Published: June 26, 2007
“If I could control the weather, do you think I’d be running antiques shows?” Jon Jenkins repeated an old promoter’s joke. “But it could have been much, much worse †remember a few years ago?” asked the Fishers, Ind.-based show promoter. When the possibilities are considered, the gray, damp skies of Saturday, June 9, for the 27th edition of the two-day Farmington Antiques Weekend were not bad at all. The opening drew eager buyers equipped with hats, umbrellas and slickers, which were donned for just a short time Saturday morning.
“I’ve been coming since the beginning,” said Vee Kausel from Harwinton, Conn., “and this weather is okay †it’s better than the heat.” She kept her Eighteenth Century armchair with flame finials and traces of black, yellow and red paint tucked securely in the back of her car, however, and her collection of apple-head dolls from Virginia were under her tent with other smalls and some textiles.
Now in its seventh year at Farmington, the Jenkins family prides itself on offering a little bit of everything. “With a show like this, you have to appeal to a wide audience. There are Farmington dealers who sell midrange material and others who offer affordable and decorative pieces, and this year, we noticed more nice, high-end items as well,” Jon Jenkins commented.
Country furniture, folk art, garden antiques, textiles, ceramics and glass might prevail, but there were also antique carriages, vintage eyewear and tall case clocks on the field. Steve and Jon (father and son) both mentioned the show was getting stronger. “This June show had some 46 more dealers than last June,” Jon said.
Cellphones have become de rigueur for keeping in touch within this small city of professionally set up and sturdy tents. “We have been in this same location ever since we started coming; we know it very well, we know our neighbors and have a community here,” is how one dealer described her location. “I am always here, and my customers know where to find me!”
Bill Freeman came from Montgomery, N.Y., to his corner booth, with French enamelware prominently displayed. He said it sells very well most of the time, and this year was no different. “It’s getting more difficult to get it, though, with the euro strong and the French selling it to Japan; I have even sold some back to France.” Trading under the name Blue Shutter Antiques, he also had an Arts and Crafts, “Stickleyesque” hall seat with original hardware, hooks and mirror.
Attendance rose as the rain stopped, and on Sunday the crowds came onto the field with determination.
Freeman’s neighbor, Virginia Renschen from Middletown, Conn., was showing art glass and smalls, as well as some furniture and pottery. She had an unusual piece of Sandwich glass, a tiny sparking lamp with a cup plate base that was completely original and quite precious.
Being a Connecticut show, David Poole decided to bring a collection of painted porcelain plates, cups, salts and other porcelain that had been handpainted by Meriden, Conn., artist Walter Wilson. Wilson had worked for the Meriden-based Handel Lamp Company, and during his spare time, he painted motifs such as flowers and fruit on fine porcelain. Poole had complete sets of plates, cups and saucers, salt and pepper and a few very appealing pitchers in the White Iris pattern. Poole brought silver plated flatware and other collectibles from his Groton, Conn., shop.
Jon Jenkins said, “It’s not scientific, but I noticed, as a group, the dealers were happier this year, which is a good thing. I saw a really nice Shaker piece being carried out and a big highboy.” He added, “In light of cancellation of recent shows, I believe this proves the concept still works. When you see nice big things sell, you know what it’s all about.”
Jon did not see the large apothecary that was carried out †the customer called Bob Daigle “at 5:35 pm and said they had gone home, measured and it was perfect, so we delivered it to them,” said Daigle. It was a Nineteenth Century, 12-drawer piece with a natural pine top in salvaged paint that the Seekonk, Mass., dealer could have sold many times over, he said.
Bill and Kay Puchstein, from El Jacobean, Fla., and Ohio, set up their well-appointed display of country that they show from Nashville to Texas, where the Jenkinses also manage other shows. Kay reported an excitement at Farmington that has not been evident for many years. “I am not sure if it’s just that the dealers were buying again, or what, but there was excitement and interest that seemed to predict a good show, and it was right,” Kay said.
Jenkins, who manages Music Valley and the Tailgate antiques shows in Nashville along with the monthly Springfield Antiques Show in Ohio, has infused Farmington with the flavor of his signature Midwestern fairs. “Farmington is a good retail outlet for my Midwestern and Southern dealers in a part of the country that is steeped in history and has a great love of antiques,” he said.
“These ought to sell soon,” Reva Baker of Recollections said of a three-piece set of fern leaf cast iron garden furniture. “We found them in a barn in Greenfield Hills,” which is part of Fairfield, Conn., where the Bakers trade. “The set was made by Hart in the 1920s and the griffin head arms are really wonderful.” A buyer showed up, inspected the loveseat and two armchairs and purchased them immediately. “I think those are the best pieces on the field today,” said the dealer, who wished to be unidentified. “They’ll be perfect in Manchester,” referring to Antiques Week in New Hampshire.
Many Farmington dealers show up from distant locations, and then stay in New England, adding a show or two in New Hampshire or Maine before returning to the South or Midwest.
A circa 1860 early German china doll with waterfall hair, tagged Schlaggenwald, $3,995, joined an open mouth pre-Greiner glass-eyed, circa 1850s doll at N.A.N. Antiques, Kutztown, Penn. Nancy Kasting displayed a miniature round-top trunk on a drop leaf table along with a flirty-eye doll with “wind-blown” hair and a red dress.
Sharon, Conn., dealer Tom O’Hara travels to England to buy the early English antiques he was showing at Farmington under his Easter Hill Antiques shop name. Next to the Jacobean child’s high chair with the black South Carolina “Mammy” doll was a pair of parakeets, “which are native American birds, by the way,” O’Hara told a couple who were looking at them. Carved and handpainted on a native wood base, they were found in Kentucky, and were about 125‱50 years old.
“I had a pretty good show,” O’Hara commented. “Typically, Saturday is the better of this two-day show, but this year Sunday was better. I sold a small oil, about 9 by 6 inches, of a sailboat in the Mediterranean and several other small oil paintings, a reverse glass painted scenic and a circa 1810 silhouette of a young girl, an oval bezel in an ebony black frame.”
Dave Nelz arrived from Dix Hills, N.Y., with his signature primitive furniture, including a New Hampshire secretary cupboard in original black paint and square-headed nails. “I guess that’s what I would call it; you see the board doesn’t quite come up to the edge? I can’t tell if that was deliberate or that was just the only board the maker had.” His well-appointed booth was filled with vintage signs, worktables, decoys, a large quilt hanging on the back wall, numerous smalls and a small blanket box on tapered legs.
A traveling shrine from northern China centered Judy and John Srodawa’s 1880 Antiques. “I believe it was a personal shrine; it comes apart for traveling and is from the late 1800s,” the Honeoye Falls, N.Y., dealers said. Juxtaposed with the shrine was a wonderful decoy, possibly by Ken Harris although not signed, from Upstate New York and two other carved birds, one a shore bird on a stand and the other a small decoy.
Meg Mourey was doing a brisk business in kitchenware, frames, early crocks and other eclectic items in her tightly filled spot. With a floral upholstered small seat in front and shelves filled with baskets, early primitive oils, decoys and an early Chinese-decorated match safe, she could hardly get set up as she was too busy writing invoices.
“We didn’t stop writing up invoices all day; a lot of retail, but a number of items to dealers. We were very pleased with the day,” was the comment from Jerry Slack, who, with Linda Rubley, was set up at booth H-4 from Limington, Maine. Linda’s half was filled with small furniture bristling with sold signs, a brass lamp, brass bird cage on a stand and drop leaf table. Jerry had a pair of glass-eyed Nineteenth Century English mantel lions that were very nice, some redware and a few early creamware molds, which sold on Saturday.
“I come every year,” said John Tyler, a Layton, N.J., dealer of antiquarian science and history books, early brass microscopes and other early scientific equipment. “Let me show you this!” was his response to an inquiry of “anything new?” “This” was a 1924 “Neutrodyne” Mark II receiver with original vacuum tubes that had been custom made in New Jersey; it was a hand-built model, from the Carloyd Radio & Electric Company, and could be purchased for $295. “It’s got five original vacuum tubes,” said Tyler, who trades under the name Colophon Books.
The circa 1870 Shaker bureau and 1815 spinning wheel at Harry Hepburn’s corner booth were well able to take the few sprinkles of rain, but deep under his tent, set on a block of wood, was a Philadelphia area tall case 8-day clock that the Harrison, Maine, dealer was very excited about. “It’s from around 1815‱820, the movement is completely restored and the case is almost perfect.” With a Reading, Penn., dial, broken arch and unusual finials, it was a great clock at “basically $11,000,” the Hermitage Antiques dealer said.
Greg K. Kramer & Co. had a double booth with folk art, period and painted furniture and architectural items. Eric Kramer, the “& Co.” part of the Robesonia, Penn., shop, was showing a polychrome painted mid-Nineteenth Century Blackamoor figure with a tray for $22,500; concrete planters, Chinese figures, a pair of cast iron lions, molded pair of dogs and furniture filled the large space.
Michael Worden came from Burr Oak, Mich., with containers made from just about anything. From wire mesh to metal wine holders and concrete, tin and lead containers, and a bird bath, Worden was lightening his load at a fast pace Saturday morning.
Bamboo chairs, tole trays and a decorative white flower painting were tied together with decorative accessories at Linda Roberts’ White Orchid, Media, Penn., booth. A fan-shaped peacock brass fire place screen with folding “feathers,” decorated Annick Therrien’s South Windsor, Conn., booth.
Textiles, pottery, porcelain and glass were also plentiful, as were toys, wicker and garden equipment. A deluxe assortment of antique quilts and coverlets, Meissen and a glass door from a painted cupboard was at Nancy Hagen from Dorset, Vt., and Palm City, Fla. Next door, Irma Cole, Trillim Antiques, had Wedgwood, majolica, Spode, Copeland and Staffordshire.
Then there were buggies; Jim and Diane Smith of Buckboard Antiques, Westfield, Mass., had a cutter sled and an 1870 buggy with the original top and upholstery ready to drive off the trailer.
The next Farmington Antiques Weekend will be Labor Day weekend. Jenkins Management may be contacted at 317-598-0012 or www.jenkinsshows.com .
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm