Young Collectors Night at the Winter Antiques Show, hosted by the Eastside Settlement House and held at the Park Avenue Armory, included more than 700 new collectors, young philanthropists, interior designers, and art and antiques enthusiasts. Event proceeds benefit the Eastside Settlement House, a leading social services agency that serves young people and families in the South Bronx and surrounding communities.
Emily Israel Pluhar, Stephanie Clark, and Courtney Booth co-chaired the event. Interior Design Committee Chairwoman Wendy Goodman described the evening in this way: “This event celebrates our enterprising design community’s appreciation of time-honored art and design. It’s a perfect display of young talent and classic items, all for the good of the East Side Settlement—and knowing that makes the event that much more spectacular.”
Attendees were ensconced within “stuff-ageddon,” a veritable vertiginous vortex (not New York’s recent Arctic vortex—the Arctic is devoid of stuff) of various material vagaries. I stress variety because the objects—defying categorization—ranged from wooden Indians, to chandeliers, to Napoleonic era beds, to grandfather clocks. I gulped down the margarita on immediate offer in order better to cope with plunging into the object fray with gun and compass. Okay, truth be told, I did not bring a gun and compass. But, if I really wanted to acquire these objects, I was definitely in the right place.
Since one simply cannot navigate an entire antique-filled armory sans sustenance, I took full advantage of the roving cart filled with beef and turkey burger balls swimming in luscious sauce. On the lighter side, I enjoyed the crudités, and eggplant, tomato, and bean salads on toast. The lobster piece ensconced within a potato box passed hors d’oeuvre was to die for.
So much stuff; so little time. Like a moth attracted to light, I first made my way to the bling. A two tier diamond necklace at the Kentshire booth caught my eye. Price: $78,500. When the salesperson offered to remove it from the display case and place it in my hands, I politely declined.
I fell in love with the “Italian Renaissance hand-and-half sword circa 1490-1500” displayed at Peter Finer. It looked like a replica of the sword King Arthur pulled out of the stone. Intrigued, I found myself articulating a sentence I had never uttered before:
“How much is your sword?” I asked the exceedingly attractive salesman who looked like my idea of a King Arthur clone.
“Under two million. It is worthy of a prince,” he answered.
At this price (and speaking of princes), “Cinderella,” not Arthurian legend, was the most appropriate fairy tale for me. Without even thinking about how owning the dueling pistols and the suit of armor called “An Italian Armour for the Foot Tourney By ‘The Master of the Castle, Milan’” (priced at a “seven figure” sum) would enhance my prestige, I hastily exited the Peter Finer booth while wondering if a coach and horses were located somewhere on the display floor.
To my mind, Hyland Granby Antiques exhibited one of the most interesting objects: the earliest example (1915) of a binocular telescope they have examined. Price: $45,000. Although spectacular, this instrument was out of sight in relation to me. I do not have enough room to keep it—and ditto for wooden Indians.
I decided, finally, to focus on my version of stuff heaven: texts. At the Kenneth Rendell Gallery, I was mesmerized by a letter written by Ian Fleming framed together with a picture of him holding a pistol ($25,000). This creator of James Bond mundanely wrote about the need to pick up his friends. Yes Fleming was very debonair—but Sean Connery has no peer.
Finally, in the end, I found my own pièces de résistance at Bauman Rare Books: signed first edition copies of Frank Herbert’s Dune ($8700.00) and Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 ($7800.00). So, even though that telescope—and all the objects amassed in the Armory—have no practical place in my life, when I saw these science fiction books I was able closely to encounter what is very personally to me out of this world.
– Marleen Barr
Images via Sharp Communications