Monroe Coldren Antiques’ origins and history are a Chester County success story. Current owner Tim Coldren’s late father Monroe Coldren founded Monroe Coldren Antiques over 50 years ago. Born and raised in West Chester, Chester County, young Monroe Coldren frequently hunted deer and other animals as a source of food. During those hunting expeditions, he often ran across discarded objects, and became particularly fascinated with collecting old hardware. The first piece he found was a Queen Anne plate latch. After returning from his service in World War II, where he served with General Patton’s Armored Division, he started a business in his basement, supplying top antiques dealers with period brasses, latches and other hardware. By 1960 Monroe Coldren had established a shop in an 1820’s-era house on Virginia Avenue in West Chester, and by 1971 had expanded the business to include sales of antique architectural elements such as mantlepieces and doors.
Monroe ColdrenToday, as Tim Coldren says, Monroe Coldren Antiques is “like a wheel, with many spokes” in terms of the diversity of its offerings. Those offerings include one of the largest collections of original period hardware (such as locks, latches, hinges) in the United States, original 18th and 19th century hand-blown window glass, full service house restoration, metals restoration and consulting, custom made items to order, and access to a broad network of trustworthy preservationists. “If you supply a client with the right merchandise restored and installed properly then you have a good warranty” notes Tim, who confidently guarantees his work for 150 years! Monroe Coldren Antiques supplied the period hardware for Independence Hall, the City Tavern, several rooms in Winterthur, Historic Sugartown, and numerous other historic buildings and homes.
This year marks the third year Monroe Coldren Antiques has participated in The Main Line Antiques Show. When asked what he most likes about the show, Tim Coldren says “The Show is well established, with a diversified group of dealers that complement each other, and the committee and volunteers are over the top!”
So what will Tim Coldren bring to The Main Line Antiques Show this year? In addition to smaller items like wall hangings and metal objects such as candlesticks and andirons, Tim is bringing a very exciting piece of furniture that is entirely new to the market. The piece was commissioned by a Quaker family in 1817, made in West Chester, Chester County, has remained with descendants of the original family, is fully documented, and is even signed in four places. Provenance like that is hard to improve upon! You can see this special example of early 19th century Chester County furniture maker’s art at its debut in the Monroe Coldren Antiques booth# 10 at The Main Line Antiques Show 2013.