Published: August 31, 2010
In this tiny inland village, about 200 antiques dealers gathered August 13‱5, traveling from as far away as Iowa and Wisconsin to exhibit at Maine Antiques Festival. Begun in 1982 by Paul Davis and partners, the show, now owned and managed by him alone, is a major shopping experience for many antiques collectors, dealers and decorators †a working summer vacation for all attending. Many visitors and exhibitors alike plan their summers to include several days or a week during this show on the nearby Maine seacoast.
Many exhibitors have been doing the show for so many years, it is like a reunion for them to catch up on personal news and, of course, inspect what each has collected over the past year.
Pearl Zabar, Amesbury, Mass., is in that group with her large collection of small antiques and collectibles. One part of her inventory for the weekend included a group of children’s pull toys in wood, cartoonlike cutouts of animals. She also had some wooden cutout animals for a small farm set.
Jane and Ed Carr, Gorham, Maine, were selling their favorite antiques †pine furniture and hooked rugs †Friday and Saturday in such good quantity that Jane had to restock for Sunday while Ed spent the morning delivering some merchandise.
Marian and Bill Merner have not missed a show since the very beginning. Their collection included fine art from area artists or area scenes and a collection of small household antique objects. Bill said, “Sales were good, not bad.”
From Harrison, Maine, Harry Hepburn sold furniture, as has for many years here. His specialty, however, is early American tall case clocks, which he restores into good running condition before selling. He said while sales were good in his antiques, he also had several customers interested in the clocks at this show.
Marcia and Bob Hansen were exhibiting for the first time. Their inventory has been developed over many years of collecting and trading antiques, shopping in New England and Pennsylvania while traveling from their home in Luck, Wis. The kinds of antiques Marcia sold were all the little things, including sewing paraphernalia, lighting, small furniture and wooden kitchen implements. Marcia’s sales dictate that she will be back. Next to the Hansens, another newcomer, Colleen Frese, was offering another assortment of small things she brought from her home in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Her sales included several braided rugs and many more household objects.
There was another Iowan there for the first time, Paul Smith. Coming from Harlan, Iowa, he sells small antique tools and early machinery. There were a half dozen coffee grinders in his display, numerous kitchen tools from the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries, early iron and tin light devices and much more. Over the course of the show, his sales were sufficient that for next year he is planning to take a larger space.
Tex Johnson returned this year with her son, Kris, as a full partner. She has had a shop in Adamstown, Penn., since the early 1960s and had been doing the Union show and others, but dropped out for some years until recently when Kris was able to join her. Their collection is filled with “very special small objects, things in the best condition for whatever they are, or I don’t buy them in the first place,” she said. Living where she does, a good deal of her collection is the fine little novelties made by the Amish women from various textiles, small tools for women’s and men’s tasks and many pieces that are fine folk art.
Exhibiting for many years at the show, Neal and Pat Blodgett of Higganum House Antiques, Higganum, Conn., offered an enormous collection of small antiques, which received great acceptance from the visitors at this weekend affair. While exact figures for sales were not disclosed, Neal said Friday was among the best single days he has had in all the years of this show. He offered early lighting, novelties, signs, still and mechanical iron banks, early toys and a great deal more. He even had several sleds, one so small it was either for a doll or possibly a salesman’s sample.
Coming from Old Bethpage, N.Y., for the first time, Kathy Brown also offered all small antiques. One of her special objects was a collection of marionettes.
Hooked rugs have become popular again, if their visibility at this show is any indication. Laura McCarthy, Rockport, Mass., trades in them and also restores them for clients. She was showing several choice pieces. A newcomer to the business, as well as the show, Caputo-Grindle Antiques of Pittstown, Maine, offered several large pieces mounted and hung on the booth wall. Your Grandma Had It from Brooklyn, N.Y., set a large cartoonlike picture of the three bears hanging from one of the tables. And a pair of cats with shoe buttons for eyes were centered on the wall of B&B Johnson’s exhibit. This couple from Kennebunk, Maine, was also selling folk art, as well as the hooked piece.
One group of eight dealers was sharing an oversized tent where their sales were reported as very good. Among the group there were a great many sales in furniture, porcelain, earthenware and pottery, early lighting, rugs and textiles. One of the group, a Connecticut dealer reported more than 18 sales over the three days of the show, including a Pennsylvania grain painted chest of drawers, an early Taconic swing handle basket, a set of early wicker furniture, earthenware service and even a small silk pin cushion.
Period Antiques is the business of Tom and Rose Cheap from Scottsburg, Ind., with a large collection of painted furniture and their fun inventory of old advertising signs. Baltimorean Marvin Weis offered his collection of outsider and folk art. Fine art from Dennis Raleigh’s Wiscasset, Maine, shop was mixed with his collection of early American primitives, including samplers and other wall-hung textiles.
Country Patch Antiques, Lincolnville, Maine, gives its owner, Pat Aho, an opportunity to showcase her collection of children’s toys and furniture. She also sold a good deal of it.
Lincolnville, Maine, dealer Martin Ferrick specializes in finding early hardwood furniture made in America. If not in excellent condition when he finds it, he restores the finish to an original look before selling it. At Union, his collection included a Massachusetts North Shore tilt-top tea table, which sold, and a Sheraton-era and -style chest of drawers.
The final tallies for the dealers, according to Davis, “were good, sales were good.” He added, “The gate was up by about 25 percent Friday and Saturday, and together with the good weather, that helped a lot in making this a big success this year.”
Next year, the dates will be again the second weekend, August 12‱4.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm