Published: November 5, 2002
Twenty-One and Still Growing:
By Tom O’Hara
NASHVILLE, TENN. — Antiques Show is 21 and still growing. Held twice each year “Heart” has just completed another successful show at Opryland Hotel on October 17-20.
The popularity of the show is such that the two tailgate events it has spawned are also very important antiques events, Tailgate Antiques Market and Music Valley Antiques Market. Located across the street in other hotels, they are nearly as big as Heart.
Each fall the Kramers attract about 150 dealers to the show from virtually all over the United States and even a few from Europe. The Opryland Exhibition Hall is decorated and large booths are filled with antiques elegantly arranged in displays or room settings. A few dealers even arrange walls and merchandise into a maize.
The opening on Thursday evening featured a cocktail party with three large buffet tables, hors d’oeuvres on one, light supper and salads next and dessert on the third. Live music, country of course, begins as the guests are admitted. The line for the opening this year began before dawn Thursday and by 5 pm had more than 400 waiting to be among the first to enter and go for the best deals.
Dealing at Heart is not necessarily for the lowest price; often it is for the opportunity to find and buy some unique piece of Americana. It is a place where Connecticut dealer Michael Whittemore offered ten matching early ladder back chairs in excellent condition and promptly sold them. When did you last see ten exactly matching chairs? And in excellent condition.
Frank Kania, Stafford Springs, Conn., had an early secretary ($9,500), a banister back chair ($9,500) and a low boy ($7,800) all from his home state and made before the American Revolution. By early Sunday morning two out of three were sold.
A New York Central Railroad Station sign was offered at $2,200. Mark Morris of Dayton, Ohio, found it in Indiana and brought the two- by eight-foot piece to the show. A Michigan dealer with either a strong back or good help brought an entire pantry of cupboards she found back home. Chris Rogers said there were at least eight coats of paint on the piece.
Old South Antiques has one of the South’s largest selections of American country furniture and accessories. In business for 27 years, Richard Barnes has been displaying and selling at for ten years. This year he brought an early painted schoolmaster’s desk for $3,995 and a collection of four grain painted boxes for $1,450.
Peter Derr was a Pennsylvania metal smith and artist who made a great many pieces of decorative metal. A particularly well-known object was an Indian (Native American) weathervane. Many other craftsmen in his home area practiced with him and copied his work. Steve Marshall brought to Heart the Indian weathervane in copper without provenance.
There are a few men from Maine at the show each year. Bill Kelly of Limington had some early featheredge soup plates and a New Hampshire corner cupboard in blue milk paint. Jon Magoun, South Paris, put on a jacket and tie and showed a grain painted blanket chest, circa 1820 to 1850, and a radio built into an Adirondack cabinet. Dennis Raleigh had a charming small shelf with various objects decorating his booth’s walls. He is only partly from Maine, Wiscasset specifically, spend-ing half the year in Midland, Mich., when not doing shows.
Connecticut antiques can be found anywhere in the country, especially if they are clocks. Alton, Ill., dealer Helen Marler found an early Silas Hoadley tall-case clock in the estate sale of an Illinois collector. The red grain paint, though not original, was beautiful and it has its original wooden works, painted face and printed label. Through her business, Salt Box Antiques, she offered the working clock at $5,900.
Mario Polo considers the show too important to ever miss. Last year the Bearsville, N.Y., dealers flew down, bought antiques at the two other shows, Fiddlers and Music Valley, set up at Heart and Friday flew back to New York to do the Rhinebeck Show so he would not miss that either. He and partner Jan Cole had a less hectic schedule this year as there was a week between the shows.
The Kramers are often adding more interesting features to their shows. This fall’s event featured an evening outing to nearby Carnton Plantation for dinner and an historic tour. At the show on Saturday, Country Living magazine sponsored a live auction with rdf_Descriptions from many of the attending dealers.
Another regular feature for many years is the “Under $200 Booth.” In this corner of the hall all exhibiting dealers place rdf_Descriptions that are for sale at less than $200. The Kramers have several staff members covering the sales taking cash, checks or credit cards and there are really good deals.
This show is twice each year; the 2003 dates according to Libby Kramer are February 13-16 and October 23-26. The February show is usually a bit larger than fall, so if you are planning the trip it is advisable to make hotel arrangements soon. For information, 800-862-1090.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm