Published: September 17, 2007
Jenkins Management concluded the second edition of its Farmington Antiques Weekend for this calendar year, September 1′. Taking place on the weekend before the last-of-the-season Brimfield markets, the 27-year-old Farmington event provided antiques collectors, decorators and retail strollers with an al fresco treasure hunt under the stately white tents set up on the polo grounds.
Nowhere to be seen on the field on this fine weekend were the hats, umbrellas and rain slickers that were the required uniform of opening day for the June event. Instead, shoppers and dealers basked in sunny and comfortably dry weather all weekend.
It was enough to imbue collectors with optimism and enthusiasm. “The glorious weather and the variety of terrific dealers seemed more relevant to shoppers than recent stock market fluctuations,” observed Vicki Turbeville, a New York City specialist in southwestern jewelry.
Set up in the show’s B Row, Turbeville said two of her most notable sales were a 1960s natural coral cluster bracelet made by the late Zuni artist Alice Quam and a 12-strand, Navajo-made natural coral choker necklace with turquoise end beads from the same time period. “They sold to different collectors, but both are spectacular and will only increase in value over time,” said Turbeville, adding that natural coral is becoming more scarce as the harvest of coral is restricted.
“It was a wonderful two-day show with great weather and enthusiastic collectors. A great end to the summer,” she said.
John’s Collectibles, aka John Kisluk and Marilyn Shorette, from Plainville, Conn., reported that the show was excellent for them. “We sold a wide mix of merchandise †glass, china, pottery, art, paper, cast iron, jewelry, kitchen collectibles, phonograph, furniture, etc,” said Kisluk. “We have learned over the years, that when you bring good merchandise to the Farmington show, there will be plenty of buyers.”
A large “Drink Pepsi” advertising sign that had so far stymied Kisluk’s research efforts was propped up at the entrance to the tent, its yellow pinstripe background pulling in admirers. “I don’t really have any good information about the sign, except that it’s marked “M-208″ in the lower left-hand corner,” said the dealer.
A few of the couple’s more memorable sales were a hard-to-find egg beater, an Edison Hepplewhite model phonograph with records and an assortment of pottery. “The Jenkins family as promoters of the Farmington show are among the best and most pleasant that we have done business with,” added Kisluk. “In these trying, expensive commuting times, they are doing their best to make the show a success for everyone. If there is a problem on the field, Steve, Jon and crew fix it fast.”
Mapleside Antiques, Titusville, Penn., deals in country and primitives. Dealers Patti and Cid Paden and Tom Varney have been doing the Farmington show for about eight or nine years, and they reported a good experience this past June. For this show, they had a two-door cupboard from Genesee, N.Y., circa 1840‶0, in its original crusty grey paint. Atop the cupboard, a sign that had once been posted on a covered bridge in central Pennsylvania warned “Bridge is Condemned. Use At Your Own Risk.”
Rick and Dwan Mabrey from Raleigh, N.C., also sported a country look with their selection of framed Nineteenth Century 48-star or earlier American flags. Rick Mabry said he used old calico backing to matte the flags, which were priced at $150 or under. A Nineteenth Century New England jelly cupboard from Holliston, Mass., with an old country surface and labeled “LB,” presumably the owner’s name, was also on offer, as was a dry sink out of Berks County, Penn., last quarter of the Nineteenth Century, which the Mabreys had topped with a colorful selection of Christmas ornaments from the 1930s and 1940s.
Sir Alasdair T. Munro, Bt, was attired in full Scottish regalia and presided over Alba Antiques’ collection of “everything Scottish.” A Farmington regular for the past 12 years, the Waitsfield, Vt., dealer said his customers know just where to find him and claimed that he is the only such specialist antiques dealer in the country. A rarity in his booth, which was filled with Scottish jewelry, was a basket hilt officer’s sword, 1796, engraved with the crown of George III. “The weather, of course, was a mixed blessing&lmost too good,” said Sir Alasdair of his selling weekend. “In any event, we had a medium show. Saturday was fine&⁷e sold a nice Wemyss †Scottish pottery †pig to a lady who just fell in love with the beastie, somewhat, I suspect to her husband’s horror. We also sold a very nice oil on canvas landscape of Scottish loch and mountains by F.E. Jamieson, a very prolific Scottish painter of the early Twentieth Century. And, we had another three to four small sales.”
Vintage textiles specialist Claudia Glassman of Brimfield, Mass., set up an inviting tableau at Farmington in advance of her appearance at Brimfield’s Quaker Acres show. Glassman sells primarily natural fabrics, cotton or linen, also specializing in Turkey Red Damask. “I always have a strong show selling the Nineteenth Century European homespun linen that I import. One of my most notable sales was three large panels of Arts and Crafts era printed fabric,” said Glassman.
Jane and Gerry Enoksen were getting a lot of interest in an 1810 sideboard that they had brought from their home in Essex, Conn. And almost as soon as the show opened they sold a six-section iron elevator gate that had come out of a Manhattan building. The customer planned to use it as a partitioning screen. “We had a great show at Farmington. The weather was perfect and the people came out,” said the couple. “Our booth was busy all day Saturday †the last sale taking place at 5 pm when the show closed for the evening. Sunday there was not as much activity, but the people that came were there to buy.”
The Enoksens, who do business as J&G Antiques, also sold furniture, both brown and country. Gerry Enoksen’s display of David Ward decoys garnered tremendous interest. “Many people did not realize that David is the grandson of Ted Mulliken, founder of the Wildfowler Decoy Company,” said Gerry Enoksen. “Our customers were truly impressed with the quality of his decoy carvings.”
Displaying a collection of American country furniture and decorative accessories under the aegis of American Heritage Antiques, Bill and Kay Puchstein of Frankfort, Ohio, said they “sold well and also bought well from other dealers.” A Crandall Company decorated rocking horse, circa 1870s, cantered out of the booth, followed by an expensive Voline Raggedy Ann doll from the 1920s. Betsy and Tony Ciffone of Clinton, Tenn., whose business name is Heavens to Betsy Antiques, can best be spotted at shows by the large “Buttons” lettering on the crest of their tent. Buttons †enamel, cinnabar, Japanese Satsuma, Victorian ivory and many others †are indeed their passion, but they also carry toleware and decorative Italian smalls called “anri” wood carvings. The rosy-cheeked carved characters used as wine stoppers, bar sets and knickknacks call to mind Bavarian folk art, but they are from northern Italy, most from about 1890.
“Farmington was fabulous for us,” said Betsy Ciffone. “It was our best ever, doubling our best performance there. The reasons could be several. There were definitely fewer dealers there than in the past. Every show only has so many dollars for spending coming through the gate and when there are fewer dealers, there are fewer to divide the buyer pie, so to speak.”
“Also, the customers were serious about buying. No one seemed to be just killing time. I saw very few customers that didn’t have something they had purchased. The atmosphere among the buyers seemed very enthusiastic,” she added.
The dealers said their decision to paint the word “Buttons” on their tent certainly brought a lot of customers into their space who were interested in buttons. “I sold a lot of buttons and many were the pricier ones. We also did very well with our decorative items and carved wood figures,” she said.
One Farmington exhibitor, pointing out that shows lately have a been a financial struggle for most dealers, said that when considering expenses, the Farmington show seemed to be yet one more that he and his partner would decide to eliminate †until about 4:30 pm Sunday, when a friend stopped by to view “a nice, albeit underpriced, Rhode Island Windsor armchair,” according to the dealer, Al Benting. “I confess, I had to say, ‘Please don’t buy the chair. If you do, I’ll hit within the minimum we feel necessary to return, and I’ll have to come back and do the show and I’m way too old and tired and grumpy and sweaty to do this another year.” But ill luck reigned. He bought the chair.
“Then another repeat customer came by and bought a major Brian Coole painting just before closing, which happily turned the show into †woohoo! †an excellent, successful weekend.”
Benting said that, strangely, this has happened to him and his wife Jane more often than not at Farmington. “It’s one of the very few shows where up until the very end one can sell good things without giving ‘desperation prices’ to people. There still is retail at Farmington.”
Farmington Antiques Weekend will return next year on June 14‱5 as well as August 30″1. For information, 317-598-0012 or www.farmingtonantiquesweekend.com .
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