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Find Hidden Treasures at Darien Antiques Show

DARIEN, Conn. – While browsing through displays of sparkling jewelry, handmade furniture and dazzling paintings at the 45th Annual Darien Antiques Show on Saturday, Carol Ann Bender spotted a 19th-century mirrored ladies dressing box made in China.

“I’ve been going to antique shows my whole life, and that is a really cool antique,” said Bender of Norwalk, pointing to the sturdy rosewood dressing box and its small cabinets while catching a glimpse of herself in the mirror.

“I just may buy it,” she said as she checked out other items on display from the Griswold Street Antiques of Glastonbury. “Everything here is so cool.”

The Glastonbury antiques shop is among 35 exhibitors taking part this weekend in the three-day show at the First Congregational Church of Darien, 14 Brookside Road. It concludes Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Antiques, jewelry and coins can be appraised at the show Sunday between noon and 2 p.m.

“I love this show so much I drove down from my home in Old Saybrook,” said 78-year-old Hansje Hill, a former Darien resident and antiques dealer who operated a booth at the show for more than 20 years.

“There aren’t many shows left like this one, and it’s more fun to visit than work,” said Hansje, who bought some antique tiles from Cathy and Chester Cwilichoski of Ansonia, who sell furniture, paintings and accessories.

Hill also was intrigued by a handmade wooden Civil War-era children’s chair from the 1860s that Chester Cwilichoski said is made out of mahogany and modeled after an adult-size version used by President Abraham Lincoln in the White House.

“History buffs love these kinds of items,” said Cwilichoski. “They also make great decorative pieces for the home.”

Many of the more than 400 people who visited the show Saturday couldn’t take their eyes off the Fine Arts displays, which included 19th- and 20th-century paintings. “I love the scenes of New England and of the sea,” said Barbara Hill of New Canaan, looking over paintings in the display booth at Adelaide Fine Art of Darien.

“We’ve been getting a lot of great feedback like that all day,” said Adelaide Fine Art Director Ann Marenakos. She said the display includes works by numerous artists from the 1800s to 1950s.

The largest of those arts works, “Pink Rose,” is a large portrait of a woman from the early 1900s wearing a velvet green dress with piercing, determined eyes. The artist’s name is Adelaide Cole Chase.

“This is an example of the kinds of amazing pieces we have that people can buy for a fraction of what it will someday be worth,” said the show’s co-manager Patricia Hedlund.  Although this painting's price is $12,000, Hedlund said she believes it will be “hanging in some Manhattan art gallery a few years from now with an asking price of $150,000."

“The only reason it’s so inexpensive now is that the artist is a woman,” said Hedlund. “But it is a striking portrait and will greatly increase in value.”

The Antiques Show, staffed and managed by volunteers from the congregation, is a fundraiser for more than 20 local charities in Fairfield County. Show leaders said they expect to raise about $30,000.

For more information, visit www.darienantiqueshow.org .

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