- The Washington Times - Monday, January 8, 2007

Patrons attending Thursday’s benefit preview of the Washington Antiques Show had the opportunity to buy a silver tray once owned by mystery writer Agatha Christie and an Early American ship captain’s portrait that once graced Independence Hall. But most of those perusing the choice offerings of 45 dealers at the Omni Shoreham were schmoozing not buying.

French Ambassador Jean-David Levitte, the event’s honorary patron, had a legitimate excuse: “We diplomats travel a great deal, moving every three or four years, so we cannot collect too much.”

The four-day show, event chair Mimi Conger Brown noted, was expected to raise about $500,000 for Thrift Shop Charities, which supports local health and community programs for the poor.

This year’s theme, “Treasures of the Chesapeake,” was reflected in the crab cakes, shrimp and oysters being served and an exhibit outside the hall. Among the artifacts on display was an armchair ordered by President James Monroe for the White House. Eastern Shore maps were being shown by “Antiques Roadshow” expert Don Cresswell, a Philadelphia print dealer, who sold a portrait of Admiral Samuel du Pont to Bruce Perkins, chairman of the Winterthur museum’s board. Publisher Austin Kiplinger said he had tapped Mr. Cresswell to appraise several prints already in his noted Washingtoniana collection.

Rarer designs included a small vessel made by Delaware silversmith John Snow around 1775 and priced at $40,000. “The Delaware Historical Society only has one spoon by him,” New York dealer Robert Lloyd disclosed.

Ambling past a nearly 9-foot-tall English secretary, circa 1760 (priced at $89,000 by Centreville, Md., dealer Gary Young), were Ruth Buchanan, John Irelan, Rose Marie Bogley, Max and Heidi Berry and Steve and Diana Goldberg, Also casing the show for her clients was interior designer Kelley Proxmire, who had her eye on lamps made from shoe-shine stanchions.

First-time exhibitor Annette Bashensky of the Savenkov Gallery in Midlothian, Va., said she was hoping to draw younger buyers with streamlined Biedermeier furnishings from Austria. “They have a hip, classical edge to them that doesn’t look like your mom’s antiques.” With a Viennese table priced at $18,000, however, a little help from mom’s checkbook could have cinched the sale.

— Deborah K. Dietsch

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