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Glittering celebration of the Winter Antiques Show

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It's been over a week since the paintings, furniture, and odds and ends of the annual Winter Antiques Show have graced the interior of the grand Park Avenue Armory. But the building still glistens with the aftermath of the regal and glamorous antiques and visitors are undoubtedly still buzzing with the excitement of what they saw. In this 60th year, the Winter Antiques Show celebrated their diamond jubilee from January 24 to February 2.

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Over 70 exhibitors presented their wares last month, which included porcelain, glass, wood, painting, and ink items from all around the world. As always, the net proceeds from the fair were given to the East Side House Settlement, a non-profit organization that assists the South Bronx community with computer training, adult education, early childhood education, and other programming and social services.

This year, the WAS celebrated the Peabody Essex Museum, located in Salem, Massachusetts, which exhibited some of their most exquisite items from the collection. The PEM has one of the best American art collections of any museum in the United States, maintains multiple historic buildings on site, and is embarking on a major expansion plan. On view at the WAS, the PEM had a maple and oak valuables cabinet from 17th-century Salem, an ebony and ivory intricately-carved armchair from 18th-century India, a vibrantly-colored feather headdress from mid-19th-century Brazil, and a painting of Nathaniel Hawthorne from 1840, among a number of other curator-picked items. A lecture series focused on the museum and its pieces took place throughout the length of the show.

Also connected to the 60th anniversary was the inaugural "1stdibs Design Friday," which featured lectures and book signings focusing on antiques and interior design. A cafe provided refreshments for those traversing the hallways, and numerous art and antiques magazines were available for easy reading. A thick and informative catalog was also included with the $25 admission price. A few new exhibitors joined the fray this year, alongside some who have spent decades with the show.

If you missed it, here are some of the highlights of the diamond jubilee:

The Shaffer Family Ventriloquist and Musical Ensemble. Offered by Allan Katz Americana for purchase at $45,000 for the entire set (and with a red dot sold sticker beside it in just the first two nights), this trio of life-sized ventriloquist's puppets and traveling trunk was one of the most exciting pieces on display. The puppets were named Jerry Doyle, Dolly Day, and Sassafras Jones, created around 1875 for a touring musical troupe. The set is extraordinary in part because of the documentation that accompanies it, including a letter from the original ventriloquist's granddaughter, and a note from a show promoter.

Figural Lobster Clock. Delaney Antique Clocks had many beautifully-crafted tall case and wall clocks, including one with Tiffany glass, but the one that caught our eye, hidden on the back wall, was this clock in the form of a life-sized lobster. A rare clock of French origin, the body of the lobster was cast bronze and the clock face, on the lobster's back, was made of porcelain. Made around 1890 and measuring about 25 inches long, the clock was offered at $8600.

Tiffany Clematis Lamp. A regular contributor to the Winter Antiques Show and others at the Park Avenue Armory, Macklowe Gallery is known for their impressive collection of Tiffany lamps and decor. This table lamp, made around 1900 and signed both on base and shade by Tiffany Studios New York, featured lavender flowers amid lime green leaves, brightly coloring the surrounding area. Green gems at the top of the base helped to make the lamp stand out even more so.

Also on view, in recognition of the show's diamond jubilee, was an exhibition of diamond jewelry from the world's best jewelers, including a 43-carat diamond ring from Graff Diamonds, and a diamond stars and moons necklace from Tiffany & Co. One of the most impressive items in the small exhibition however, was a diamond and sapphire tiara once worn by Queen Victoria when she was in her 20's.

Check out our slideshow to see more highlights of the Winter Antiques Show 2014, and be sure to save the date for next year's show!

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