Published: September 5, 2006
Maine Antiques Festival had its best Saturday attendance ever on August 12, with strong sales of early American antiques, according to Promoter Paul Davis. “We had the best weather in years, comfortable temperatures, and the customers reacted for the most part favorably to the Saturday early buying,” said Davis. Dealer reactions were mixed about the selling, but they were very pleased with the easier unloading and setup, along with no Friday early buyers. The show continued over the weekend, closing Sunday afternoon.
Davis had given the dealers a discount on the rent as a part of the 25th anniversary of the show, which seemed to encourage more dealers to exhibit. His total of exhibiting dealers was nearly 300, a substantial increase over last year.
First-time dealer Bob Daigle said, “It was marvelous, a fantastic show.” He and his wife, Betty, trading as Country Squire Antiques from Seekonk, Mass., were overwhelmed with their sales to the extent that he also said, “I don’t know why we hadn’t done it before, but you can be sure we’ll be back. Besides, it was such great fun, low stress, a lot of social time with other dealers and customers.”
Coming all the way from Texas, Karen Johnson was offering nautical salvage goods such as wheels, oil navigation lanterns and various and sundry items from old ships and yachts. Her trip for several years now has been very successful with good sales totals. Just across the aisle was Michael’s Antiques from Franklin, Conn., with his collection of early country iron and lighting. He said, “I sold a lot of stuff, my early fireplace iron sold well … and some of the lighting, too.”
A red dresser with two over four drawers, probably made in Maine about 1830, was the centerpiece for Edward Leaman, Hallowell Maine. Priced at $650, it was also a display for many of the small antiques he was offering.
Old Winterport Commercial House is the business of Ann and Ray Ronco. In Winterport, Maine, the business is a bed and breakfast and antiques shop with all the guest rooms decorated in antiques, which are for sale. The Roncos do a variety of shows, including this annual marketplace. The couple came with so much furniture they were able to create a display in the large trailer for about half of it, especially the big and heavy pieces, protecting them from the weather and all the extra moving.
Westminster, Mass., is home for Kathy and Sam Stacy of Overlook Farm Antiques. Their collection was both early country style furniture and some folk art. Two rocking horse toys were prominently displayed. Partridge Hollow Antiques, Milton, Vt., is well known for its porcelain, but at this show it offered a large collection of stoneware.
Another first-time exhibitor was Bird in Hand Antiques from Florham Park, N.J., with stoneware as well. The prize piece was an early water cooler with blue painted bird design; also displayed was a collection of valuable decoys. Owners Ron and Joyce Bassin were pleased enough with the sales, so showgoers can expect to see them there again next year.
Casco, Maine, dealers Linda Rubley and Gerry Slack were offering a large tentful of small antiques. Rubley said their sales included pearlware and frames in good quantity. Lin and Gil Stebbins of Lin’s Quilt Source, Bristol Conn., were there with a collection of several hundred quilts, early coverlets and some other textiles. For the show, they sold three quilts and several other pieces. All their quilts are sold in excellent condition as Lin does the restoration when necessary.
Diamond Point, N.Y., is home for Bill and Joan Lennon, who trade entirely in seed envelopes and the labels that were affixed to shipping boxes for food, such as orange crates. These are a kind of folk art, but also have become important as collectibles.
Persian rugs, most of them antiques or vintage, were the majority of the inventory for Interiors with Provenance from Amesbury, Mass. The principals of this business, Ken Marsh and Deb Gott, began collecting rugs when Marsh was working in the Middle East and now it is a major part of their business.
Nineteenth Century furniture in excellent condition was Steve and Lisa Fisch’s offering in this summer happening. Steve finds the furniture, which when needing repair or restoration is then done in his shop. This gives his furniture an excellent presentation to the market.
Plainfield, N.H., “picker” Robert Hay was here with more fresh-to-the-market antiques. Hay seems to have a bottomless truck when he comes to a show for the second or third time in a week or ten days with all kinds of special pieces. Here he showed a collection of children’s chairs, all different styles and sizes, painted, finished and some in great condition, some not so great. There was also a collection of boxes, chip carved and painted, and some early lighting. His booth is one where many visitors spend time poring through for the unusual antique. Matt King, Marshfield, Mass., has a business similar to Hays’ in that his collection at Union of small antique objects was varied but very interesting and of high quality.
Heidi and Bill Sandburg claim no fixed address because they have been living in their motor home since selling their Cape Elizabeth, Maine, home a year ago. Here they were selling their furniture collection in order to focus on art, their specialty. Bill said they were happy, with much of the furniture sold during the show.
There are several sheds at the Union Fairgrounds that are also filled with antiques. Stan Farmer from Deering, N.H., sold from his collection of early transfer ware. Margaret Jones, Montrose, Penn., had help from her daughter, Barbara, and had her usual stop in the back row of the main shed. Her collection included many esoteric items, such as a special nutmeg grater, a reverse painted courting mirror and an assortment of brass and pewter household items.
Barbara Hepburn and her husband, Harry, from Harrison, Maine, were there with furniture and several clocks Harry had restored. Other returning regulars in the building, Firehouse Antiques, Galena, Md., brought some early industrial objects, the mold forms for early castings and early furniture.
Dealers do this show to sell at a profit, but also to have fun. This is a show where the stress level, as many dealers said, is very low — in and out, during the show and in the evening after the activity of selling, with gatherings on the field and elsewhere. For most, it is a working vacation, and all the dealers said it was a good place to buy more for stock.
Promoter Davis has the site reserved for many years into the future, with the date for next year, Saturday and Sunday, August 11–12. He said he has not yet resolved whether there will be early buying on Friday or Saturday, but he expects to have that question settled by early November. For information, www.maineantiquesfest.com.
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