Published: April 3, 2007
Heart of Country Antiques Show returned to Nashville’s Opryland USA for the 26th year March 1″. With 125 dealers, according to Susan Kramer Hunkins, daughter of the founders, Richard and Elizabeth Kramer, “the show had strong sales of Americana, its particular specialty.” Hunkins added, “We were very pleased with the dealers’ collections, for they seem to know what is the right stuff for this show. They came with early American furniture, textiles and a great variety of early folk art.”
Just inside the entrance of the show were Harold Cole and Bettina Krainin from Woodbury, Conn. Always at the front of current trends in antiques, Cole and Krainin for this show had weathervanes as a major focus of their collection. There was a hollow copper eagle in full flight; a Civil War vintage Union cavalry soldier leading the charge; another was a flat iron steam engine, Nineteenth Century vintage; several different running horses; and even a milking cow. They had some other forms of folk art and Americana, including a decorative transom and window grates.
From Skaneateles, N.Y., White & White were offering several weathervanes in addition to their collection of early furniture. They collect and trade hardwood furniture, primarily American, but some English as well from the Eighteenth Century. Accessories in their exhibit included several courting mirrors and a tall case clock.
Robert Perry of Orchard Park, N.Y., and Nancy Fishelson from Woodbury, Conn., have a business partnership for shows. Their collection was primarily American primitive furniture, those Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century pieces often found in early paint or under many layers of paint in striking colors. Additionally, they had several pieces of very early upholstered furniture, and there was a running horse weathervane, too.
Another popular item at this year’s Nashville show was the barber pole. There were quite a few seen on exhibit, including one offered by Franklin, Tenn., dealer Bill Powell. He was also offering a variety of other trade signs that were pictorial representations of the trade advertised, such as an anvil, an oversize padlock for advertising a hardware store and a painted clock face for watch repair.
Munday and Munday is a mother and daughter partnership from Benton, Ill. Their exhibit featured several early textiles, small quilts with very intricate work and in excellent original condition. Additionally, they had a large selection of early American stoneware.
“We sold the big table right off,” said Newburgh, N.Y., dealer Dan Olson. He added, “It was found in Connecticut; it was over 8 feet long and 38 inches wide with a two-board top.” He and his wife, Karen, were pleased with the results of their long weekend in Nashville, selling not only the table priced at $5,500, but also a six-drawer chest and a set of six bow back Windsor side chairs, along with a large variety of small accessories.
More furniture was featured by the exhibiting dealers at this show, and frequently it is very regional. Stonecrop Antiques, Mount Crawford, Va., was offering a large corner cupboard. Made of southern yellow pine, the piece measured more than 8 feet tall and 50 inches wide across the front and was in very early pitch paint colors of teal blue and red highlights. The top was of a split pediment design and it had been found in Virginia.
A Tennessee pie safe was offered by David and Kim Leggett of Newburn, Tenn. This piece, made of cherry, featured 15 punched tins with one tulip and a variety of leaves on each showing only very minor light rust, just enough to show the authenticity of its age, from about 1840. Raised slightly more than a foot on Sheraton-like turned legs, its price tag read $12,000.
Pennsylvanians Keith and Diane Fryling found, as the tag described, “a wonderful folk art bird house in original dry polychrome paint.” Priced at $5,600, it seemed to be an architectural miniature of some attached cottages from the Black Forest.
A pilgrim’s cottage was the setting for Colette Donovan’s display. The Merrimacport, Mass., dealer creates a room setting using mostly primitive handmade objects as the display and merchandise for her sale.
Don and Marta Orwig, on the other hand, have a very broad interpretation of antiques. In part, perhaps, because they come from Corunna, Ind., an area settled far later than Donovan’s North Shore home. The Orwigs have furniture and folk art from throughout the Nineteenth Century and even folksy and funky things from the Twentieth Century. To look at the Orwigs’ stuff is to smile: a skeleton for advertising in a shop window; hands cut off at the wrist to display gloves; a butcher block made from the slice of a maple tree; a mannequin carved in wood; game tables made from candlestands; and rag rug upholstered wing chairs. They had old signs and pie safes, even some imitation animal heads.
The opposite of that was Portland Antiques, Portland, Maine, with a very formal collection. Owner Richard Smith was offering a very correct Dunlap-made chest-on-chest. Smith said it was the first time on the market, made of maple with ball and claw feet, original brasses and priced at $48,000.
Not everything at the show is expensive. Many years ago, the late founder, Elizabeth Kramer, established a special booth where all the antiques are priced under $200 with no discounting. Each dealer in the show is invited to consign some of its merchandise to the booth, which is operated by Kramer’s staff, and sales are fast and furious for the deals are good.
Hunkins said the preview party was a great success in several ways. She was pleased with the crowd and she said, “Many dealers had very good sales during the party.” She also considered it to be good fun for all, with food, beverages and good music. Their next show is The Heart of Texas at Gaylord’s Texan Resort, near Dallas, October 11‱3. After that, they will return to Nashville February 14‱6, 2008 for Heart of Country Antiques Show. She said she was especially pleased to return on Valentines Day. For information, 800-862-1090 or www.heartofcountry.com .
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