If an antique writing desk, Native American silver and turquoise jewelry, a fine Persian carpet, or Flow Blue China makes your heart or your Valentine’s heart beat faster, you may want to head to the 47th annual St. Monica Society Antique Show in Whitefish Bay Feb. 11 and 12.
These and hundreds of other items will be St. Monica Parish’s Donovan Hall, 5635 N. Santa Monica Blvd. The show is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 12. Admission is $5, with proceeds benefiting the parish and local and international charities selected by the St. Monica Society. A Gala Preview on Friday, Feb. 10, gives visitors a sneak preview of items available. Tickets for that event are $35 at the door.
Of course, the show isn’t just about Valentine’s Day, although it’s always around that holiday. In addition to featuring top quality furnishings, jewelry, carpets, decorative household items and other antiques, the weekend event includes a tea room with a traditional favorite, St. Monica’s chili, as well as chicken soup and other tasty cold-weather food. A bakery provides treats—made by parish bakers. Raffles offer a chance to win a queen-size adaptation of a Lone Star quilt in contemporary colors, hand-quilted by parish volunteers and other items. .
“There’s a lot to see and do, and it’s a fun way to get out of the house on a February day,” says Ceil Bradford, one of the show’s many volunteer organizers and workers.
Dealers like the show, which is totally run by volunteers, for its warm, friendly atmosphere.
“It is the only show I do outside the Chicago Metropolitan area,” says Arlene Eskilson of The Way We Were in Evanston, Ill. “The organizers are wonderfully welcoming -- and organized.” She will be bringing Bakelite and Victorian Scottish silver and agate jewelry, French Lea Stein jewelry, and other items.
“We’ve been coming for 15 years,” says Helen Siegel of Circa Antiques Ltd. in Lincolnshire, Ill. “We look forward to coming because of the loyal customers who come year after year. They feel like old friends you look forward to seeing again and again.” Circa Antiques will be bringing Victorian English and Scottish gold and silver jewelry.
“This Valentine’s show can present some challenges if the weather is poor, but it is a great opportunity to present to a public the chance to get out of the house after facing whatever winter has thrown at us,” says Ken Miller of Haven Hill antiques in Dousman. “Fortunately, this has been a good weather year for all of us.” Miller is bringing some of his recent acquisitions to the show, including an early butler's desk, a Danish step back hutch from the mid-1800's, a three-piece set of old iron lawn furniture, and a diminutive oak writing desk.
“I am looking forward to the show,” says Jeanine Thomas, of En Vogue in Willowbrook, Ill. “It is my favorite show of the year.” Thomas has one of the largest collections of vintage Miriam Haskell jewelry in the U.S. and also carries semi- and precious gemstone fine jewelry and silver pieces including designer Stanley Hagler vintage jewelry and Native American turquoise and silver jewelry.
“I have been exhibiting at the show for 16 years and have attracted a large following, with repeat customers who wait all year to see my latest acquisitions to my collection,” Thomas notes.
Although the items at the show are timeless, there are trends, according to dealers.
Recent buying and collecting trends he’s seen across the Midwest, “says John Wanat, a dealer from Indianapolis, have been in Flow Blue China, French Blue Opaline and Blue Bristol Glass as well as Victorian Silver Plate serving pieces like Pickle Castors and Brides’ Baskets. “While the cobalt blue color has always been a popular color in both decorating and collecting,” he adds, “the rich Flow Blue china is gaining in popularity again. Interior decorators and designers are loving the soft French Blue color in glass, fabrics and wall color,” he adds.”Cobalt blue is so royal and regal and French blue is soft, warm and inviting.”
“Jewelry continues to be a strong seller with collectors looking for unusual pieces,” says Thomas, adding that natural stones set in silver are popular.
“The main trend I see,” says Eskilson, “is that there is always a market for really high quality items.”
Mehran A. G. Iravani of Shabahang Persian Carpets in Whitefish Bay says he’s bringing a beautiful collection of rugs as well as some special prices to the show. “People are quite price- conscious now, and because of this trend they can find some wonderful things at great prices.”
Both dealers and customers like the opportunity the show gives them for in-person interactions.
“Customers are able to speak directly with knowledgeable dealers and to really see the items and take their time to buy,” says Thomas
For more information on the show, go to www.st-monica-org.
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