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Antiques and Collectibles Sale returns, draws crowd

By Tabitha Johnston - Chronicle Staff | Apr 30, 2021

Nancy Cummins, of Bakerton, looks at some antique items at the booth of Paul Gordon, of Martinsburg, in the War Memorial Building on Saturday. Tabitha Johnston

SHEPHERDSTOWN — The bi-annual Antiques and Collectibles Sale was first founded in Round Hill, Va., about 30 years ago. Seven years ago, it moved to Shepherdstown, first taking up residence at the Shepherdstown Train Station and then moving down to the War Memorial Building to attract more foot traffic a couple of years ago. But the arrival of the COVID-19 Pandemic at the beginning of 2020 forced the sale to be put on a temporary pause, until it was safe to hold socially distanced public events again.

According to organizer Kim Lowry, of Harpers Ferry, the sale could not be held at all in 2020, due to social distancing concerns. But, after the introduction of the COVID-19 vaccine and discussion with her fellow antiques and collectibles vendors, she decided it was finally safe to resume holding the sale this past weekend in the War Memorial Building.

“The last time we held this show was in fall 2019 — it’s been over a year!” Lowry said, mentioning she continued collecting items for sale throughout the pandemic. “I talked to the vendors. We wanted to get back! So we decided to require masks and social distancing, and advertised those expectations well with the event.”

According to Lowry, as of Saturday afternoon, she hadn’t had to deal with any shoppers refusing to follow the sale’s safety guidelines, for which she was grateful.

“Here in Shepherdstown, people get it. I thought we might run into a few problems, but we really haven’t had any,” Lowry said. “It’s been a really great experience. I’m happy.”

Items in the Antiques and Collectibles Sale spilled out onto the sidewalk in front of the War Memorial Building on Saturday afternoon. Tabitha Johnston

Along with requiring social distancing guidelines to be followed, Lowry also took sale participants’ safety into further consideration, by leaving some sellers’ items outside on the sidewalk in front of the War Memorial Building, making it possible for shoppers to remain six feet apart inside of the building.

“We tried to spread things out as much as we could, and made sure there was room for people to move between tables,” Lowry said, mentioning the turnout for the sale was good. “It’s been amazing, but I expected that, because we’ve had people asking us, ‘When will you come back?'”

For Lowry, selling painted primitives and holding the sale is a hobby, as she spends her weekdays working full time for the federal government. That reality was similar for many of the other sellers, including antiques seller Paul Gordon, of Martinsburg. Gordon, who works full-time as a renowned figurines artist, is, however, able to incorporate his lifelong love for antiques into his work.

“I use lots of antique things for the clothing. I have a fun time!” Gordon said, mentioning he has been collecting antiques for close to 50 years, and selling them for over 30 years.

According to Gordon, this was the second time he has participated in the Antiques and Collectibles Sale, and he plans to do so again.

Shoppers browse the different booths, featuring antiques and collectibles, in the War Memorial Building on Saturday afternoon. Tabitha Johnston

“I prefer small sales like this. It’s fun, and a nice, small group of people,” Gordon said, mentioning selling antiques has allowed him room to continue indulging in buying them. “It’s aIl a way to satisfy my obsession with collecting.”