Advertised as “rain or shine,” the Blue Ribbon Antiques Show does nothing by halves. Last year it rained so hard that some exhibitors packed out early. With temperatures well into the 80s this year, the third annual Blue Ribbon Antiques Show on Saturday, June 2, was all shine.
Managed by Newcastle, Maine, promoter Paul Davis on behalf of the New Hampshire Antiques Dealers Association (NHADA), the 112-exhibitor fair sets up indoors under the pines at the Hopkinton Fairgrounds, an hour and a half from Boston, or 15 minutes from Concord, N.H. The old white clapboard fairground buildings make the gathering feel like summer camp for antiquers. No archery here, just arts and crafts and lots of delicious lobster rolls from the caterer.
“We wanted to create a great buying experience as well as a show in which all NHADA members could participate,” said NHADA president Linda Tate, recalling Blue Ribbon’s beginnings.
NHADA’s flagship fair, the New Hampshire Antiques Dealers Association Show, is celebrating its 50th anniversary in Manchester in August. It annually draws throngs of avid buyers from around the country. Neither Rome nor the Dealers Show was built in a day. Thus far, attendance at the infant Blue Ribbon show, which got underway at 10 am and closed at 4 pm, has fallen beneath expectations.
“The show was well advertised, we had a dream list of dealers, and we got a beautiful day, but the gate was still disappointing. I think maybe we have to reevaluate the time of year. We are currently polling NHADA members on this question,” said Tate.
Large, inexpensive exhibit facilities are hard to find, especially in New Hampshire, says Tate. Level and compact, the Hopkinton Fairgrounds is ideal in many ways, allowing any exhibitor who wants to, to be indoors.
“NHADA does a wonderful job and its members are supporting the show nicely. Exhibitors brought great things and did outstanding displays. Personally, I feel the date is probably wrong for the venue. Also, visitors had a little trouble finding all of the buildings,” said Paul Davis, who envisions some minor changes to the show’s layout. The manager moved the show’s entrance this year, a boon for exhibitors in the first building.
Early sales of furniture included a tavern table and several other pieces at Peter Sawyer and Scott Bassett of Exeter, N.H. Several booths down, Concord, N.H., dealer Gary Yeaton sold a tall chest of drawers.
Newburgh, N.Y., dealers Dan and Karen Olson also got off to a good start, selling a glazed, double-door corner cupboard in red paint and several other pieces.
Yorktown Heights, N.Y., dealer John Gould offered an unusual cherry sideboard that expanded into a table.
Jack Geishen of Chesterfield Antiques in Massachusetts used his van to advantage, leaving the side door of his vehicle open to display a four-drawer tiger maple Sheraton chest of drawers with splash back, $2,250.
Nearby, Derik Pulito boasted a Sheraton one-drawer maple stand with inlays and finely turned legs. To go with it, Charles Gardiner featured a figured maple bow front corner commode stand.
Trade signs and a pair of bamboo Windsor side chairs with smoke decoration, $850, were highlights at Pioneer Folk Antiques of Ellsworth, Maine.
Franklin Antiques Market offered a New Hampshire figured maple candlestand, $1,100, to go with two hoop back armchairs with caned seats.
Antiques at 30B unveiled a newly acquired case of 18 drawers in old red paint from an old Boston railway station.
A small two-drawer server in yellow and green paint was $2,200 in Patricia Stauble and Shirley Chamber’s stand. Stauble included one of her mother Doris Stauble’s dried arrangements, $445.
A child’s turned maple high chair with button feet and a decorated crest was $295 at Fraser’s Antiques, Woodstock, Vt.; a Shaker child’s chair was $185 at Robert T. Foley Antiques of Maine; and, at Tommy Thompson, a miniature Brewster-style chair, $225, had flamboyant turnings and splotchy paint in cupcake colors.
“It’s probably the oldest one I’ve owned,” New Hampshire dealer William Lary said of an early Nineteenth Century cobbler’s bench, $525, complete with original tools.
New Hampshire dealer Kathy Schoemer admired a pair of black knit dolls. Irma Lampert of Wenham Cross Antiques said they were prototypes for the retailer FAO Schwartz.
A colorfully painted game wheel, $895, and a cutting block with hoof feet, $2,500, set the tone at American Classics, Canaan, N.H.
Mike White of Loudonville Folk Art, Loudonville, N.Y., showed off a Nineteenth Century Odd Fellows’ Arc of the Covenant wagon in fine old paint.
A red and white School House quilt, $750, served as a vibrant backdrop for an eagle weathervane, $2,100, with verdigris surface at Thomas Longacre, Marlborough, N.H.
Four Prince Edward Island decoys ambled along at Cheryl and Paul Scott, Hillsboro, N.H.
A homespun quilt back and two Eighteenth Century silk embroidered vests added texture to Hollis Brodrick and Sharon Platt’s display.
Prestigious Pig, Potter Place, N.H., splashed a crib-sized silk and velvet crazy quilt, $425, with painted panels against its back wall.
UNH alumnus Tad Runge brought a good selection of Oriental rugs and carpets. His showpiece was a circa 1900 Heriz. Measuring more than 15 by 8 feet, it was $32,000.
A circa 1900 Sarouk, $3,200, and a bold circa 1900 Karabagh rug were treasures at Lori Frandino, Walpole, N.H.
Henry Callan’s composed display featured the three S’s †samplers, Staffordshire and Sandwich glass †along with some New Hampshire and Midwest glass. An 1854 Ohio house sampler was $3,325. A teal-colored mold-blown glass jar with cover, probably Midwest, was $195.
Five circa 1600 Dutch polychrome tiles were $1,275 at Patricia Anne Reed, who showed them with small, framed landscape paintings of the same size.
Roy Mennell of The Bradford Trust, Harwich Port, Mass., presented paintings by Arthur Vidal Diehl, a Provincetown, Mass., artist that Mennell is publishing in a forthcoming issue of American Art Review .
Howard Graff of Colt Barn Antiques hung a Reading, Vt., farm view, $2,100, by Mary Bigelow.
Works on paper included a watercolor and pen and ink family record for the George Melville family of New Hampshire, $2,200 at Resser-Thorner Antiques of Manchester, N.H.
Massachusetts dealers Pam and Martha Groton evoked salt spray with two small hooked rugs, both marine scenes.
Everyone welcomed two visiting NHADA founders, Dick Withington and Howard Oedel, who made the rounds of the show on Saturday morning. Oedel will share a booth at the New Hampshire Dealers Show in August with Northeast Auction’s Ron Bourgeault, who practically began his career there more years ago than we can count.
Next up for Davis is the July 31⁁ugust 1 Bar Harbor Antiques Show in Ellsworth, Maine, followed by the Maine Antiques Fest in Union August 12‱3. For information, 207-563-1013 or www.pauldavisshows.com.
For information on the August 9‱1 New Hampshire Antiques Dealers Association Show and its golden anniversary celebration, 603-585-9199 or www.nhada.org .