Published: September 6, 2011
Maine Antiques Festival at the Union Fairgrounds was “the best we have had in five or ten years, with great attendance each day and great antiques from the exhibiting dealers,” according to show promoter Paul Davis of Coastal Promotions. Conducted August 12‱4 in the buildings and tents on this Wyeth-like Maine landscape were more than 200 antiques dealers assembled to sell traditional early American antique furniture, collectibles and home accessories and tools. Even fine art and folk art could be purchased from the many collections assembled for the summer visitors to the lakes and seacoast towns nearby.
Greg Hamilton of Stone Block Antiques, Vergennes, Vt., was in one of the sheds, protected from the rains that never came this year. His inventory included a good deal of large furniture pieces, as well as smalls. A tall cupboard dry scraped to reveal its original yellow and brown paint was from New York and priced at $5,900. Among the items sold was an small early maple drop leaf table, a set of eight regency chairs, some paintings and other small furniture.
A baby buggy offered by David Day, Days Antiques Shop in Brunswick, Maine, would not pass consumer product safety standards today, but it was cute and only $395, complete with lace covered padding. Found in Norway, Maine, it may have been manufactured there late in the Nineteenth Century. Day’s sales included paintings, several farm tables and a William and Mary table.
Sylvia and Bill Stickney, the Yankee Picker of Holliston, Mass., came ready to sell their early glass and porcelain, but did not. Their sales, however, were good in small furniture, most of it from the Nineteenth Century, including a small marble top parlor table, an oak and cedar chest and an oval parlor table.
Just what everyone needs †a mitten dryer and stretcher †was offered by Bruce Miller. The Raymond, N.H., dealer, well known by most for his ambitious work doing antiques shows, was there with great early and unusual small antiques. The mitten dryer was carved from pine with an adjustable handlelike device for the thumb to allow for different sizes. It dated to the last half of the Nineteenth Century and was priced at $68. Another unusual piece Miller offered was a wood framed candle mold with 24 pewter tubes, which were themselves castings, not sheet metal. This allowed the candles to not have a seam while creating good strength for the mold itself. It was priced at $1,595.
Sales in small furniture were better this weekend, according to many exhibiting dealers. Natalie Werner of 1843 House Antiques, Springfield, Mass., said she sold a Philadelphia Chippendale chair with replaced needlepoint seat cover early in the show. Fishers Antiques, Fisher, Ind., sold a Vermont cupboard, pine with replaced base, a Pennsylvania hanging corner cupboard in original green milk paint, an early child’s high chair, a New England rocker and a small drop leaf table, maple in original red grain paint.
Paula Cohen said her sales were consistent with the last year, with a good deal of her collection finding new homes. Trading as Your Grandmother Had It from Brooklyn, N.Y., she sold ironstone serving pieces, Hull pottery and a variety of late Nineteenth household items with a total in sales that made her efforts for the weekend rewarding.
Exhibitors to the show come from near and far. Nancy Hahn, Country Things of Bowie, Md., had “a very good show, selling big things and smalls.” The collection included antiques the Hahns have acquired while traveling throughout the eastern United States and also on yearly trips to England. There were several showcases offering Nineteenth Century needlework chatelaines. Also available were needle containers in treen ware, pewter and silver. Sales included copper utensils for the kitchen, quilts and bed rugs from Canada.
Fanshawe Blaine Antiques, Raphine, Va., was there with a collection of English furniture and accessories. Co-owner Amanda Harman said, “We sold a pretty wide range of things. One of our larger items was a French elm wood dough box. Other things included English lawn bowls, various types of English bentwood fruit and vegetable picking baskets& few architectural pieces [from England and India] and a range of small English accessories. We were really pleased with our sales at the show, and the promoter did a great job in getting a lot of people through the gate.”
Dealers who have been doing this show for many years know there is no way to predict who will want what, so most bring as much as they can with a variety of styles, service and price to satisfy shoppers’ whims. Higganum House Antiques, Higganum, Conn., was offering a Black Forest carved fox, about 18 inches tall, poised and priced at $4,500.
Patricia Ann Breame, Woodstock, Maine, offered an early child’s sled from Paris, Maine, while Baltimorean Marvin Wies had a full-action whirligig. Shantiques, Towson, Md., trading in Union for the first time, sold from the firm’s collection of early photographs. There were two miniature cook stoves offered by Paul Smith of Over Hill Over Dale from Harlan, Iowa, that were probably salesmen’s samples and in excellent condition.
Another first-time exhibitor, Cindy Adams, Mountain Lodge Antiques, Littleton, Colo., was showing a small chest of drawers, probably New Jersey, in cherry along with a penny quilt in excellent condition.
Davis said he was very pleased with his 30th consecutive Union, as his dealers were enthusiastic about the visitors numbering near 5,000 over the three days, and sales from most reports were good.
It all happens again, next year, August 10‱2. For information, 207-221-3108 or www.maineantiquefest.com .
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