Published: June 1, 2004
Eastern States Antiques and Collectibles Show at the Big E was again a success April 17-18. Produced by the Maven Company for 22 years, it has become a tradition in the region for both dealers and visitors. Newman Chittendon and his partner Martin Fasack purchased the show, which takes place three times a year, from Richard Robbins in 1999, and have carried on the marketing of antiques at this forum.
The site was the regional fairgrounds and, given the high population in the Hartford-Springfield area and sometimes severe winter weather, the buildings are just right for antiques shows. Good parking and easy access for the public and drive-in dealer unloading make it a popular venue. In fact, according to Chittendon, the only drawback at the most recent show was the excellent weather. “The crowds could have been better except for the beautiful day,” he said, adding, however, that “sales seemed to be reasonably good.”
Several dealers echoed Chittendon’s sentiment that “antiques shows are getting out of the doldrums of the past two years.” Just inside the entrance, Gary Jacobs of Keeping Room Antiques had to agree. By noon on Saturday he had sold several large pieces of furniture, and he remained busy until late afternoon. Hailing from East Berlin, Conn., Jacobs also exhibits at some other area shows and at the Farmington Antiques Center on Route 4 near Unionville, Conn.
Don Snow is a local fellow from Springfield who began collecting his specialty about 40 years ago. It is African fetish dolls carved from wood with ornaments added, such as stones for eyes and hair and even sometimes shells and animal parts for extra effect. On one table, he had about a dozen dolls and masks that he said were for use by the makers, not tourist stuff, made in the early Twentieth Century and priced from about $400 to $1,000.
Deldare is the name of a particular style of pottery made by Buffalo Pottery Company early in the Twentieth Century. Sweet Pea Antiques featured a collection of it, along with some Rookwood and Hull in its exhibit. Eileen Decker, Walden, N.Y., had similar pottery and a large collection of stoneware. Patti’s Past Perfect Pottery brought two booths full of art pottery and early art glass from her Westport Mass., home.
Many of the dealers were offering merchandise that was more collectible than antique. Meadow Brook Farm Antiques from Canterbury, Conn., had an entire wall of its booth covered with early painted grain sacks, mostly from the first half of the last century. Cast-iron doorstops were available from several dealers, including Antiques and Accents, Marstons Mills, Mass., and Betty Bedell Antiques of Pawling, N.Y.
Stained and leaded glass windows have become artifacts in their own right. Dealer Tom Crawford from Allentown, Penn., collects his from throughout the eastern United States, but he said he also buys a great deal of his pieces in England. His display is a bit unusual – racks with lights under them, which he can roll into his big truck.
Pat Reese and her husband John Rice are from Portsmouth, N.H., and do a limited number of shows and only in New England. Eastern States, as it is known, is one of their favorites. Together, they have a most unusual collection of small antiques. Two examples on exhibit at this show included a small grass woven basket with cover in excellent original condition priced at $175 and a stitch-crafted military pennant, probably Scottish, for an artillery unit.
Late in the day, The Keeping Room Antiques had a Sheraton side table in original black paint with stencil decoration. Victorian furniture – a mix of dining room and parlor pieces – was the offering from Beverly Dutton Antiques of West Hartford, Conn. Country furniture, both painted and in natural finish, was the offering from Richard Fuller of South Royalton, Vt. And while on the subject of country, there was a spinning wheel, also known as a walking wheel, the kind with a wheel about four feet in diameter, for sale from Ray Paterson, Palmer, Mass.
This event will be repeated October 30-31, News Year’s Day, 2005, and again next April. Maven Company also produces Vintage Clothing at Westchester County Center, White Plains, N.Y., September 18-19, and The Doll Toy and Teddy Bear Show and Sale at Big E on November 2.
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