AGPC Regional Meeting re: Jigsaw Puzzles

September 28, 2002
National Arts Club, New York, New York

A Regional Meeting of the AGPC was held at the National Arts Club in NYC on Saturday, September 28, 2002. This actually was the sixth time since 1994 that Bob Armstrong along with several others from the AGPC organized a "puzzle parley" for jigsaw puzzle cutters, collectors, enthusiasts and dealers. Barry Benepe served as local coordinator. Thirty seven people participated for the day including Penny Melling and Andrew Kershaw who came all the way from England. Another 10 people including several members of the Arts Club stopped by for short periods to see what was going on and view and buy puzzles.

For most participants, the event actually started the night before with cocktails at the W Union Square Hotel followed by dinner at the Friend of the Farmer restaurant in the Union Square area of NYC. Saturday morning featured a round table discussion at the National Arts Club led by Melinda Shebell and Mark Cappitella focusing on issues involved with cutting jigsaw puzzles. Over the lunch hour at the Club, Mark Cappitella set up a scroll saw and demonstrated cutting techniques before a fascinated group of onlookers. Meanwhile, puzzles to display or to sell were set up all around the room, forming a colorful backdrop for the meeting.

The afternoon session began with Bob Armstrong showing slides of and explaining the 38 special techniques discussed in his article appearing in the March, June and September issues of the AGPC Quarterly. Anne Williams then discussed and presented slides of her research into the history of the Par Company, the "Rolls Royce of jigsaw puzzles." Some of the audience had attended specially to learn about Par puzzles. After Anne's remarks, the traditional "Show & Tell" session was held with many attendees showing off their favorite jigsaw puzzle. The afternoon session ended with Table Sales and the room awash in jigsaw puzzles, both old and new. Because nearly 20 attendees actually cut puzzles, Table Sales presented a rare opportunity to study and compare their work and buy what most appealed, as well as the usual opportunity to buy lots of old puzzles for our collections.

The day's activities closed with cocktails at Barry Benepe and Judith Spektor's apartment on Jane Street within walking distance of Union Square, followed by dinner at a local Chinese restaurant. Barry and Judith set out puzzles to view and to assemble as well as ample wine, and everyone could unwind after a full day's activities.

Our sincere thanks go to the meeting's organizers, presenters and participants. Without them, such events (the only meetings in the states devoted exclusively to jigsaw puzzles) would not be possible.

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