exhibited there in a few years, but decided to give it another try this year in a smaller booth.