Published: August 19, 2003
– No longer the new kid on the block, the Mid*Week in Manchester Antiques Show marked its tenth anniversary at the Wayfarer Inn on August 6-7 with 111 exhibitors from Maine to Texas. From ample attendance to steady sales, dealers had plenty to celebrate.
“Our shows have been phenomenal,” manager Frank Gaglio of Barn Star Productions said by cel phone on Friday, as his Bedford Pickers Market, the one-day sequel to Mid*Week in Manchester and the bookend to New Hampshire’s Antiques Week, got into full swing.
“I can safely say that attendance was up at both Mid*Week in Manchester and the Bedford Picker’s Market. We had the biggest lines of early buyers I can remember. The lines stretched all the way back to Macy’s,” said the Rhinebeck, N.Y.-based promoter who had not yet had time to get an official count.
On opening day, outside the tent pavilion where the majority of Mid*Week dealers set up, a collector from Mississippi was comparing notes with a buyer from North Carolina, a testament to the broad following Mid*Week has developed over the past decade.
Many of the buyers who race through the pavilion and the smaller, air-conditioned convention center next door know exactly what they are looking for.
“Folk art is king,” said Gaglio of the hunt that ranges from a knockout weathervane to the best cobalt-decorated stoneware ever.
One such collector was Alice Hoffman, author of a book on Indian clubs and the manager of the American Folk Art Museum’s American Antiques Show in January.
“It’s the only one I’ve ever seen in brass,” said Hoffman, who stopped in Jeff Cherry’s booth just long enough to write the Pine Plains, N.Y., dealer a check for the heavy novelty. It was soon after Mid*Week’s 9 am opening on Wednesday, but Cherry, a specialist in Adirondack and rustic furnishings, had already sold two other prizes, a heart-shaped tramp art box and a twig and birch bark Adirondack frame ornamented with antlers by John Champney of Tupper Lake.
“Are you buying or selling?” we asked Stephen Score just as the doors to Mid*Week opened. “Yes,” answered the Boston dealer, who studded his display with a paint decorated Pennsylvania blanket chest of circa 1820 and a charming 1880s pictorial rug depicting the maker’s two favorite horses, Polly and Puss.
“Most collectors race in here looking for paint, but a few like finished furniture,” said Score’s neighbor, George Spiecker, who retailed a Rhode Island tiger chest, circa 1770, $11,500; and a No. 2 Cambridge Port Fire Society painted bucket inscribed “D. Goodnow,” $3,800.
“I’ve sold four or five pieces of furniture so far, including a great Queen Anne drop leaf table,” said Jeffrey Tillou of Litchfield, Conn. Still for sale was a New Hampshire slant front desk with fitted interior, circa 1760, and original black surface, $24,000.
Sheffield, Mass., dealer Sam Herrup’s piece de resistance was an untouched Philadelphia Chippendale four-drawer chest of mahogany and mahogany veneer, with fluted corner columns, circa 1780.
“I’ve owned it for years and this is its first time out,” Falmouth, Mass., dealer Hilary Nolan said of his painted and decorated Queen Anne side chair with bold turnings, emphatic silhouette and duck feet.
McMurray, Penn., dealer Tom Brown was all smiles, having sold his heaviest pieces, a bonnet-top highboy and a bow front chest.
“It’s extremely rare and probably from Long Island,” Judd Gregory said of his transitional William and Mary to Queen Anne cherry, gum and pine flattop highboy, $38,000.
Other high country examples in the show included a 52-inch diameter hutch table from eastern Connecticut, $16,500, and a set of six country Queen Anne chairs from Woodbury or Newtown, Conn., $32,000, at Harold Cole; and an Eighteenth Century flattop walnut chest-on-frame, $57,000, at James Grievo.
Among other quick sales of painted furniture was a square-topped chair table with beautifully turned legs and a single drawer at Pat and Rich Garthoeffner’s. Two years running, Don and Gloria Buckley of Salisbury, Conn., have sold Deerfield blanket chests. This year’s chest, in old red paint, dated to circa 1700.
“I just can’t seem to get away from a certain aesthetic,” South Salem, N.Y., dealer John Russell said cheerfully of his specialty, a rustic minimalism that includes Shaker furniture and accessories. His back wall supported a crisply angular country sideboard in old red paint. Probably from Vermont, circa 1850, it was $11,500.
“We’ve had tremendous interest,” George R. Allen and Gordon L. Wyckoff, of Racoon Creek, Bridgeport, N.J, said of three popular favorites in their stand: a yellow lift-top, three-drawer blanket chest with cutout base, $14,500; an architectural bucket bench from eastern Ohio or western Pennsylvania, $9,500; and a Lancaster County Lehn ware miniature blanket chest, $9,500.
A Mahantango four-drawer chest was $47,500 at Greg Kramer, Robisonia, Penn., and a lift-top blanket chest with vivid freehand and grain-painted decoration was $55,000 at Fred Giampietro, New Haven, Conn.
“We’re selling painted boxes, redware, glass — really almost everything,” said Ohio dealer Sam Forsythe who, with partner David Good, found room for the early painted and decorated Connecticut chest the dealers acquired at Northeast Auctions on Saturday for $60,250.
“We sold Bennington pottery right away. One girl bought seven pieces,” noted South Yarmouth, Mass., dealer Barbara Adams.
Folk sculpture was another best seller. Chuck White sold a large Rochester Iron Works rooster weathervane that earlier that morning had been marked $38,000.
“With weathervanes, the whole thing is about surface,” explained the Mercer, Penn., dealer.
Marna Anderson of New Paltz, N.Y., featured a large Blackhawk vane with exceptional verdigris patina, circa 1870, $42,000; and a small Index horse vane, 15 by 18 inches, by J. Howard, circa 1865, $38,500. A Cushing & Son bull weathervane was $24,000 at The Kembles, Norwich, Ohio.
Eagles surmounted every post and ornamented every surface. Pennsylvania dealer Julie Lindberg grouped a large carved wooden eagle, $11,900, with two eagle decorated spatterware plates, $325 and $350; and an eagle painted tin shield, $1,200.
Bailey’s Island, Maine, dealers Jim and Nancy Glazer wasted no time selling a 23-inch-tall blue hat box, one of the largest known printed with a neoclassical design commemorating Napoleon’s battle for Arcole bridge in 1796.
Folk portraits ranged from the delicate to the bold. At Gemini Antiques, Leon Weiss resold the striking triple portrait of three anonymous children he had purchased at Northeast Auction just five days earlier for $20,700.
Profile portraits, from a prized Joseph H. Davis watercolor family group at David Wheatcroft, to cut-paper silhouettes at Karen Wendiser and David Thompson, were the order of the day.
“It’s been an excellent show for us. We’ve sold a very broad range of things,” said Thompson, a Vermont dealer who offered selections from a large collection of silhouettes. The assemblage, containing superior examples by Edouart and Frith, ranged in price up to $3,250 for a circa 1840 portrait of a soldier of the 74th Regiment.
Chadds Ford, Penn., dealer Jan Whitlock looked like a hotelier herself, what with her side-by-side display of antique beds dressed in period textiles, among them a stunning indigo blue and white embroidered blanket, $9,600; a Queen Anne crewel on linen coverlet, $11,900; and an indigo whole cloth quilt, reversible to ochre, $7,900. On her back wall was a rare Connecticut pictorial rug, $22,000.
“The show’s been good for things that are portable. We’ve sold a half dozen small rdf_Descriptions and a chair so far,” said John Philbrick. Plummer & Philbrick’s back wall was enlivened by a crewel embroidered wool coverlet. $7,500.
Amy and Morris Finkel of Philadelphia were distributing posters illustrated with details of houses embroidered on some of the best needlework they have handled. Appropriately, their Mid*Week booth contained several more house samplers. A fine English canvaswork picture of about 1740 in an early fame was $32,000; a Palmer, Mass., sampler by Theodatia Davis, 1804, $11,500; and a Delaware sampler with a house flanked by trees and large birds, $14,500.
Stephen and Carol Huber were so busy with customers that they were practically taking numbers. A standout in their display was Alice Wyatt’s 1767 Rhode Island Adam and Eve sampler, $28,000. The Old Saybrook, Conn., dealers acquired another Adam and Eve sampler, a 1749 Boston example, from the Ben and Cora Ginsburg collection at Northeast on August 3 for $40,250.
“A lot of people think it’s upstate New York, but I’m going with Joel and Kate Kopp’s assessment that it’s from Pennsylvania or Ohio,” David Schorsch said of the appliqued album quilt, $32,000, on his back wall. The center square pictured a grave, a horse and a bird, leading Schorsch to theorize that the folky quilt memorialized a beloved horse.
Amish quilts from the western community of Arthur, Ill., were feature at both Harvey Antiques and Hill Gallery. Harvey had an example in rich, dark colors, circa 1900-20, for $11,500. Tim Hill’s several choices included a sophisticated 1930s “Double Rings” quilt, $6,400.
“Know thy customer as thyself” might have been the moral of Mid*Week in Manchester. Over two madhouse days, exhibitors who knew their customers and what they were looking for racked up sale after sale.
For Frank Gaglio and his Barn Star Productions, it is now onto Antiques in a Cow Pasture (September 6) in Salisbury, Conn., and the Pennsylvania Antiques Show (October 31 and November 1) in York, Penn.
“It will be hard to copy an original, but we’re looking to create a York antiques week. It’s my personal goal to bring 1,000 new customers to York,” said Gaglio, who has the success of Mid*Week in Manchester and the Bedford Pickers Market to buoy him.
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