Britt Aamodt

Wedding Gifts: Shopping the Exquisite Past

Wedding Gifts: Shopping the Exquisite Past | Media List


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The Old Times
6/1/2006

Wedding Gifts: Shopping the Exquisite Past

By Britt Aamodt

The June wedding might be symbolic of new beginnings, but dealers will tell you the past is a great place to look for a perfect gift.

The Exquisite Past Antique Show lived up to its classy title, with its superb collection of antique jewelry, sterling, silver plate, glassware, art pottery and furniture.

The two-day event, held May 5-6 at Blaine’s National Sports Center, was the brainchild of Tom Olsen of Neslo Shows.

“Our main criterion was quality,” said Olsen, who handpicked every one of the dealers.

Minnesota Antiques Dealers Association (MADA) president Charley Bathke was on hand, not as a repre-sentative but as a dealer. The owner of Coe & Channell on Hennepin and Antiques Riverwalk in Minneapolis’s warehouse district, Bathke said he likes to give antique silver for weddings.

“It’s something a little different, something they won’t get from anyone else,” he said, and offered practical advice on choosing antiques for wedding gifts. “Look where the couple is registered—Marshall Field’s, for instance—and see what style they like. Usually you can find an antique that fits that style.”

To illustrate, Bathke compared two silver Whiting sugar baskets. “The manufacturer started with the same form, but the one was embellished with répoussé flowers and the other was left plain.” The baskets were priced at $175 and $135.

Bathke is looking at introducing a gift registry at Coe & Channell.

Carol Hageness assembled a mainstay of newlywed house-holds, the flatware set. Her collection ran the gamut from plate to sterling, simple to ornate, and accom-modated buyers looking to buy whole sets, pieces or blended sets.

Simple and elegant, the International Prelude serving spoon was priced at $79, while the tomato server in Hageness’s best-selling pattern, Rose Point by Wallace, went for $129.

“Rose Point has a flower design, always a favorite with collectors. Plus, you have the piercing that allows the color of the tablecloth to show through,” said Hageness.

When it comes to setting her own table, the Milwaukee dealer sticks to Reed & Barton’s Francis I, a high-end sterling product notable for its fruit motif, which varies piece to piece. The Francis I waffle turner, at $485, was also a head turner, boasting a voluptuous shape and fancy piercing.

Gifts especially for the bride can be more personal.

Paul Fischer of Paul Fisher Antiques out of Indianapolis has spent thirty years catering to a female affection for all things gold and glittering. At Exquisite Past, his trove of sophisticated cameos, watches, jazzy earrings and portrait pendants drew admirers.

However, the real crowd-puller was the $3,200 garnet necklace. Thin webs of gold interlinked garnet-encrusted rosettes and teardrops in a tiered Victorian confection. Though less showy, the slide bracelet, made from gold watch fobs, fetched a higher price tag at $6300.

“Not everyone’s willing to spend thousands of dollars on a wedding gift,” said Loretta Gosse, a MADA dealer from Shoreview. “But if it’s an only daughter or only son, parents might put that kind of money into this type of thing.”

Gosse’s ‘type of thing’ is tabletop ware. “I love Royal Doulton and Lenox, any of the good name brands of china, also glassware, bronzes and pottery.”

Every horizontal surface in Gosse’s booth was crammed full of beautiful objects: Loetz glassware, Satsuma vases, Weller pottery, monogrammed cups, Alfred Meakin Flow Blue plates and pitcher tankards from Limoges, France. Though some pieces fell within the thousand plus realm—the rare cameo-cut Loetz vase—many settled into comfortable two- and three-figure territory—a signed Steuben compote.

This was Exquisite Past Antique Show’s inaugural year, but organizer Tom Olsen said he has plans to turn it into an annual event.

The Exquisite Past Antique Show was endorsed by the Minnesota Antiques Dealers Association. MADA is putting on its own show at the Minnesota State Fair Grounds June 10-11.

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