Weather Heats Up Commodity Prices at West Palm Beach Antiques Festival

This pitcher with Abraham Lincoln’s likeness was produced for his second inauguration in 1865.

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – After a cold front with rain rolled through West Palm Beach, the weather for the Nov. 5- 7 West Palm Beach Antiques Festival was perfect sunshine with highs in the low 70s, and sunny was a good description of how well the show did. The inside dealer spaces completely sold out and more than 50 dealers basked outside in the semi-tropical climate, showing that antiques and collectibles professionals believe customers are coming back to the market.

Another WPBAF early buyers record was set as they came early to buy, especially silver and gold, as precious-metal prices spiked in the last few weeks. Festival owners Kay and Bill Puchstein reported buyers returning day after day and carting off loads of silver and gold. Gold was doing especially well.

Other categories benefited from the buying mood with decorator pieces, holiday items including Christmas pieces, quality oil painting both by listed artists and Highwaymen, as well as Modernism furniture and accessories making for brisk commerce.

The Puchsteins reported that dozens of dealers are showing up at the West Palm Beach Antiques Festival for the first time in years and are bringing fresh merchandise with them to South Florida. Attendance for the November show was strong and wound up only a few hundred attendees short of the record. The upcoming Dec. 3-5 festival is almost sold out of dealer spaces and dealers are signing up for the remainder of the winter shows.

Family partnerships are nothing new in the antiques and collectibles business, but the West Palm Beach Antiques Festival boats one of the “power teams” of the trade as regular dealers. Matthew’s Antiques & Collectibles features the mother/son team of Susan and Matthew Muchnikoff. Susan has been in the business more than 40 years and Matthew did his first show at age 15. Their accumulated knowledge base is impressive and they are willing to freely share it with visitors to their booth.

The Muchnikoffs specialize in commemorative items and memorabilia from almost all significant events of the last two hundred years and the personalities that drove them. Their inventory ranges from items relating to royalty like Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth to political figures like Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin D. Roosevelt. Then there are artifacts relating to events like the various World’s Fairs including the 1964 World’s Fair, the Columbian Exposition of 1893 and the Crystal Palace Exhibition of 1851 and many more. Matthew and Susan know their inventory and can discuss everything they are selling.

They want to educate not only their customers but also people who are just passing through. Making the booth different each month is a sales technique the Muchnikoffs have used with great success since monthly shows attract many of the same shoppers time after time. The team is diligent about rotating in fresh stock during every show. They maintain a storage facility near the fairgrounds where the show is located and can go to the facility and bring in whatever customers are asking for. They also offer something seldom seen at shows—a layaway plan for the more expensive items. Since they do the West Palm Beach Antiques Festival every single month without fail, and have done so for 15 years, customers are assured of the safety of their purchases.

This season, Matthew’s Antiques and Collectibles is offering British Royalty memorabilia dating back to the coronation of King Charles II in 1651. Americana, American political memorabilia and historical commemoratives will cover the full breadth of this country’s history. They will also offer a very interesting array of early American and English pottery and porcelain, transferware, flow blue china, fine equestrian, and dog antiques and collectibles.

The December show will be held on the 3, 4 and 5. For more information, call 941.697.7475, email or visit the West Palm Beach Antiques Festival Web site.


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