Published: February 12, 2008
Despite the below-freezing temperatures that blanketed the northern regions of Connecticut on the morning of January 27, eager patrons bundled themselves up for the cold and began forming a line outside the entrance to the popular Tolland Antiques Show more than an hour prior to opening. The doors swung open at 8:30 am for early buying, none too soon for those with cold noses, toes and fingers, and the cold weather outside was happily exchanged for the heat of the chase that takes place inside.
The aisles of the show filled quickly with buyers and business seemed to be good for many of the dealers right off the bat. Tolland is one of those shows that traditionally generates a great deal of excitement, and this year, the show’s 42nd, stayed the course as buyers scurried from booth to booth, snapping up goodies all along the way.
A one-day show conducted on Sunday, this show has garnered a reputation of presenting a stellar assortment of country merchandise and little else. Deceptive in size, the show has the appearance of a small-to-moderate-sized event taking place in a couple rooms in the former Tolland High School, yet, using the school’s cafeteria and the gymnasium, promoter Kathy Bach manages to shoehorn 89 dealers into the show.
A benefit for the Tolland Historical Society, the show attracts a die-hard core of dealers that travel from as far as Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine to participate. There is also a large contingent of dealers from Connecticut and its bordering states.
This show bucks the trends in a variety of ways †Americana rules the roost; shoppers are eager; and furniture sells. A red painted two-drawer blanket chest was a quick seller from the booth of Townsend, Mass., dealer Diane Halpren, where a nice small sawbuck table and a splay-legged tavern table with oval top were also offered. Candle boxes, painted baskets, pewter candlesticks and an early broom accounted for the smalls in the display.
A nice open top cupboard in old pale blue paint was another piece of furniture to sport a sold tag within moments of the show opening for early buying. The tall step back form with three large shelves above and a pair of blind doors below was filled with country smalls, and it had sold from the booth of Joseph Martin, Brownington, Vt.
Just across the aisle in the booth of Ivy Hill Primitives, Longhorne, Penn., a large open cupboard with a plate rack top and open shelved bottom was also wearing a sold tag. A three-candle tole sconce hanging next to it was also marked sold, as were a large assortment of smalls that were being tagged and bagged for a customer.
A formal Chippendale four-drawer chest from Karen Alexander Antiques, Somers, Conn., was another early seller. Emily and Irma Lampert of Wenham Cross Antiques, Topsfield, Mass., reported the sale of a large cupboard in a pleasing putty-colored paint with built-in drawers behind the blind lower door. Two large Hudson River School landscape paintings from the booth of John Gould, Yorktown Heights, N.Y., were also sold during the initial rush.
As early buying wound down, the crowd waiting in line outside the door for regular admission at 10 am had grown and another swarm of buyers made their way inside the show.
Accessories, typically Pennsylvanian in nature, from the booth of Steve Smoot, Lancaster, Penn., attracted a large crowd. Brightly painted tole trays and creamers, a selection of chalkware figures, several mechanical banks and a large slipware platter filled the shelves of his booth.
A large wall shelf in the booth of Pam and Martha Boynton was filled with smalls that were primarily New England in origin. Painted pantry boxes, some Shaker, tole buckets, still banks, treen plates and two seaweed decorated yellowware pepper pots filled the shelves. A nice blue painted blanket box with sponge decoration was displayed below; it was topped with a grand selection of baskets, including one covered example with blue, red and yellow potato stamped banding.
John Philbrick presented an attractive display that emphasized the diversity of his collecting tastes. A set of early windows hung on the wall alongside a small table-top shelf filled with Chinese Export, delft and Eighteenth Century Germanic stoneware; a large platter was displayed alongside the table shelf and an early wooden-bottomed apple basket with swing handle sat atop.
Local Willington, Conn., dealers Ron and Penny Dionne presented a polished-looking booth with a large rooster weathervane and an oversized slat back William and Mary transitional period armchair positioned at the forefront of the stand. The rear wall featured a large set of primitive portraits, a colorful geometric pattern hooked rug and a brightly painted yellow washstand. A nice paint decorated tole coffee pot, a large Ethan Allen horse weathervane and a pair of green painted Pennsylvania thumb back chairs filled out the booth.
Hilary and Paulette Nolan, Falmouth, Mass, offered a good looking, six-drawer tall chest on a cutout bracket base and an early drop leaf table in old white paint that was surrounded by paint decorated Windsor side chairs. Early waterfowl carvings, an early flintlock and a nice looking sheet-metal trotting horse weathervane were also displayed.
Newburgh, N.Y., dealers Dan and Karen Olson filled their booth with prime country materials, including a nice hutch table that was flanked by three Windsor bow back armchairs. A nice jelly cupboard in an worn gray paint had three boldly decorated stoneware crocks on top of it, and the seat of a long yellow painted bench was littered with a wide assortment of early baskets.
A boldly painted game board was attracting attention at Michael and Lucinda Seward’s stand.
The natural splay of three branches formed the base of an early candlestand, ex-collection of Roger Bacon, at Mackay and Field.
A large architectural fan with unusual tightly spaced staves terminating in a ringed circular hub was in a pleasing green paint at Jay Turomsha and Nancy Cummings.
Kentucky dealer Bruce Rigsby commented that he had on display the “world’s most expensive chicken.” A debatable fact, but nonetheless, the dealer’s large, colorful Steiff felt chicken penwipe was both attractive and pricey when compared to average fowl. A tavern table, banister back side chair and a couple of early blanket boxes were complemented by a selection of Shaker items ranging from oval finger boxes and carriers to a revolving stool in old green paint that had once been part of the collection at the Rensselaer County Historical Society.
The Tolland Historical Society may be contacted at 860-870-9599 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm