Published: August 7, 2017
Review and Photos by Rick Russack
STRATTON, VT. – The Vermont Antiques Dealers’ Association (VADA) returned to the Stratton Mountain resort for its July 21-22 show, marking its 43rd such event. There were more than 35 exhibitors, not all from Vermont, and they brought a variety of antiques and fine art. There were several pieces of early furniture – both formal and country – a booth full of Oriental rugs, along with folk art, fine art and prints, marine artifacts, early glass, stoneware, silver and more.
The show opened at noon on July 21, and within a half hour several customers were carrying packages and dealers were wrapping purchases. Greg Hamilton, Stone Block Antiques, who manages the show for the association, said, “The show hasn’t been a money-maker for the association for the last several years, so it was decided to return to Stratton, where the shows were conducted in the 1980s and 1990s. Many of us have done other shows at this facility, and we knew we could put on a good-looking show. We also experimented with the hours, opening at noon on Friday and going to 8 pm. Saturday we opened at 9 am and the show ended at 2 pm. That let the facility get ready for another event later in the day and saved us some money.”
After the show, Hamilton observed, “Staying open until 8 pm worked for some, but not everybody. I made my largest sale of the show after 6 and it was to a retail buyer that I hadn’t known before. I know that a painting was also sold in the evening, but we may not do it next time.”
There were numerous interesting items. Judd Gregory, Dorset, Vt., had a painting that looked like it was done by Grandma Moses. That was because it was done by her son, Forrest King Moses (1893-1974). Like his famous mother, he did not start painting until late in life. According to Gregory, his mother did not like his paintings. Mario Pollo, Holliston, Mass., came with a group of large African clay storage containers and a large Germanic bird tree.
Mike Weinberg, West Pelham Antiques, had a needlework sampler that may have been a depiction of a house at Strawbery Banke Museum. According to a label on the back, it had come from Portsmouth, N.H., was dated 1850 and depicted a farmhouse connected to the barns, as described in Big House, Little House, Back House, Barn by Thomas Hubka. The border of the sampler had numerous red strawberries, leading Weinberg to think it may have been a scene at Strawbery Banke.
Rick Fuller, Royalton, Vt., had a circa 1800 8-foot-long, single-board farm table, which interestingly had old tin wrapped around the upper portion of each of its legs. If you were looking for a long farm table, there was another one in the booth of Rita Masso Antiques, South Burlington, Vt. Hers was a Queen Anne-style table with button feet and a breadboard top.
Also of interest was a particularly nice Portsmouth four-drawer chest in the booth of Hanes & Ruskin Antiques, Old Lyme, Conn. It had inlaid birch panels, cut corners, a distinctive skirt on all sides, cerulean blue Sandwich glass knobs and an indistinct chalk signature on one of the drawers. It looked like the Sandwich knobs were original. With chamfered drawer bottoms, it was apparently a piece of furniture that its maker had taken some time with.
It is often surprising when dealers are asked what is their favorite item in their booth. You might expect that most would pick an expensive piece of furniture or painting, but that does not always happen. Kyle Scanlon, Essex Junction, Vt., had an early highboy and Midcentury Modern furniture, among other things. But his favorite item was a small Tiffany sterling silver oil can that had originally been used with a sewing machine. It was only $150, but he said that the oil can “really made me think about who owned it and what her life was like.”
Justin Cobb, Amherst, Mass., had his usual selection of marine artifacts and paintings. But he explained that his favorite item was a small Eskimo “play doll” that did not have arms. He explained that it had no arms so that clothing could easily be put on or taken off. He said that Eskimo girls used the dolls to learn how to make clothes and they would make outfits for each season of the year. “They were really used by the people – they weren’t made as tourist items, as so many of the Eskimo items were.”
When Norm Gronnig, Shaftsbury, Vt., was asked about his favorite piece, he had trouble deciding between an early Pilgrim Century three-drawer chest and a large Nineteenth Century locksmith trade sign in the form of a lock. He said the chest, which he thought was from Essex County, Mass., was unusual as it was actually a chest and not a blanket chest and the trade sign was “just great.” The chest, which he priced at $9,500, was sold during the show and the trade sign was priced at $2,400.
Mike Weinberg’s favorite item was a piece of blue and white Staffordshire that he said some people thought was an oversized gravy boat. It was, he said, actually a woman’s chamber pot, properly termed a “bourdaloue.” He said the name came from a French priest known for giving very long sermons and it was designed for women in the congregation who might have to answer a call of nature. It was priced at $495.
Greg Hamilton, Stone Block Antiques, had a booth full of furniture, early ceramics and paintings. But his favorite was a set of framed, handmade, children’s sweaters, which he sold a few minutes after the conversation.
Within an hour of opening, several dealers said that sales were off to a good start. In addition to the set of sweaters Hamilton sold, Brian Bittner, Burlington, Vt., sold a Vermont family record. Kyle Scanlon sold a Herman Miller lounge chair, Holly and Jeff Noordsy, Cornwall, Vt., sold a wall paper box and other items, and Tom Bassett, Woodstock, Vt., was wrapping a framed print. Mike Seward and John Rice both said they were off to a good start. Some dealers, including Rick Fuller, had made several sales during setup. So, while attendance may have been down a bit from the previous years, according to Hamilton, most dealers were satisfied with their results.
For additional information, visit the Vermont Antiques Dealers’ Association website, www.vermontantiquesdealers.com.
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