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New York Ceramics Fair 2001 hits upon winning formula as dealers elated by sales

Collectors defy mini-blizzard

The proof of a new show is in its second year sales results, and judging by these Caskey-Lees has a winner in the New York Ceramics Fair, the second edition of which was held 18-21 January. Dealers Roderick Jellicoe, Gary Atkins, Nicolaus Boston, Aurea Carter, Cohen & Cohen, Peter Wain and others all reported substantial sales compared to the previous year. Part of the success is due to the positioning of this event, which opens the night before the Winter Antiques Show preview party.

The Winter Antiques Show and the concurrent Americana sales always draw important buyers to town, many of whom are seeking English pottery to complement their Americana furnishings. Even a mini-blizzard on Sunday did not deter collectors and US dealers such as Leigh Keno from packing the fair at the National Academy of Design. The sheer volume of examples sold as well as the preponderance of high-ticket ceramics tells how vast this niche market is in America. London Majolica dealer Nicolaus Boston spoke of selling 45 pieces, priced from $500 to $3,000, for putti-adorned brackets that had been in Osborne, Queen Victoria's home on the Isle of Wight. "More than 50% of the buyers are from New York State and the rest from Texas," says Mr Boston.

"I covered all my costs on the opening night," says John Howard, who routinely sells 80% of his wares to Americans. He brought 50 pairs of Staffordshire animals, of the kind that have adorned many mantelpieces from Park Avenue out to Greenwich, Conn, and sold 15 pairs, at prices from $600 to $7,500. He also had buyers for a large amount of creamware, much coveted by New York decorators.

Cohen & Cohen sold some 15 pieces of Chinese Export and Qianlong from $10,000 to $40,000. "More Americans seem to know about this fair than the London Ceramics show," says Peter Cohen who plans to stop participating in the Haughton event.

"This is not just another common fair tailgating on the Winter Show," says New York dealer Paul Vandekar who believes the event will be as successful as the London ceramics fair. He dropped out of the Winter show this year to focus his efforts on this speciality fair, and says that for his substantial sales from under $10,000 to $35,000, 70% of the buyers were serious collectors of porcelain. He sold Worcester, Bow, Spode and Derby. His star piece sold was a lavish Derby vase painted with shells and heavily gilded. Roderick Jellicoe believes that many American collectors are drawn to English pottery because of the Chipstone Foundation's research in this area. He sold a large amount of Chelsea and Liverpool priced up to $15,000. Currently, Mr Jellicoe is preparing a paper on 18th-century porcelain for the Chipstone Journal.

Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'A winning formula at New York Ceramics Fair'