Published: October 5, 2021
Review and Photos by Madelia Hickman Ring
VILLAGE OF SCHOHARIE, N.Y. – When work assignments call for out-of-town drives to far-flung places, one hopes for an easy drive, in good weather. If one can experience some of the local flavor, all the better. Such was the case on Saturday, September 25, when we headed north to the 45th Annual “Antiques In Schoharie” Show, a two-day event (including the following day, Sunday, September 26) presented by the Schoharie Colonial Heritage Association to benefit – and held at – the Schoharie Valley Railroad Museum and the 1743 Palatine House Museum. The show’s canteen kitchen offerings, made locally by volunteers and sold to benefit the organization, are mentioned in the presale promotion so there was, at the very least, the promise of something tasty.
Typically held twice a year, this was the first show that has been held in person since Covid-19 necessitated the closure of both 2020 editions and the spring 2021 one. The show is managed by Ruth Anne Wilkinson, whose family has been in Schoharie for five generations. She was so pleased that the show could take place for the fall edition that she “was so excited, I called all of the dealers myself.”
“It was an absolutely fabulous show,” Wilkinson said, speaking with Antiques and The Arts Weekly after the show wrapped. “We had raves from people who came. Everyone loves the location and having the (railroad) museum open is an extra added attraction. Most of our dealers came back but we had a few new ones who want to come back. We sold all of our food, which is something we never do, and we had about 350 more visitors than we usually have. It was a shock that so many people came out after Covid, but they surely did…and they were buying! One dealer who has been with us from the beginning said that in all the 45 years he’s done this show, this was the best one yet.”
Wilkinson owns Generations, A Consignment Shop, located just moments’ walk from the railroad museum and the show’s grounds; she also had a booth in the Creamery Building where she was briskly selling a variety of things, including mantels and furniture from an Eighteenth Century house in Schoharie that had come in just before the show (one mantel had a sold tag on it within moments of the show opening).
“I sold furniture all weekend long. As you know, furniture has been very slow recently, so that was great.”
Wilkinson said that most of the dealers were from New York State, though she does have some from Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Pennsylvania. She also noted that she thought most of the shoppers were from New York State, particularly the Capital Region around Albany.
Lynn Chrin, Partridge Hollow Antiques, lives just a short drive from the Canadian border in Milton, Vt. She specializes in chocolate molds and attributes her love of them to her early childhood growing up in Hershey, Penn. Perusing her shelves of shiny molds, which takes up less than half of the Creamery Building booth space she shares with her husband’s offerings of Victorian silver, is an education in molds themselves. When asked which was the rarest piece she had brought, she did not hesitate to point out a three-piece solid turkey mold that was made by Epplesheimer in New York City, for just one year, in 1920. She had discovered it in Pennsylvania in June and said it was one of only five she’s ever handled during her career.
Though Chrin did not sell the turkey mold during the show, she found a buyer for a $900 German teddy bear mold, her best sale.
“It was a very good show,” she said, following up with us after the show. “We were very happy that attendance was up because people had been worried. We send cards to our local customers and about 85 percent of them showed up and bought from us.”
Gail Wilkins was next to the Chrins and specializes in early American decorative accessories and painted furniture. A Scandinavian painted blanket chest stood prominently next to several textiles that had been hung on the wall, including a crazy quilt that she had found locally about 30 years previously but which she was just now offering for sale. A child’s rope bed that Wilkins had found in Maine was complete with rope key and was filled with colorful cotton quilts and coverlets.
“We had a really good show and heard from many dealers that the show was a big success for them as well,” Wilkins said after the show. “We sold a large, hooked rug, a wooden and iron trade sign, a paint-decorated blanket box and many decorative smalls. We were happy to sell to both new and existing customers. There were strong sales for us, and it was a well-run show.”
The last dealer to be showing in the Creamery was Richard Greene, who was making his Schoharie show debut. The Providence, R.I., fine art dealer had framed – and unframed – works in a variety of medium, but he was careful to point out the over-the-top Arts and Crafts background in the portrait of a young girl that he had found at auction. He said it was unsigned, but he thought it was from England, circa 1920s.
Greene also had a box of etchings, all with archival matting, that he said lots of people enjoyed looking through and was an easy way for potential customers to become engaged, with some resulting sales.
“Like every dealer I know, I really like the buying part of being a dealer. I got to my booth early and took some time to walk about the show with thoughts of birthdays and the holidays in mind. I found a number of gifts for family members that reflect their individual interests and thought ‘what an enjoyable and civilized way to shop for Christmas, in contrast to the big box stores.’ I would add that I was successful in finding some neat small items at modest prices. The Schoharie show had lots of great small antiques.”
Jim Loudon, from Oneonta, N.Y., was also exhibiting at the show for the first time. Loudon, a railroad historian, is particularly knowledgeable about the railroading history in New York State and is a co-founder of the Leatherstocking Railway Historical Society at the Charlotte Valley Railroad in Cooperstown, N.Y. One of Loudon’s pastimes is to reenact Old West Train Robberies. He has written several books on regional New York State railroads, all of which he had for sale at the show.
Bob Mock was ensconced in the Weigh Station and had been busy in the first hour of the show; several sold tags were spotted in the booth of Mockingbird Period and Decorative Antiques, out of Niskayuna, N.Y. Some of the items people had bought were an iron floor lamp, a painted commode chair, a milk glass lamp and a pair of cranberry glass lamps.
In the Mill Building, new vendors Soheil “Sammy” and Farrah Sasanian of Soheil Oriental Rugs had a colorful setup. Sammy said he had done the show because it happened at a good time for him and, after making sales, said he was happy with how he had done and would come back.
Among the antiques that Schoharie is perhaps best known for are painted blanket chests – typically in a blue-green hue with floral decoration in the center of the front, borders around the sides and the initials of the couple who originally owned it. So, it was nice to see that Rexford, N.Y., dealer Nancy Douglass of Willow Springs Perennial Antiques had one. It had the initials “J&G” on it, as well as a large inscription across the back that read “Jacob Cass / Knowersville / Albany Co. NY.” She had found it in New Hampshire recently and it was the first show she was showing it. While she had interest from the trade, at press time it was unsold.
“The show was really lovely, and we had very good attendance. The customers seemed extremely interested, and that’s always nice. It’s a small show but in such a beautiful setting; it’s one of the shows I love doing. I sold to all new clients, which is interesting. I sold several pieces of Staffordshire to a lady who always come to the show but who has never bought from me before. My bucket bench sold to a customer from New Jersey, and a couple bought a cow weathervane.”
The dates for the spring show have not yet been set but Wilkinson thought it would take place, not in March as it has historically done, but in early summer, and at the same venue as the fall show. More information will be announced at www.schoharieheritage.org.
Show coverage would be incomplete without a visit to the canteen to see if the hype over the menu offerings was warranted. We’re happy to report that a slice of raspberry pie was delicious and hit the spot before we headed home.
It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.
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