Published: August 17, 2021
Review & Photos by Madelia Hickman Ring
ORLEANS, MASS. – If you ask most any dealer who sets up at an outdoor antiques show that is at the mercy of the elements, you may be surprised to hear that beautiful, sunny weather is not necessarily optimal show conditions. Of course, they want the weather to be dry, but weather that is too nice is conducive to distracting potential showgoers away to other fair-weather pursuits.
On August 7, the 51st Annual Summer Antiques Show, put on by the Cape Cod Antique Dealers Association (CCADA) on the grounds of the Nauset Middle School, opened to beautiful, sunny weather with low humidity and a slight breeze that lingered even as temperatures and humidity rose. More than 40 people were waiting in line for the one-day show to open, a gate CCADA president Charlene Dixon was encouraged by.
She reported more than 425 people had visited the show when they stopped taking admission late in the day, with late comers coming in and buying while the show packed up in the late afternoon.
“While the weather was an important factor, I think people were just so happy to have this long-running show back. Dealers and patrons were just so happy to see each other after our cancellation last year. Many of us spent time with ‘old’ customers just catching up after a long absence. It was a genuine social reunion! I checked with all the dealers and everyone said they had an excellent day. The buying was continuous from the opening and throughout the day.”
Dixon reported that many vendors offered a wider variety, from outdoor architecture to paintings by well-known Cape Cod artists. She said small furniture and early baskets were notable sales among many dealers.
The Dixons themselves reported particularly strong sales in Cape Cod memorabilia, including a cranberry picker, framed cranberry labels and an antique hooked rug with a cranberry motif which was signed and dated from Harwich.
Once the show opened – a few minutes before the scheduled 9 am start – sold tags could be spotted immediately. Among these was with Orleans’ own Bill Nickerson, William Nickerson Antiques, who was the first to be spotted writing up two pieces of furniture: a chest of drawers and a dry sink. His booth offered, in addition to numerous pieces of furniture, nautical ship paintings and a table with bins of vintage collectible LP albums for sale.
Next to Nickerson, Tradewinds Fine Art had a great selection of fine art. Stephen and Doris McKell come from Narragansett, R.I., to do all the antique shows on the Cape and said they had done well selling privately during Covid-19. After the show, Stephen said, “We had a good day selling, thanks to our customers that came out to see us. The nice weather made for a busy morning although by noon things calmed down. All in all, it was a great day seeing many of the dealers that we hadn’t seen in a while.”
Edythe Davinis, who closed her Osterville, Mass., shop in September, 2020, said it was really special to see so many of her longtime clients. She reported having “an excellent show, selling marine items, wall art, majolica and garden” pieces, which she attributed to having sent out numerous show cards before the weekend. She was looking forward to doing a show in Osterville before the end of the month.
“I would say the show was a big success,” Barbara Adams said. “Great gate and happy exhibitors! Everyone seemed to be so happy to be attending a live show and seeing familiar faces!” She and her husband, Charles, both of whom are deeply involved with CCADA, reported having a good show, selling three pieces of furniture: a small blanket box, an early banister back side chair and a one-drawer stand. Other sales were three framed early Cape Cod maps, bookends, nautical doorstops and a few small paintings of Cape Cod scenes. She said they were also able to purchase “a few new additions for future shows.”
Marie Forjan, CCADA’s publicity director, also thought the gate was great. “This year we had a mix of regularly returning dealers, some who occasionally do the show, plus two dealers who joined the CCADA specifically because they wanted to do the show. Also, a few years ago we instituted a policy to have a guest dealer, not a CCADA member, at the show in the hopes they will join. This year we invited Offshore Salvage from Maine, they were very pleased and had a great show.
“Every year we get a mixture of regular customers and new faces. We expected, and saw, quite a few new shoppers because of the influx of new residents on Cape Cod over the last year or so. Plus we always attract weekend visitors who arrive the day before and the day of the show.” Forjan commented that she sold quite a lot of art pottery by makers such as Weller, McCoy, Roseville and Abington.
She gave a shout-out from the CCADA Board to the show’s volunteers. “To those who picked up the morning coffee and donuts for our dealers, put out the signs directing shoppers to the show and manned the admissions gate all day, plus any number of other necessary tasks – we could not put the show on without their help!”
Peter Lombardi at Offshore Salvage confirmed what Forjan reported. “I’ve been setting up at other small shows on the Cape for years, but this was my first with CCADA, and they were right in encouraging me. It was a very successful show for me; I had strong early sales, and continued sales all day. My two favorite items that sold were a pair of very early, very unusual, and very heavy andirons, possibly African American: and a large group of treadle-stitched nautical decorative pennants from the 30s in wonderful, faded colors. People were very enthusiastic and happy to walk away with most of my favorite items – sometimes it’s a little hard to let go. I will definitely return to the show in the future. It was very welcoming, and very well organized, and really a delightful group of dealers.”
David and Jane Thompson, South Dennis, Mass., were also upbeat and looking forward to participating in Antiques Week in New Hampshire. “It was great to see customers we hadn’t seen in several years, as well as meeting new customers. We were delighted to see some college-age, beginning collectors with a passion for antique photographs who bought a group from us. Our best sale was a Connecticut Chippendale tall, two-drawer blanket chest – with two more ‘false” drawers’ – complete with original bat-wing brasses.”
“A breezy day and a good gate,” was how Kevin Garvey Rita characterized the day. The Orleans dealer has not done many shows in the past year and a half but did well during Covid by selling online. He reported some sales to new customers at this show and a “solid follow-up sale resulting in new people coming to my shop.”
Rita’s booth was next to that of Roy Mennell, Bradford Trust Art & Antiques, which had a good selection of fine art on offer, from oils to watercolors. Three of the works in his booth were by Charles D. Cahoon (1861-1951), whose scenes of Cape Cod make him a perennial favorite among buyers. Mennell had a few copies of He Painted Cape Cod: The Life And Works Of C.D. Cahoon, which he was happy to give to interested showgoers. This is the only show Mennell is doing this summer, with his most recent previous show being one in Portland, Maine, in September 2019. He said the show met his expectations, with sales of two paintings. “It was a real pleasure to discuss Cahoon and chat with many old customers. There was lots of interest in the Cahoons, so we shall see.”
Linda Brown, who does business as Cargill Antiques in both White River Junction, Vt., and Wellfleet, Mass., said she did very well, noting a stack of Wilton, N.H., pantry boxes got the most interest and comments from showgoers. She welcomed regular customers in the morning but said most of her sales were made in the afternoon to new clients. She reported making her best sale – a small oil painting of sailing ships – at the end of the day.
Trish Ferrara of Ten Mile Antiques said most of her sales were credit card purchases and deemed the show “excellent. I sold lots of jewelry, including a beautiful Wedgwood jasper and 14K gold necklace. The customers were all pleasant, many of them masked. There was a rush at the beginning, then traffic got slower, but sales continued until the end of the show, literally, with many afternoon customers coming from the beach. I sold some jewelry to a latecomer after the show closed. I saw many old customers – it was great to see them after the hiatus. Also, some new faces, many off-Cape buyers.”
From Milford, Conn., Nancy Mayer of Vintage Lady Linens said she sold out of all of her nautical themed linens quickly, as well as a primitive quilt and tri-fold oak shaving mirror, both of which she said she sold in the morning.
James Buchanan Antiques negotiated the sale of a fish painting while we were in the booth and there were several sold stickers visible, including on a weathered bench and some other smalls. Under one of the big tents, Pat Anderson of Cummaquid Farm Antiques put sold tags on a country chest of drawers and a green metal bench
Michele Kittila of South Yarmouth, Mass., had a wonderful selection of Southern Appalachian baskets and a reference book for potential buyers who wanted more information.
A dolphin weathervane was one of several successful trades made by Alan Herman of Whaling Days Antiques. He said he used to bring scrimshaw to the show but because of the ongoing restrictions surrounding selling ivory, he leaves it behind. Painted bowls, some Shaker pieces and a few framed needleworks were among the stand-out pieces in his booth.
Yarmouth Port, Mass., dealer Mary Ann Robbins has been doing the show for more than 20 years and pointed out several interesting things. Among these were an iron barrel hoist she had acquired a few months before the show, a hand-forged iron wagon hitch, a crozier plane that a cooper would have used to make barrels and a banister-back chair from Sandwich. She said she was surprised to sell three pieces of “tourist art” from the 40s as well as “solidly good stuff: baskets, trenchers and some iron, etc. The crowd was steady and happy, and it was great to see colleagues again.”
Jim Luskay of Doc Engine, Holliston, Mass., said this was the third show he’d done this season, including shows in Brewster and Eastham; he does another three or four shows in both Maine and Massachusetts. His booth, in the far corner of the show, was nicely shaded and full of small painted furniture, a wooden goose whirligig and a number of colorful signs.
CCADA is expecting to hold the 52nd Summer Antique Show on August 6, 2022. For information, www.ccada.com.
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