May 23, 2018

Superb Selection of Antiques and Collectibles Available at Mahbubeh’s Antiques in Hopewell

TRIED AND TRUE: “You try to please your audience. We offer a little bit of everything: furniture, glassware, china, silver, jewelry, linens, and more.” Mahbubeh Stave, owner of Mahbubeh’s Antiques in Hopewell, is shown beside a table setting with vintage glassware and dishes in a springtime display.

By Jean Stratton

For those who appreciate something different, an item with a story to tell, a history, and something with quality craftsmanship and taste, Mahbubeh’s Antiques in Hopewell offers an intriguing selection. Antiques, collectibles, and vintage pieces are all on display in a welcoming, uncrowded setting.

“I enjoy the presentation,” explains owner Mahbubeh Stave. “I do all the displays myself. I don’t want the store to be too crowded, and I want customers to have a nice space to walk around and be able to look at everything.”

And there is everything!

Over the years, Mahbubeh has had the ability and opportunity to discover and identify fine quality antiques and vintage pieces.

“I have been interested in antiques and their history for a long time. My father was an archaeologist, and I saw the value of what is lying under the earth. I am drawn to discovering nice things.”

Classical Music

It was not antiques, but music that brought Mahbubeh to the U.S., however. Born in Iran, she came to New York in 1951 to study music. “In Iran, I fell in love with classical music, and I came to the U.S. and studied at the Manhattan School of Music.”

She also met her husband in New York. George Stave, an American artist of Norwegian ancestry, who became known for his skill in oils. A section of the store serves as a gallery for many of his paintings.

Eventually the couple moved to Cranbury, and Mahbubeh later became involved with the Antiques Emporium in Hopewell.

“The children were grown, and the owner of the Emporium asked if I’d like to to work with her. I enjoyed the work, and she said I had a good eye for antiques. I started part-time with her in the mid-1960s.”

She opened her own store in the 70s, and had five locations in Hopewell before establishing the current location at 35 West Broad Street.

“What I especially like about antiques is that they are a way to connect with the past, with history,” remarks Mahbubeh. “The workmanship in antiques is excellent. There was an artistry in creating them.”

Fine Antiques

The quest to discover fine antiques is an art in itself, and Mahbubeh’s search has taken her to house sales, auctions, and flea markets. In addition, people often bring items to the store for her consideration.

The selection is extensive, including furniture, glassware, china, silver, jewelry, linens, and a variety of miscellaneous items.

Mirrors are not only functional, they are decorative, and can add new dimension and a distinctive look to a room. Of particular interest is an Italian trumeau vintage mirror, featuring gilt frame and painted panel above the glass, an elegant addition to the decor of the home.

Another specialty is an American trumeau mirror from the Federal period (1780-1830), also with gilt frame and a reverse painting at the top, a fine piece representative of a time in early American history.

Mahbubeh’s attractive displays often feature tables arranged with a variety of dishes, glassware, and cups and saucers. Included is a selection of beautiful French oyster plates, small Irish Belleek pitchers, bowls and dishes, lovely vases, and assorted cut glass pieces, including decanters and cordial glasses.

Bottles have been a popular collectible over the years, and Mahbubeh offers an interesting display of assorted sized bottles placed near a painting featuring bottles. She believes this can give customers suggestions in arranging a grouping of their own collection of bottles.

Vintage Jewelry

Furniture includes a variety of pieces, with a handsome Victorian love seat of hand-carved walnut, a standout. It would be an impressive addition to a library or living room.

The selection of vintage jewelry includes bracelets, necklaces, brooches, and earrings in many styles. Of special interest is the collection of clip earrings, which are often hard to find today.

An assortment of embroidered and appliquéd handkerchiefs will also please those who know how hard it can be to find those in stores now. Mahbubeh’s selection is lovely, including hand-done cotton and linen from France, Switzerland, and Madeira, Portugal.

Everything from vintage postcards and pictures to candlesticks, butter picks, lemon and olive forks to a fascinating collection of electrified kerosene lamps will catch the eye of those who come to browse and to buy.

In addition, the store offers a special selection of afghans, many made by an area artisan. “These are lovely and very high quality, all in different colors, patterns, and sizes,” points out Mahbubeh. “They would make a wonderful wedding gift.”

Mahbubeh has had, and continues to have, many regular customers who appreciate the special pleasure of finding quality, often one-of-a-kind antiques. She also notes, however, that interest in antiques has diminished somewhat in recent times.

Special History

“The desire to find beautiful things is not as important to people as it once was. There is not as much gracious living today. There seems to be less interest in collecting things. Maybe people are in too much of a hurry, and, of course, tastes change.”

But, as she adds, there will always be those who will value the special history and fine workmanship of an extraordinary antique. “We can all take pleasure in looking at something and thinking about who made it, who owned it, and seeing how it was made. I enjoy talking with the people who come in and sharing this information with them. I look forward to continuing to offer a wonderful collection for customers. And, always, I am energized by the store!”

Mahbubeh is also pleased to offer a gallery of her late husband’s paintings in a section of the store. These oils on canvas are available for sale, and exemplify particularly lovely color combinations, use of light, and a sense of intimacy.

An especially charming shop, Mahbubeh’s Antiques is filled with many intriguing items. In addition, the owner’s expertise and knowledge, which she willingly shares with customers, enhances a visit to the store. The wide price range is another plus, with many items at very reasonable cost.

The store is open Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday 11 to 5. (609) 466-6799. Gallery website: