The gate was up on Sunday and shoppers enjoyed a bright, sunny day.
Review and Photos By Rick Russack
WELLESLEY, MASS. — Marv Getman’s advertising for his Elm Bank show, June 13–14, stated that it is his most beautiful show. It is unlikely that anyone would dispute that statement. Elm Bank is the educational center for the Massachusetts Horticultural Society. It is at the end of a long, private drive and the grounds are beautifully landscaped. The white tents set up for dealers are spread around the grounds, allowing visitors to enjoy the setting. Picnic tables and benches add to the comfortable feeling. The show included about 100 dealers, most in tents, but there were also dealers inside two brick buildings.
Although the opening day gate was off, there were not many complaints from the dealers. In a conversation with Getman before the show opened Sunday morning, he told Antiques and The Arts Weekly that he had taken steps Saturday night to increase Sunday attendance. He said that he prepared an email with a two-minute video of actual show photographs and sent it to about 9,500 potential customers on his email list. The email also included a coupon good for a $3 discount from the regular $8 Sunday admission rate. As of about 8:30 am on Sunday, he said that around 1,500 of the emails had been opened. Getman is a believer in social media and said that it was not necessary that Sunday attendees print the coupon — simply showing it at the admission desk on a mobile device would be fine. The show was also promoted with ads in the Boston Globe and the free newspapers delivered to homes in all the surrounding towns.
After the show, Getman related that the Sunday gate was up by about ten percent and that most attendees used the discounted rates. He said that he was pleased with the end result. He stressed that the promoter’s job is to be sure that at least two-thirds of his dealers are satisfied with the show. With a shrinking base of dealers, it is essential that a promoter keeps his dealers coming back. That is not only his problem, but one that is shared by everyone in the business.
Shoppers had their choice of a wide variety of merchandise: early English furniture, country smalls, garden furniture and accessories, brass beds, English ceramics, American furniture, paintings, Oriental material and more. Lee Hanes of Hanes & Ruskin Antiques, Old Lyme, Conn., set up his booth with an assortment of Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century English ceramics, early brass, American furniture, paintings and more. An unusual 4¾-inch-tall yellow glazed jug with black transfer decoration and black borders, circa 1820, was priced at $360. The Haneses have been in business more than 40 years and do about 20 shows a year. Lee told Antiques and The Arts Weekly that he had done this show since it started, ten years ago. Saturday was a little slow, he said, although he sold three good pieces of brass to one customer. He also said that Sunday is often a good selling day at this show.
The booth of Holliston, Mass., dealer Mario Pollo is usually full of interesting things and this show was no exception. He had a nice brass bed, a large cast iron garden fountain with dragons, other cast iron garden stuff, a decorative set of French chairs and a red leather-covered camphor wood chest. The brass bed was a reasonable $1,250, and the large cast iron fountain was $1,850. Another, smaller garden urn was priced at $1,250.
Debbie Turi, a Roseland, N.J., dealer, had children’s toys, cast iron still banks, some signs and a very friendly looking old teddy bear. John and Jan Maggs, from Conway, Mass., brought early English furniture, including a joined oak coffer with carving on three sides, priced at $1,250, a bible box and an oak four-drawer chest with applied moldings, two-part construction and bracket base, circa 1690, priced at $2,200. In addition, they brought some blue and white Chinese ceramics and brass candlesticks. When asked how business had been on the opening day, John Maggs told Antiques and The Arts Weekly that his only complaint was that all his buyers had come at the same time and that made it tricky to give everyone the attention they should have had.
JSD Antiques, from Durham, N.H., had a selection of Asian ceramics, carved ivories and netsuke, along with Doulton-Lambeth stoneware, Wedgwood and other ceramics. While conversing with owner Jim Dolph about the restrictions on the sale of ivory recently enacted in some states, he told Antiques and The Arts Weekly that he no longer brought ivory, or items containing ivory, to shows in certain states. He expressed concern that ill-advised legislation might be passed on the federal level that could virtually eliminate the value in many antiques. He hoped that lawmakers would take into account information being supplied them by collectors, dealers and museums.
The Goddess Garden statues were formerly atop Horticultural Hall in downtown Boston. They represent the goddesses of horticulture — Flora, Ceres and Pomona.
Mike Pheffer, who does business under the name Two Sides of a River, from New London, N.H., had a candlestand with a round top priced at a reasonable $235, an early bronze posset, stoneware, redware and mocha. Pheffer said that he was pleased with the opening day business as, late in the day, he had sold a Hoosier cabinet for $925 and a library table for $425. Jared Cilley, Dark Flowers Antiques, Haverhill, Mass., had a large display of ceramics, which included hand painted china and pottery. Cilley told us that he made several sales on the first day to new customers.
Icons and Antiques from Palm Beach, Fla., had a large booth with nothing but Russian icons. Max Easter told Antiques and The Arts Weekly that their material covered a wide time range, from the Sixteenth through the Nineteenth Centuries. He said that about half of the firm’s customers bought the material because of its religious connotations, while the balance of sales were made to customers who appreciated the decorative nature and history of the icons. The firm has done the show for a number of years and has developed a loyal clientele. A major sale was made on Sunday with a returning customer. Easter said that the company had been started by his father, Dennis, in 1994 and that his father had started collecting in 1989. Both father and son said that their firm was the largest dealer in icons in North America.
It was a well-balanced show, most merchandise was ready to go into a home and it was priced to sell. All in all, it was almost a perfect show: friendly dealers with good merchandise and a setting that really could not be beat. You will not be disappointed if you add next year’s show to your antiquing schedule. For information, 781-862-4039 or www.neantiqueshows.com.