Published: September 4, 2007
Now 26 years old, the Maine Antiques Festival was the strongest of the last five years, according to show manager Paul Davis. “Shows were hurting after 9/11, but we really came back strong this year with over 250 dealers and great buying crowds at this year’s show,” he said.
Held on the Union Fairgrounds August 10‱2 with early buying offered the first day, Davis was extremely pleased with customers’ reactions and the results for the dealers he polled while walking the show Sunday morning.
“The Friday attendance was not only dealers for an early buyer crowd but a large group of collectors and people decorating their homes with the early antiques, mostly American furniture,” Davis said, adding, “The buying never stopped until we announced the show closed Sunday at 4 pm.”
Dealers were in wide agreement with Davis’s assessment of the weekend’s results. One dealer from Florham Park, N.J., A Bird in Hand, was selling valuable early pieces at a surprising pace. The owners, Ron and Joyce Bassin, were very pleased with both the objects sold from their collection of early American art, folk art and weathervanes, and the buying they were able to do.
From South Paris, Maine, Magoon Bros has been doing the show since the beginning, and Jon Magoon said this was the best for sales that he could remember. His booth is on the main walk of the show with a display that usually includes several moose heads and used canoes, along with early furniture and accessories that could be seen in a Maine lodge.
Several dealers in their first year at this festival were equally pleased with their results. Philip and Beverly Reynolds, Bath, Maine, each have their own favorite categories of antiques. Phil has been a book dealer for many years, while Beverly trades in early American country furniture and home furnishings. Their sales were good in all their categories, with several big pieces of furniture selling, including a tall pewter cupboard and a hutch table. They came to the show using a rental van and their minivan, but left in just the minivan.
Another rookie for this show, Richmond House from Ashford, Conn., was also selling well. Its collection was early American primitive furniture and sales included several tables, an early hutch table that was fresh to the market, a lift top blanket chest, a dry sink and a variety of wooden household accessories, all in primitive form. The owners of the business, Karen and Edd Oberg, were very pleased with their results, for even though the show was 300 miles from their shop, she said, “We had someone in the shop shortly after the show to buy some furniture they saw at the show!”
A Classic Touch’s collection included fine linens for the dining room and bedroom. The proprietor, Penny Ross from Front Royal, Va., was pleased with her return to the show after an absence of about ten years. Her sales were good, with small items and various types of bed covers constituting the majority of her sales.
The show has for many years attracted dealers from outside New England, both to sell as well as buy antiques not found in their part of the country. Don and Marta Orwig are from Corunna, Ind., and their collection comprises a variety of Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century furniture. Don also favors the unusual. His collection includes American folk art, Outsider art and early advertising materials. The dealers were offering a set of bentwood bar chairs in bright paint; a fishing lure big enough to attract a whale, along with some other advertising materials and a great amount of funky, thought-provoking furniture and household accessories.
Period Antiques was next to the Orwigs with its own collection of Americana. Fellow Hoosiers, owners Tom Cheap and Rose Reynolds were enjoying the excellent summer weather and a good profit for a working vacation weekend. They came from Scottsburg, Ind., for several shows over a three-week period and were pleased with their results.
Dennis Raleigh has a shop 30 miles away in Wiscasset, but does shows as well, for the selling from the shop is seasonal. This show is good publicity for the shop, but he said, “I do well there and the show is just fun to do. I get to see lots of customers and dealers who have become friends over the years.” Raleigh sells objects from times past that were useful but also decorative, such as weathervanes; one was an old steam engine and tender, another a running horse. Store advertising signs and carved birds used as decoys and simply as the depiction of a particular species were also in his inventory.
Another unusual weathervane was offered by Ken Ware, Ware House Antiques from Boylston, Mass. It was a very heavy and large example of a Nineteenth Century sailing ship. Harry Hepburn of Harrison, Maine, was selling clocks, and had great interest in two early tall case clocks. Firehouse Antiques, Galena, Md., was offering a little something for everyone, including some stylish Shaker and painted furniture.
The show attracts dealers and customers from throughout the United States, for it has great selection, great food on the grounds and it is in Maine in the summer. On Friday, there were more than 600 early customers mingling through the exhibits while the dealers were unloading and arranging their collections. Saturday and Sunday’s numbers totaled the best in more than five years.
The show will happen again next summer at the same site the second weekend of August. For information, www.maineantiquefest.com or 207-563-1013.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm