Published: January 18, 2011
“We try and make people comfortable and to get them in out of the cold,” stated show manager Robert Barrows about an hour prior to the opening of his Glastonbury New Year’s Day Antiques Show. The line of anxious buyers waiting to gain admission to the show extended past the usual entrance in the foyer of the Glastonbury High School, down a hallway and snaked around through a door at the rear of the gymnasium that Barrows utilizes prior to opening.
Five minutes before the scheduled 9 am opening time, volunteers from the Glastonbury Exchange Club, the show’s sponsor, pleaded with the promoter to open the show early as the line had filled the interior staging area and had extended out into the parking lot. The show manager made a quick announcement to the dealers and then opened the gates.
It was hard to estimate how many people were on hand, but moments after opening, the floor of the show was thick with people, so much so that some were heard complaining about the packed conditions. Dealers, 138 in total, were not complaining though, as the majority were much too busy answering questions from prospective buyers or writing sales slips. Booths are somewhat compact, which adds a sense of urgency to shopping, along with a confining atmosphere.
“This is the 31st year I have run this show,” commented Barrows as he watched the crowd surge into the hall. The promoter later reported his largest crowd ever, stating that slightly more than 2,600 people attended the show. Snow has hampered the one-day show for the past two years. This year, however, bright sunny skies and an equally clear weather forecast surely helped with the size of the crowd.
“It is a show with a little bit of everything,” stated Barrows as he scanned the floor. The manager commented that the last five years have been dedicated toward building quality into the event, yet at the same time retaining the diversity. Approximately 45 dealers were new to the show this year.
Dealers from every state in New England, except for Maine †due to cancellations regarding weather concerns †were on hand, as well as a representation of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania dealers. Merchandise around the floor was eclectic, with a good selection of early Americana that included painted furniture, such as candlestands, blanket boxes and tall chests, while on the opposite end of the spectrum, a selection of 1950s and 1960s oddities ranged from abstract-form lamps to battery-operated robots.
Barrows commented that he did see a couple of cupboards and painted chests leaving the floor, but that the vast majority of the sales were smalls. The manager stated that one dealer told him after the show that she was “tickled pink” with her sales, and a couple others indicated it was “the best show that they had ever had” from a sales perspective.
New Fairfield, Conn., dealer Das Bulli House offered a nice selection of toys that ranged from pressed steel trucks by Buddy L to a classic tin lithographed limousine. Stuffed Mickey Mouse figures from several periods were on display at 20th Century Objects, along with a neat battery-operated space ship, UFO X05 .
Colchester, Conn., dealer Phil Liverant brought along a nice selection of early sleds in paint (perhaps the reason why there was no snow in the forecast), a running horse weathervane and also a neat child’s riding toy in the form of a stuffed dog.
Glastonbury dealer Jarrett Harrigan was busy with the crowd throughout the morning, as the selection of silver that he offered was attracting serious attention. Several pieces sported sold tags, several more were on hold, and several more were being examined by serious clients.
Christine Tisdale, Essex, Conn., offered a nice early Compass quilt in blue with red and white star pattern; Past and Present, Ephrata, Penn., displayed “special smalls” that included early German rabbit-form candy containers and Halloween memorabilia; Dick’s Antiques, Bristol, Conn., had a large selection of estate-fresh dolls; and Still River Antiques, Riverton, Conn., featured a nice selection of cast iron doorstops.
Barrows was extremely pleased with the outcome of the New Year’s Day event and will return to Glastonbury for another show March 27. For further information, 860-342-2540.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
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