Published: September 7, 2010
The Madison-Bouckville Antiques Show, August 20′2, was filled with more than 700 exhibits and big crowds of shoppers for its 40th annual edition in this small New York village just south of Utica. Begun in 1971 as a venue for shopping antiques and to help fill the restaurant and small country inn then owned by Jock Hengst, the show’s future was not envisioned as growing into one of the major antiques markets in the East. Like the Brimfield, Mass., phenomenon, it has spawned about 20 other fields that have their own antiques markets during the same week.
Dealers arrived for Madison-Bouckville early Thursday morning, lining a side road for several miles before being let onto the field for check-in and setup that afternoon. Quickly after the release, there were antiques to study with so many dealers unloading.
From the Midwest, Tom and Rose Cheap were organizing their American country collection in one of the large multidealer tents. Trading as Period Antiques from Scottsburg, Ind., they had been in New England for much of the summer at shows and visiting their former home in Maine, while shopping for fresh inventory. Here they were showing several walls filled with samplers, game boards and American oil paintings. Their open area resembled an early Nineteenth Century kitchen, but with about twice the necessary furniture for a period home in the country.
Sales, according to Tom Cheap, “were soft, but not as soft as the ground became during Sunday’s rain. We had to be towed out with a tractor!” He sold a jelly cupboard and a lot of smalls, commenting, “So, really, we did come away okay.”
Arriving with the Cheaps, from Corunna, Ind., Don and Marta Orwig had a major supply of antiques and décor for visitors to peruse. Their collection included antique country furniture and a good deal of unusual pieces. Hanging as high as the tent would allow was a large stuffed American buffalo head. While it did not sell, it was a big attention-getter, probably assisting their sales, which did include a set of 12 chairs, a country cupboard and a good quantity of small antique accessories.
Among the dealers who travel far to exhibit at this show are Tina and Pat Farley from Merriam, Kan. Their collection is entirely early iron and related items, with the iron in the form of toys and banks. For the show, their sales were numerous, according to Pat, who said they did “very well. Sold quite a few and we had a lot there. We have the largest collection on the show circuit.”
Cipro Sales, on the other hand, was really close to home †Rochester, N.Y. One of the exhibitor’s prized possessions was a Massachusetts two-over-three chest of drawers dating to 1790, according to the dealer, and priced at $3,800. The price was believed to be low, considering that it had original finish and brasses.
Jan and Ken Silveri, Hamburg, Penn., were offering their current selection of early English earthenware, porcelain and soft paste dishes, painted furniture from Pennsylvania and more. One special piece was a Lancaster County children’s crib quilt with excellent handwork in the quilting and great color in the patches.
What was described as an “early torture device,” according to one visitor, was really just a rowing machine. It was the centerpiece for Sport & Spool Antiques, Goldsboro, N.C. Doug McElwain said it was as early as he has seen, probably late Nineteenth Century, and it was a good addition to their collection of early sporting equipment and uniforms.
Rare Bird Antiques brought three early chests to the show. The best one, according to Lisa Baldwin, the Oswego, N.Y., business owner, was a Massachusetts Chippendale-style and period two-over-three chest priced at $1,350, which sold. In fact, her husband, Douglas, said their results at the show “were fabulous, even though Sunday was a rainout.”
This show is so big, there are usually dealer spaces available even just a short time before the show opens. As such, there were many exhibitors who called in the last week for a space and did get into the show. American Heritage Antiques, El Jobean, Fla., is Bill and Kay Puchstein’s antiques business, and they came in with a truckload of smalls for the show. On the opening morning, Bill Puchstein said he was off to a good start.
Traveling only a short distance was Mario Pollo from Bearsville, N.Y., with some fine early furniture. One of his finer pieces was a New England highboy in original finish.
A local group of dealers from Palmyra, N.Y., shared a booth. Rebecca and Douglas Hare and Michael Haskins were showing their collections as one exhibit, while, according to Rebecca, “We were having a lot of fun, good selling †the English furniture, a wonderful wooden framed, clay piped candle mold, some folk art and a lot of small antiques.”
Even though Sunday was pouring rain, David Zabriskie sold better that day than on Saturday. Good sales began for him on Friday and included a set of four Georgian silver candlesticks, a pair of wooden carved Adirondack table lamps, a Grenfell hooked rug, stoneware and a couple pairs of andirons. There was even a postshow call to his home in Lake Placid, N.Y., for some furniture.
The show attracts many exhibitors from near and far with highly specialized collections. Red Barn Antiques, Dallas, was selling early Twentieth Century dishes. Cavern View Antiques, Howe’s Cave, N.Y., is an ironstone specialist, with several tables filled with the early English earthenware. Donna Shannon, Chapel Hill, N.C., sold her pillows, nosegays and rag dolls, all made from antique and vintage textiles. Lebanon, Conn., dealer Harry Eck was offering his collection of early English candlesticks.
Peter Moses had a little bit of everything, all kinds of small antiques from his North Syracuse, N.Y., collection. Bringing his collection of early English antiques, Stuart Cropper travels across the Atlantic from home in Seaford, England, to exhibit at the show. This week, he was showing a large collection of samplers and small useful things, including majolica and Spode dishes and some English folk art.
Lots of dealers, lots of customers and a great deal of great antiques at good prices are the tradition for the show. It has been known as a place to stock up on fresh antiques, and the sales for the week seemed to indicate that tradition continued.
Madison-Bouckville is conducted only once a year, but for 40 years there have been many who make the trip for good antiques and good sales, according to Hengst. It will happen again next summer, August 20-21, but do not forget the early admission on Friday during the setup.
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