Life & Leisure

Miami Beach antique show opens with treasures for everyone’s taste

By Ana Mengotti

Miami, Jan 20 (EFE).- The Original Miami Beach Antique Show (OMBAS), with its 58-year history, opened its doors on Thursday featuring a treasure trove of old furniture, decorative objects, paintings, clocks and jewelry for all tastes and budgets.

Here, one can find anything from $10 to more than $100,000, Michelle Orman, the OMBAS press chief told EFE, adding that since its inception the annual fair has been held every year except one.

In 2021, the Covid-19 pandemic forced the fair to be canceled but this year there could be a bigger appetite among antique lovers – especially collectors – for buying things, some of the exhibitors at the Miami Beach Convention Center told EFE.

Paul Haig, the owner of Haig’s of Rochester, Michigan, is one of those who is optimistic about the fair’s results this year.

He has reason to feel that way, saying that he already did some business before OMBAS opened and, in addition to what he sold in the first few hours of the fair, he has already taken in more than $35,000.

Haig has one of the oldest objects at the event for sale: a small jade figure from Guatemala that dates to between 900 and 1,200 years B.C.

He said that his “best price” for the object is $25,000, but it’s not the only pre-Colombian item he has brought to Miami for the event.

In another glass case are several items from different cultures in what is now Peru. One of them is an odd whistle or ritual wind instrument made of clay in the form of an animal and which Haig played a bit at the request of an interested fairgoer.

In that case, the best price he said he could give is $12,000, but actually that’s just to start the conversation because bargaining and haggling is institutionalized at OMBAS, just like in almost every place where antiques are sold.

Another kiosk at the fair, called Mantiques and managed by people from New York, specializes in antiques for the masculine taste. All the objects on display stand out for being “bold,” Grant Steinhauser, one of those in charge, told EFE.

In the male-oriented showcases there are no little porcelain figures. But there is a little roulette wheel with all its accessories, a sculpted head of a man and a physician’s advertisement from the first half of the 20th century, all for sale.

The area taken up by the fair is enormous, and there are little motorized vehicles that can be used by people who don’t want to walk all over the place or who get tired of browsing on their feet.

To the layperson, the number of antique and “vintage” jewelry items for sale everywhere is surprising, along with all the paintings, decorative items and pieces of furniture.

The only things competing with the glitter of gold, silver and precious stones in necklaces, rings and earrings are the many sets of old cutlery and silverware, some of them with so many pieces that they could serve an entire palace.

Also stunning are the huge number of clocks and women’s handbags with luxury brand names such as Hermes and Louis Vuitton. Antique styles of exotic furs here and there at the venue are going for prices in excess of four digits.

When EFE asked two visitors if they had bought a lot at the fair, they responded “no” because – they said – at these shows there is nothing except jewelry.

The same thing happened to us at the Palm Beach fair, said one of them, who asked to remain nameless.

The OMBAS press director, however, told EFE that jewelry is easier to transport and store.

When asked about the profile of the fairgoers, Michelle Orman said that there’s not just one type of person, but rather local residents, tourists who are going through Miami, interior designers looking for unique pieces to decorate luxury homes and residences and antique store owners in the US and other countries.

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