Published: March 9, 2010
Opryland USA was again the home for 67 antiques dealers dealing primarily in early American furniture, home furnishings and folk art, February 18′0. The show’s founders, Libby Kramer and her husband, Richard, began the show in 1981 at the Tennessee Fairgrounds and moved to Opryland after two years. Conducted continuously thereafter in late winter or spring, there was also a fall edition as well for many years. Since both founders have passed away, their daughter, Susan Kramer Hunkins, is now the owner and manager, taking full charge of this for the first time, although for many years she shared the experience by helping her parents.
Hunkins said she was very pleased with the 2010 edition. “The mood was very upbeat with the dealers, good selling, good buying, especially in light of the current economy,” she said. The dealers are, in her words, “a unique group from the Northeast, the South and the Tennessee regions, giving the show a strong Southern flavor but also great early American antiques, fitting with our theme of early Americana, folk art and country-style home furnishings.”
Exhibits and merchandise were dominated, as usual, by early American antiques. Painted furniture from the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries was available to suit every room in the house. Sheridan Loyd, St Joseph, Mo., was showing a grain painted blanket chest, for one example. Brenda Daniel, Athens, Ala., was offering a selection of early paint, as she described it, which included a Bergen County corner cupboard, a Tennessee hunt board and several pieces she had found from Pennsylvania.
Raccoon Creek sold an early backless bench in original red milk paint to a first-night visitor. It was not purchased the night of the preview party but soon after. Raccoon Creek is the Oley Forge, Penn., business of Gordon Wyckoff and George R. Allen, collectors and dealers for many years known for the fine early American country and primitive-style antiques. Their sales also included a full bodied cow weathervane in copper, more than 2 feet long, from the middle of the Nineteenth Century, a painted pie safe and many more small antiques.
Harold Cole and Bettina Krainin, Woodbury, Conn., dealers, exhibited together with an especially large collection of early Americana. Their sales included a casket and a William and Mary-style four-drawer chest of drawers.
James (“Jay”) and Carole Harper trade as American Spirit Antiques from Murphy, N.C., with a collection dominated by early Southern furniture. For this show, they sold a blue buttermilk painted barrel back corner cupboard with a smooth shell form inside the top, rounded Palladian front doors and Greek Corinthian fluted columns with scrolled capitals. The details worked into this piece were all in wood, carved into the complex shapes, more than 200 years ago, and it sold on the first day of the show.
Lana Smith, Louisville, Ky., sold well throughout the show. Leaving her collection were a pair of glass-topped demilune tables, a pair of blankets, jewelry, some carvings and other smalls; in total enough to have had a good show.
A narrow Virginia corner cupboard found its way to a new home from the Stonecrop Antiques collection. Stonecrop is the business of Charlie and Judy Warren from Mount Crawford, Va., where they keep an open shop, as their advertisement says, “when the flag is flying.” Their sales results included “the walnut chest of drawers, a work table and lots of smalls from the display cabinet,” according to Judy Warren. They had exhibited at Music Valley Antiques Show also in Nashville the prior week, so they came with the help of two friends, loaded with great antiques for the double header.
The Marshalls, Steve and Lori, have been exhibiting in the show for many years with a collection primarily consisting of small things. Steve Marshall said he has been “a compulsive collector” all his life. “I have boxes in our collection that haven’t been opened in a long time,” he said. He and his wife open more for each of their shows, offering fresh antiques. This weekend their offerings included an assortment of early iron kitchen and fireplace tools, stoneware and redware, carved bird silhouettes, miniature paintings and much more, filling the walls and showcase in their exhibit.
Tex Johnson has had a shop in Adamstown, Penn., for more than 40 years, but is now doing the show together with her son, Kris. They were sharing the opinion voiced by Kris that “today you have to bring the antiques to the customers, because they don’t come to the shop like they used to. So we are working our website and doing shows.” Their sales were dominated by many transactions for small antiques. With a very large collection Tex has been building for more than 50 years, they have many unusual and hard-to-replace items. One such piece was a candle mold for a dozen candles in tin, circa 1800′5. What made it unusual was the size of the candles †tiny ones, like those put on top of a birthday cake.
Also from Pennsylvania, Patricia Clegg sold small antiques in good numbers. So much so that before the show was over, she was off buying to restock. White and White, Skaneateles, N.Y., did well with early hardwood furniture made in New York and New England. Marjorie Staufer offered pine and folk art that she found near her Medina, Ohio, home.
Clifton Anderson, Lexington, Ky., showed Tennessee and Kentucky furniture, including two Jackson presses, as they are called in that area. The linen presses are made of native woods, in this case, walnut; they are shallow on the top with drawers on the bottom. He also brought a game board in bright original paint.
The show is an annual affair, always in Opryland on the outskirts of Nashville, so plan for it again next year, February 17‱9. For information, www.heartofcountry.com or 314-962-8580.
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