Peace, Love and Antiques

At the Palos Verdes Antique Show and Sale’s opening night gala, guests came adorned in 1960s garb, befitting the theme - “Peace, Love and Antiques.” From left is church rector, the Very Rev. Paula Vukmanic; former show chairman Darryl Tillman, and guests Sondra Scofield and Peggy Rollis. (Photo by Meredith Grenier)

Prestigious dealers came from all over California and several neighboring states to the 51st annual Palos Verdes Antiques Show and Sale at St. Francis Episcopal Church, in Palos Verdes Estates. The three-day show, which is the oldest in California, kicked off with an opening night gala, organized by members of the church parish.

The evening’s theme was “Peace, Love and Antiques,” featuring musical entertainment from the top hits from 1969 and guests dressed in 1960s fashions. They wore a mix of pearls and pillbox hats, a la Jackie Kennedy, and tie-dye, hippie garb, adorned with peace signs and love beads.

Marceil Greenway of Palos Verdes Estates and Anna May Labbe of Torrance arrived in mink. Greenway wore a 50-year-old mink stole..

A mink pillbox hat and a Judith Leiper lion gold buckle belt completed the 60s look. Labbe wore a sportier mink jacket, borrowed from Greenway.

Rancho Palos Verdes artist Pat Hinz displayed her de rigueur pearls as she admired jewelry from Elle of California. The dealer had come from San Ramon for the show.

Guests shared stories of their collections. Hinz, for example, collects crystal pieces, angels and statuary of judges. Her late husband of 63 years, Edward Hinz, Jr., culminated his distinguished career as a justice of the California Court of Appeal.

The Very Rev. Paula Vukmanic, church rector, collects crosses, art (from her former career as a professional artist) and jackets made from antique Indian cloth. She purchased them over the years from antiques show dealer Marcia Bell Crawford, owner of Once Upon A Time Antiques, near San Diego.

“I have six of these, which really means I have 12, since they are reversible,” she said, showing off her jacket.

Guests also grazed on appetizers, provided by various church guilds and made bids on the silent auction.

Albertine Bellows, who until a few years ago was the show’s chairwoman for at least 20 years, greeted guests as they sipped wine and sampled hors d’oeuvres. She continues to serve on the antique show’s committee, and her son, Jamie, was co-chairman of the show with Wendy Pratt.

“I worked in the kitchen during the first show in 1969,” Albertine recalled.

Guests made a point to visit their favorite dealers, such as silver expert Michael McHale. He and his wife, Gae, who live in Camarillo, have participated in the show since 1972. In his opinion, the best polish for silver is Hagerty Silver Foam. “Use it with hot water and a cotton rag,” he said.

Guest De De Hicks stopped to greet McHale. She purchased a silver service set from him years ago.

“He’s wonderful,” Hicks said. “I can’t praise him highly enough.”

McHale, who has more than 10,000 pieces, makes house calls all over California.  As with most of the other prestigious dealers, McHale has bought and sold silver for decades.

“I got into this because I love history,” he said. “It is the repeat customers who have kept us in business nearly 50 years.”

He and Gae do shows all over the country, but he admitted that their favorite is the Palos Verdes show and sale, traditionally held the last week in May.

Proceeds from the show will benefit the Mission and Outreach Ministries of St. Francis Parish. Major donors, called Saints, include Albertine Bellows, Lynn and Park Densmore, Anna Eakins and Elaine, and Lloyd Mistele, in addition to many other donors, known as Archangels and Angels.

Next year’s show will be May 28, 29 and 30, with the gala opening night on May 27. Information: stfrancispalosverdes.org.

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