News-Antique.com - Feb 11,2010 - (West Palm Beach, FL) A record number of dealers set up for the February Antiques Spectacular, traditionally the largest Show of the season for the West Palm Beach Antiques Festival. Festival owners Kay and Bill Puchstein said attendance surpassed even that of the January Show which was the largest up to that time under their ownership.
The March 5-7 edition of the West Palm Beach Antiques Festival is also shaping to be a red letter event with a strong complement of regular dealers augmented by a growing number of new faces and the expectation of improving weather for the South Florida region. All 900 of the inside dealer spaces have been sold out for weeks.
One of the members of the regular dealer corps is Peter Mellon of Pompano Beach, FL. Mellon got into the general antiques business as the result of a storage problem. He and his wife had accumulated more antiques than they had room for. His brother–in–law was an antique watch dealer and suggested Mellon specialize too. He did, taking a series of horology classes to bolster his knowledge. He has been at it for over twenty years now and his personal knowledge of watches has far outstripped the level of the classes he took.
He sets up shop at the West Palm Beach Antiques Festival with an inventory of over 2,000 pieces consisting of watches, pocket knives and lighters. The most frequently asked question of Mellon during a Show is “Do all of these watches work?” The answer is “Most of them.” One of the few that don’t work also happens to be the oldest in the inventory. It is a 200 year old French watch made by Charles Odin who made this type watch only between 1809 and 1830. It needs about $400 worth of repair work to it but it has over $500 worth of 18 kt. solid gold in the case at current scrap prices. He will sell it for anything over the scrap value. The most expensive watch in the inventory at $1,500 is a three register chronograph with 40 jewels and a sapphire crystal made by Tag Heuer. Mellon gladly gives free market value appraisals of time pieces brought to his booth by Show visitors and makes an active market both buying and selling time pieces.
Mellon also has a large inventory of pocket knives in all sizes. He says vintage American made blades are the favorite of his regular customers. Another popular item with his customers is his large collection of lighters including vintage Zippos, logo lighters and character lighters with depictions of Wonder Woman, Babe Ruth, Howdy Doody, Superman, Mickey Mouse, Star Trek and many more but his personal favorites are the Zippos. He has learned how to read the date code on the bottom of a Zippo and will gladly tell you how old your vintage Zippo is.
The West Palm Beach Antiques Festival is held at the Americraft Expo Center at the South Florida Fair located off