The final West Palm Beach Antiques Festival Show of the regular season was held June 3,4 and 5 and show owners Kay and Bill Puchstein reported another lively event to top off the 20th Anniversary of the Festival in the same location.
The Puchsteins are looking forward to the popular two day Summer schedule that begins in July. The West Palm Beach Antiques Festival Summer series provides the only major monthly show in Florida to run all Summer with major dealers in attendance. The Puchsteins say that many dealers who set up last summer’s shows have told them that the summer shows were their best shows of the year. The number of dealers each month drops to between 200 and 300, but the attendance stays about the same as the shows when they have 400-600 dealers. Therefore, the dealers have less competition from other dealers and everyone sells better.
One of the dealers who always does well at the Summer Shows is Len Bartkowiak. He is one of the most interesting and personable of the dealers who has a “Study of Everything” approach to the business. Len Bartkowiak wants to know everything he can about as many things as possible and his booth backs up his quest. The most often asked question in his booth is “What IS this?” and that just what he wants to hear. Bartkowiak has more than 10,000 items for sale in his space, focused primarily on 18th and 19th century very high quality, very unusual smalls including knives, jewelry, perfume bottles, Orientalia, ivory, cloisonné, dresser boxes, silver, other interesting items and much more. He boasts that “Nobody will ever see it all.” Among his knife collection are high grade custom knives, hand made versions, collector’s knives, foreign knives and ethnic variations. He currently has a French knife with over 100 blades, circa 1880. The price? If you have to ask.
Bartkowiak has been at the Show for over twenty years and has built up a loyal following of customers in the area. Over his years in the business he has been abroad on buying trips forty-one times, twenty-eight of those to England. He has done over 1,600 shows in his career and he is especially fond of this one. His booth won Best Booth of the Show the first time the Award was offered based on presentation, professionalism, personality of the dealer and the visitor friendly atmosphere. If you want to see something you have never seen and learn something you didn’t know, drop by Bartkowiak’s place. He says he is always ready to deal, buying or selling.
The format for the entire Summer Season will be the two day affair, Saturday and Sunday instead of the normal three day event during the regular season. Summer show dates will be July 2-3, August 6-7, September 3-4 and October 1-2 with a full day of setup for dealers on Friday 8:00AM to 7:00PM. The Puchsteins have lowered dealers’ booth rent for the Summer Season over the normal show fee. The popular “Early Buyers Admission” feature will be continued in the summer starting at 9:00AM on Saturday before the regular Show opening time of 10:00AM. Summer Show Early Buyers admission has been reduced to $10 and is good for both days of the Show. Adult daily admission $7.00, seniors $6.00 with a 1$ discount coupon for adult admission available on the website. Anyone under 16 is admitted free. There is no charge for parking at the Fairgrounds.
The West Palm Beach Antiques Festival (wpbaf.com) is held at the South Florida Fairgrounds located off Southern Boulevard in West Palm Beach, FL, 1.5 miles west of the Florida Turnpike and 1 mile east of 441/SR7.