GLEN RIDGE, NJ — The 74th annual Glen Ridge Antiques Show took place at the Glen Ridge Congregational Church last week. According to Debbie Turi, the dealer manager, the show went very well and the gate had increased from last year, when 1,100 attended. All of the dealers interviewed agreed with her: A successful antiques show is something they anticipate when they come to Glen Ridge. According to Turi, the Glen Ridge Antiques Show is the longest continuing antiques show in New Jersey and possibly the country.
One dealer, David Cowell, who has been attending the show since 1984, sold, among other things, a cigar cutter. This item, he said, is a big fashion statement. But Cowell also bought something.
“Sometimes, at a show, you think you’ll see ordinary things,” he said. “But then something hits you.”
On a table beside him, he set down a number of political campaign buttons he purchased from a nearby dealer. They were campaign buttons for Grover Cleveland, the U.S. president. Cowell got them for the Grover Cleveland Birthplace Memorial Association in Caldwell. He is the association president.
“We don’t have a lot of campaign buttons,” he said.
The dealer who sold him the buttons was Kent Tehurich. He had buttons and pictures for a multitude of historical personages, including John F. Kennedy.
“Kennedy is the second or third most popular item I have,” he said. “He and Franklin Roosevelt are neck and neck. The No. 1 item is Teddy Roosevelt as a Bull Moose candidate in 1912.”
Tehurich said he had no Barack Obama items, because presidential buttons were no longer handed out for free; a person had to order them.
The dealer who traveled the farthest to arrive in Glen Ridge was Peter Murphy of Maine. He said the show had a big crowd, but overall, the antiques business has been uneven since the 2008 recession. Antiques, he said, are a luxury item.
“People don’t collect anymore,” he said. “The people growing up now aren’t interested in maintaining things. They don’t care about history. They can buy reproductions.”
Murphy was displaying silverware and he agreed with something that Cowell had said: dinner parties are coming back and antique table settings are selling.
“People are tired of eating out,” Murphy said. “The pendulum is swinging back.”
Al Deold was displaying tiny animal figures that were cast in metal or ceramic.
“I used to do 25 shows a year,” he said. “Now I do 15. The shows are disappearing.”
He picked up three figures: an ostridge, a rabbit and a frog.
“These are hard to find for me,” he said. “You can always find horses, cows and sheep.”
Just then, a woman asked Deold to show her a rabbit he had picked up. Its paint had been worn away by a child handling it, no doubt, he said. She said she collected rabbit figures. A deal was struck and Deold was one rabbit fewer when she walked away.
Photos by Daniel Jackovino