David and Lee Ann Lester promised big things from their first art fair hosted out of a refurbished Albertson’s shopping market in North Naples.
And by Tuesday, at the 6 p.m. close of the four-day Naples International Art & Antique Fair, it was clear they had delivered.
“I’m exhausted and exhilarated,” said Jacqueline Smelkinson, of Moylan/Smelkinson, a dealer of porcelain and antique jewelry. “Every day there was a line of people waiting to come into the show, and there was never a letup. We did very well. I think the show has enormous potential.”
By some accounts, the show is already fulfilling that potential. Smelkinson said she deals mostly in smaller items with a median range of $3,000 to $5,000, and while she had plenty of those sales, many dealers with six- and seven-figure items saw stratospheric sales.
M.S. Rau Antiques, based in New Orleans, sold an original Norman Rockwell painting for $2.7 million and an 1889 Jean-Leon Gerome painting for $1.4 million.