The weekend of April 14‱5 saw the return of the Guilford Antiques Show at the Elisabeth Adams School, marking the 43rd year of this longstanding showcase and presenting collectors with a wide variety of merchandise in eye-appealing room setting displays. A total of 49 dealers filled the venue to near capacity, offering everything from folk art, fine art, fireplace accessories, jewelry, antique books and maps, Oriental and hooked rugs, garden furniture, early lighting, tall case and mantel clocks to pewter, redware and stoneware pottery, Kentucky rifles and militaria. Early New England furniture, silver, china and crystal were also in good supply.
Barn Star Productions’ Frank Gaglio has been managing the show for the past five years. As is the norm for such shows organized inside school buildings, this fundraiser for Guilford’s Hyland House, adapts its layout to the available configuration, in this case creating three “galleries” inside the school building •Gallery A” featured about 13 dealers, while a hallway “Gallery B” provided space for another seven exhibitors. The main space, “Gallery C,” a gymnasium, held the remaining 29 dealers.
Dave and Jane Steele, Steele & Steele Antiques, Middletown, R.I., were doing the venerable show for the first time and said they were very impressed by the quality and variety of what was presented. “The patrons were sincerely interested and supportive,” they reported after the show. “Frank Gaglio did an outstanding job in keeping us informed and certainly rolled up his sleeves to help. The show went well for us. We sold a lovely Federal card table with inlay and a beautiful two-drawer stand with solid tiger maple drawers. We were quite surprised at the number of smalls we sold †a pair of wrought iron hinges, a ship portrait, a Prang lithograph, a set of four English engravings.” The couple added that they were looking forward to returning next year.
Also reporting a “great show” was Ron Chambers, the pewter and early American antiques specialist from Higganum, Conn. He sold a significant historical portrait painting of Gurdon Saltonstall (1666‱724), who was governor of the colony of Connecticut from 1708 to 1724. Another such likeness of the colonial governor hangs in the Yale Art Gallery. Chambers had had the painting on display in his own house, but recently had decided to part with it. The buyer was from Connecticut and it is going into another private collection.
Chambers also sold an American Indian burl bowl, probably from Maine, made of birch and measuring 21½ by 18½ inches with curved handles, and the dealer also wrote up sales slips for several pieces of pewter, hearth iron, some nice pipe tongs, a carved crest banister back chair from New York state, probably Eighteenth Century, and some ironstone jugs. Thus, while observing that the gate seemed lighter by a couple of hundred people compared with previous years, no doubt the result of competing beautiful spring weather, Chambers said he was very pleased with his results.
Mad River Antiques proprietors Steve and Lorraine German from North Granby, Conn., had interest on several items in their booth that featured stoneware and folk art. “We sold coin silver, a wonderful early red dough bowl and an assortment of smalls,” they reported. “The attendance for both days was good despite the good weather.”
American fine art specialist Donna Kmetz said she had a nice sale †a beautiful pair of French fauvist paintings to someone who fell in love with them last year. “Imagine that,” she exclaimed, “the ultimate be-back! I had hoped to see more regulars from my mailing list, including some who did not make it to Hartford-in-Springfield, but it seems that the weather was simply too beautiful.”
Five nice rugs were rung up in the sales column for Tom Landers of Palisades Trading Co., on Saturday, including a very attractive Feraghan Sarouk, two Heriz pieces, a Balouch and a yomut, according to the dealer. “On balance, it was quite a good show for me.” Landers said he had no sales, however, on Sunday “due to the fine weather. Still, I had some great conversations with potential clients.”
For several years when the show was conducted in February rather than its current mid-April run, the lure of warmer temps and budding gardens was less of a concern. Certainly for Charles and Barbara Adams of South Yarmouth, Mass., who are always in Florida in February, such speculation is moot. “We have no way of knowing about the size of the gate then&nd never have done the show at that time,” said the Adamses. “As to our own sales, we had considerable interest in the nautical things we had. We did sell two ship half hulls, one very good piece of Bennington and a few small items.” A rare piece of Bennington in their booth was a flint enamel footbath with scalloped rib, circa 1848‴9, 14 inches wide by 20 inches long.
Merle Koblenz of Koblenz & Co., was there with her usual wide assortment of jewelry. Her new shop in Kent, Conn., is called Main Street Antiques, where her jewelry offerings are augmented by country furniture, accessories, apothecary items, textiles and silver. At the show, the dealer said she sold a “wonderful early Twentieth Century German painting on ivory pin/pendant in a silver frame with marcasite, a gold lady’s Ebel wristwatch, a gold bangle, 1930s amethyst earrings and a 1950s Italian silver bracelet.”
Another first-time exhibitor to this show was New London, N.H., dealer John Rogers, whose focus is Chinese country furniture. He carries Chinese wood and American and European treen, with particular emphasis on butter prints and molds. “I sold the most unusual print I have ever owned,” he reported after the show. “It was tub size, and only the second one I have ever seen in almost 50 years of collecting. Other treen also did well. As for my Chinese stock, I sold several wood lace carvings. These were taken from destroyed beds. The carving on these panels was superb; the symbolism auspicious and it is harder and harder to buy these in China”
Rogers added that he was very pleased, also, with the “look” of the show. “The dealers in aggregate presented a well-diversified group of merchandise. I was proud to be exhibiting with them. As usual, with any show managed by Frank Gaglio, it was well organized and very well managed. The committee put on a wonderful lunch for the dealers during set up. The only issue was beyond anyone’s control †the first two truly beautiful weekend days in April. Everyone wanted to be outdoors. Despite the weather, I thought the show seemed well attended, and the attendees seemed interested and knowledgeable. The show was a pleasure to do.”
Actually, show patrons could walk out of the building with both an antique and a colorful primrose arrangement or brace of daffodils under their arms, as there was a colorful floral display by the Hyland House volunteers at the show’s entrance where shoppers could purchase a colorful spring plant to take home. Win-win.
For information, 845-876-0616 or www.barnstar.com .