AGPC Regional Meeting On Jigsaw and Mechanical Puzzles

November 11, 2000 to November 12, 2000
Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah, NY

A Regional Meeting of the American Game and Puzzle Collectors (AGPC) was held In Katonah, NY on November 11-12, 2000, in conjunction with an important exhibition of jigsaw and mechanical puzzles at the Katonah Museum of Art. The exhibition was curated by Anne Williams and Jerry Slocum, leading authorities on jigsaw and mechanical puzzles, respectively.

Over 65 jigsaw puzzle cutters, collectors, dealers and enthusiasts attended the meeting, whch was organized by Bob Armstrong. Activities commenced Friday evening for early arrivals at the Holiday Inn in nearby Mt Kisco, when 20 participants "occupied" the hotel dining room for drinks, dinner, introductions and good conversation. The group was having so much fun that they were reluctant to sit down for dinner!

Saturday day activities commenced in a large meeting room at the Hotel which had been set up with display tables all around the perimeter and round and square tables arranged in the center of the room to facilitate open discussion as well as for selling puzzles later. The morning session was led by Mark Cappitella and focused on issues of cutting jigsaw puzzles with 25 cutters in the group able to converse with each other across the center table arrangement. After a buffet lunch served in the room, the afternoon session featured in succession: Joe Seymour presenting his 18th and 19th century puzzles, Gus & Marty Trowbridge their 1909 era puzzles, and Bob Armstrong puzzles primarily from the first half of the 20th century. Discussion focused on what it was about the puzzles displayed which qualified them as "core collection puzzles". Bob Armstrong then talked about how he restores old puzzles from replacement pieces down to the smallest knobs, showing examples, tools and materials. The afternoon session ended with "table sales" and the room literally filled with old and new puzzles for sale. Handout materials included a list of attendees, an outline of the morning’s discussion of cutting issues, a list of suppliers of tools and materials for making puzzles, a summary of the copyright laws affecting puzzle cutters, and an outline of how to restore old puzzles. Copies of handouts are available upon request from Bob Armstrong for a fee of $2 ( Saturday evening activities started with a cocktail party at the home of Mary Lou & Ira Alpert in nearby Yorktown with their magnificent collections of jigsaw and mechanical puzzles, board games and artwork on display. Following this, we all went to Miraggio’s Restaurant for a wonderful Italian dinner served family style.

Sunday activities focused on the current exhibition of jigsaw and mechanical puzzles at the Katonah Musem of Art organized by Mary Lou Alpert and curated by Anne Williams and Jerry Slocum. It began with tours of the exhibition followed by a panel discussion moderated by Will Shortz, cross-word editor of the New York Times and National Public Radio presenter of word games on NPR weekend talk format. For the panel, Anne Williams showed movie clips depicting jigsaw puzzles as part of the scene, Bob Armstrong talked about the impact of on the world of buying, collecting and selling j igsaw puzzles, Harold Raizer showed slides of his premier tangram collection, and Stuart Coffin displayed slides of beautiful mechanical puzzles which he has designed and constructed over the years. The afternoon featured demonstrations of jigsaw puzzle cutting in the Museum lobby organized by Mark Cappitella with Amy Scott, Melinda Shebell, Lynn Mankin, John Stokes, Jay Bogart and Steve Malavolta cutting actual puzzles in front of crowds of interested Museum visitors.

The universal comment was, "What a terrific weekend!" Everyone is now looking forward to the next AGPC jigsaw puzzle meeting, probably in the year 2002.

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