Published: August 1, 2017
Review and Photos by Tom O’Hara
BRIMFIELD, MASS. – The July 11-16 edition of the now-famous Brimfield Antiques Week took place amid daily thunderstorms, heavy rain in most cases early and late in the days. Even so, this weather did not deter the die-hard shoppers and exhibitors who were there for the day or days on their favorite field buying and selling antiques and collectibles. For example, Tuesday morning’s rain began at first light and continued for several hours, but as Dealer’s Choice opened at 11 am, it stopped and did not resume until late that afternoon, allowing dealers to sell and shoppers to buy in a reasonable atmosphere at both that show and Brimfield Acres North two hours later, as well as all the 15 other fields that opened that day.
July Brimfield is unlike the May and September Brimfield weeks, for it is the one time when many from more distant parts of the country are able to travel as part of their vacation to New England and do their shopping here. This week is typically when the most first-time visitors come to shop for their own collections, home décor or inventories.
For example, Lisa Hollanbach was here, having heard about Brimfield for many years. She arranged that both she and her husband would have a week’s vacation and travel from their home in Schwenksville, Penn., to shop for several days. On her first day she found several items to add to her home’s décor, including a Nineteenth Century mirror and some smaller accessories, making for a successful trip.
Two gentlemen from Beijing did not speak English but found a very large porcelain charger, about 30 inches in diameter and in excellent condition. They considered it to be the epitome of their trip, for in communicating via a handheld internet device, they indicated the dish was from the Ming dynasty, circa 1350-1650, and worth much more than they paid for it. It was further determined that they were collecting for a Chinese museum.
Three ladies from Lancaster County, Penn., were pleased with their shopping, as they found quilts and textiles along with sewing paraphernalia at Shelton’s.
Dealers were offering their best and most interesting collections as usual. The Holdens from Sherman, Conn., had a great offering of weathervanes and whirligigs but also a large table filled with antique children’s toys at their booth in Heart-O-The-Mart.
Lake Placid, N.Y., dealer Christopher English was showing a wonderful chip-carved dollhouse at Heart-O-The-Mart.
Steve Jenkins of Indiana is the promoter of the Springfield Antiques Show and a flea market in Ohio nine times a year. Here, though, he was just another exhibiting dealer set up at Hertan’s from Wednesday through the weekend, where he sold two dry sinks in their original blue milk paint, an early painted wooden bowl, a decoy and much more.
Tom Nagy’s family from Hampton, Conn., made May’s Antiques a family outing, with three generations working together to build their short-term shop. Early sales for them included some Jacobean furniture and an Eighteenth Century chandelier.
Across the aisle, Karen Alexander Antiques, Stafford, Conn., was busy from the get-go, selling early lighting as well as several fine American candlestands.
The new owners of J&J Promotions, Kathy and Rusty Corriveau, were having great fun meeting all their dealers this week and getting to know the best ways to reorganize the field. Their dealers seem to be pleased with the small changes they have made, including an earlier entry time on Thursday for set-up. As the field opened Friday morning to buyers, rain began but it did not seem to dampen customers’ spirits as there were big crowds and rapid-fire buying.
Jan Lapore, Northfield, Mass., was too busy writing sales receipts to say hello and Neal Blodgett, Higganum House Antiques was selling from his enormous collection of little things.
Robert Perry, Orchard Park, N.Y., and Frank Gaglio, Rhinebeck, N.Y., shared a tent they filled with early American period furniture and folk art.
Brimfield happens three times each year, but each gathering has its own personality and flavor. This summer market is the one where there are the most first-time visitors, buyers who in many cases do not have the opportunities to visit in May or September but still want to join in the experience and fun. It certainly was fun, even if all did get a little wet at this most recent gathering.
September 5-10 is just weeks away so dealers are already booked for their favorite fields and hotels are filling quickly. For information, check the websites in the advertisements in Antiques and The Arts Weekly.
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