MILFORD, N.H. — Jack Donigian opened his New Hampshire Antiques Week edition of his Milford Antiques Show at 8:30 Sunday morning August 4, with more than 70 exhibiting dealers showing their quickly organized inventories. The show site, Hampshire Hills Sports and Fitness Club, only opens its doors about 7 am for the dealers to unload their stocks, so “the picking for the early morning crowd is very fresh, because the dealers don’t have much time to really shop what is there,” Donigian said. For many years, he has taken pride in the offerings from his dealers, touting them as fresh, not shopworn antiques and early collectibles.
This show has many regulars — dealers set up here with the latest additions to their collections for the Antiques Week show. Greg Hamilton of Stone Block Antiques, Vergennes, Vt., is one such dealer. His collection filled four spaces with furniture, art and fine early silver. The early silver is a primary feature of his collection. Sales for him may been the highest dollar total of any dealer in the show, with some of the art and even a funky stuffed fish, about 4 feet long, offered.
Norman McCulloch is another regular exhibitor at Milford. He has been an antiques dealer and auctioneer with an auction gallery in Hingham, Mass., for decades, although it is now run by his son. Here, he was showing and selling smalls from the opening of the show, with silver and militaria among his best sales. Also finding a new home early in the show was a late Nineteenth Century oversize quilt in cotton, made with solid and print fabrics.
For her first sale of the day, Karen Vincent, a Greenfield, N.H., dealer, sold an early sled with a hand painted top of a still life of flowers. Her other antiques include Nineteenth Century toys, dolls and art.
Brian Shea, Saugus, Mass., has a regular space in the hall, just inside the loading door. Among his collected pieces was a mirror in gold leaf frame by Thulman of Boston, circa 1900, and also an early American painting, a portrait of a woman in oil on canvas.
Mike Coffey is not a regular show dealer, but keeps a shop in nearby Pepperell, Mass. In fact, he said this was his first show in more than 40 years. His inventory was taken from the shop and included several hooked rugs, some furniture from the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries and a good number of small things; he was trying to determine what would be the best sellers at the show now and the future.
Vermonter Joe Martin from Brownington frequently seems to be able to find slightly off beat and unique pieces for the shows he does. This month he was at Milford with an early, strut-winged monoplane model made of wood, probably from an old weathervane or whirligig.
There was a pair or early iron garden chairs in Bud Tully’s collection. While they did not sell at this show, he did sell from his collection of earthenware and silver. A regular at Donigian’s shows, Tully is from Dunstable, Mass.
Silver flatware was available in large quantities from many dealers in the show. Mario Gauthier, Auburn, Mass., was offering a showcase full, while Art Bennett, Waitsfield, Vt., was offering hollowware and even several pieces in Old Sheffield plate. Bennett was also offering several Nineteenth Century American oils on canvas portraits. Easter Hill Antiques of Sharon, Conn., was showing several tabletop showcases filled with silver flatware.
Toys and dolls were offered at several of the exhibitors booths. Elizabeth Kingsley from Contoocook, N.H., presented a small collection of Mammy rag dolls. Cheryl York-Cail from Amherst, N.H., had several Nineteenth Century pull toys, toy animal farms and doll-sized porch furniture. From Shrewsbury, Mass., Tony Caputo brought several Steiff teddy bears.
Stephen Cyr was showing a primitive early American tavern table along with smalls. The Salisbury, Mass., antiques dealer is also an active auctioneer in Salisbury and New Hampshire.
The Milford Antiques Show, due to its very quick setup, short duration and fast pack out, is dominated by small antiques. For example, John Tracy brought a large collection of Shaker pantry boxes and firkins from his Fall River, Mass., home. Arriving early from Cambridge, Mass., Wayne Barron was showing a collection of paintings in several medias, rugs and several Shaker boxes.
The next show will be on Sunday, September 1, just before Brimfield’s week of antiques shows. Admission is $5 for the 8:30 am opening, and free after 9:30 am. It closes at 11 am. Hampshire Hills Sports and Fitness Club is at 30 Emerson Road. Donigian’s winter series begins October 20, and continues every Sunday through the end of March. There will also be shows on the Sundays preceding Brimfield and New Hampshire Antiques Week next year. For more information, 781-329-1192 or www.milfordantiqueshow.com.