|By Susan Emerson Nutter
BURTON, Ohio — A great indication of how collectors view a show is the conversations held in-line waiting for its opening. The Burton Antiques Market held on the Geauga County Fairgrounds in Burton, Ohio, is an event that takes place in June and September every year. This year the early buyer crowd waiting in line was the largest in many years.
As people parked their cars on the fairground’s green areas, and walked to stand in-line, one couple was so excited for the upcoming shopping adventure that the woman said, “We are from Indiana, Pa., and drove three hours to get here for the early buying.” Her husband added, “She’s the collector. I am just along for the ride, but even I enjoy this show. There is just so much to see.”
The Burton Antiques Market has been around for more than 50 years. What appears on the infield, around both sides of the racetrack, and under the grandstands each year are antiques and collectibles en masse.
And though numerous dealers set-up under the grandstands, for the most part, this is an outdoor show, and with that comes the non-enviable aspect of being at the mercy of the weather. This year’s June edition had some weather issues. The night before, forecasts called for a wet Saturday, and because of this numerous vendors decided not to show.
“They had paid,” show manager Kay Puchstein pointed out, “But about 20 vendors did not want to take the chance they would get rained on, which is understandable; disappointing, but understandable.”
As luck would have it, the weather held off during the early buying period, and as stated before; the early buying gate admission was up. Overheard in conversation with Puchstein from a longtime dealer who shops Burton every year; which is a statement in itself about the great things that show up at this event) said it all. “This is perfect weather, actually. Nice mild temperature, no wind, no burning heat. It was perfect for shopping; couldn’t have asked for a better morning.” And the couple did have a great morning if their arms laden with finds were any indication.
A sprinkling of rain did begin to fall just as the show opened to the general public, but those attending Burton know to come prepared. When the wetness started, umbrellas popped open and shopping continued. Vendors who set-up on the track and on the infield also know to bring cover with many utilizing tents to protect their wares from wind, sun, and this year – some rain.
Trying to get a feel for what people are interested in is an effort in futility at Burton. The variety presented is just so extensive; there is truly something here for everyone. I did see an abundance of wooden folding chairs; like those used by churches or venues that host outdoor weddings. The smaller children versions were also on hand with six examples selling for $120 for the group.
A variety of transferware dinnerware made a showing, which was a nice surprise as this category seemed to be out of favor in years past. Baskets of all kinds still draw a crowd as long as they are a desirable shape (think buttocks or harvest) and are wearing old paint.
Children’s things covering a variety of eras; from Steiff teddy bears to the earliest dolls as well as collectibles like G.I. Joe and Fisher Price pull toys could be had. Rachel Allan of Oberlin, Ohio had a 1920s Schieble D.P. Clark hill climber toy car that still had its two riders priced $595. A salesman sample or toy tin bathtub was marked $125, and a child’s double-seater wooden swing with red base and green swing seats was $65.
Mid-century modern items are becoming more and more prevalent at shows like Burton as the demand from collectors dictates. Chat Old Log House Antiques from Tiffin, Ohio, had a pair of metal sailboat wall hangings priced $150. Barware from the same era also continues to be a favored collectible. A set of Hazel-Atlas glasses featuring a different make of car on each of the six glasses in the set was affordably priced at $25. The box holding the set was marked as being a “Division of Continental Can Co., Wheeling, W.Va.”
And while there are loads of Arts and Crafts pieces, oodles of industrial items, and lots and lots of glassware, china, and jewelry, Burton has always been known for early furniture and the smalls that go with them.
Kathy Bonnes of Homespun Antiques offered a wonderful early doll desk with a lift top, stencil design, galley and turned legs for $295. Mark Custer from Girard, Pa. filled his dealer space with enormous turned bowls. One that was 28 inches across and 10 inches deep was priced $675; another being 20 ˝ inches across and seven inches deep could be had for $225.
Carriage House Antiques of Fairmont, W. Va., had already sold several items but still had for sale a primitive wall hanging spice box with a curved base two doors, six drawers and a tiny shelf underneath for $395, as well as a farm table with a two board top and Hepplewhite legs priced $290, and a large bread board for $150. Also along this line, the folk art Uncle Sam greeting shoppers to the dealer space of Blue Onion Antiques of Poland, Ohio, was a winner at $2,400.
If you missed the June edition of Burton, be sure to make time to shop the Sept. 22 show. Come prepared with sunscreen and an umbrella, and high expectations. Just like the weather can come as a surprise, what shows up in the vendors’ booths at Burton is just as excitingly unpredictable.
Contact: (740) 998-5300