Published: October 24, 2006
They just don’t make ’em like this anymore.
The Ludlow Antiques Show, the third event in Antiques Week in Vermont’s series of five shows, is shopping the old way.
Friendly and unassuming, the 42-year-old favorite managed by Ann Firkey and Carol Baranowki opened for two days, September 29–30, at the Black River High School in Ludlow. The show benefits Holy Name of Mary Church in nearby Proctorsville, Vt.
The ladies of the church don’t want anyone to go away hungry. When Ludlow’s founder died 12 years ago, the successful fundraiser was passed on to Holy Name. Church volunteers, who had cooked for fairgoers in the past, assumed management of the Ludlow Antiques Show but never took off their aprons.
“We figured our dealers could use a little break before the show opens, so we put up a big table and serve them dinner,” said Firkey. Dealers with heaping plates chose from a buffet that this year included chicken wings, meatballs, quiche, fruit salad, cheese, tea, punch and more. “We asked the ladies to all make cookies this year. It was a big hit, especially with the men.” After exhibitors dine, the ladies serve a second dinner to shoppers.
No surprise, then, that there was a big line to get into the Ludlow Antiques Show when it opened at 7 on Friday evening, an hour after the Okemo Antiques Show closed just a few miles up the road. The $10 preview ticket buys dinner along with first crack at an eclectic assortment of country furniture, accessories, paintings, books and vintage clothing.
The preview opening drew a mixed crowd of dealers, many them exhibitors at the other Vermont shows, and retail folks who’ve been coming for years.
“We had a few less people than last year but buying was just as strong. There was a lot of selling going on,” said Firkey.
Organizers keep the Ludlow Antiques Show nice and simple. Forty dealers set up around the perimeter of the small gymnasium. Another row of booths, arranged back to back, runs down the center of the floor. Many of the displays are tabletop. About a third of the exhibitors create room settings.
John and Victoria Malchione of Malchione Sporting Antiques in Kennett Square, Penn., pulled out the stops. Their rustic presentation was neatly partitioned into three displays. Decoys, Masons and other factory birds along with modern carvings by John Paxton of Virginia, were to the left. Creels were to the right. Straight ahead was a collection of colorful Seminole cloth dolls, $495, made between 1930 and 1950.
Across the floor, Debby and Terry Smith of Blue Line Antiques, Port Leyden, N.Y., offered a signed Ward Brothers black duck, circa late 1940s, $4,225, and a trio of Liverpool jugs, including one, $955, decorated with an American ship, flag and Masonic motifs.
Another polished presentation belonged to Laura McCarthy. The Rockland, Mass., dealer arrayed a trio of hooked rugs. One, a mid Twentieth Century example, $4,800, by Pearl Davis of Providence, R.I., was signed by the maker, who depicted herself as a bride with her groom. Two Nineteenth Century rugs — one a floral, the other geometric — were $1,695 and $795, respectively.
“We love paint,” said Karen Matteo of Leicester Americana. The Ballston Lake, N.Y., dealer and her husband, Rick, showed a painted blanket box with vibrant red and green rag decoration on buff ground, and a smaller dome-topped Heinrich Bucher-style Pennsylvania box in mustard and red paint. The pieces played against a backdrop of jacquard coverlets, Historical Blue Staffordshire and reverse painted glass.
A lift-top blanket chest in old red paint, $995; a teal colored blanket box, $195; and a Windsor arrow back side chair were highlights at Province Road Antiques, Goshen, N.H.
A red-painted Sheraton four-drawer chest with a robustly scrolled backsplash and a Sheraton one-drawer stand in black paint were attractions at Anne and Bob Lynch, Honesdale, Penn.
Country Cottage Antiques of Higganum, Conn., mingled country furniture with garden antiques. A two-piece painted apothecary chest in pale blue was $450; a diminutive iron bench and chair, $425.
A six-drawer country Sheraton chest, two drawers over three, a dry sink and a bench with boot-jack feet accompanied a patchwork quilt and urn-top andirons at Bittersweet Antiques, Waverly, Penn.
The Barn Cat offered antiques from the Schoharie and Mohawk Valleys of New York. Next door, Donna Neufeglise, of Penfield, N.Y., arrayed country accessories such as lusterware, stoneware, Staffordshire, wooden ware and baskets.
More stoneware was on hand at Bob & Stephanie O’Donoghue, Ogdensburg, N.Y., who offered a cobalt decorated three-gallon Norton of Bennington, Vt., crock for $285.
Antique garden and cottage furniture were in stock at Wiscasset Cottage, Wiscasset, Maine, which paired a large, red Bower & Bartlett’s of Boston coffee tin, $475, with a New England landscape painting in its original frame, $295.
We hope a visiting Weston Antiques Show exhibitor snapped up the old Weston Playhouse Restaurant sign, hand painted on wood, $395, at Al’s Antiques, Ludlow, Vt.
The cast and organizers of the Ludlow Antiques Show look forward to coming back next year. Said Firkey, “It was a great show. Everything moved smoothly and people seemed happy. Carol and I are both former teachers. I guess we’ve learned over time the art of managing groups of people gracefully.” Gracious hospitality is certainly one of management’s secrets.
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