Published: February 1, 2022
Review & Photos by Rick Russack
BATH, MAINE – For the first time in nearly two years, the Bath Antique Sale returned on January 23. It has been a staple of the Maine antiques world for decades, providing a monthly show from October through April in Maine’s mid-coast region. It is now under the management of Rachel and Josh Gurley, assisted by their families. In 2021 they took over management of the shows from Paul Fuller, who started the events more than 40 years ago, originally at Cook’s Corner in Brunswick. Due to Covid restrictions, the Gurleys had not been able to get the shows up and running until now. The shows have always been conducted in the gymnasium of the Bath Middle School, and so show managers are bound by school policies. The first three shows, scheduled for the fall of 2021, had to be canceled. The space accommodates about 50 dealers and it was full. Attendance was strong and if you got there a little late, you would have had trouble finding a parking space, so cars were parked in the street, as well as in the parking lot.
Most dealers were from Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, and several of the Maine dealers brought items relating to local history, which were displayed prominently. There were photographs, books, trade signs relating to Maine, clothing for Maine winters, Native American objects, some with Maine provenance, and decoys by Maine carvers. Lest that make it sounds like offerings were only of Nineteenth and Twentieth Century origin, that assumption would be wrong. In fact, offerings covered a time span of more than 400 years, including a signed English royal document dating to 1673, ceramics from the 1750s, to an assortment of midcentury furniture and accessories dating to the 1950s and later.
In addition to the Americana one would expect at a Gurley show, and in addition to the local history items several dealers offered, there was a fascinating bit of earlier European history offered by Oliver Garland, Falmouth Mass. It was a manuscript letter written by King Charles II (1630-1685) in 1673, framed along with an engraving of Charles and an autographed engraving of Samuel Pepys (1633-1703) from the same time period. Pepys is best remembered today for the detailed diary he kept from 1660 to 1669 with firsthand accounts of events during that period. He was also Secretary to The Admiralty and an important figure concerning affairs of the Royal Navy. The letter referred to the 1672-74 third Anglo-Dutch war. There were four such wars, primarily naval engagements, most of which went badly for England. Although the second war, a few years earlier, resulted in the almost total destruction of the Royal Navy, it was during that time period that the English navy seized New Amsterdam (now New York) from the Dutch. Garland priced the framed documents at $2,800. Chris Stanley, Bremen, Maine, had a circa 1750 hand colored engraving showing a naval battle between French and English ships in the Caribbean. It was priced $175.
Decoys were available from a number of dealers. Dennis Raleigh, Pumpkin Patch Antiques, Searsport, Maine, had a small group that included an eider from Nova Scotia, made by an unknown carver, which was priced $1,450. He dated it to the first quarter of the Twentieth Century. He also had a folky merganser that was priced at $2,600. Minerva’s Bounty, Kennebunk, Maine, had a small group that included a late Twentieth Century pair of redleg black ducks carved by Maurice Gould, priced $500, and a Canada goose decoy for which he was asking just $75. There were others on the show floor.
David White, North Yarmouth, Maine, had an outstanding Inuit hide-covered umiak, 28 inches long, with three people, one of whom was wearing seal skin boots. There was also equipment in the boat, including a harpoon, oil lamps and more. He described it as having been made in Greenland, circa 1900, and priced it $1,400. Umiaks differ from kayaks in that umiaks are open boats used for transporting people or possessions. Cherry Gallery, Damariscotta, Maine, had beaded items, both Plains and Eastern woodlands, and decorated, etched, birchbark items. One covered basket had a moose on the front and other decorations on the top. It was priced $250, and a simple birchbark container was $75.
The day after the show, a dealer friend who had attended said that while waiting for family in the lobby of the show, about an hour after it opened, “It seemed like everyone leaving was carrying something.” Rachel Gurley said that she had heavily promoted the show locally, “the way we used to do things. Before social media. I visited the stores in the area to let them know the show was back, and I put up posters in town. I gave out more than 100 free passes, including some to the school people. It worked – we had a steady crowd all day and several times heard people saying they were glad the show is back. Selling was steady all day, and several dealers told me they did well. We’re planning to run seven shows here this year, with the next one being March 13.”
For additional information, 207-396-4255, 207-229-0403 or www.gurleyantiqueshows.com.
October 4, 2022
October 4, 2022
October 4, 2022
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