Published: November 20, 2007
It is not attendance figures that predict an antiques show’s success, but what buyers do once inside the show that makes or breaks the event. Although the gate was off a little on Saturday at the two-day Greenwich Fall Antiques Show, October 13‱4, a number of dealers had good shows nonetheless.
Promoter Derek Johnson, a dealer himself, works hard to create an atmosphere where vendors will succeed. From keeping dealers fed to making pack-in and -out less cumbersome, he often goes the extra mile, a fact that several dealers at this show took pains to mention.
Johnson admits he was tested when heavy rains fell the evening before set up, causing an accumulation of more than two feet of water in front of the Old Greenwich Civic Center, again when the building’s roof sprang a leak and once more when the access road had a “river” flowing down it. The temporary pond was soon pumped out, the leaky roof repaired and the saturated paper on a booth wall promptly replaced. “By the time dealers arrived Friday, all was pumped out and OK,” he said.
“It was a unique weekend but there was some good business to be done. We had a good mix of items and dealers,” stated Johnson. Besides the dealers who told him during pack-out that they had a good show, he reported several dealers making good follow-up sales.
Don Heller of Heller-Washam Antiques, Portland, Maine, reported the sale of his frontispiece, a pair of long benches marked “Democrats” on one, “Republicans” on the other. It was 20 years ago that Heller had seen the benches at a grange hall in Damariscotta, Maine, and the dealer had expressed interest in buying them over the years. Recently, the owner died and his son called Heller, who promptly acquired them. Heller reported good interest from the show and said that he has several other prospects he is working with that may translate into key sales.
Donald S. Bethune, Macon, Ga., wrote tickets for a George III chest of drawers and a late Eighteenth Century satinwood console table for $5,000. “I enjoy doing the show,” stated the dealer.
“I had a good show. I was kept very busy on Saturday and moderately busy on Sunday,” said Tad Runge of A.E. Runge Oriental Rugs, Yarmouth, Maine. “I always bring repair work to a show and can usually tell the success of the show by how much or little I get done. I was only able to accomplish a small amount of work.”
Sales for Charles A. Brown at China Trader Antiques, Marion, Mass., included several late Nineteentharly Twentieth Century Tibetan rugs, a Nineteenth Century Chinese inkstone, several small scholar objects, a stone Buddha, Japanese porcelain and an altar table. “Greenwich is always a good show and this one was no exception. More than any other show, Greenwich is where I meet many collectors as well as those that are decorating their homes,” he said. “Derek Johnson runs a great show and you can always count on the area’s fine clients to show up.”
First-time exhibitor Foo Lions LLC did not have a long commute to the show from its New Canaan, Conn., location and went home with a lighter load than upon arrival. “The show exceeded my expectation in many ways. It was well organized with a very friendly atmosphere,” said dealer Veronica Symon.
Symon’s sales included a circa 1850 bronze Buddha Shakyamuni to a serious Asian art collector within ten minutes after the show’s opening. Over the weekend, she sold several furniture pieces, including a small rosewood bone inlay chest, circa 1900; a country Kang table, circa 1890; and a rare purple elm meditation stool with wraparound corners, circa 1800.
Good things come to those who wait though, and Symon said her most exciting sale came in the last half hour of the show. “A young gentleman showed strong interest and bought my highest priced black lacquered side table, dated in the transitional period, circa 1650‱750. On his way out, he turned around and started to examine another side table, which was my personal favorite,” she said. The second table with Ruyi stretchers exhibited a “fine architectural effect,” according to the dealer, and the buyer left with that one as well.
Another first-time exhibitor at this show but no stranger to the trade, Doug Constant Inc, Orient, N.Y., brought along a well-received selection of American furniture and accessories.
R&S Antiques, New York City, made a strong showing, selling well in several of its categories, including silver, fine art and porcelain. A highlight was the sale of a painting by Antonio Cirino.
Some of the items attracting attention across the floor included a small Queen Anne tilt top table and a rare baseball bat-form with lighthouse stick barometer at Richard A. Smith, Camden, Maine; a New England/New York games table with a lovely grain, circa 1870, at Drake Field Antiques, Longmeadow, Mass.; English earthenware at J. LiaBraaten Antiques, Annandale, Va., including a creamware pierced basket, and library furniture at Henry & Nancy Fender, Glen Cove, N.Y.
The Greenwich show, which benefits the Kiwanis Club of Greenwich, is conducted twice yearly with the next show scheduled March 29″0. For information, 845-868-7464.
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