I find myself extraordinarily saddened by the passing of legendary antiques dealer, Stephen Score. Now don’t worry, this isn’t yet another loss of a friend, I knew him only in passing many years ago. Maybe it’s because I am a bit sensitive about things these days but I was just so struck when I read of his passing. We were lucky enough to do a few antique shows with him years ago. It was luck because we were so far down the food chain of antiques that we barely existed compared to his elevated status. He could not have been more kind and egalitarian however.
We met him at the late Delafield Antiques Show in Wisconsin. I remember my beloved Jim Eyre telling me, “Oh, yes, you want to do that show,” when I showed him the paperwork the promoter had left with of us. We always did what Jim told us to do so off we went to Delafield. It might have been at setup that we sold a collection of folk art wooden tulips to him. Well, actually we sold them to somebody else (Geri McCormick maybe?) but they were still in our booth. When he asked about them we chatted for a bit and then sent him off to Geri. He bought them from her but I still count them as our sale to Stephen Score. I couldn’t wait to tell my mother. Stephen SCORE. I mean, he was the real deal as they say, he was big time.
Later in the show, he came by our booth to tell us that he had to leave the show early because his son was ill. The tulips were long gone from our booth, he had no need to come by to tell us. He just seemed to be a true gentleman. We sent him on with our concerned best wishes.
The next time we saw him we asked about his son and his face lit up. He assured us that he was fine. He told us about how he displayed the tulips at a show and how quickly they sold. When we showed up with baby Leo at a show, he was utterly smitten with him and carried him around, cooing at him a bit. He told me that he went to an auction after his son was born and had to leave to go change his diaper. When he got back he found he’d missed the cupboard he’d come for. He told me no auction house ever saw his son again until he was grown.
We did a couple of other shows with him and he came through the Sandwich market with his wife once. She was as charming as he was and they made a stunning pair. I remember grumbling about customers with him one slow, hot Woodstock show. I remember the blown glass cakestand make-do that made its way through several dealers at setup there and landed in his booth. Lucky little cakestand.
I actually hadn’t thought of him in a long time but he showed up on my Instagram a year or so ago and his feed was utterly delightful. Truly. I realized my instinctive response to him had been correct. He was smart and funny, whimsical, true to himself and of course he had a hell of an eye.
Deep, deep sympathies to his wife and son as it was clear just through our passing experiences with him that he utterly adored them. I get the sense he will be remembered with love by many.