Published: August 28, 2018
Review and Photos by Tom O’Hara
UNION, MAINE – For the 37th consecutive summer, Coastal Promotions brought together exhibitors and shoppers for a three-day weekend at Union Fairgrounds for the Maine Antiques Festival. This year, August 3-5 saw more than 150 exhibitors in the sheds, barn and various tents showing antiques from the last 400 years, including Jacobean furniture, Chinese art, English porcelain and home furnishings. There were several exhibitors featuring Twentieth-Century styles and art as well.
In a post-show conversation, Paul Davis, owner and manager of the show, said, “Friday’s weather and the forecasters’ reports [of rain storms] for Saturday definitely hurt attendance, but Sunday was way ahead of the last two years and that really helped sales for a great many of our dealers.” Exhibiting dealers seemed to agree with him in that sales were off on the first two days, but there was a recovery for many on Sunday, with good numbers of shoppers that day.
Steve Jenkins came to the show from Shelbyville, Ind., with a full truck load of Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century furniture, most of it made in America. During the show he sold a 200-year-old farm table with painted base, turned legs and a two-board walnut top, which he suggested came from Pennsylvania. He also was showing a rocking horse made in Methuen, Mass., about 1875; a miniature chest of drawers often called a “salesman’s sample” but also made for jewelry and other small treasures in the home; an antique store showcase; and another Nineteenth Century table.
Harry Hepburn III is a Maine dealer from Harrison who has been trading in antiques all of his adult life with a shop on the main street in his home town. He is a clock repairman and restorer with a large collection of his work at his store. His exhibit this weekend was popular with shoppers, many of whom know to check it for early New England furniture and more. He sold three one-drawer stands, a small kitchen cupboard in its original blue surface and an Eighteenth Century secretary, along with a lot of small accessories. While no clocks sold over the three days, he reported there was interest that could garner later results.
Not wanting to overload his booth, Peter Murphy brought a limited number of antiques and fine art from Bath, Maine. In his case, this strategy worked for his sales, he said they were good. He sold an unusually large Mason tea pot, probably about 3-gallon capacity – as such it may have been more for display than actual use as a tea pot. A 200-year-old American cherry drop leaf table went to a new home and so too did a Twentieth Century painting by the listed artist David Swing of an Arizona desert scene.
There were several new dealers in the show this year, many of whom traveled long distances to be here. Mix Vintage & Antiques is a Denver, Colo., dealer with a Twentieth Century collection that owner Lisa Simoes-Correia described as high-end Hollywood style. The collection seemed popular as she and her husband, Chuck Correia, sold four major pieces and a large assortment of the accessories. They were even delivering an extremely large mirror to Michigan on their way home to Denver after the show.
Sarasota Trading Company is Andrew Ford’s alter ego, with his shop and home in the historic district of Sarasota, a west coast Florida city. Trading in antiques from Europe, early America, Asia and fine art, he had a great time selling with a half dozen paintings moving to customers visiting the show from New York and Boston. He also sold a few pieces of furniture. The show also produced a post-show sale of an early Nineteenth Century Boston game table in mahogany, pedestal base with a flip top, circa 1840. Ford did a great deal of buying while at the show, finding over 40 paintings to take away.
Alderman Ford Antiques is a Columbia, S.C., company owned by Margaret and Bob Ford; jewelry is its primary focus. They set up in the big top tent for the second year and sold both fine estate jewelry and some valuable costume jewelry, as well as silver hollowware.
Probably coming the longest distance was America’s Heritage Antiques, driving in from Mesa, Ariz. With a collection of American folk art and Nineteenth Century American country furniture, most in original painted surfaces, the owners were ready for the Eastern market. Their sales were primarily in smaller things – folk art pieces such as paintings and household items.
Dealers from nearby did well too. Michael Pheffer of Two Sides of a River Antiques, New London, N.H., reported “Fabulous sales!” He said he sold several stands, a table and more furniture, several pieces from his Nineteenth Century collection of stoneware, and at least ten paintings. He pointed out that he has been trying to carry more small antiques and less furniture in the last year, and the sales results at this show rewarded his efforts.
Interiors with Provenance, Biddeford, Maine, was selling from its extensive inventory of Oriental rugs and American country furniture. Co-owner, Deb Gott, had an interesting piece: at first glance it looked like a charming bucket bench in blue paint, but with a quick flip, it was a quarter bed, just pop on a feather mattress.
From Damariscotta, Maine, Gordon and Mary Nicoll offered American and European fine art and hardwood furniture. Gordon said sales were good, especially in small accessories early in the show.
Bill Quinn has been a Maine antiques dealer and picker most of his life, and he is always here at the show. His finds are generally what antiques lovers come to Maine looking to buy: for example, a painted pantry cupboard in bright yellow, several signs, including one stenciled reading “Live Bait,” baskets, fishing creels and decoys.
Paul Davis said the dates next year should be the first weekend of August, but it is not yet in print. He usually announces it in early October before he leaves Maine for the winter. For additional information, 207-221-3108 or www.maineantiquesfestival.com.
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