On July 4, 1976, the country’s Bicentennial, the door to the Olde Hope Shoppe opened to business in New Hope, Pennsylvania. Two young men in their early 20’s, Edwin Hild and Patrick Bell, had decided to try their hand at the retail business of selling antiques in a town long known for such enterprises. Both had come out of academic backgrounds: Patrick from the department of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania and Edwin from an English Lit background with a plan to enter teaching. But a shared interest in antiques and decorative arts soon altered their intended career paths.
The 1974 exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art, “The Flowering of American Folk Art”, jump-started collecting interest in that material and the landmark sale of the Stewart Gregory collection at Sotheby Parke Bernet in 1979 ignited a passion for American folk art and painted furniture in Bell and Hild. This led to a concentrated study of museum collections and available literature on the subject along with the mentorship of experienced collectors in the field. Olde Hope Antiques, Inc. became an active participant in the exploding market in Americana, exhibiting at numerous shows from Texas to Maine, while maintaining an open shop in the New Hope area.
In September of 2001, it was time for a change and the business moved to “Peaceable Farm” where clients are met by appointment. And in 2013, a location on the Upper East Side of New York City was established for meeting with clients there as well, conveniently near the Park Avenue Armory, location of the Winter Antiques Show where the firm exhibited for 23 years. The New York presence has expanded with the opening of a gallery at 115 East 72nd Street, with designated hours and special exhibitions.
Today Olde Hope is recognized as a leading source for exceptional examples of American folk and decorative arts and maintains one of the largest and finest inventories in the country.