Published: August 14, 2001
By Pamela Guthman
NANTUCKET, MASS. – It never fails that during the first weekend in August, the “right” people are on the island of Nantucket, and they attend the Antiques Council-managed antiques show for the Nantucket Historical Association. Those right people are antiques collectors from around the country.
Despite the slower economy and sluggish market, as well as a torturously hot facility (the gym of the high school), hundreds of patrons flowed through the show, purchasing tables, paintings, ceramics, and more as they went. And, as always, the show was well stocked with top-of-the-line merchandise from reputable dealers, offering a quality venue for a show. The committee, too, is top-of-the-line. They not only supported dealers through numerous purchases, but they worked hard, right along with exhibitors, to make the show an event of the summer.
According to Antiques Council show liaison, Victor Weinblatt (South Hadley, Mass.), the committee has been so inspired and hard working. The chairwoman, Melanie Sabelhaus, made everyone feel special and important. All of the committee and members of the Nantucket Historical Association (NHA) were supportive.
And, the collector’s breakfast on opening day before the show was a major success. Some 50 collectors toured the show with a curator and vice president from the NHA and a decorator. The underlying message during these talks was that this show featured some of the best dealers and individuals should spend time talking to them and asking questions. Also, they should not just talk about collecting, but jump in and start buying from reputable dealers here at the show and begin a collection – it isn’t what one buys that we often regret, but rather what we don’t buy that we regret. And, many of the participants bought.
As far as Victor’s show, he says that each year they seem to do better, and this was the best Nantucket show ever. “We sold a farm table, fish and oyster sign as well as half dozen other signs, red and white apothecary, two room-size hooked rugs, two blanket boxes, pair of cat andirons originally from the Fritz Collection, high chair, two-bird musical box, paintings, and gates.”
Rick Roberts (Frederick Roberts Antiques Prints of Wilton, Conn.) also had a very good show. “The hot thing,” said his wife Dodo, “were interiors of English royal residences.” They also sold a number of bird prints. “This is always a good show and as usual, the show always looks so good. The quality and the set-up is wonderful.”
Robert Vose (Vose Galleries of Boston, Mass.) said that this is their third year and they are always pleased to be there. The quality of merchandise on the floor is very good, as are the dealers. And the level of enthusiasm from those attending is very good. “The clients come every year. One client flew in from Minnesota, and another from Rhode Island, just for the day.” Robert says that the interest at this show is always strong and they do well. They had good sales, including strong interest in their Martin Johnson Heade oil on board painting “Sailboat in Heavy Storm.”
Charles Washburne (Chappaqua, N.Y.) had a very good show. He sold some important majolica pieces as well as smaller plates and platters, wall ornaments (including one by Pinheiro), a pair of Minton cachepots, garniture by George Jones, and much more.
Orville Haberman of Connecticut River Books (Madison, Conn.) did very well and is way ahead of last year. He sold evenly between books, watercolors, and prints, including Flagg watercolors, Sarg prints, Nantucket books, children’s books, and whaling books.
Joyce Austin of J. Austin Jewelers (Amherst, Mass.) said this year was fabulous, much better than last year. “It started with strong sales at preview, and has continued with lots of enthusiasm.” She sold period things – rdf_Descriptions that were both one of a kind as well as pretty. Earrings were very strong, and she also sold necklaces and pins. This was her best show in the past four years, and she had a lot of return business.
Jane McClafferty (New Canaan, Conn.), said there were a lot of familiar faces, and lots of people. “A lot of people come back to us here, plus there are a lot we see from other places – other shows around the country.” Jane said the economy didn’t seem to affect the buying at all. They sold quite a bit of Staffordshire and furniture.
John Suval (Philip Suval of Fredericksburg, Va.) said the show was very good. “With the market the way it is, we were nervous, but business is going on and we’re having a very good show.” John said he was selling mostly China trade and Staffordshire. He also bought well on the floor, too. “The show is beautiful, as always, and the people here are very enthusiastic.”
John Tirone of James M. Labaugh (Pond Ridge, N.Y.) said they were doing well. They sold a great pair of export lamps, Eighteenth Century prints, and Staffordshire. They have two new customers and are seeing a lot of customers from other places.
George Korn of Forager House Collection (Nantucket, Mass.) said this is the best show ever. They sold a lot of shell rdf_Descriptions (tables, frames, obelisks), good marine and Nantucket rdf_Descriptions, and Tony Sarg pieces (he’s curating a Tony Sarg exhibition for the NHA in 2005, including a major catalogue). George is also closing his retail business in December (shop and shows) and will just exhibit at his two Nantucket shows and work privately with clients.
Nina Hellman (Nantucket, Mass.) said the show was very upbeat with a good attendance, despite the heat. “There was lots of enthusiasm and buying on the floor and we’ve had a very good show,” she said. Some of the rdf_Descriptions she sold include an Eighteenth Century ship’s carving, whimsical early Twentieth Century whaling panorama, scrimshaw, Nantucket paintings and maps.
Mo Wajselfish of Leatherwood Antiques (Sandwich, Mass.) said he had the best preview on Nantucket that he’s ever had. He sold Black Forest carvings, Vienna bronzes, children’s plates, woolies, and a lot of nautical things.
Kaye Gregg (Shapiro) of Finnegan Gallery (Chicago) said their show was very good – better than last year, and last year was very good. They sold garden rdf_Descriptions, including French garden gates, large pair of French cast iron urn with entwined snake handles, French baker’s table, pair of French iron windowguards, and English Nineteenth Century terra-cotta planters. “There’s steady buying, steady crowds, and lots of interest,” said Kaye.
Diana Bittel (Bryn Mawr, Pa.) said her show was good with lots of interest. She sold a chest of drawers, Woolies, tea caddys, sailor’s valentines.
Taylor Williams (Chicago, Ill.) said his show was fabulous, and so much energy on the floor. We did something we don’t often do-we targeted things expressly for Nantucket this year and we were lucky. Our customers and collectors were on the island and we had a fabulous show. Sometimes this technique backfires, if the customers weren’t on island during the show, but we’re very grateful. We sold enamel boxes, paintings, ceramics.
The dealers all agreed that this first weekend in August did bring the “right” people to Nantucket; and, these “right” people attend and bought at the Antiques Council-managed antiques show for the Nantucket Historical Association. Despite the sluggish market and almost intolerable heat, the show was packed, and the energy was at a high level. As usual, this was the place to be in early August-the show and the event of the Season.
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