Springetts collector attracts ‘Antiques Roadshow’s’ Kenos

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Sal Ferrante, collector and seller of vintage Italian furniture, and son, Disma, are seen in the storage area of his Springettsbury Township business in this York Daily Record/Sunday News photo. Ferrante said the chandeliers (background) and other lighting fixtures are in particular demand. Background posts: Flag expert: ‘I was interested in my nation’s heritage’ and Upcoming events should attract York/Adams history buffs .

York countians are proud of their antiques.
In fact, close a big building in any town around the county nowadays, and an antique mall will move in. Look, for example, at what happened after Leader’s Furniture closed in Jacobus and Geiple’s in Glen Rock.
Those antique malls are good things, kind of unsung tourist promotion sites drawing bargain-hunters from all directions.
But ‘Antiques Roadshow’ recently bypassed these ubiquitous sites and set up tent in Springettsbury Township. There, they explored the vintage Italian collections of Salvatore Ferrante… .


Among other business ventures, Ferrante sells his treasures on eBay, a cottage business among many such home-based enterprises in York County.
Here’s a story published in the York Daily Record/Sunday News (2/25/08) telling about Ferrante’s antique venture and a visit from Leigh and Leslie Keno of ‘Antiques Roadshow:’

Salvatore Ferrante was surrounded by vintage Italian furniture and fixtures in his Springettsbury warehouse last week as he talked of his passion for an era that reminds him of his Sicilian upbringing.
He regularly travels to Europe to find mid-century Italian pieces, which he buys and sells.
But he describes his business as more of a vacation.
He’s also pretty well-known, mostly through word-of-mouth, as the guy who finds extraordinary items.
That reputation attracted the attention of Leigh Keno and his identical twin, Leslie.
The brothers are American antiques experts, authors, and known for their appearances as appraisers on the PBS series “Antiques Roadshow.”
Earlier this month, the Kenos were in Springettsbury Township to see Ferrante and his treasures.
“My brother and I had heard of Sal and the wonderful things he finds. . . . I happen to love Italian design,” Leigh Keno said last week.
He also said he plans to keep in touch with Ferrante and hopes to do business with him in the future.
“He truly is the Italian connection. . . . He’s able to find great things.”
Ferrante said the Kenos purchased two vintage Fontana Arte coffee tables from his collection.
He also said he took the Kenos to his Springettsbury Township restaurant, Bel Paese Italian Ristorante.
“People recognized them,” Ferrante said of the brothers.
Ferrante, 50 — who moved to the U.S. in 1979 — said his appreciation for vintage Italian furniture started when he was young.
“I grew up with some of this stuff,” he said. “We didn’t have the expensive stuff but we had copies of it. . . . Italian design is always spectacular.”
He said he has furniture contacts across Europe who provide him leads.
“What makes this different . . . is it was daring for its time,” he said, and talked of lines, legs, shapes and curves in the furniture.
Some of Ferrante’s pieces have ended up in the homes of celebrities including Brad Pitt and Robert De Niro, he said.
“Word of mouth has been so strong,” Ferrante said. “I put a few things on eBay. . . . I import these items from Italy every year. I speak the language. It is easy for me.”
His customers include collectors, architects, interior designers and galleries — mostly in metropolitan areas including Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Miami. He also deals internationally in countries including France, Germany and England.
“We do not operate like retail stores. . . . I cover a broad range from inexpensive to designer. I have all kinds of customers . . . galleries, that’s why I cover so much.”
He also researches the background — including the designer — of many of the pieces he buys and sells.
“You never know what stories you’re gonna hear,” he said. “To me, I love the parts of meeting people, talking to people. . . . I enjoy the discovery and the connection. You never know what you’re gonna find. It’s exciting.”


ON THE WEB

To learn more about the mid-century Italian furniture that Salvatore Ferrante buys and sells, visit his eBay user ID at ci-voleva.

About Jim McClure

Editor of the York Daily Record/Sunday News, ydr.com and its many digital products. East Region Editor, Digital First Media. Journalism/history blogger: yorktownsquare.com. Author or co-author of seven York County, Pa., history books.
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