Photos & Review by Rick Russack
CONCORD, N.H. – Peter Mavris’ Americana Celebration antiques show in Concord really should not be missed. There were 50 dealers in large room-setting booths at the Douglas N. Everett Arena on August 9, with the three walls allowing for many items to be hung. He attracted high-quality dealers, many of whom do his monthly winter shows in Hampton, N.H., while some do no other New Hampshire shows. Pre-show activity was strong, and sold signs began to appear shortly after the show opened to early buyers at 8 am. There were 350 early buyers, and by the time the day was over, about 700 people had come through the door. Mavris had advertised the show as being air-conditioned and based his booth prices on that extra expense. Unfortunately, the Friday before the show, the air conditioning contractor told him that they would not fulfill their agreement. Mavris gave each exhibitor a check for $100.
Mavris said that what was most important to him was the quality of the material the exhibitors were offering. He was justifiably pleased; there were several exceptional items. One was in the first booth you would have seen upon entering the show. Randi Ona, Wayne, N.J., had a brightly colored wool applique table rug, circa 1840, which she priced at $16,000. She stated that it was in fine condition, and she believed that the hand loomed tape border was most likely original. This table rug was indicative of the quality offerings in many of the booths.
Another exceptional item was in the booth of Ross Levett, Thomaston, Maine, who deals in a broad range of items – from early delft and Westerwald jugs to good Windsor chairs, and this time he had a rare piece of Maine redware. He said he believed it was made by John Auld, a redware potter working in Biddeford, perhaps around 1810 or a bit later. It was illustrated in Manlif Lelyn Branin’s book on Maine redware, The Early Potters and Potteries of Maine (1978). Levett priced it $5,200 and it sold. The jug had been sold at a recent Rusty Farrin auction. Levett also had two good comb-back Windsor chairs; one with eight spindles was priced at $1,700, and the other was priced $1,250. Both had original surfaces.
Wood carvings by folk artists were offered by several dealers. Bjorn Borssen, Rochester, N.H., had several folky carvings, including a large fish, perhaps a cod, that was close to 18 inches long, with detailed fins and tail carving and a large egret. Both were unpainted and both sold. He also had a colorful, wall-mounted, carved penguin. Terry and Debby Smith, Blue Line Antiques, Port Leyden, N.Y., had a large, unpainted egret by contemporary North Carolina carver Thomas Langan. His works are in the American Folk Art Museum and the Smithsonian, as well in as in several major private collections. The price was $695. They also had a wonderful carved sheep, late Nineteenth or early Twentieth Century by an unknown carver but someone who obviously knew sheep. The carver used swirls all over to simulate wool.
They also had a wall-mounted pair of Baltimore orioles by noted Maine carver Wendell Gilley (1904-1983). On the back is a handwritten note by Gilley mentioning “Coles Island, 1970,” presumably of some importance to the carver and the recipient. Gilley, inspired by the work of Elmer Crowell, began carving in the 1930s. Many of his works are in the Wendell Gilley Museum in Southwest Harbor, Maine. The carving was priced $2,650.
As one might expect, early painted furniture was in abundance, and many pieces had sold tags an hour or so after the show opened. Sherm Alden, East Falmouth, Mass., filled a Nineteenth Century step-back cupboard from coastal Maine or the maritime provinces with pewter and priced the cupboard at $900. From Wadsworth, Ohio, Matt Ehresman always fills a large booth with early painted furniture, exceptionally well displayed. Under a Nineteenth Century portrait he displayed a five-drawer chest in old brown paint. He also had a very large covered treen jar priced at $2,800. Sold tags were quickly in evidence in his booth.
Early cloth dolls were offered by Jim and Paulette Cocoman, Joy Harrington and others. Benting and Jarvis had a small group of bisque dolls. Early stoneware was offered by the Cocomans, Brett Cabral, Ross Levett and others.
Bob Markowitz, Groveland, Mass., usually has interesting things and has researched them well. There were two advertising clocks hanging on the back wall of his booth. They looked like regular wooden store clocks, but, he said, the cases were made of papier mache. One advertised Vanner and Prest “Molliscorium Compo Embrocation” and was priced $1,250. Google informs us that the products advertised are either for skin care or for the leather tanning industry.
Markowitz was one of the dealers reporting good sales, including a Lehnware saffron cup, silhouettes, calligraphy, a sack-back Windsor, several advertising pieces and more. Within an hour or so of the show opening, red sold tags were apparent on items in several booths: stoneware and burl in Ross Levett’s booth, the fish and egret mentioned above in the booth of Bjorn Borssen, a carved Statue of Liberty, a carved rooster and a hooked rug in the booth of first-time exhibitor Frank Crespo, a country table and lighting in the booth of MG Art and Antiques, treen and more in the booth of Horse Feathers Antiques. And several pieces of furniture in the booth of Matt Ehresman had sold tags. This list is not complete; in addition, there were numerous filled bags being carried by shoppers.
A few days after the show, Peter Mavris commented, “The dealers brought some really wonderful things, so I wasn’t surprised that sales were strong. Several dealers told me they had done very well. The only problem I had was the lack of air conditioning. I thought I had that taken care of, but it didn’t happen. But the gate was strong, about the same as last year, with around 350 early buyers. This was our seventh show here and I think we’re developing a reputation for quality. To me, quality is the most important – that’s what keeps the customers coming back.” Mavris also runs a monthly show in Hampton, N.H., which will resume in the fall. For additional information, 207-608-3086 or www.petermavrisantiqueshows.com.