Published: October 27, 2020
Review and Photos by Rick Russack
HAMPTON, N.H. – The day before his October 18 Hampton show, manager Peter Mavris said he was uncertain how an indoor show would be received by buyers and sellers in the COVID-19 era. He said that he had numerous inquiries asking about pandemic restrictions and he assured all that state regulations would be followed to the letter. Masks were required, as was social distancing, and hand sanitizer was placed in several locations around the show. Windows and doors were kept open to keep the air circulating and all attendees cooperated. He need not have been concerned. The 35 dealers offered quality material, which included some unusual, perhaps unique, items, and both buyers and sellers were obviously ready to get back to a real show.
This was apparent as preshow buying indicated that dealers are optimistic, and most, especially those with a strong online presence, say that business is good. Those who have participated in the online-only shows also reported that they have found them productive. Frank Wood, DeWolfe and Wood, particularly commented on the fact that business was strong in spite of the COVID-19 restrictions. “The internet sales are really doing well,” he said. “We have time now to get stuff up on the web that we had been meaning to but never got around to. We’re consciously trying to appeal to buyers at all price levels with the website. When you consider the reduction in expenses – booth rentals, travel expenses, etc. – it’s been working well for us.”
Among the unusual and unique items were a set of handmade playing cards that Diane Halpern of Townsend, Mass., brought. The set of 40 cards was divided into four suits – not the usual diamonds and clubs, etc. – but named for four cities: New York. Boston, Philadelphia and Chicago. They were hand colored and some had drawings of a top hatted man or boy. Surrounded by hand colored circles were the values of each card. What the object of the game may have been is lost to posterity, though Halpern said she thought the set dated to the 1850s-60s and she priced them at $395. Made by a mother or father to entertain children during a long, New England winter?
Sam Herrup, Sheffield, Mass., had an exceptional stoneware water cooler, just under 12 inches tall, embossed with a colorful portrait of a woman on one side and a colorful “Rebecca at The Well” scene on the other side. All were surrounded by floral designs, and the molded handles were winged animal heads. It was attributed to White’s Pottery, Utica, N.Y., and dated to about 1890-98. A water filter with similar handles, marked Utica, is in the Munson-Proctor Museum in Utica, N.Y. Herrup said that he had not seen another example and priced the cooler at $1,600. He was one of the dealers who said that participation in online-only shows has been productive.
Bill and Lori Taylor, Boston, offered an assortment of early fragments and also had two exceptional unsigned watercolors, one dated 1848, done by Joseph Shoemaker Russell (1795-1860). Russell was a New Bedford, Mass.-based artist, and collectors Bert and Nina Fletcher Little had several examples of his work. The two that the Taylors had were sold at Part Two of the 1994 Little sale at Sotheby’s where none of the artist’s works sold for less than $5,000. Perhaps it’s a sign of the times, but the Taylors were asking $1,200 for the two or $750 for either sold singly.
While the overall flavor of the show was certainly country and folk art, there was plenty of other material. Chris Settle, Newton, Mass., filled his booth with more formal mahogany furniture – tea tables, fireplace screens, Hepplewhite tables and more. Examples of Delft, early English ceramics and a smattering of Asian porcelain were in some booths, so there was plenty to look at. Redware was available in Tom Moser’s booth as well as Sam Herrup’s and Linda DeCoste’s. Ross Levett had stoneware, as did several others. Stephen-Douglas Antiques had Delft and so did Ross Levett, Hercules Pappachristos and John Prunier. Moore and Moore, Newton, N.H., had a small collection of early paper valentines, including handmade examples, being sold as a lot for a reasonable $325. Painted woodenware was available in several booths and so were fireplace accessories, early glassware and Chinese export porcelain.
The day after the show, Peter Mavris said that he thought things went well. “I was sitting near the front and I saw lots of packages going out, and some of the exhibitors told me that they had a good show. I didn’t hear any complaints. I deliberately shortened the hours to just 10 am to 1 pm. I thought that would reassure people concerned with the virus and still give everyone time to shop. We followed all the state guidelines, and everyone cooperated. I didn’t see a single person without a mask. Our attendance was down a bit from the February, pre-COVID show, but that’s not a surprise. Our next show here will be November 15. I think we’ll have a few more dealers, and I’m planning to do a show New Year’s Day here as I have in the past.”
For additional information, 207-608-3086 or www.petermavrisantiqueshows.com.
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