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Antiques & Collectibles Sales at Historic Hanna’s Town a collectors’ haven

October 26, 2018 GMT

Tastes in antiques have changed over the years, but there’s one mainstay -- having the same spot at Historic Hanna’s Town’s monthly sale.

For years, Bill Lightcap has set up his tables near the exit hawking his paper goods, ranging from catalogs to old books and signs.

“I have a lot of regular customers and they know where to go,” he said.

But this year has been especially tough for dealers and collectors with more rain than normal washing out the field at Historic Hanna’s Town, a Revolutionary War period settlement and site of the first English courts west of the Allegheny Mountains.

The six Antiques & Collectibles Sales run from May to October annually at the Hempfield site 3 miles north of Greensburg along Forbes Trail Road.

The sales serve as a major fundraiser for Westmoreland County Historical Society and typically attract between 600 to 1,000 customer vehicles.

“This year really has been terrible,” said John Mickinak, an antiques dealer and historical society board member.

On a chilly Sunday, dozens of people perused the goods ranging from old windows and picture frames to antique maps and furniture. Dealers and collectors made offers on items and a group of men shuttled out a small table with a marble top.

“It’s always been a lot of fun to come out here; you can find anything,” Mickinak said. “This has become a real tradition.”

Some of the people hawking their goods have been coming to the sale in Hempfield -- which wrapped up its 45th season Sunday -- for decades. Mickinak has been there for most of them.

He used to sell a lot of oak and Victorian furniture, but now customers are gravitating toward the mid-century modern style. It seems like customers are interested in decorative items and other pieces “that can be adaptively reused.”

“Generally, people come to buy accent pieces,” he said.

Railroad paperwork has become more popular in recent years for Lightcap. He’s noticed the customers at the sales are getting younger.

John Brodahl has, too, but he’s concerned the younger generation isn’t as interested in his antique maps and postcards of local places. Brodahl has been coming to the sale for 39 years to sell his collection.

“The biggest problem is that kids aren’t buying,” he said. “I think in 10 or 20 years, it’s not going to be a hobby at all.”