Published: July 27, 2004
For some people the rocky coast of Maine, its beaches and lobster dinners, take second place to the annual antiques show sponsored by the Maine Antiques Dealers Association. That group of collectors and antiques buyers was on hand both Friday and Saturday, July 16-17, at The Racket & Fitness Center to view the displays put on by the 73 dealers participating in the show this year.
Pat Center, president of the Maine Antiques Dealers Association, was taking tickets on opening day and said “things went very well, we had a nice crowd, and a good number of the dealers reported healthy sales.” She noted “the sun didn’t help on Sunday,” suggesting many people who might have come to the show opted for the beach, taking advantage of one of the best days of summer so far.
Bette Zwicker, show manager and exhibitor, echoed those comments saying “opening day was fine, a good gate, an up-beat mood, and some good sales.” She was also disappointed in the gate on Saturday, but did mention there was some selling on the floor and those who came to the show were there to buy. Zwicker has been manager of the show for about the past eight years and is now stepping down. “It is time for someone else to run things,” she said.
“This show has become a tradition for us,” Charles Adams of South Yarmouth, Mass., said, as he sat right outside the entrance to the show on Friday morning. This is the third year that he and his wife, Barbara, have been first in line and “we expect to be first again next year,” he said. Before the 10 am opening a sizable line had formed behind them and the gate remained creditable that day. One exhibitor noted “a light attendance on Saturday, but those who came were interested and did some buying.” Last year the show ran Thursday and Friday and did not include any part of the weekend.
Maureen Fenton of Teachers’ Antiques, Harpswell, Maine, and a board member of MADA, said “this was our first year doing the show and it went well for us. We sold many smalls, but furniture did not move.” A collection of seven building banks was offered from a shelf in the booth, and several were sold by the time the show ended. “We had a selection of cup plates,” Maureen said, “and many of them sold. We even started a couple of people off on a new avenue of collecting, as they found the plates interesting and were going to build on their purchases.” Among the furniture that did not sell, but attracted lots of attention, was a child’s continuous arm Windsor chair from Vermont with 11 spindles.
Fenton also ran the new feature at the show, the MADA Attic Booth. Here dealers were allowed to exhibit up to three objects for sale, none to be priced over $200. If a person wanted to purchase one of the rdf_Descriptions they were given a slip listing the objects and the dealer who offered it. The person then paid that dealer and returned to the Attic booth to claim the objects. According to many of the exhibitors, the booth proved to be popular and many of the things sold.
Neville Lewis of The Barometer Shop, Cushing, Maine, pointed out one of his instruments hanging on the back wall of the booth and commented “I have been in this business for many years and never seen one like this, the best on the market today.” He was pointing out an Irish wheel barometer by Andrew Gatty, Dublin, circa 1795, with inlaid case. “Barometers such as this often were on stands,” he said, “but they can be hung on the wall also as this one is displayed.” Another rare example was an English marine barometer by William Cary, London, circa 1810, with bowed stick both front and back. Among the American instruments was a stick barometer by Charles Wilder of Peterborough, 1868, and a stick barometer by D.E. Lent of Rochester, N.Y., 1860.
Contoocook, N.H., dealers Gail and Don Piatt offered a yellow painted and decorated dressing table with turned legs and two drawers in front of the backsplash, and a cant back step back open shelf cupboard in old red from the Sully David collection. In sharp contrast to the cupboard’s surface were four graduated yellowware bowls.
Patricia Anne Reed of Damariscotta, Maine, showed an airplane whirligig in the original paint, complete with pilot, and a nice child’s stick back Windsor chair in old black paint. A hooked rug with a large bird in a tree, plus two others on the ground, with house in background, hung over a two-drawer blanket chest in old red in the booth of Bunker Hill Antiques, Jefferson, Maine.
“We had to buy the whole collection, 300 of them,” Andrew Flamm of Odd Fellows Art & Antiques, recently moved to Augusta, Maine, said of his display of wasp nests. His partner Michelle Hauser added ” we thought the shapes were wonderful, each one is different, and they vary in size.” The nests were collected in Mount Vernon, Maine, over a period of two decades by a classic Yankee accumulator. The Odd Fellows symbol was painted on the backs of a set of eight white painted chairs that came from a lodge in North New Portland, Maine.
Paula Timmins McColgan of Hopkinton, N.H., noted “I am not sure what that table was used for” pointing out a New England removable leg table, 9 feet 1 inch long by 221/2 inch wide, with a two-inch thick slab of pine for a top. There were many cut marks on the top indicating it could have seen some kitchen use or even been used as a slaughter bench. A selection of large gathering baskets in many different shapes was offered, including an example in excellent condition with a wonderful old blue painted surface.
Furniture in the booth of the 1848 House, Hamilton, Ohio, included a shoe foot hutch table in the original paint, Eighteenth Century and a New England hooded cupboard with lollipop one board, green surface, dating from the early Nineteenth Century.
By the time David Allan Ramsay of Cape Porpoise, Maine, had set up his booth, just about every inch of wall space was taken. Among the objects displayed were a couple of carnival game wheels in the original colorful surface, a large sign for Professor Rand, Palmist, and a large white painted and electrified metal star that probably, at one time, flashed on and off to draw attention to some attraction. On the heavy side, a large steer mill weight held down a corner of the booth, and on the outside wall two pairs of cast stone urns were displayed.
Otto and Susan Hart of Arlington, Vt., covered the entire back wall of the booth with carved pieces taken from an early hearse. The black-painted and carved objects included a back door, side panels, and four posts. Possibly it was made by a firm in Ohio. Susan Hart said “a lady bought the hearse about ten years ago, dismantled it and tried to make some sort of a bed from it. After a time she gave up and sold it.” Also of interest, and taking up the full width of a display case, was a set of six pieces from a wooden balustrade depicting a carved eagle over a shield. Three were painted yellow, and three were green.
A large Civil war parade eagle of pressed and hand worked gilded brass, circa 1740-70, from New York State, looked out from a pedestal in the booth of SAJE Americana of Short Hills, N.J. Among the case furniture was a turret top Connecticut chest of drawers in cherrywood, circa 1790, on an ogee bracket base.
“I’m losing all of my light,” Howard Graff of Colt Barn Antiques, Townshend, Vt., said as he attached a sold tag to the fourth and last lamp he had in his booth. In addition to the lighting, sales included a number of iron paperweights and other smalls, along with a large wall mirror. Windle’s Antiques of Wilmington, Del., offered a variety of objects ranging from a life-size quail, iron and zinc, used as a tavern sign for Sign of the Quail, to a Nineteenth Century birdcage in birch, painted surface, from Upper Hudson River. Herb Windle pointed out a spatula, iron, in the form of a lady. “It is beautifully incised, dates 1810-20, and is from central Pennsylvania,” he said, indicating that it was one of the rarest things in the booth.
The portrait of a young girl, Elizabeth Schwenke, aged four, hung in the center of the booth of The Bradford Trust, Harwichport, Mass. This oil on canvas, 38 by 30 inches, 1850, was executed by Charles Octavius Cole (1814-1885), an artist who worked in Portland, Maine, from 1850 to 1856, having come from Newburyport, Mass., and New Orleans. To the left of Elizabeth hung a portrait of James G. Lovell, aged 18 months, holding a blue trumpet. “This pastel, 1796, is the oldest American portrait I have ever owned,” Roy Mennell said. It measures 16 by 11 inches. Among the country scenes offered was “Along The Water’s Edge,” an oil on canvas, 24 by 36 inches, by Emile Albert Gruppe (1896-1978).
Bette Zwicker of Bristol, Maine, spent much of her time racing about the facility taking care of problems and attending to the show manager’s duties that make such an event run smoothly. After making sure the programs were unpacked, the “advertising” table neatly arranged and the ticket takers in place, she still had time to put the final touches on her own booth. Among her offerings were a pair of wooden finials in white paint, approximately two feet tall; a Daisy Wagon with wooden wheels and raised child’s seat and a trade sign for L. Pincus & Sons, Clothing & Shoes, in Poultney. The store was six miles from where this sign was originally posted and the lettering was black on a white ground. A painted slant lid desk with old dry surface had one long drawer and a pull-out slide.
A rare silk needlework bed or table cover, English and dating from the late Seventeenth Century, was spread out over a gate leg table in the booth of Marie Plummer & John Philbrick of North Berwick, Maine. The piece measures 65 by 62 inches and is in excellent condition with strong colors. The New England origin table it covered was of Rhode Island origin, circa 1730. A pair of Queen Anne side chairs in maple flanked the table, each with rush seat and old red surface. A young couple asking about the chairs was told by John Philbrick “these chairs date from the second half of the Eighteenth Century and were once the property of Russell Carrell and were used in the kitchen of his Salisbury, Conn., home.” The couple listened and walked away, probably not familiar with Queen Anne and too young to know about Russell Carrell.
“I did okay at the show, have had some follow-up and a couple of things are pending, so all in all it was good for me,” Priscilla Hutchinson of Wiscasset, Maine, reported. She added “it seems to take people longer to make up their minds these days and it did not appear as if we had as many vacationers this year as in the past.” Smalls were selling from her booth and she came prepared with paintings and miniatures, doorstops in the form of a ship, a golfer and baskets of flowers, a selection of hog scrapper candlesticks, and mocha, including two pitchers with mostly blue decoration. Her furniture included an Eighteenth Century tavern table with salmon painted base, one board top measuring 431/2 by 28 inches, with breadboard ends.
Tommy Thompson, Barnstead, N.H., was back on the show circuit after a brief medical set-back and it was good to see him in his booth arranging his interesting mix of things. As usual, he was among the last to finish his booth, but in the end he displayed a nice painted rocking horse, several signs including a big red apple with green stem, a selection of toys and a pair of cast stone baskets of fruit for the garden.
Several red sold signs were posted in the booth of New England Antiques, West Bath, Maine. A round wire plant stand, painted white, had been sold, as had a nice yellow painted and decorated dressing table with a pair of matching Windsor side chairs.
“We had a great show and both days were good for us,” Karen Wendhiser, who operates a shop from Ellington, Conn., with her husband Paul, said. She mentioned that close to the end of the show on Saturday she sold her step back cupboard. Other sales included a set of six black-painted and stenciled side chairs dating from the mid Nineteenth Century, a pair of tin sconces, a large hatbox, a pond boat model and a good number of smalls. She is in favor of the change made in the days of the show, going from a Thursday to Friday schedule of last year to Friday to Saturday this time. “The gate was not very strong on Saturday, but the people came to buy,” she noted.
Russ and Karen Goldberger of Rye, N.H., showed a barber pole, circa 1875, 46 inches long, Midwest origin, that found an early buyer, while other sales included a selection of working factory decoys by Mason, Hays and Dodge, among others. A large, oval braided rug, Pennsylvania, was also purchased the first day of the show.
“We have a nice spot right at the entrance of the show,” Patricia D. Keady of Drake Field Antiques, Longmeadow, Mass., said, while making a few last minute adjustments to her display before the opening bell. The booth contained a collection of formal American furniture and a large selection of fireplace equipment including fenders, tools and andirons, all brightly shined. In the corner was an octagonal top with gallery candlestand in cherrywood, circa 1785, from Westfield, Mass., along with a small table or server with tapered legs, hickory, circa 1830, with one drawer. A small sized lady’s desk in cherrywood had a four-drawer interior, New England origin, circa 1825, on the original casters.
“We had a great show and sold furniture and accessories both days of the show,” Cheryl and Paul Scott of Hillsborough, N.H., reported. A pine cottage chest, a Classical card table and a four-drawer chest were among the pieces of furniture sold, leaving behind a New Hampshire tavern table with two-board top and breadboard ends and a Connecticut fanback Windsor side chair with old red painted surface. A pond boat model, several pieces of painted iron and a banner weathervane also sported red sold tags.
Norma Chick of Autumn Pond, Woodbury, Conn., had a large selection of delft, a smaller fireplace surround of early tiles than usual and a stand of weathervanes including a rooster, plow, two eagles, three horses, a banner and a small sheet iron example of a man fishing from a boat.
“It is probably the best portrait of a child I have ever owned,” Shirley Chambers of Westford, Mass., said of her oil on canvas, possibly by H. Bundy. It dated circa 1850 and measures 32 by 271/2 inches. Hanging with the child were portraits of Mr and Mrs Peace by W.W. Kennedy, 1847, signed on the reverse. The lady wore a fancy white bonnet.
Pam and Martha Boynton of Groton, Mass., cover the best part of the back wall of the booth with a quilt cover signed L.M.S., Cabot, Vt., and dated 1890. Among the accessories were two nice cheese baskets, the smaller one nestled in the larger example, and a quill weathervane of good size with green patina.
Ship paintings and furniture seemed to dominate the booth of Ed Weissman of Portsmouth, N.H., case pieces included a New England Chippendale chest in maple, circa 1760; a Sheraton inlaid mahogany card table, New Hampshire or Massachusetts, circa 1815; and a Queen Anne highboy of Massachusetts origin, circa 1760, pine with brown varnish over a red stain.
“We have a committee in place to talk over this year’s show and to make suggestions for the future. Our annual meeting is in September and that is when we will plan for our 2005 show,” Pat Center said. There has been talk of moving the dates of the show, but to date there will be no changes. “We need lots of space and with the fitness club we have 26,000 square feet, just what is required to comfortably stage our show,” Pat said.
In any case, the show will go on in 2005 and it will again be good incentive to prompt a trip to Maine. The committee works hard, the dealers work hard, and the public reaps the rewards. It’s a show not to be missed.
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