Antique dealer strives to preserve history, forge the past

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THE ART OF NAILS—Gerald Stevenson relishes the artwork of Dingbat, a local nail artist.

 

Gerald Stevenson has an eye for fine assets.

More than 30 years ago, before he moved to New Jersey and began a career in the antique business, he worked with youth and men dealing with addiction.  Populations of people that after time like antiques develop to have significant value. Forty years later offering a wealth of knowledge and charisma, Stevenson, known as one of the best antique dealers in the country, is operating an antique company in his home town; the Pittsburgh Antique Company.  

Always having an interest in antiques, Stevenson said he was introduced to the trade by way of his real estate investments. “When purchasing a property early in my career I found that the items left in the houses were more valuable than the property.”  Since then he has had the opportunity to learn to appraise antiques and collectables, has operated Bayside Antiques in the historic Gardiner’s Basin district of Atlantic City for 30 years enabling him to cultivate his knowledge while handling all aspects of the business.

“I enjoyed my time in New Jersey, I have had the opportunity to learn and accomplish a lot and have established great contacts, but it is time to return to my home base,” said Stevenson explaining why he has returned to Pittsburgh.

“My family is here,” he said indicating that he grew up with seven siblings and has three adult daughters and many relatives.

Stevenson spent his early days in the Arlington Heights community, attended Westinghouse High School as well as the former Conley School in the Hill District.  He attended the University of Pittsburgh, was employed at the former Whales Tales organization and the House of the Cross Roads. He says he owned his first antique shop on Ellsworth Avenue in Shadyside during the early 1970s before making his mark in New Jersey.

A part of the Atlantic City, N. J. scene prior to the height of its gambling days, Stevenson attended school to become a dealer and was among the first and the only African-Americans at that time to be a Baccarat card dealer at the Resort International Casino. Adding to the real estate he owned in Pittsburgh he purchased property in Atlantic City and became involved in community groups. He organized local property owners into a group, which acted as a liaison for property ownership and related legal issues and served as president of an organization that educated property owners about their rights and responsibilities. “I was in Atlantic City at the beginning of its casino days. At a time when it was just developing,” said Stevenson.  

As an antique dealer, the mission of the Pittsburgh Antique Company, like his New Jersey business is to preserve history and forge the past, utilizing modern technology to educate the customer and enhance the antique buying and selling experience, Stevenson said.

“Now that I am in Pittsburgh I am in the market for jazz memorabilia, art work by Selma Burke, signature art work, autographs, collectables, paintings, jewelry inclusive of watches, and entire estates,” he said.

He defines an antique as items 100 years or older, objects with historical significance, items designed by well-known or famous artists, and items with Colonial influences. He mentioned that Mid-century furniture is a hot item in today’s time.

With Pittsburgh toting a large senior citizens population, Stevenson has hopes to focus on estate services, cleanouts and downsizing.  “Often when loved ones pass away I am called to assist family members in sorting out items and to provide appraisals. I have traveled all over the country assisting people with arrangements for selling a loved one’s cherished treasures.”

Unlike his New Jersey space where he and his partners operated a 12,000 square foot facility classifying the American Antiques Company as the largest single point antiques store in the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut Tri-State Area, Stevenson plans to conduct business largely by way of the Internet. Currently based in Regent Square he says he operates by appointments. A few interesting items in his possession include art work by Dingbat a local nail artist, a Black Forest Clock from the Lord and Taylor estate a canvas painting by pop artist Knowledge Bennett, and an assortment of photographs of entertainers.

“Fine art paintings, oriental rugs, art glass, autographs, documents, sports memorabilia are items antique dealers are interested in. Items people think very little about or don’t realize they have,” said Stevenson. “My company can educate you on the value of your property or assist you in the buying and selling process. We are just a call away at 412-403-3997.

 

 

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