Published: September 13, 2016
Review and Photos by Rick Russack
DAMARISCOTTA, MAINE — Antiques shows are fun. And when it is an outdoor show on a perfect midweek summer day in a picturesque coastal Maine town, it is even better. Everyone seemed satisfied. Customers were smiling and carrying packages. Dealers were smiling and helping customers load furniture into their cars and sports utility vehicles, and the show manager was smiling because it all came together nicely and attracted a good gate on August 24 at Round Top Farm.
Adding to the positive feeling was the fact that all the exhibitors were members of the Maine Antiques Dealers Association, so they all knew one another. Interestingly, at least three dealers had items priced in the five-figure range, not often seen at outdoor shows. Dealers were set up in large tents, in their own tents or indoors in the barn or house. In total, there were about 75 exhibitors on the grounds of Round Top Farm. John and Liz DeSimone manage the show for the Maine Antiques Dealers Association. John DeSimone said, “Things are looking good. We’re seeing more young people at the shows this summer, and attendance has been good at all our Maine shows. We’re seeing more decorators shopping than we have in the last few years. I’ve a good feeling about the market.”
There was a wide assortment of quality merchandise, including early furniture, clocks, marine painting and other nautical items, maps, photographica, stoneware, redware, mocha, early English ceramics, Victorian hand painted china, folk art, country woodenware, toys, hooked rugs and more. Some of the more expensive — and weather-sensitive — items were protectively displayed in the barn and house.
Harry Hepburn III, a clock dealer from Harrison, Maine, was in the house, where he has been for several previous shows. His offerings included a tall case clock in an inlaid cherry case, probably made in Baltimore, Md., or Richmond, Va., with an arched pediment and a moon dial with a painted figure of a man, which he said was quite unusual. It was priced at $12,500, with repaired and fully guaranteed works. He pointed out that all his clocks are in running condition, and all are guaranteed.
Also in the house, Steve Hanley of Bickerstaff Books and Maps, had maps and ephemera for all pocketbooks. A group of Maine Farmers’ Almanacs dating to the 1820s were priced at $5 each, while a copy of Sotzmann’s map of Maine, published Hamburg, Germany, in 1798, was priced at $9,750. When asked, Hanley said that he has sold material in that price range at previous shows. Also in the house was a wide selection of photographica, with daguerreotypes priced between $100 and $450, tintypes at $20-$200 and stereoviews in the $25 range.
Hilary Nolan, Falmouth, Mass., had a rare set of six serpentine top rail Windsor chairs made in Salem, Mass., by James Chapman Tuttle, circa 1800. Nancy Goyne Evans in American Windsor Chairs credits Tuttle with being the only identified maker of Windsors in Salem. He is also referred to in other books on Windsors. The set retained original white and light-green paint. Nolan said the form was quite rare and he priced the set at $12,500. He also had an early tap table and a small ball-foot three-drawer chest.
Early furniture was also available in several other booths. Sherm Alden had a large Eighteenth Century curved back pine settle priced at $2,800; New England Antiques, Bath, Maine, offered a set of six country Sheraton side chairs with painted birds and flowers; and Rick Fuller, South Royalton, Vt., had a reasonably priced set of four Pennsylvania balloon back chairs with painted floral decoration. A small French Provincial sideboard, circa 1860, was priced at $2,200 by Knollwood Antiques, Thorndike, Mass.
Folk art was also available from any number of dealers. Two very colorful sets of steps from a circus wagon, lettered “F.E.L.,” were offered at $650 for the pair by Bill Quinn, Alna, Maine. They would not have lasted long at the recent Manchester, N.H., shows. Bob Withington, Portsmouth, N.H., had a wonderful red, white and blue barber pole with an asking price of $1,400, and an elaborate sailor shellwork table with floral rosettes and diamonds, priced at $2,400. Perkins and Menson, Townsend, Mass., had two interesting sand paintings. One depicted a scene at West Point, with a large building on a bank overlooking the Hudson River where several boats were sailing. A selection of gold leaf and other frames were offered at between $95 and $450.
Hooked rugs were available from several dealers; Pat Staubel, Wiscasset, Maine, had one that depicted a country farmhouse and attached barns, all in red, $495; Sherm Alden had a Frost pattern rug with three cats, $1,800, and there were more. Rona Andrews, Wellesley, Mass., brought a manuscript schoolboy’s lesson book decorated with hand painted shields, a hand-cut silhouette, a tinted lithograph of General Cornwallis and more. It was covered in wallpaper, dated 1832 and had belonged to Silas Lewis. She priced it $785 and it sold quickly.
Bill Garland, Jefferson, Maine, had a 48-inch high-wheel bicycle in his booth that started a conversation and a lesson about these bikes. Shelly Willard, visiting from San Francisco, was looking at the bike, which was as tall as she is. When offered a published photo if she would get up on the bike, she accepted the challenge. Garland steadied the bike for her, and she climbed up, and so the picture was taken. Willard said, “I ride at home but I’ve never been on one of these. The people I ride with will really get a kick out of seeing me on it.” Garland said the bike had been made in 1967 by the Bone Shaker Co. of Cleveland, Ohio, when interest in riding that type of bike had been rekindled. Some models allowed a rider to mount before the bike was moving but this particular model had to be moving before a rider mounted it so there was a step on the back that a rider would push-off on to build up speed. “The first time I tried to ride it, I fell”, Garland said. He had found it in a home in Thomaston, Maine, and offered it at $1,600.
A variety of porcelains and earthenwares were available in several booths. Gabe Ficht, Newburyport, Mass., has an affinity for early English blue and white ceramics, and his selection included Staffordshire, Prattware, creamware and more. He said that going back to his sophomore year in college “won’t affect me doing shows.” Kathy Tarr’s The Victorian Rose, Wenham, Mass., specializes in Victorian-era porcelains, such as Limoges, RS Prussia, Royal Bayreuth, etc. David Mclean, Winterport, Maine, had a selection of redware, blue and white spongeware and stoneware.
This event was the Maine Antiques Dealers Association’s 19th Annual Coastal Maine show. The kinks were worked out long ago and the show ran smoothly and provided a good venue for dealers and shoppers.
For information, 207-646-0505 or www.goosefairantiques.com.
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