Published: December 17, 2019
Review and Photos by Rick Russack
WILMINGTON, MASS. – In order to survive and prosper, all things must evolve. That’s as true for antiques shows as it is for animals and other living things. Marv Getman’s Holiday Antiques, Vintage and Design Show, which was conducted December 7-8 at the Shriners Auditorium, provides an example of how some shows – and some dealers – are responding to a changing environment. The word “design” was added to the show’s name and advertising a few years ago, part of a trend aimed at attracting a broader base. Some shows, such as the Winter Show, have entirely dropped the word “antiques” from their names and accompanying advertising, but Getman so far has not.
Time will tell how much changing a name impacts a show. However, on entering this show this year, it was immediately apparent that changes are occurring, with much more colorful and often inexpensive mid-Twentieth Century material being offered. Even more interesting was the way some dealers were combining vintage and later material. Two exhibitors in particular, Greg Hamilton and Jan and John Maggs, directly showed the possibilities of displaying the two together. Hamilton, for example, hung a late Twentieth Century painting over an 1840 chest of drawers, and the Maggses placed a 1994 painting over an Eighteenth Century table. Several other exhibitors who usually show only “antiques” added colorful, decorative, mid-Twentieth Century objects.
Getman was asked if the changes were a result of pre-show communication with his exhibitors. “No, I don’t tell exhibitors, or draw lines around what they should bring. What you’re seeing is, I think, a reflection of the experienced, professional dealers reacting to their perception of how the marketplace is changing.” This is certainly not to say that “traditional antiques” are gone from the show or that all dealers are changing their usual inventory. There were still booths full of silver, American furniture, Art Nouveau and Art Deco ceramics, jewelry, books, posters, ephemera, etc. But the changes are clearly visible.
Hamilton, who owns Stone Block Antiques, Vergennes, Vt., selected a late Twentieth Century abstract painting by Joan Stephens (b 1940) to place above the late Federal period chest of drawers, and they looked very well together. So did a combination in the Maggses booth. Conway, Mass., dealers, Jan and John, put their circa 1750 French table in communication with the 1994 painting by Virginia Strom Prescourt (1916-2008). Prescourt was a Boston area artist who enjoyed painting ballerinas training and practicing at Boston’s Cyclorama building. Her works hang in several Boston area museums. The painting, “New Earrings,” was priced at $4,250. Jan and John are well known for specializing in Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century English oak furniture and appropriate period accessories. Their booth included a selection of early material, including glass and metalware. Several pieces of Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century American furniture were to be found in the booth of Martin Ferrick, Searsport, Maine, who after the show said he sold several pieces, and other dealers also had additional pieces.
One aisle in this show is known as “Book Row” and it includes about a dozen book dealers – others are spread about the show. Barbara Smith, Northampton, Mass., is a well-known children’s book dealer, and she displayed an extensive assortment. Greg Gibson, Ten Pound Island Books, Gloucester, Mass., is one of the leading US dealers in books and ephemera about whaling and maritime history. He had shelves full of inexpensive books. Bill Hutchinson, Mendenhall, Penn., deals in books about American history and brought a selection of early books by and about America’s founders. He also had a circa 1899 proof-before-lettering of a well-known Art Nouveau poster by Jules Cheret advertising Job cigarette papers, which he priced at $950.
One of the dealers in the general section of the show, is Forrest Proper, Joslin Hall Rare Books, Northampton, Mass., who specializes in books about antiques and historical ephemera. His stock included American Folk Marquetry-Masterpieces in Wood by Richard Muhlberger, $35; American Folk Sculpture and Carving by Robert Bishop, $25; an 1870 colored broadside for “Hoover’s Magic Lounge and Sofa Bed,” along with books on silver and one his favorite categories, books about funeral and burial practices.
Glass and ceramics were to be found in several booths. The Noble Peddler, Torrington, Conn., priced an iridescent Steuben bowl at $225. The dealer had a wide selection of Wedgwood and a group of Royal Doulton, and Royal Copenhagen figures ranged in price from $30 to $150. Dark Flowers Antiques, Haverhill, Mass., offered hand painted Art Nouveau, Art Deco and Arts and Crafts pottery and porcelain, including Lenox, Belleek, Havilland, Lenox, Nippon, Amphora pottery and more. John Prunier, Warren, Mass., had a grouping of midcentury Scandinavian pottery, including a grey and red Danish bull by Gambone, which was priced at $995, in addition to the early glass, delft and English ceramics for which he is known. Antiques From Home, Bethesda, Md., offered several colorful pieces of Clarice Cliff porcelain, priced $115 to $1,000. One of the more unusual booths was that of Jim Kaufman, Dedham, Mass. The entire booth was filled with Dedham pottery, with prices for vintage pieces starting at $125 for an 8Ã½-inch Rabbit pattern plate.
Dealers agree that this is a well-promoted show, and the long line waiting for the show to open was evidence of this. Getman’s extensive pre-show use of direct email offers up to four free tickets by directing buyers to his website. More than 2,100 free passes were requested based on those emails. Actually, those passes are most useful on Saturday, the first day of the show, as admission is free to all on Sunday. Saturday evening, an email was sent to his entire list using photographs of items actually on the floor, and again stating that admission would be free Sunday. This marketing strategy appears to work.
After the show Getman said that several dealers told him they had done well. These included Dennis and Lynn Chrin, Partridge Hollow, who said they had sold a complete silver service; Greg Hamilton; Dave Thompson and Bob Markowitz. Vera Kaufman told him she sold a rare Moonlit Blue Moorcroft vase and other pottery. He said, “Our gate was about the same as last year, and the long line at opening was what I hoped to see. Saturday had the bigger crowd, but that was no surprise. Sunday, and really both days, we had a responsive, retail crowd. We had 94 dealers so we had a good variety of stuff. Our next shows will be book and paper shows in New York and Connecticut.”
For information, 781-862-4039 or https://www.neantiqueshows.com.
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