Published: August 20, 2002
Story by Laura Beach, photos by R. Scudder Smith
BEDFORD, N.H. – One of the best things about Midweek in Manchester, the flagship antiques show organized by Barn Star Productions of Rhinebeck, N.Y., is that it feels like a “twofor” – two terrific shows for the price of one. With 30 dealers in the Convention Center and another 70 exhibitors under a big tent nearby, Frank Gaglio’s dynamic duo at the Wayfayer Inn gives buyers their money’s worth, offering a dazzling variety of country and formal furniture, accessories, and folk art.
In fact, there are few rivals to this country favorite, now just shy of a decade old. Gaglio has done an excellent job attracting top caliber exhibitors and crafting a presentation that is refined but not intimidating. Barn Star’s hard-working staff deserves credit, too. The courteous crew makes this a show that runs without a hitch.
No wonder there was a busy, festive, sociable feeling on the floor not long after the fair opened on Wednesday, August 7, for two days. Aisles were crowded and shoppers were enthusiastic, judging by the lively chatter and the profusion of sold stickers.
In fact, some exhibitors seemed a bit dazed by the pace of sales. “It’s been really good so far,” Susan Stella giddily admitted. The Manchester, Mass., dealer had to check her account book to recall her many sales: “A child’s stepback blue cupboard, three paintings, a large verdigris finial, a large set of shelves, a big trencher. Should I continue?” With an incredulous glance at her mostly spoken-for stand, Illinois dealer Joanne Boardman asked, “Are we selling furniture? Oh, yes! Cupboards, benches, you name it.”
“We do very well here,” agreed Mark Allen, an Amherst, N.H., dealer whose inventory of early furniture, English and Dutch Delft, and brass is both more formal and more expensive than that of many of his colleagues. Around Midweek in Manchester, smalls and accessories sold first and in greater quantity, but, as Allen proved, plenty of high-ticket merchandise was snapped up, too.
Laying to rest the old wives’ tale that you can’t sell furniture at a summer show, Ithaca, N.Y., dealer Joan Brownstein had sales in the six figures, parting with a blanket chest, portraits by Ammi Phillip and Rufus Porter, and a 13-panel Vermont birch and tiger maple chest of drawers that relates to a stand attributed to Lemuel Bishop of Charlotte, Vt.
“Antiques are one investment that will still be there when you wake up in the morning,” said Vermont dealer Jane Turano Thompson, providing an explanation for the robust market, which seemed to flourish in spite of (or, perhaps, because of) Wall Street.
Assisted by Peter Ermacora and Evan Hughes of Norfolk, Conn., Sam Herrup of Sheffield, Mass., quickly sold a pair of early French joined stools and a Thomas Chambers oil on canvas view of the Hudson Highlands near Cold Spring, the latter to collectors from New York.
Elliott and Grace Snyder of South Egremont, Mass., parted with a splay-legged table and a large, rare appliqued table cover, circa 1830, made of homespun and burlap in earthy colors.
An unusual hanging pie safe with punched decoration of angels, stars, and the punched inscription “Geissler & Ohio 643 Penn St Reading Penn” was a quick seller at Chuck White, Mercer, Penn.
David Geiger of Meadville, Penn., parted with a Chippendale slant-front desk with quarter columns and nicely fitted interior, a tall case clock, and a blanket chest.
A snake-foot candlestand with a shaped top was whisked out of James Grievo’s booth, and Salt Box House of Westborough, Mass., sold a country settee.
Trade signs turned up missing all over the floor. Joseph Martin and Suzanne Bruckner of Brownington, Vt., parted with their “Saddle & Harness Manufactory” sign, and a Monterey Hotel inn sign left the booth of Garthoeffner Gallery of Lititz, Penn.
Jeffrey Tillou of Litchfield, Conn., got off to a good start, flipping a major weathervane on the floor.
Fortunately for those who came late, not everything wonderful sold in the first two hours. Occupying the first booth inside the Convention Center doors, George and Debbie Spiecker of Amherst, N.H., hung a crisply detailed portrait of the Maine schooner Lucy W. Snow by William Pierce Stubbs, $24,000.
Stephen Score of Boston brightened his wall with a pair of Erastus Salisbury Field portraits, circa 1825. The female sitter is draped in a colorfully patterned shawl and wears a ruffled bonnet with pink ribbons.
“I’ve bought well and sold well. It was a good set up,” said New Haven, Conn., dealer Fred Giampietro, who combined a pale blue New Hampshire apothecary cupboard, $125,000, with American slip-decorated redware from the collection of his colleague, Lewis Scranton. A plate inscribed “Mary’s Dish” was $7,500.
Cool blue and white Chinese Export porcelain refreshed the eye at Julie Lindberg Antiques. Ceramics in rare shapes joined a horse and rider weathervane, probably by Fiske, $68,500, and an Eighteenth Century oval trade sign in the Radnor, Penn., dealer’s display.
A crowd gathered to admire Jan Whitlock’s collection of choice early textiles and primitive furniture. Featured was a country Sheraton canopied bed, sold, and a shirred hearth rug with bold design and brilliant color, $34,500.
In the next room, James and Nancy Glazer, summer residents of Bailey’s Island, Me., offered a great set of six fancy painted rush-seat chairs, $11,000, and a Maine paint-decorated Empire chest of drawers, $16,500.
Showing that summer shouldn’t be take too seriously, the Glazers put out a playful collection of circa 1930 footstools decorated as turtles, $2,200. Likewise, Robert Thayer of Sheffield, Mass., brought a pair of Adirondack chairs humorously painted to look like be-wigged Eighteenth Century gentlemen. A set of six fence post finials the shape of roses were $195 each at American Sampler, Barnesville, Md.
David Wheatcroft’s treasures included a country Sheraton Pennsylvania desk-and-bookcase, $29,000, with a grained exterior and a chalky salmon and green painted interior. A charming miniature on ivory double portrait by Mrs Moses B. Russell was $28,000.
One of the most interesting pieces of furniture on the floor was a one-off secretary bookcase signed and dated by its maker, Philip N. Houghtaling of Charleston, Montgomery, N.Y., 1870. Belonging to John Keith Russell of South Salem, N.Y., the fanciful piece, $5,800, is ornamented with applied spindles and heart inlays.
Cupboards were the name of the game at Jenkinstown Antiques. The New Paltz, N.Y., dealer anchored his stand with a deep blue corner cupboard, $12,500, and a glazed, double-door stepback cupboard in contrasting blue and cream, $11,000.
A good buy at American Spirit, Shawnee Mission, Kan., were six fancy-painted Hitchcock chairs in black and gold, at $1,100 for the group. A set of four Chippendale Country side chairs, circa 1780, from the J. Watson Webb collection was $4,800.
The beautiful weather was a boon for the tent dwellers and their customers, who had suffered in sweltering weather during past years. Hilary and Paulette Nolan of Falmouth, Mass., used the tent’s height to advantage, unveiling a massive Pennsylvania architectural corner cupboard, $18,500, circa 1780, with a yellow interior, lots of shaped shelves and spoon slots.
Norwich, Ohio, dealers The Kembles featured a Philadelphia cherry corner cupboard with dentil moldings, $28,500, and a circa 1770 dishtop birdcage candlestand, $10,800.
Richard Rasso of Hudson, N.Y., paired a Pennsylvania three-drawer paint-decorated dower chest dated 1823, $15,500, with a handmade train weathervane commemorating the Delaware & Hudson Railroad.
A highly figured maple slant-front desk, $18,000, was a highlight at Stephen H. Garner Antiques, Yarmouthport, Mass.
Scalloping was a theme in Samuel Forsythe’s display, where an Eighteenth Century corner shelf was $13,000. Forsythe’s colleague from Ohio, David Good, sold an elaborate carved bone cottage and grounds carved between 1872 and 1914 by an Illinois man who worked for the Baltimore Ohio railroad.
Worked by Sarah Taylor in 1807, a Philadelphia sampler, $38,000, picturing a couple courting in front of a Georgian red-brick house was the centerpiece of M. Finkel & Daughter’s booth. Another rarity illustrated with a similar scene was a Washington City sampler by Sara Ann Carter, 1834, $42,000. “So far, we’ve sold one important sampler and two lesser ones,” said Amy Finkel.
The dealer will be busy this fall, speaking at a symposium on Philadelphia needlework at Wintherthur on September 20-21, and mounting special exhibitions at her Philadelphia gallery on September 22, and at Cora Ginsburg Lld in New York from October 17-20, the latter to coincide with the International Show.
Stephen and Carol Huber’s major piece, an important Andover, Mass., needlework, one of three known, was all but sold by Wednesday morning and the Old Saybrook, Conn., dealers were doing bang-up business with sales of their new book, a Miller guide to samplers and needlework.
Other textiles included an outstanding whitework coverlet at Colette Donovan, Merrimacport, Mass. The patriotic spread, circa 1795, $48,500, featured eagle motifs and a variety of needlework techniques, including cutwork.
“Folk dolls are still what I love best,” said Kathy Schoemer, who brought a superb selection of black rag dolls in old costumes. “There is nothing more fun that selling a doll to someone who falls in love with it.”
Notable folk art included an overmantel painted with a view of George Washington’s headquarters by James M. Gemmill of Troy, N.Y. It was $22,000 at Patricia Stauble/Shirley Chambers, Wiscasset, Me.
Priced $43,000, large bas relief carvings of an Indian brave and squaw, originally circus-wagon ornaments, were an attraction at Greg K. Kramer & Company, Robesonia, Penn.
John Sideli was asking $19,500 for a compelling Prior-Hamblin School portrait of a young girl wearing gold jewelry and a red dress, seated on a red-upholstered settee with eagle-carved arms.
“Our gate was about the same as last year, and sales were strong. I consider that tremendous, given that last year was a banner year and that many shows are suffering these days,” said Frank Gaglio the day after he wrapped up his August 9 Bedford Pickers Market, which he promotes in tandem with Midweek in Manchester. “I focus on doing the best job I can, for my dealers and my customers.”
After a two week trip to Italy with his daughter Ciara, Gaglio will return to public with his Salisbury (Conn.) Antiques in A Cow Pasture Show on Saturday, September 14.
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