Published: January 31, 2017
Review and Photos by Rick Russack
WILMINGTON, MASS. – An enthusiastic crowd lined up well before the opening of Marv Getman’s Boston Antiques, Vintage, Art and Design Show and Sale January 14-15.
Getman’s shows often draw crowds that would be the envy of other New England show promoters. Before the show opened, he said, “This feels like the good old days. We have a long line waiting to get in, the exhibit space is sold out and there is plenty of things to look at, regardless of what a person’s interests might be.” He deliberately sought to have items that would appeal to seasoned collectors and those out for a fun few hours, perhaps looking for a special item for a special place in a home. Buyers could choose from furniture from the Seventeenth-Twentieth Centuries, ceramics covering the same time period, thousands of posters and prints, antiquarian books, toys, folk art, Judaica, art work, art glass, native American objects, historical Americana and Russian icons.
Getman understands that the success of his business as a show promoter depends upon a large cadre of satisfied exhibitors who believe that his job is to bring in a crowd. To do so, he may sacrifice short-term profit for the longer health of the business. His email list includes more than 10,000 names of people who have expressed interest in his shows in the past. His emails, advertisements and website offer half-price admission to anyone who asks. There were more than 2,000 half-price admissions requested for this show.
Last year’s show was not fully sold out, so instead of half-price admission, in order to bring in buyers, admission was free. “Exhibitors saw the size of the crowd that year and told their friends. That helped me fill the show this year.” Social media is an important marketing tool for Getman. “For $200, ads on Facebook can be directed to this geographic area and, with keywords to people interested in what the show has to offer. That is money well spent and it was measurable for me because, if Facebook viewers used the link to my website, they could get half price admissions, which I track.”
Richard Thorner, Manchester, N.H., had a very interesting, small-scale replica of the National Monument to the Forefathers in Plymouth, Mass. The granite original, built by the Plymouth Society to commemorate the first settlers, the Pilgrims, is 81 feet tall and sits on a hill in Plymouth, about a mile from the waterfront. It is one of the largest freestanding solid granite monuments in the world, and yet few people get to see it. When it was first installed, in 1889, it was visible from the waterfront and other points in town. Mother nature has grown around it, and trees have obscured it.
Thorner’s replica, as well as the original, includes a large figure representing Faith holding a bible surrounded by four smaller statues. Thorner was uncertain about the purpose of this replica. It is dated 1867, prior to the installation of the original, and may have been meant to assist in fundraising. It’s made of pot-metal and is about 22 1/2 inches tall.
John and Jan Maggs, Conway, Mass., specialize in early English oak furniture and matching accessories. Their booth had some of the earliest things at the show. Offerings included Seventeenth Century chests of drawers, bible boxes, early chairs, joined stools, brass and other lighting, as well as paintings that went well with the furnishings. They also specialize in back issues of the Magazine Antiques with more than 12,000 issues currently in stock. John Maggs commented that the Volume 1, Number 1 issue was reprinted on its 50th anniversary and they assure customers that theirs are not the reprints one sometimes see listed in online auctions. The 1952 issue, devoted to Southern furniture, according to Maggs, is the most sought-after issue. The couple has prepared a consolidated table of contents of each issue from 1970 through 2015.
Heintz art metal filled the entire booth of David Surgan, Brooklyn, N.Y. He’s been collecting it for about 25 years and his display included examples of the various techniques used by the Buffalo, N.Y., company, which was in business from about 1902 to 1930. Products of the Heintz Art Metal Shop are distinguished from other arts and crafts metals in that most are made of bronze, not copper, and the decoration and texture are provided by sterling silver overlay. The variety of patinas were achieved by the manipulation of the unfinished surfaces. Four basic finishes are available to collectors today, including one in which colored enamel is added to the silver overlay. It’s an eye-catching display and Surgan gives interested browsers a copy of an article he has written on the subject. Prices ranged from $175 to several thousand dollars for lamps and other rare pieces.
A wide range of art pottery, including Rookwood, Van Briggle, Weller, Fulper, Teco, Dedham, Grueby, Marblehead and Amphora was available in the booths of Pat’s Pots, Westport, Mass.; and Paul Martinez, Westminster, Mass.; as well as from other dealers. Decorative tiles of every color and pattern were available from Antique Articles, Dunstable, Mass., and Asian ceramics and cloisonné were available in several booths, including Noble Peddler, Torrington, Conn., Thymes Remembered, Harrisville, N.H., and others.
The Noble Peddler also had some colorful “barge ware,” an interesting and distinctive type of ceramics made in England late in the Nineteenth-early Twentieth Century. The name is derived from the fact that, as the story goes, it appealed to those who lived on barges and made their living on the canals of England. Much of it was sold by a shop adjacent to a canal, and they were able to personalize the pieces with the names and dates so it was often used as gifts for weddings, anniversaries and births. Prices generally range from $100 to $300.
There was a nice selection of Twentieth Century furniture. For example, Don Creed had a set of set of six Roycroft chairs priced at $8,000. Sandy Jacobs, Swampscott, Mass., had a set of eight midcentury rosewood chairs, with a Danish retailer’s label, priced at $2,150 for the set. Stone Block Antiques, Vergennes, Vt., had a fine, late Twentieth Century dining set by Henredon comprising a large dining table, ten chairs and a matching sideboard. Stone Block also had a glazed Canadian cupboard, in old red paint, priced at $3,200. It was filled with several dozen pieces of Quimper pottery.
The show included several antiquarian book dealers. Barbara Smith, Northampton, Mass., brought a wide selection of children’s books, and Talking Leaves, Hooksett, N.H., had a selection of books on military history, along with books on Western exploration, including the 1853 Report of Explorations in California. Greg Gibson, Ten Pound Island Books, Gloucester, Mass., specializing in maritime books, manuscripts and maps, always has rare titles. Jeff Bergman Books, Fort Lee, N.J., had an assortment of autographed photos, including the Lone Ranger, priced at $195 and Bill Clinton, priced at $250. He also had several modern first editions.
After the show, Marv Getman said, “I worked to promote the fair early and often to my email list and it paid off. A perfect winter weekend with no snow on the ground also helped. Although the crowd thinned a bit on Sunday, it was still a good showing. Many dealers told me that Sunday was surprisingly good for sales and that the audience included many serious buyers.”
One of the book dealers, Greg Gibson, of Ten Pound Island Books, commented, “The dealers I talked to reported decent sales. I had a good time hanging out with my colleagues, and looking at the wide range of material on display, but I only bought three books. And unlike most shows I do, this one is not focused primarily on books and paper. It’s a cornucopia, a jumble, a mish-mosh. I like walking up and down the aisles looking at the vast range of stuff.”
For additional information, www.neantiqueshows.com or 781-862-4039.
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