Tower Antiques Show, 2010

The Tower Building in Dallas’s Fair Park seems a good location for an antique show. Home to nine museums, six performance facilities, a lagoon, and the largest Ferris wheel in North America. Many of the buildings on the complex were constructed for the Texas Centennial Exposition in 1936 which drew over six million visitors. Most of the buildings built for the exposition still survive and Fair Park is recognized as a significant example of Art Deco architecture.

We had no problem finding “Doris Day” parking for the show, however. Most of the cars heading into the complex, were likely headed to the musical Wicked. The array of dealers and merchandise at the show made me think the line was at the wrong door. This is one of the most satisfying shows I have been to in some time.

Particularly engrossing was the booth of Woody and Nancy Straub of Umatilla, Florida. The Straub’s deal in work by regional artists. On hand was a nice assortment of Pennsylvania paintings by George Hetzel, Walter Baum and Frank Lesser. Why the prevalence of Pennsylvania art at a Texas show? It just happened they were low on works by Texas artists. Two paintings by Walter Baum, a Pennsylvania impressionism painter, whose market values have been appreciated very fast in the past decade, were proudly hung in his booth. “Last year, one of his paintings was sold for more than $70,000”, he said.

I pointed out that he is very prolific and he agreed and said “he painted very fast”.

“Would that prevent his market values from continuing going up? Since there are so many of them. ” I asked.

“No. Because there are always some available, that can keep driving the interest.” His remarks at first confused me, but it does make sense. For most of the middle art market, a large throughput from an artist is a key to see a continuous growth in appreciation since the supply won’t die any time soon and there are always enough to circulate in the market and satisfy the need. This also reminds me that the dealer Rene Gimpel commented that there were only about 200 paintings by Henry Golden Dearth, a painter whose art he deeply appreciated. But now he is mostly forgotten due to the limited public accessibility to his art.

Unique collectible items were also at present such as stereoview cards. Some of the cards featured Teddy Roosevelt, Lincoln or other political luminaries. Ansonia clocks were also spotted immediately by Geo. Those clocks, albeit too feminine in its shape and color, have reached the the far end of the American southwest, a land of cattle drives and cowboys.

Betty H. Bell had an interesting booth featuring holiday displays. A green Christmas tree was actually made of goose feather which is sturdy enough to survive more than 200 years. They are meant to display ornament as they are sparse between branches. Of course, you are not going to dump such a tree carelessly in your attic after the holidays. American have been used to CONSUME the holidays which ended in bags of wrapping paper, trashed trees. The idea of preserving the same holiday decoration years after years may sound strange, but what a wise investment if one’s ancestors every did: Those candy jars or goose-feather Christmas trees are now worth thousands of dollars!

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