Published: August 27, 2019
Review and Photos by Tom O’Hara
UNION, MAINE – For the 38th consecutive year, Paul Davis succeeded in having one of the most fun antiques shows in the Northeast, Maine Antiques Festival, August 2-4, with about 140 exhibiting dealers at the Union Fairgrounds, which gives the show its popular nickname, Union. Conducted on this first weekend of August for the last five years, it has become a shopping habit for many antiques enthusiasts, who plan their summers in Maine around this event so that they can be here to see the assembled collections of early American, English and other European and Asian home furnishings, jewelry and textiles and to add to their collections.
Davis has worked hard to offer traditional antiques at the show but also to bring in good varieties of vintage and even midcentury selections for younger shoppers. This has kept the show current and vital for these buyers while remaining a great source for traditional antiques.
Nicoll Fine Art & Antiques, Newcastle, Maine, was selling from its inventory of Georgian furniture and Nineteenth Century oil paintings. The dealer also had an assortment of antique silver flatware and hollowware for the dining table.
On the other side of the coin, Letha Polk, Charleston S.C., was there with a collection of Midcentury Modern and other late styles mixed together. Her sales included painted bamboo glass-topped tables, wicker designer furniture and accessories.
Michael Pheffer of Two Sides of the River, New London, N.H., was selling furniture from the middle of the Nineteenth Century along with stoneware from the last 250 years. One of his best sales was a piece of New England stoneware that sold for more than $2,000. Additional sales included a small late Nineteenth Century workbench, several 200-year-old stands, an oil on canvas painting and a plethora of small household items.
Ingeborg Gallery, Northfield, Mass., was doing its usual business, selling from the collection of fine art of the last 150 years. Girt Worth has been making his way in the world with this merchandise for most of his adult life, and doing Union for several decades, with a collection that includes Impressionist, Realist and Modernist paintings in many mediums.
Binghamton, N.Y., exhibitor Dannette Darrow specializes in Chinese export porcelain. Here she found a special piece that she described as a late Tang dynasty fruit basket with matching under tray, unique because it was not articulated.
Coming to the show from Columbia, S.C., for the last several years to exhibit, Margaret Alderman Ford and her husband Robert Ford have been having great fun and success with their silver and jewelry. Margaret said one customer has become a regular of sorts, in that she now has been buying each year from their collection of jewelry many pieces for herself and presents for other family members.
Sandra St Pierre of Maine Attic Antiques from nearby Cape Elizabeth and her partner Bob Sigler were doing a land office business at the show. Their inventories are accumulated through their sources in Maine all year for this and a few other shows to reflect the flavor of early Maine in décor, utility and home furnishings. For example, sales included an assortment of turned wooden bowls in blue milk paint; an oil on canvas painting in original frame of a lake scene; several grain-painted boxes, not very large; an assortment of early American flags; several hand sewn quilts and a few samplers from the Nineteenth Century.
J. Hamilton Howard Antiques, Edgewater Park, N.J., was doing the show for the first time so the merchandise assortment was somewhat of an experiment, but owner John Howard seemed to have guessed correctly for sales were good. He offered a tramp art corner piece, which he believed was rather valuable, and sold it along with numerous architectural pieces, several pieces of art, a great deal of small decorative accessories and a chest of drawers.
Colleen Alpers, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was selling late Eighteenth Century folk art and kitchen tools of the same age. Sharing the booth with her, Suzanne Baker, Westville, Ind., was selling from her collection of early Nineteenth Century lighting and painted household objects. Sales included a paint-decorated knife box and also had a charming hinged box in polychrome design.
From Shelbyville, Ind., Steve and Barbara Jenkins have been doing the show for about 20 years as a working vacation, enjoying a short time on the Maine coast while doing the show. They always seem to make it pay as well, for sales were good, he said, with two Nineteenth Century rocking horses selling on the last day. He also sold more furniture during the weekend, including a small painted sawbuck table and an assortment of folk art and utilitarian art pieces, such as a butcher’s rack in bronze and iron and several carved wooden butter molds.
Sharon Green Antiques, Sharon Conn., sold from a collection of English Leeds featheredge earthenware, as well as silver whimsies and a Georgian era table.
In a post-show interview, show founder and manager Davis said he was pleased with the results. “The attendance was up 50 percent both Friday and Saturday over last year and that’s just fantastic!” He added that while Sunday’s gate was not as big, “the gain overall was great for the show and the dealers’ sales.” He has already released the dates for next year, July 31-August 2, 2020, keeping the traditional Friday-Saturday-Sunday pattern for the show to include the first days of August. This will allow the show to not conflict with other events in Maine and the Northeast in the summer and at the same time enjoy some support with the Lobster Festival in nearby Rockport.
For additional information, www.maineantiquesfestival.com or 207-221-3108.
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