Published: March 3, 2017
Review and Photos by Tom O’Hara
NASHVILLE, TENN. – Jon Jenkins attracted nearly 4,000 avid collectors February 16-18 to the Nashville Show, which has become a highly popular antiques show in middle America. With 150 exhibitors in the three halls, the show taking place at the Nashville Fairgrounds was filled to capacity with early home furnishings, accessories, art and folk art from the last 400 years, most but not all made in America.
Sales were described as great by most of the participants, both the sellers and buyers. For example, a lady from Franklin, Tenn., was so thrilled with the silver and crystal muffineers, aka sugar shakers, offered by a Connecticut dealer, she bought four of them for $1,100. Another shopper from Georgia bought four paintings from one Georgia dealer for an undisclosed amount, even though that dealer exhibits every month in Atlanta.
Maine Attic Antiques, Hartwell, Maine, arrived in a large rental box truck and could have left in a minivan; its sales were so good.
Paul Smith, Harlan, Iowa, was offering early advertising in the form of signs and sold something from all categories. He reported that this was one of the best shows ever for him. Sales included a variety of the early containers from the Nineteenth Century with their labels intact, signs and hundred-year-old toys. Another part of his collection is the shooting gallery knock downs. These are usually in cast iron, and the trick is to find ones where the shooters were not very accurate, that is, not good at hitting the target and causing paint loss. For this, Paul was right on the mark and had good success.
David Zabriskie, Lake Placid, N.Y., was selling Oriental rugs and small art pieces. While his report was not specific, there were a number of small area rugs that found new homes along with folk art.
Pijnappels, LLC, Casnovia, Mich., was selling a little of everything – little in large measure – because they only carry little things, but the dealers booked the largest space in the entire show to display all of their collection. One corner was for games, another for kitchenalia, another for desk paraphernalia and so on and so forth. One wall was filled with tramp art frames at the beginning of the show and depleted by the end; another area featuring children’s games had similar success.
South Road Antiques, Susan Weschler’s business, and Paula Rubinstein, both from New York, were working together in one oversized exhibit area with folk art, Outsider art and Nineteenth Century primitive and painted furniture and décor items. Early into the show, the large architectural gable carving sold, and after the show closed, a decision was made for the transom fan light which then was to be shipped to the West Coast. Both dealers also did well with smalls.
Pike, N.H., dealer and auctioneer Josh Steenburgh was very pleased with the results for the week’s effort. He and his wife Mary were there with friends in an oversized space stretching across an aisle to accommodate all they had brought to the show and went home a great deal lighter. He said they sold 11 pieces of furniture, a number of pieces of folk art and fine art and a good deal of their early American small antique collection.
Dennis and Dad is Dennis and Ann Berard from Fitzwilliam, N.H., who trade primarily in early earthenware. Here, they were offering an exquisite collection of blue featheredge that sold well to collectors, as well as transferware and export.
Steve Jenkins, father of the show’s owner/manager, was exhibiting with an inventory of American furniture from Colonial through Federal periods. His sales were good, with several pieces finding new homes, but more than just the furniture; he noted sales of small antiques and art. An oil on canvas of a very young child in a light blue dress, large folio size without a frame was one of his sales; also a store sign for shoes, shaped like a shoe, about 5 feet long by 4 feet tall; and a great many lesser pieces found their way into new homes.
Three friends shared an oversized space and all reported a good weekend. Colleen Boland Alpers, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, had all that was needed for a pioneer’s kitchen: hand carved bowls and tools, firkins and pantry boxes and of course painted primitive furniture. Suzanne Baker, Westville, Ind., was offering several hooked mats, an assortment of gameboards, late Eighteenth-early Nineteenth Century furniture. Debbie Schlichter, Washington Court House, Ohio, sold her 200-year-old light blue painted cupboard; it was made with all square nails, probably in Ohio, also an apothecary wall-hung cupboard and a large assortment of small household items typical of an Ohio home, circa 1810.
From Kirkwood, Mo., the Finblooms brought an assortment of mostly small things, but so much they need their van and a trailer to carry their entire inventory. Barbara Finbloom happily reported that perhaps they had not needed the trailer for the ride home. Their collection focuses on many functional objects from 150 to 250 years ago that now take on an art form. For example, there were two large hand carved wooden snow shovels hung on the wall, a crate in yellow paint had become a stand and another object, which appeared to be a nose yoke, was decorating the wall.
A portion of the show is devoted to vintage, the slightly later but very popular decorator materials sought by many today which frequently has a lower price point then the pure antiques. In the vintage section, about 35 exhibits offered their collections, including Brenda Hawkins, Watertown, Tenn., showing a collection of furniture, vintage fashions and more, racking up “pretty fair sales.”
After the first day, Emily Morrison of Fatcat & Magpie, Nashville, sold so much that she had to restock with more. The collection featured repainted pine and oak furniture from about 100 years ago.
Tony England, Jasper, Ga., was offering his carved angels and selling well. They are used as both interior décor accents and garden ornaments, he said, with very reasonable pricing.
The mix of merchandise offered at the show seems to be a big part of why it is very popular with shoppers. This year’s show again attracted more than 4,000 people during its three-day run. The audience is not just local, although that is the concentration. Both smalls and big antiques were carried or shipped to all corners of the country, some by commercial shippers, others by helpful dealers.
At the conclusion of the show, Jon Jenkins took a deep breath and said, “This show was very gratifying, for now we have been back at the Nashville Fairgrounds for a few years. There are the two other shows at the same time. The shoppers come here knowing this is the big one, but also there is more to see in town at the same time so they can have a real antiques festival again.”
Jenkins noted the exhibitors by and large love it too, for when he issued contracts for next year’s show, February 15-17, more than 75 percent of the dealers left a deposit to guarantee their space for the next year.
For information, contact Jon Jenkins at email@example.com or 317-598-0012.
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