I had the pleasure of attending the Original Miami Beach Antique Show for the first time this year. The fair runs for five days at the end of January into February each year at the Miami Beach Convention Center. With nearly a thousand different dealers from all over the world, it really takes a several hours (and a good pair of shoes) to fully appreciate the experience. I spent two days at the show this year with my colleagues from the Skinner European Furniture & Decorative Arts department.
I was surprised to see such an eclectic array of people and objects. As I walked the aisles of the show, I heard languages from across the globe, and saw objects covering every taste and genre: from huge pieces of furniture brought by dealers overseas to automaton toys and telescopes.
While jewelry booths seemed the most numerous, booths offering Art Deco bronze and ivory dancers, Galle art glass, or Georg Jensen silver tableware also attracted sizeable crowds. Collectors, decorators and dealers alike seemed to be on the hunt for that special piece, as they compared size, quality, and condition of a bronze figure or silver compote.
It was even possible in some cases to find several examples of the exact same antique piece, which reminded me of the value of attending a show this extensive. At an auction house, a huge array of objects pass through our doors. For the average collector or enthusiast, however, it’s generally unusual to be able to compare similar pieces at the same place and time. But at the Original Miami Beach Antique Show, you can handle the objects and compare them in person, offering a greater opportunity for education and appreciation than you would get from simply looking at photographs.
A Skinner auction preview offers that same accessibility to the objects, albeit on a smaller scale! For several days before each European Furniture & Decorative Arts Auction, we set up a gallery of silver, ceramics, furniture, and other objects, then open our doors to the public. It’s free to attend the auction preview, handle the objects, and ask specialists questions about the material. We hope to see you at our next preview in April 2014.