Photo by Eliesa Johnson
NO. 3 | TONY SCORNAVACCO
Meet the dapper man behind Anthony Scornavacco Antiques, a shop only 2 years old and decades in the making. When Nakashian-O'Niel closed in St. Paul, Scornavacco knew he had to restore the beautiful space inside and out, from the storefront's handmade gold lettering to continuing to offer Christmas ornaments, which always drew generations of shoppers to the locale. But mostly, this is his space to display his love and collection of 17th and 18th century antiques, lighting, furniture, and jewelry. Having travelled the world and done antique shows for 40 years, he's acquired a sparkling mass. And inside, these gems are finally for sale with price tags ranging from $50 to $50,000. On the other side of the river, Scornavacco also does 90 percent of the appraising at H & B Gallery, a 35-year-old institution for estate sales and consignment, garnering a loyal league of devotees including Josh Hartnett and Nate Berkus.
This deep passion for collecting began at age 11, Scornavacco says. "I lived with '50s cha-cha lamps in our house, and one day my grandfather's trunk came to our house when he passed," he says. "Nothing special was in it, nothing of interest, but it captured me." He put himself through school buying and selling, and rather than becoming an art teacher, he sought out rare paintings and took to the show circuit.
Over the years he admits he fell in love with many items and still gets equally excited over a rare teaspoon as he does an exquisite piece of art. When he was diagnosed with throat cancer he had to let go of a very special painting he'd held onto for years. But he does not experience seller's remorse. "I'm a dealer and that's the way it goes. I get to romance these things for a while, and then it's time to go," he says. "I'm just the caretaker."
23 W. 6th St., St. Paul, 651-222-0046, anthonyscornavacco.com