Published: October 17, 2017
Review and Photos by Rick Russack
LUDLOW, VT. – The long-established Okemo show in the base lodge at the Okemo ski area is now being run by Kris Johnson and Steve Sherhag. This year’s show, September 29-30, had 31 exhibitors, most of whom have been doing the show for several years, and all were complimentary about the new management team. Exhibitors came from 14 states and, as might be expected, the show had a strong country Americana flavor.
The $15 preview party, was scheduled from 2 to 6 pm on Friday. That allowed shoppers to visit the Weston Playhouse show, a short distance from Ludlow, when it opened at 10 am, and be at this show for the opening. That scheduling also made it simple for exhibitors and customers to attend the Ludlow show, about two miles away, when its preview opened at 7 pm, also on Friday. The same management team produced the Vermont Pickers Market, in the same facility, the day after this show and their website also promoted the other Ludlow show.
While country Americana was certainly the order of the day, a Virginia dealer specializes in an entirely different type of material. Joyce and Bill Subjack of Neverbird Antiques of Surry deal in early books, historical manuscripts and early samplers. When asked about “historical samplers,” Bill Subjack replied, “The samplers we seek out are those with a historical context, and those made in areas that didn’t produce many samplers. Joyce and I collected samplers for years before we started selling them. We hoped to have samplers made in each of the 50 states. We got to 44. Many were from states that were settled much later than the Eastern Seaboard, and that was fine with us. We had samplers from the Southern states, Midwestern states like Kansas and unusual places like Hawaii. We sold many of those that we had collected, but that’s what we seek out and sell today. We’re often selling to museums and historical societies.”
The Subjacks also sell historical manuscripts.”When we started to collect samplers, we wanted to learn about the people who made them and the sociological context in which they were made,” Bill said. “The standard reference books on samplers are almost all Twentieth Century writings and they naturally reflect the point of view of the authors. We wanted to understand the thinking of the young women who made the samplers we were looking for. Family letters and diaries often contained those kind of insights, so we collected that type of material and that’s how we started to deal in manuscripts.
“Again, we look for pieces with good historical content. One of the letters we have with us here is a letter from the last member of the Washington family to have lived in Mount Vernon, and he talks about having rented the property from his mother. Many deal with military affairs. That’s what we look for,” he said.
For the more traditional collector, there was plenty of unusual stuff to look at. Colette Donovan, Merrimacport, Mass., had a woven deerskin rug. Steve Smoot, Lancaster, Penn., was offering a wide selection of Southwestern Native American pottery from several tribes, priced between $450 and $1,200, and he also had a grouping of mechanical banks priced from $650. Tom Longacre, Marlborough, N.H., had a full-bodied rooster weathervane, probably by Fiske, that had come off a barn in Temple, N.H. He also had a folky portrait of a young man attributed to William Kenney, circa 1835-45.
Erik Wohl, Jupiter, Fla., had a wonderful 1930s wooden sign for the Santa Fe Railroad, priced at $850. He also had what might have been the all-time nicest miniature bucket, in old green paint with hand forged iron bands and handle.
Jewett-Berdan, Newcastle, Maine, brought a carved wooden weathervane in the form of a deer with tin horns and leather ears, priced at $2,800, and a selection of early cloth dolls. Axtell Antiques, Deposit, N.Y., had a special item for a burl collector: a footed, turned ash punch bowl, priced at $8,500.
Sometimes really interesting things get overlooked. Tim Chambers, Missouri Plain Folk, Sikeston, Mo., had an unusual large diorama depicting a Midwestern-style farm house, barn and dog (or maybe a horse?), but it did not appear to attract attention, said the dealer.
As with the other shows this weekend, dealers reported strong preshow sales, and the first sale to attendees was noted at 2:02 pm – two minutes after opening. Mike and Lucinda Seward made their first sale at 2:02, Beverly Longacre made her first sale at 2:05, the Pratts made their first sale, a quilt, also at 2:05, and by 2:30 Dennis Raleigh had made four or five sales, including a $3,500 painting, bottles and woodenware. Steve Smoot quickly sold a spice cabinet, and MG Antiques was wrapping a quilt. Most said sales were strong throughout the day.
For additional information, www.okemoantiqueshow.com, 610-207-9505 (Kris) or 330-207-2196 (Steve).
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