As in any other profession, antiques dealers can be “born” or “made,” but in Jim Kilvington’s case it was some of both!  Jim Kilvington grew up surrounded by his family’s antiques collection, and as an adult he acquired his own antique American furniture and smaller objects.  Opportunity knocked during the 1970s while Jim was working for the Maryland Historical Trust, where he was researching buildings for placement in the National Register of Historic Sites.  One year, the Trust inherited a large estate in Hagerstown, Maryland.  The estate included six houses, five of which were of an early age, filled with American antiques.  Jim was given the job of liquidating that collection, and in the process met and learned from some of the best known antiques collectors in the United States.  By 1978, he was inspired to take the plunge and became a full-time antiques dealer.

Today, Jim Kilvington is based in Dover, Delaware, where he works with private clients, helping them refine their collections of American and English period antiques and decorative arts.  Jim participates in 16 antiques shows per year, including the Philadelphia Antiques Show, the Delaware Antiques Show, the York Antiques Show, and the Chester County Historical Society James M. Kilvington, Inc. Antiques Show. According to Jim, one of his favorite things about The Main Line Antiques Show is the clientele:  “The Philadelphia/Delaware Valley area is probably the most active area for antiques in the United States. Many of the most knowledgeable collectors are based in this area, and so you are dealing with a high end sophisticated clientele.  It is hard to sell to someone that knows less than you, but easy to sell to someone that knows as much or more than you.” Jim has known many of our region’s most active collectors for decades.

Visitors to the James M. Kilvington Inc. booth at The Main Line Antiques Show this year can expect to see a mixture of items:  small English card tables and console tables; paintings; porcelains with Philadelphia scenes (including the Philadelphia Water Works); and Chinese Export porcelains, including Rose Mandarin, Rose Canton, and Canton patterns. Jim’s philosophy about the objects he finds and sells is that “I don’t necessarily care where/when an object was made – I look for good color, form, and original untouched condition.”