The venue – home to the Original Miami Beach Antique Show (OMBAS) for more than 50 years – welcomes back its longest-standing client after a two-year absence on January 26-29.
In 2017-18 OMBAS, the world’s largest indoor antiques show and a mecca for the international jewellery trade, was making do in a February time-slot at a nearby showground.
Neither the timing nor the venue were ideal (some of the top UK and US names chose to sit it out), so there are great expectations for the revamped venue – even if it currently lacks a functioning car park.
“During the renovation we had two great events at the Miami-Dade Fairgrounds, but we are excited to return to the venue that has faithfully served us for 55 years,” said Katrina Canady, show manager for organiser US Antique Shows.
The fair occupies three exhibition halls at the remodelled building (Halls A, B and C) with the organisers predicting a trade bun fight of more than 600 exhibitors – including the core of the US, UK and Continental European jewellery trade hoping to attract the big-spending local clientele who are a hallmark of all successful Florida fairs. Around 10% of the exhibitors are from the UK: London’s Hancocks, Moira, Koopman Rare Art, Butler & Butler, Symbolic & Chase and Wimpole Antiques are among them.
Lynn Lindsay of Wimpole has been an exhibitor in Florida for 35 years and is among those who have been showing at two or more fairs in the tumult of recent years.
“Expenses have been high – both the cost of stands and the need to stay for extra days – so we’re pleased to be back,” she said.
The stock Wimpole takes to Florida is almost purely antique over retro: rules allows for pieces of more than 100 years old to be brought into the state with relative ease but the sale of later pieces is subject to significant red tape.
Palm Beach focus
This year’s fair will doubtless benefit from the absence of competition.
In the past couple of years, the Palm Beach Show Group (PBSG) succeeded in attracting some of the higher-end dealers from OMBAS for a smaller-scale jewellery and watch fair in Miami Beach. But, for this year at least, the event has been shelved (PBSG is planning its return in January 2020 at the Indian Beach Park, Miami Beach).
Instead PBSG will focus on holding two antiques fairs in south Florida. Its longest-running event still anchors the winter season. The Palm Beach, Jewelry, Art & Antique Show runs for the 16th year at the Palm Beach County Convention Center on February 13-19. Staged over the Presidents’ Day Holiday Weekend, this is now a seven-day fair, having expanded from its former five-day run, and begins with a VIP preview night on February 13.
The 170 exhibitors who stand at this event bring antique furniture, jewellery, Asian antiques and a wide range of fine art – boosted this year by a section dedicated to exhibitors specialising in contemporary and modern art, objects, and design.
Again, plenty of major UK dealers stand at this show including Butchoff, Trinity House, William Cook, Willow Gallery, Rountree Tryon and S&S Timms. As usual, some, such as Cohen & Cohen (Chinese export porcelain), join the American trade in hot-footing it to Florida direct from New York’s Winter Antiques Show.
Adding some gallic style is Paris heavyweight Benjamin Steinitz.
Two other events book-end the season. Over the weekend of January 18-20 (a couple of weeks earlier this year) it is the fourth outing for the Miami Antiques + Art + Design Show at the Miami Airport Convention Center (MACC). The organiser is Dolphin Promotions, which held a show here for over 35 years before selling to US Antique Shows.
A good handful of the 100-plus dealers come from the UK and Ireland: 3B Antiques, John Jaffa’s Antique Enamel Company, Sue Brown, Antique Gem & Jewellery Company, Patricia Novissimo, Mahs Antiques, Markov, Lowther Antiques (all from London) and James & Tyree McLeod from Limerick, Ireland.
Finally, for those still with stock to sell or money to spend, the action moves south to the Naples Exhibition Center from February 22-26. PBSG’s 50 exhibitor-strong Naples Art, Antique & Jewelry Show is now its eighth year.