The biggest week in New York City for serious antiques collectors is near the end of January. There are six major shows--the Winter Antiques Show, Folk Art Show, Pier Shows, Antiques at the Armory, Metropolitan Show, and Ceramics Fair--plus others. Going on at the same time are major auctions by Christie's, Sotheby's, and Doyle and this year the grand opening of the Metropolitan Museum's Duncan Phyfe exhibit. I braved the New York weather for four days. Sales at the Folk Art and Winter Antiques shows were strong, although prices seemed high to a Midwest shopper. But apparently not to the buyers--the very best sells well today at all shows and auctions. Sotheby's auction set records for a 1756 shell-carved chest of drawers by John Townsend ($3,554,500), an 1807 needlework sampler made in New Jersey ($1,070,500), and an 1849 gold inlaid and engraved Colt model pocket revolver ($1,070,500). Christie's sold a first edition "Birds of America" by Audubon for $7,922,500. Go to the events even if you can't afford the antiques. You can talk to dealers, learn history, and touch the rare items offered for sale. Turn them over, open drawers, feel the weight and learn things you never can at a museum. I bought a mysterious, unmarked, parian figurine of a seated fox dressed like a man for $325 (picture report of the shows will appear in Kovels on Antiques and Collectibles newsletter soon).