By Dasha Morgan- For the past eighteen years the first weekend in February beautiful antiques have been showcased in Aiken, South Carolina. This past weekend the annual Antiques Show and Sale was held. Its reputation has grown over the years and is now considered one of the South’s finest antiques experiences. This is an opportunity to meet with friends and dealers and find yourself a treasure. Twenty-two specialized dealers from Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama and Texas all bring fine beautifully crafted objets to this show. Restoration experts are available as well. Proceeds from the event benefit the Aiken Center for the Arts (ACA) on Laurens Street, where it is held. The Center promotes arts education and awareness and has regular art shows. Many dealers have been coming to Aiken since the beginning, and all are so glad to be a part of the show, as it is a “happy place to be. The people of Aiken are always so welcoming and warm.” There is a preview party, a dealers cocktail party, a raffle to participate in, and delicious food is served with many homemade choices in the Sweetheart Cafe.
Lisa Castles of York Cottage Antiques in Aiken has been the dealer coordinator for the past 18 years. She finds there is a loyal following from Charleston, Savannah, Greenville and further afield. An eclectic mix of fine antiques is showcased: fine estate jewelry, sterling silver and silver plate, antique and American furniture, oriental rugs, fine linens, paintings, prints, maps, and many decorative accessories, all of the finest quality. As the Vetust Study Club of Asheville has discontinued sponsoring the Asheville Antiques Fair, some neighboring Western North Carolina dealers participated. Carriage Trade Antiques came from Blowing Rock; The Side Door and Mantiques, from Cashiers, and Oakleaf from Highlands attended this year. Connie Marks of Victoriana in Rocky Point, N.C., used to come to the Asheville show with her fine linen, lace and vintage clothing. The exquisite quality of her linens and laces were a treat to see. Some dealers limit the number of shows they attend but particularly favor attending this one in Aiken. Mary Lawson and Sarah Stephenson from the Polished Antique in Greenville, S.C., only attend this show and one other. Ben Adams, an Estate Appraiser and dealer from Savannah, now only comes to this one
Special show lectures are given. Friday morning Virginia Beach, spoke and personally signed her beautifully illustrated book Rice & Ducks: The Surprising Convergence that Saved the Carolina Lowcountry. Drawing from letters, family papers, personal interviews, plantation and game journals, the book records the history of the South Carolina rice lands and hunting grounds. The tabletop book shows how modern conservation is rooted in America’s earliest colonial beginnings. Rice & Ducks is a fitting tribute to the legacy of the landowners, hunters and conservationists who have permanently protected more than 1.2 millions acres of land in the South Carolina Lowcountry. Saturday morning, Karin Jeffcoat, owner of Cote Designs in Aiken, gave a floral presentation, showing attendees how to make flowing eye-arresting floral designs from the simplest of flowers. She has served as the Augusta Nationals Floral director and is known for being a creative genius with floral magic. To get an idea of the magnificence of her designs, just go to www.cotedesigns events.com.
Indeed Antiques in the Heart of Aiken provides you with an opportunity to view and purchase fine antiques chosen by carefully selected dealers from the South. Mark your calendar for the first weekend in February for next year’s event.