Published: August 23, 2016
Review and Photos by Tom O’Hara
UNION, MAINE — Paul Davis moved the date of his long running Maine Antique Festival, known as Union to most, as the show’s locale is at Union’s fairgrounds, which resulted in a bigger show, with 35 percent more dealers, more shoppers and more sales.
Davis moved the show up only one week, from the second weekend of August to the first, August 5–7, but that allowed many dealers to exhibit who had previously been committed to shows in New Hampshire and New York. For their part, shoppers came to Maine with all their enthusiasm for finding great antiques before going on to New Hampshire’s Antiques Week.
Exhibitor Steve Jenkins, Shelbyville, Ind., was pleased with his long weekend here, about the tenth year in a row for him. Set up in an outdoor space where he was able to have more area for his antiques, he brought a large grouping of Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century furniture, early art and a variety of household accessories. His sales included an oversized open cupboard, more than 7 feet tall in pine, with nice detailed rails on the front of the shelves and a high crown molding, all in very good condition, perhaps due to some conservation; an early tap table with stretcher base of New England origin, and a chest of drawers. Small antiques were also selling, including several very early carved burl bowls.
Auburn Antiques, Auburn, Maine, was there for the 20th consecutive year, selling from its collection of American Federal furniture and accessories. One of the better sales was a small collection of Leeds feather edge pearlware dishes, including two platters, a cream pitcher and covered vegetable dish, all from about 1775. Other sales included an assortment of Nineteenth Century inkwells, the best of which was Victorian era, sapphire blue crystal in perfect condition and also an Old Sheffield Plate desk set.
Big Ship Salvage is John Clifford’s business from Pauline, S.C., trading in nautical salvage such as lights, portholes, binnacles and more. Clifford arranges for their salvage, minor restoration and then these things become his merchandise which he sells to be made into architectural features, lighting and more. His sales at the show were “really strong; I did not have enough to go to New York after the show,” he said.
Deb Gott and Ken March, Granite Point, Maine, were offering Oriental rugs and more. Sales began early Friday with several rugs going quickly. Gott was featured on a Portland television show Friday evening talking about the antiques show.
John Melby, Eastport, Maine, was one of many who returned for the first time in many years. His collection focuses on very early American wares, aka Pilgrim or primitive. Here it was very popular. Using his tent as a small room, he had the earliest car seat, but of course it was for a buggy about 250 years ago, and still showing its original blue paint, although somewhat faded; a kitchen table of about the same age and also a tin four-candle chandelier, perhaps 50 years younger.
Harry Hepburn, Harrison, Maine, was here in his usual place with fully restored early clocks. Harry takes the old American and European works and puts them back in full working order before offering them for sale.
Joe Gaidis, Bridgton, Maine, specializes in sailing ship models. He had several Eighteenth Century three-masted ships on hand.
Kazak, Peekskill, N.Y., the Oriental rugs dealer, filled two spaces in the barn and also overflowed into the road with antique and vintage Persian and flat weave rugs.
Higganum House Antiques, Higganum, Conn., offers thousands of small antiques assembled by dealer Neal Blodgett. There are so many antiques in so many categories, it would take a while to count all the different showcases, and he has worked tirelessly to present his inventory each summer for more than 25 years. At a dinner on the Sunday after the show was over, he said, “It was my best Union ever, best total sales.” Look for doorstops, sewing birds, corkscrews, weathervanes, whatever, and Neal probably has an assortment for the shopper to consider.
Patricia Ann Breame, Woodstock, Maine., was offering several century old cotton quilts. She also had a large assortment of rag rugs that were selling well.
Greg Hamilton of Stoneblock Antiques, Vergennes, Vt., was having fun all weekend-long with good sales and good customers. The weekend yielded new owners of several paintings, various pieces of furniture and a great variety of small antiques.
For the first time in his long career in antiques sales, Long Islander Morgan MacWhinnie came to Union. He was selling furniture to the public and also making many deals with other exhibitors during the show. In one case there was a small Queen Anne table that he agreed to sell to another dealer when he learned that dealer had been interested in the piece since it was in an estate sale a year or so prior.
Mary Maguire, Old Lyme, Conn., was selling from her vast collection of prints. Her prints are from many ages, she said, dating from as early as 1800 to the later Twentieth Century in some cases, but are valuable due to their rarity and quality.
And not to be left out, Two Sides of the River, New London, N.H., was very successful on the weekend with a total of 55 sales, according to owner Mike Pheffer. As a restorer of furniture and picker of fine Nineteenth Century antiques, Mike had a full booth in The Big Top Tent and sold a 200-year-old dry sink in pine he found near home. Sales also included a four-drawer chest, graduated, late Nineteenth Century, several tables and a dining room server.
Weather was cooperative for most of the weekend with only a minor shower Saturday afternoon. “The show has been fortunate most years with good weather, sunny and warm or even hot, helping to bring out shoppers,” Paul said. He added that the date for the future will continue to be the first weekend of August, so in 2017 the show will be August 4-6.
For information, www.maineantiquesfestival.com or 207-221-3108.
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