NASHVILLE, TENN. — Three shows in the same week again filled America’s Music City with country antiques and Americana in three venues — Hendersonville Expo, Opryland USA and Fiddlers Inn. Produced by three different antiques show promoters, the three events each showcased these categories with an expansion in the styles to include some of the latest trends in home décor and collections.
Chronologically, the trio opened with Fiddlers Inn Antiques Show on February 13, Tailgate-Music Valley Antiques Show opened the following morning and Heart of Country Antiques Show opened February 14 with an evening preview party. All closed late afternoon on February 16.
Fiddlers Inn Antiques Show
Fiddlers Inn Antiques Show is at a motel by the same name roughly across the street from Marriott Opryland USA Resort and Conference Center. This show, now in its fifth year, was started by Emerson Events after Tailgate-Music Valley changed its location. Hosting about 70 dealers in outside entry motel rooms, the show offered collections dominated by early country antiques.
Period Antiques, Scottsburg, Ind., offered a collection of early smalls, including a selection of pantry boxes in original surfaces, some in paint; several interesting boxes, miniature blanket chests and early textiles. Owners Rose and Tom Cheap have combined roots in Maine as well as Indiana, so their travels take them to many sources for shopping.
Mary Ayers and Jill Peterson, Pepperell, Mass., sharing a room at the show, had made it over to resemble the interior of a pilgrim’s cabin — all the better to show their collection of early primitives.
Amana, Iowa, dealer Dale Frese was selling very well from his collection, which included several miniature chests and small boxes. Among his early sales was a 16-drawer apothecary that had been stripped of several coats of old paint.
Fiddlers Inn Antiques Show co-manager Doug Supinger reported good shopping from their first opening Wednesday morning through Saturday afternoon in spite of inclement weather during several days of the show.
Tailgate-Music Valley Antiques Show
Tailgate-Music Valley Antiques Show opened on the morning of February 14 with more than 300 people waiting to shop the 140 dealers exhibiting at Hendersonville Expo, the northern suburb of Nashville. Here the show featured traditional antiques and a small section devoted to trendy vintage collections.
Sales at the show were very good, according to many of the exhibitors. Matthew Ehresman, Wadsworth, Ohio, was selling from his collection of early primitive home furnishings in good quantity, and said that sales immediately after the show substantially increased his total.
Ted Fuehr, American Spirit Antiques, Shawnee Mission, Kan., came with a supply of early tiger maple furniture, his specialty. While reporting that furniture sales were “slow,” he did sell many smalls, including four of the five samplers he brought and a pair of portraits attributed to the Sturtevant family of Massachusetts, circa 1815–30.
The show was “good for us,” according to Sue Hartman, East Bridgewater, Mass., who added, “We sold tons of smalls, firkins, several mortar and pestles and a pair of early iron gates.”
Centralia, Ill., exhibitor Kim Logan sold early furniture, including several one-of-a-kind cupboards. One that went on the first morning was in old blue paint with one side short, about 3 feet tall and the other side about 5 feet tall, resembling a cobbler’s bench on the short side, perhaps some special workbench.
Traveling from Yeagertown, Penn., Robert Conrad said he believed the show was well worth the trip. His sales were ”really good.” The show began with a Kentucky customer “falling in love with my pie safe, showing all original tins, no repairs with traces of the original red milk paint, rubbed into a fine patina.” Sales also included a punched tin coffeepot, rooster weathervane, another vane, a checkerboard, a hutch table and many more smalls.
“Vintage,” show manager Jon Jenkins called it, to emphasize that part of the show. Featured were speakers and special programs, including author Sue Whitney showing how to decorate with salvaged materials. For the center of Vintage, she collected furnishings for sale from various dealers and made a patio-like sitting area, and also a breakfast room. The results were so popular she had to continue to replace pieces as the merchandise was selling right out of the exhibit.
Jenkins announced the date for the next show will be October 31–November 2 at Hendersonville again.
Heart Of Country Antiques Show
Susan Kramer Hunkins continued the tradition begun by her mother Elizabeth Kramer more than 30 years ago with Heart of Country Antiques Show at Marriott Opryland USA Resort and Convention Center on the east side of Nashville February 14–16. The show offers collections emphasizing early Americana and country antiques, which are the hallmark of its many years of operation.
Mary deBuhr has been exhibiting at one of the Nashville shows for most years with Heart as her venue this time. The Downers Grove, Ill., dealer was especially pleased with her results this time, selling “a lot of the wood I brought!” Seen in her exhibit just before the show’s preview opening, she reported selling an early primitive bench or sofa, a sawbuck table, wing chair and blue hanging cupboard along with a good deal of smalls. “In fact, I sold eight case pieces and the smalls for a great total,” she said.
David White, White’s Nautical of Yarmouth, Maine, sold from his early collection of seafaring antiques. Among his favorite pieces were early ships models and some pond boats.
City Mouse Country Mouse, Cincinnati, Ohio, does much of its buying in England to find those little things that would have been in a house in America 200 years ago. Nan Donovan, one of the partners, said they did really well, selling the concrete lawn dogs immediately after the opening and “a little bit of everything throughout the show.”
Bill Kee from Atlanta, Ga., was exhibiting for the first time and said he believed beginners luck was with him. While he did not sell out, his sales included several good early pieces of American furniture and art.
Heart of Country Antiques Show has always had a special booth with antiques offered by all the exhibiting dealers for a low price. The maximum price now for any object is $200, but 30 years ago it was less, a sign of the times, the staff conceded. This booth is, for many customers, the first place to go on preview night after getting a glass of the wine, for there are often finds to be made here.
Heart of Country is only once a year and for 2014, look for it in the second weekend of February.