Old and on the way...

Antique Pique

Story and photos by Mary Jasch

Looking for a dresser made with real wood instead of meatloaf and glue? One with drawers that roll smoothly and gently? Or a table that speaks of its maker's pride of craftsmanship with carved legs and beautiful grain? How about a bookcase of real mahogany, perhaps with glassed-in shelves, or a new bed frame, graceful, with elegant lines?

Discover the skill of yesterday's craftsmen and the beauty of the distinctive furniture, jewelry and other durable goods they made from the raw, and improved with fine carvings and functional embellishments. The Skylands region burgeons with antiques and collectible shops. A sampling is represented here.

For the uninitiated, one dealer says that "antique" is over 100 years old; "vintage" is more than 50; and "collectible" is a series. "Primitive" is a word that creates confusion. A primitive is an item that someone usually made at home out of necessity. A popular fantasy seems to be that the woman of the family had to bug the man to go make her a cupboard or table. Eventually he did, using wood from around the farm. He often used more than one kind of wood to make a piece ­ cherry and pine were a common combination. "A guy made it to do the horse-shoeing and he uses it for 80 years. It's left in the barn and when the house is sold, it's found. Each one is different because they made it for their purpose," says Kerry Konopka, owner of Hartmann Antiques in Lafayette. One sign of an older piece with quality craftsmanship is "dovetailing," a technique to interlock two boards. The dovetails on one board were cut to fit into cut-outs on the second board. It was all done by hand.


In Hope, C&C Collectible Antique Barn carries many local and New Jersey-made items among its variety. A vintage Edison Victrola made in the Oranges plays background music as visitors check out the 1800s heavy evidence table released from the Patterson courthouse in 1910. A corner cupboard stands close by, with its original intact critter hole. Owner Chris Beatty says it came from the Reid Farm in Mansfield, where Mrs. Reid pestered her husband until he finally went out back and made it for her. He used cherry and pine and whatever else he had on the farm. One of Beatty's favorite things is a Hope metal-worker's handwritten ledger with entries from 1839 to 1864. It's part of her passion...and it's not for sale.

Another Jersey treasure is a two-volume set of books called "Soldiers of the Great War," with names of those from New Jersey who died during World War I. She's got local Indian arrowheads and memorabilia from the Land of Make Believe, plus two Victrola Victor Talking Machines made in Camden in 1908 and they both work. "There aren't that many left around," she says. "World Wars I and II just had bad memories." Beatty surmises that many were destroyed because people didn't want to remember the times.

How do you tell the difference between a true primitive and a reproduction? Beatty says to look for dovetailing, square nails versus round (no Phillips-head screws!), chips, cracks... "If it was around for 100 years and there isn't something wrong, it probably wasn't around for 100 years." Some reproductions were made in the 1920s. "You can tell by the feel of the wood." She closes her eyes and reaches under a dry sink with a gallery and feels the wood. She determines it's probably 1880s hand-made in Pennsylvania where they "grain paint." Beatty's specialty is mostly American, a lot of local, some French. She also carries Roseville Pottery and reupholsters. C&C Collectibles: 908-459-4122

Allen's Antiques spill out onto the porch of his Milford (Hunterdon County) shop and into the alley, steadily spreading into his rear courtyard. After 24 years in corporate human resources, Allen Hughes has spilled--totally immersed--himself in his own business. "One day I was at an auction across the river in Upper Black Eddy and I came over here to have lunch at the Ship Inn. There was a for-rent sign on this building, and that was it. I decided to make the jump."

While doing his corporate gig, Hughes had dealer space at antique centers in Somerville and Springfield. He still does, but probably not for long. "This is completely different. I have total control of my inventory and total interaction with my customers. Nobody sells like I do!" Allen has noticed some differences in the customer base patronizing his shop in this Delaware River village. "In Somerville I needed a niche and I deal lots of French Country and jewelry. In Springfield it's all high-end period pieces. Some of my clients here still look for those things, but most want primitives, farm oriented things." Allen's inventory is also sprinkled with lots of things for children: dollhouse furniture, teddy bears, vintage toys, kid's books. This spring the courtyard will be filled with wrought iron and garden accessories. He plans on buying the entire building on Milford's Main Street to continue his expansion.

Hughes spends about one-third of his time buying at auctions, estate sales, and on trips to Western PA, Maryland, Delaware and New England. "There's nothing like working for yourself," says Allen. "I used to do sixty hours a week in my corporate job and I thought it was nuts. Now a hundred hours a week is not unusual. But they're one hundred happy hours!"

Allen's Antiques
49 Bridge St., Milford, NJ 908-995-8868

Take a drive to Chester and go see Ken Urban of Pegasus Antiques. He's a happy man, for all day, every day, he tends his passion. It began with clocks in '68. Now it's all things old and small. He sold at the defunct Chester fleamarket, moved to a shop, then sold his ­ perish the thought ­ clock collection to buy his building in '86. The 200 year-old building was also a tavern, finishing school, and hotel. "I own the building but I don't own the clocks."

But now he sells lots of clocks, cameras, musical instruments, toys and tools, restored old telephones that you can really use, signs, political buttons and weapons, lots of bookends from dancers to dogs, chandeliers and fancy lamps with ladies in pink holding parasol shades, banks, stoneware and busts, and his favorite ­ pre-1920 original pharmaceutical bottles with the original products still corked up inside. "I enjoy them ­ the colors, the shapes..." Urban has crystals from chandeliers that people buy as Christmas ornaments. One room is just kitchenware and the quite extensive collection of glassware is everywhere. If you're looking for Depression glass, Vaseline glass, milk, cut, art, Bohemian or pressed glass or any glass relating to food, he's got it. Some of his customers are new restaurant, club and bar owners looking for fascinating funky things. Crate and Barrel and Tiffany's bought props when they opened in Short Hills Mall.

The proprietor of this cacophony of human artifacts has his own large personal collection of outdoor advertising thermometers and scientific instruments, cameras and clocks. Urban is on the job every day, watching over his charges. Come see him.

After that, zip on down to Somerville and do not pass Crazy Joe's. There, you will find a Howdy Doody cap, Mouseketeer tambourine, Glow Worms, die-cast cars and old tobacco cans among the collectible toys. There are Scout books, original "He Man" and GI Joe, Star Wars and Transformers figurines. And board games ­ Monopoly from the '30s. But what really sells well? "It's like a crap shoot. Like the stock market," says Crazy Joe Potyak, owner.

He's got his own favorite games that are for display only ­ like a 1937 Lone Ranger game. So, what does he do with them then? "Open them up, look at them." At home he has Howdy Doody and Clarabelle marionettes. "I play with them but I won't sell them." He owns two original Schwinn Phantom bikes ­ a red '57 and a green '54, a 1948 coke machine, and four National Cash Registers from the late 1800s to early 1900s that hold business cards and junk. "The only thing I don't put in there is money." And he has over 200 full bottles of coke from 1930 to now. "I collect things that you never see. I have a Girl Scout knife that I keep taking out of the shell and putting it back. I collect something that I like and unique items." He recently sold an original coke bottle die that he now wishes he had.

If Catherine Mary Haynes doesn't greet you by name as you step into Grandma's Attic in Rockaway, she'll be hugging you when you leave. Thirty-five years ago a seed grew in Brooklyn, where Haynes then lived. She couldn't afford to furnish her dining room, so she cleaned up and reupholstered an old set somebody gave her. She shined the chandelier. She got compliments. When she moved to Jersey a few years later, she set up shop in her own house to make money and to be home with her six children. Now her shop is in the front of a Victorian house, owned by her son. It's a one stop shop if you want to get your hair done upstairs by her daughter-in-law, drop off your furniture to be repaired or upholstered by her son, and look for antique jewelry, furniture and glassware.

The goodies at Grandma's come only from people's homes or those brought in on consignment, or from antiquing in the Hamptons. "There are opportunities everywhere," Haynes says. She also dabbles in decorating. "I may not be very rich, but I'm famous. My reputation is a good one and I intend to keep it like that." What does she specialize in? "Just good energy."

Kerry and Jim Konopka, the proud owners of Hartmann Antiques, have been in Lafayette for 20 years, first in the co-op Mill behind them and, for the past ten, on the lower level of the Chocolate Goat. They deal in "early country pine primitive furniture" ­ all American-made pine and cherry antiques from the early to mid 1800s ­ and uphold the tradition of the shop's owners for the first 48 years, Kerry's parents. Kerry's father taught his son-in-law Jim how to refinish furniture. At 91, he still wants to see what's going on. True passion never dies.

"I've grown up with this business so I have the eye for what to buy. I've kept my mom's early country look," Kerry says. "There's a look and a finish to American furniture that Canadian and European don't have." That includes the thickness of the wood and its character.

Inside the shop there are true antiques, like the cherry dresser with a dove-tail top with bread board ends, dovetailed and chanfered drawers and a bracket base ­ a distinctly American piece, and an early two-piece mixed wood cupboard that would span the width of most walls. There's a copper sink once covered in paint that Jim removed. He removes veneer from mirrors to expose their beautiful wood.

"It took 48 years to get this business where it is today. My things are antique. None of my furniture is considered to be collectible or mediocre in age. My tables are original. I don't reproduce tables or anything else. When someone buys it they can take it into their home and love it to death," says Kerry. Hartmann Antiques has repeat customers from the '60s and '70s. The Konopkas buy from auctions, estate sales and "pickers," who know what they like.

Last stop ­ Andover, where Sheri Arnold of Made in the Shade creates haute-couture for things that give light in the night. She buys antique, vintage and reproduction lamps, chandeliers and candelabra from auctions and house sales, then paints and dresses them up with her custom-made lamp shades, crystals prisms and beaded chain. Chandeliers are not just for the dining room anymore, she says. People use the pretty lighting in bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens and even little babies' rooms. Her creativity is hard to quell, as seen in her "standelier," a chandelier-floor lamp hybrid. She'll turn almost anything into a lamp including silver tea pots. Mita Baker, her assistant, gives customers lamp decorating tips. Made in the Shade also has assorted vendors on the second floor. Reba, the mellow yellow lab, relaxes among the glittering light and greets customers as they enter and leave. Bring a treat.

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10 Nov 2015, 09:21
I have a large metal clock from the Hollingshead Whiz company, Camden NJ. If interested, please see pics on craigslist and contact me. Thanks.
Eric Bunch
12 May 2015, 10:23
My name is Eric and I have a very old antique record player with about 10 antique records, an old civil war style sword and some old US coins. One is definitely from the Civil War.
Would you know the approximate value of these items and Can I send you some pictures?


C #917 519 0480
20 Aug 2014, 00:37
I buy ancient Indian artifacts
07 Aug 2014, 09:17
I have to large containers of Stangl I wish to sell. Preferably all together. Also about 40 Longaberger baskets. Anyone interested please get in touch!
21 Jul 2014, 15:21
do u buy antiques...american indian artifacts...and posters
11 Oct 2013, 15:29
Hi. The antique center I' m presently at is closing oct. 30 I need space in a new shop to sell me antique,vintage,home,& garden items. Reasonable distance from milford,NJ.,reasonable rent.\r\nDorothyg@eclipse.net
ken orangeo
16 Jun 2013, 08:43
hi, Im ken, my mom past a month ago, at age 92, she has old cherry wood ,dinning,bed room set,we need someone who will look,and maybe buy.address rockaway,new jersey,304-479-2506 cell phone thanks ken
27 Apr 2013, 06:08
I have some WW2 metals old Doll and some other stuff would like to have somone sell on line and pay a reasonable fee but dont want to manage my own store any go resellers on line or local shops in NJ
Bill Cobey
08 Nov 2012, 04:25
Jamie,\r\n\r\nEbay has become the standard for finding out how much a "common item" is worth.\r\n\r\nBe careful on your spelling. There are 9,106 results found for samurai swords. 16 results found for samari swords. 0 results found for your "sumari" swords.\r\n\r\nBe sure to check the "Completed Listings" option to see how many sold at what prices.\r\n
jaime arce
07 Nov 2012, 07:38
Hello,\r\nI have an old sumari sword , how can i find out how much it is worth. I can send a picture to anyone if you can help. Please contact me. Thank you. \r\nMr.arce123789@gmail.com\r\n
Dorothy. Delitzscher
11 Aug 2012, 15:54
Gee I certainly feel The negative complaint about allen's in Milford should be taken with a grain of salt. I've had many many dealings with him ,the most honest straight shooter i'vemet in this business. Dorothy
Bill Cobey
16 Dec 2011, 16:39
Tatiana, you have a beautiful website. I suggest you mention it here. Nice things to offer.\r\n\r\nhttp://www.thevillageatandover.com/\r\n\r\nIt's probably good for business too. And welcome aboard. \r\n\r\nBill\r\n\r\n
Nancy Lasko
13 Dec 2011, 17:04
Hi all, I just wanted to share with you that we have a new website for our store - Point pavilion Antique Centre, you can visit us in Point Pleasant Beach NJ or online at www.pointpavilionantiques.com\r\n\r\nThanks!\r\n
Neil Gerrard
22 Oct 2011, 17:02
Hi, I'm very interested in anything for the RM Hollingshead company in Camden, sold under the Whiz name. Especially signs and display pieces. Please email me at gerrardn@canby.com. Thanks, Neil
26 Sep 2011, 06:25
I have a large collection of Stangl Pottery, a collection of indian arrowheads and other collectibles and antiques. If interested in more information contact me directly on my cell at 727-612-3554. Thank you, Mary
Larry Wolper
09 Jun 2011, 16:31
We are the owners of several special pieces of English Pine antique furniture, and wish to sell them.\r\n\r\nIf you have an interest, please feel free to call me at 516 829 5596.\r\n\r\nThanks,\r\n\r\n
Carol Holling
12 May 2011, 08:01
I wish to sell my treasured collection of Noritake china pattern #16034. Also some Nippon matching pieces. My collection includes 12 luncheon plates, 5 dinner plates, many serving pieces, coffee pot, cocoa pot, candy dishes, covered vegetable bowls, gravy boat and more. Can you help me find an interested buyer?
22 Jan 2011, 03:42
I have a Hollingshead Whiz garage dislay stand Can you tell me whar kind of market there is for this and if anybody is interested in it
06 Jan 2011, 08:05
I have a late 1800 Chandellier original glass if any want want to come and see \r\nE-mail me at:ganbuti47@aol.com
Bill Cobey
03 Dec 2010, 05:02
Colleen,\r\n\r\nRE: Your question on how to sell original heman figures \r\n\r\nThese are a natural for Ebay. Small, light weight, easy-to-ship, large audience!
02 Dec 2010, 09:30
Ive been trying to sell old original heman figures Im not sure where to go to do so. if anyone is interested in them please let me know
13 Sep 2010, 13:55
I have some antique steamer trunks that i wanted to know if anyone was interested in purchasing. please call me if interested.\r\n\r\nAnthony\r\n201-396-0461
Bill Cobey
05 Jul 2010, 17:53
That's going to be a tough one, seeing that the injuns don't use arrows no more. But they will take your money at the casino.... Thank you very much.
anna sword/myers
04 Jul 2010, 22:25
Looking for ONE authentic arrowhead from the state of New Jersey. HELP
Bobbie Ledford
20 Jan 2010, 15:50
I am looking for about 7 or 8 vintage WH Cawley bottles out of Somerville. I would like to buy them all from one dealer to avoid separate shipping charges. Any help would be greatly appreciated.\r\n\r\nThanks.
Bill Cobey
31 Jul 2009, 06:16
Oh, why not try to sell to our readers here.\r\n\r\nGo to: 75mutiny.com \r\n\r\nSee what I have to sell.\r\n\r\nIt's August 1, 2009 today. Keep coming back to see my new listings as I work through my pile of things.\r\n\r\nThanks again,\r\nBill
Bill Cobey
31 Jul 2009, 06:11
Yeah, I'm not surprised that Elaine was "taken" by an antique dealer that she left her furniture with on consignment. Not surprised because how difficult it is to sell at a profit. After her first check, which was probably a month or two after leaving, your done. Believe me, the remaining stuff is just junk. At 50% off, you'll be lucky to unload it. What is the dealer to do? Keep it around? Elaine, I am not a dealer. I've been trying to sell my stuff. I've probably made $10 per hour. And I own this stuff, really good stuff. Finding the right buyer aint easy. Bill
Tatiana Ziegler
05 Jun 2009, 10:09
elaine Pietrucha
23 Apr 2009, 14:51
I really enjoyed going to Allen's Antiques when I lived in Milford. When I moved to Florida (8 mos. ago) I gave Allen a vast amount of furniture / collectibles for his store with the understanding that he would pay me (via a check) when the items sold. He sent me one check. Then he would not even return a phone call. I gave him an antique dresser, mirror, gorgeous cedar chest, etc., etc. I thought he was an honest man. Turns out I was wrong. Outta sight Outta mind as they say. The sad thing is, I would have understood if he could not afford to pay me any thing else, or if his buisness was not doing well. But he would not even call me. How wrong is this? Just goes to show you, you can't trust anybody!!
19 Oct 2008, 18:39
Looking for a 1940's California Pottery droopy eyed hound dog figurine. Usually about 6 to 7 inches high and usually brown and white. Please let me know if you have one to buy or know of someone who I can get in contact with ?\r\n Thanks a bunch
30 Jul 2008, 16:28
I went to the nicest Antique shop I have ever seen. it was called Stillwell House Antiques. In the town of Manalapan on route 9 south. Stunning. I have never been to a shop with nicer pieces. Just wanted to tell people...
Tatiana Ziegler
06 Feb 2008, 07:47
I would like to be part of your site. I own The Great Andover Antique Village in Andover.

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