Full complement of dealers sets up at Fla. show’s season opener
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – The return to the regular three-day schedule for the West Palm Beach Antiques Festival held Nov. 4-6 also marked the return of many Northern dealers and customers, who shared their stories of floods and heat waves over the summer. The returnees and the regular visitors reveled in the first seasonally cool weekend of the season with no rain and temperatures in the 70s. The nice weather brought record crowds of buyers who were treated to a sold-out antique show with over 400 dealers in attendance.
Early buyers lined up Friday morning hoping to find some treasures and they were not disappointed. Among the choice finds was a steam engine display that sold right away for $1,000 by Jack Knapp, well-known toy dealer from New York and Venice, Fla. Another great find was a late 1700s tiger maple drop-leaf table with a single board top 20 inches wide. It was Hepplewhite style with an eastern Pennsylvania provenance and an old finish. It was offered by Dot Lawrence, a Pennsylvania dealer wintering in Key Largo. Lawrence said she had a super show selling about a dozen oil paintings, furniture and numerous smalls.
Another reason to visit the West Palm Beach Antiques Festival, other than finding great deals on antiques and collectibles, is simply to have fun. And that’s what dealer Tammy Vingo in Booth 189 says she is there for—to customers and their families have a good time without breaking the bank.
Vingo specializes in fashion and costume jewelry but she also has a large selection of inexpensive items like Disney trading pins for kids and interesting lapel pins for both men and women. She says the entire family can visit her booth and every member can walk out with a smile and some little fun something for less than $20—for the family.
Tammy and her husband, Anthony, operate their business called T & A Liquidators. And how they got to the festival three years ago is an interesting story. When Anthony’s job as a carpenter ended in the late 1990s the couple decided to strike out in a new direction. Tammy had always been interested in antiques and collectibles and figured one way to get started was to attend storage auctions. After buying their first storage locker they realized that now they had something to sell, so they set up at the Thunderbird Flea market in Fort Lauderdale. Tammy began to notice that in many storage lockers they acquired there was always a jewelry box of some sort and while not containing high-end gold and silver items, many of the less expensive articles did well at the Thunderbird booth.
In 2002 after moving to West Palm Beach the Vingos ran into Louise and Ray Lank, dealers at the West Palm Beach Antiques Festival. After visiting the festival and talking to owners Kay and Bill Puchstein they decided three years ago to set up at their show exclusively. Kay told Tammy she could have that location for life if she wanted it. So far she does.
While Vingo says they do get the occasional Tiffany or Rolex piece, that is not their main focus. Tammy really is partial to antique jewelry over 100 years old and to modern fashion jewelry of the second half of the 20th century. Her emphasis is on “fun jewelry” as she calls it. Over 25 per cent of their sales are to regular retail customers and they actively buy unusual items from customers but one of their mainstays is the dealer trade. They have such a wide variety that many dealers buy from them in early buying on Fridays to take to other parts of the country for sale.
The West Palm Beach Antiques Festival regular season three-day format continues with the Dec. 2-4 show. It will open with over 400 dealers with many Northern dealers now set up for the winter season. Early buyers start at 9 a.m. Friday, Dec. 2, for $25 and the ticket is good for all three days. The show opens to general admission at noon on Friday and is open until 5 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Regular admission is $7 and seniors are $6. Anyone under 16 is admitted free. There is no charge for parking at the fairgrounds.
The West Palm Beach Antiques Festival is held at the South Florida Fairgrounds located off Southern Boulevard in West Palm Beach, 1 1/2 miles west of the Florida Turnpike and 1 mile east of U.S. 441/State Route 7. For more information contact the West Palm Beach Antiques Festival at (941) 697-7475, email email@example.com or visit the website at www.wpbaf.com.
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