Great Summer Days Make Great Maine Antiques Festival

UNION, MAINE — There is an old funny line about Maine weather, that there are just two seasons, winter and August. While that may be an exaggeration, the Maine Antiques Festival was the beneficiary of the best August weather Maine had to offer Friday during the show’s run August 8–10 with comfortable temperatures and clear skies all weekend.

According to show promoter Paul Davis, “This year’s Friday attendance was about 20 percent ahead of last year and the best in several years. And dealers told me they were shoppers that came intent on finding something to take home!” He added that there were about 150 exhibiting dealers, about ten percent more than last year.

At the main walkway of the show, Sandra Cooper of St Pierre Antiques, Hartland, and Robert Sigler, Portland, shared a tented space, selling a very large grouping of early Maine furniture and small antiques. Their biggest problem, according to Sandy, was, “We didn’t rent a box truck so we have to keep running back and forth with our vans to get our stuff!” Their sales were very good all weekend. Early into the show they sold a red milk painted blanket chest with two faux drawers on top and two real drawers below, several early tables, another painted chest, an early painted blanket box and a collection of painted pantry boxes. By Sunday their tent was nearly empty of furniture.

Kathy Tarr, owner of Victorian Rose Antiques, Wenham, Mass., was selling early earthenware very well. The inventory is unique with tea cups and saucers dominating the display, all made by popular Nineteenth Century producers from Europe, including Royal Doulton, Limoges, Havilland and several others. Sales rang up in small amounts, but steadily, throughout the weekend and in good quantity, so she was very pleased with the results.

Shelbyville Antiques, Shelbyville, Ind., was selling big and little things all weekend from its space in the Big Top Tent. The dealers and collectors are also show promoters, Steve and Barbara Jenkins, who have a great affection for American folk art and early American primitive furniture. Sales included an early life-size owl — in fact, it might have been a little larger than life, about 2 feet tall, realistic, in great paint and in excellent condition; a miniature tiger maple chest of drawers, the style often referred to as a salesman’s sample, about 20 inches tall in perfect condition; an early 4-inch-diameter pantry box, likely Shaker in blue milk paint, showing only very light wear; and a large quantity of smalls and assorted other furniture.

South Carolina exhibitor Bennett’s Antiques and Collectibles was selling early sportsmen’s gear. A couple of the early firearms found new homes, as did fishing tackle and related paraphernalia.

Suzanne Baker, Westville, Ind., was offering early Americana, with the majority of her inventory smaller pieces, including several miniature chests. She also had early portraits and household accessories from the early 1800s.

Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is home for Colleen Frese, possibly the exhibitor who traveled the furthest for the show at about 1,500 miles. She came with early American primitive furniture and accessories. The blue milk painted dry sink on display was drawing a great deal of attention early in the show, along with all the early kitchenalia and her 200-year-old samplers.

McDonough Fine Art, Atlanta, was having its best showing here Saturday. A dealer found several historic prints to buy here and several more customers made purchases for later framing, which made for a good show for the dealer.

Late Nineteenth Century hardwood furniture, often oak and branded Larkin, is the mainstay for Two Sides of A River Antiques, New London, N.H., exhibiting in the Big Top Tent. Dealer Mike Pheffer is a shop teacher as well as an antiques dealer, so when he finds merchandise, he makes sure it is in the best possible condition, sometimes refinishing the pieces. For Union, his only disappointment was that his trailer was not bigger, for he had sold all the furniture and most of the smalls he brought to the show. This included several oak tables, an oak cupboard, a chest, a desk and more.

Darrow’s Antiques, Binghamton, N.Y., was selling Chinese Export dishes, principally Rose Medallion and Rose Mandarin pattern pieces. Rockland, Mass., exhibitor Laura McCarthy offered a number of her hooked rugs and mats along with an early pie safe. New England Antiques, with a shop in Bath, Maine, offered some of its small decorative accessories for the home. Majolica was the primary focus for Timothy Gaudet, Lisbon, Maine.

From Lyme, Conn., Mary Maguire was offering early prints and fine art. Her collection is very popular and now, for the third year in the Big Top Tent, she seems to have created a market for herself with customers who know where to find her. Her business was continuous she said, including up to the last minute sales both Saturday and Sunday.

Also in the Big Top Tent, Paula Cohen’s business, Your Grandma Had It, was selling ironstone and other forms of earthenware. She featured pieces by American-made Hull, Moorcroft and other popular makers of a century or more ago.

Paul Davis was a dealer before he began producing antiques shows. This year he had a small booth of his own. His sales were good even though he could not keep after the exhibit himself; he had someone there selling for him. Sales included an early hired man’s bed, a charming tiger maple side table in chrome yellow paint, a late chair table in great red milk paint with stencil decorations and a variety of folk art and smalls.

Maine Antiques Festival, Union as it is called, is only once each year, and always the second weekend of August; mark your 2015 calendar for August 7–9 now and check or call Paul for details at 207-221-3108.

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