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Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Original American Picker


The History Channel’s American Pickers show chronicles the traveling exploits of Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz of Antique Archaeology on their quest to find highly collectible antiques for resale.
While the concept has revitalized an interest in antiques, the concept is not a new one to Stephen “Steve” Gano and the Randolph Rose family. That’s because Gano has been traveling the world for more than 50 years, amassing one of the largest Asian art and antiques collections in the country for Far Eastern Antiques, a business whose holdings include Manhattan and Florida showrooms and a Yonkers-based warehouse.
Making Their Start
The story of Far Eastern Antiques begins with Steve’s military service in Thailand. He would purchase antiques in the Thai villages where he was stationed, sending them back to his aunt’s Greenwich Village-based antiques store. When he returned to America, he began selling the antiques in a Manhattan-based shop and in the Yonkers-based home he converted into an art gallery.
In an early 1970s summer, Steve asked his cousin Randolph Rose, a teacher at the time, to watch his showrooms as he went on a buying trip. Rose saw the potential for the business. When Steve returned, they partnered together with Steve as the buyer and Randolph as the salesman.
The Rose Family proudly runs Far Eastern Antiques
The partners were the perfect personality complements for each other, according to Austin Rose, Randolph’s son, who now helps to run the business alongside his family. Randolph is the outgoing salesman who’s always wearing a smile while Steve is the quiet, mild-mannered procurer of items.
“Steve has a great eye for everything to do with Asian antiques,” Austin Rose says. “He has an almost photograph-like memory for items and the ability to recognize high-quality, historic pieces.”
As the business grew, Steve continued to travel to China, Japan, Thailand, Indonesia and India. Adopting the “freestyle” techniques of the American Pickers, he would build relationships with vendors and residents of smaller towns, going into villages to purchase the rarest of items, including antiques from burial digs.
Taking History Home
The Yonkers-based warehouse houses thousands of antiques.
While Far Eastern Antiques started as a small business, it has outgrown nearly every building it occupied. The store was initially open only to those in the “trade” or design business, outfitting homes with beautiful and rare Asian art. Today, the Manhattan showroom exists along with the real showstopper that is the Yonkers warehouse, which features more than 70,000 square feet of merchandise spread across several floors. The warehouse is just a short, 20-minute train ride from Manhattan.
“When you walk in, it’s hard not to feel like a kid in a candy store,” Austin says. “When designers come in, they are almost in shock at the beauty and volume of antiques collected over the years.”
Far Eastern Antiques offers a variety of art and furniture.
With almost 50 years in the Asian art and antiques business, Far Eastern Antiques now has quite the history itself. The warehouse and showrooms are now open to the public. Collections include every imaginable decorative and furnishing item, including cabinets, chests, tables, screens, sculptures, trunks, tables, seating and ceramics. Even if you can’t make it to one of the destinations, you can shop the company’s online collections.
“We are the ultimate destination for those with a love of Far Eastern antiques,” Austin says. “It’s like our own Antiques Roadshow, filled with the most amazing antiques and furnishings imaginable.”
Visit http://www.fareasternantiques.com to view the collections and for more information. Far Eastern Arts & Antiques’ New York City Showroom is located at 799 Broadway at 11th Street, New York, NY. Call (212) 460-5030 to reach this location. The Yonkers Warehouse is located at 500 Nepperhan Avenue, and you can call (914) 423-2047 or (800) 462-5851 to reach this location.