A mist was hanging over Lasdon Park at 5:30 am on Monday, May 28, when antiques dealers moved onto the large, open meadow to set up for the annual Memorial Day Antiques Fair under the management of Cord Shows. “This was our 27th year for the show and we ended up with about 70 dealers,” Vivien Cord said. She mentioned that most of the exhibitors had signed up early, but about 15 drive-ups joined the event the morning of the fair.
What will probably be remembered most about this fair will be the heat, for even during setup dealers were mentioning how hot it was, and the day was just beginning. By midday, the temperature had risen to 96 degrees and “we had a plan worked out with the police if any dealer or visitor was overcome by heat,” Vivien said. Those who had their own tent, or shared space with others under a large one, fared much better than those out in the sun.
“The gate was off by about 400 people from last year,” Vivien said, attributing that to the hot day, which was not predicted. A severe thunderstorm drenched the area the night before the fair, but did not cause any problems with cars in the field. Admission to the fair was $7, a benefit for the Glass House Fund at Lasdon Park, and hours were from 10 am to 5 pm.
The Reinhardts, Fred and Alice, of Woonsocket, R.I., had a large tent near the front of the show and filled it with antiques and collectibles, including a selection of early tools against part of the back wall. The needs of both carpenters and farmers were represented with saws, pitch fork and scythe.
One of the interests of Butchen Boys, Wantagh, N.Y., is early French advertising signs, which fit in well with other objects, such as calipers, hammers, scales and food choppers. Two hundred, more or less, Oriental rugs, mostly small size, covered lots of grass around the booth of Value Oriental Rugs of New Milford, Conn.
An interesting booth was set up by David Lowe of Across The Pond Antiques, Hackettstown, N.J., displaying cigarette cards with illustrations of birds, animals, vehicles and people. “Cigarette cards started life as blank cards and were inserted as strengtheners into paper packets of cigarettes in the mid- to late Nineteenth Century,” David said. Before long, they evolved into advertising cards, a means first employed by Allen & Ginter in the United States in 1886. The first British firm to follow was W.D. & H.O. Wills in 1888, and a couple of years later some cards were produced bearing pictures instead of just advertising details.
The first such cards had blank backs, but soon bore information associated with the picture on the other side. Cards were issued in sets, generally 50, and were designed to be collected as a set, thus a marketing gimmick to encourage people to buy more cigarettes. Once cigarette cards caught on, other manufacturers used the same method to sell their products.
Blue Shutter Antiques of Montgomery, N.Y., had several racks of French enamelware, offered in several colors, with most of the pieces labeled with names of the contents, such as flour, coffee or tea. “This enamelware dates to about the 1930s and we have been selling it for over 15 years,” Carol Freeman said. In addition to the antiques business, she operates, with her husband, a bed and breakfast called Borland House and “we use enamelware to decorate throughout our home,” she said.
Fionda Art & Antiques, New Ipswich, N.H., had a variety of things, ranging from a pair of snowshoes to a large pair of cast iron andirons in the shape of stylized whales. Janice Aibel of Sugar Princess Antiques and Collectibles, Montville, N.J., came prepared for Memorial Day, offering several early flags and a red, white and blue painted wood figure of Uncle Sam holding a flag.
Early splint baskets, wooden mixing bowls and a sheet metal rooster weathervane were among the primitives in the booth of Sage Antiques, Yonkers, N.Y., and Marie Rogat, Antiques & Collectibles, Wingdale, N.Y., showed a wall filled with lithographs and watercolors, in addition to tables filled with small collectibles. She noted that “I have been in just about this same spot for about ten years or more, and it has a nice west wind most of the time.” Hopefully it was there when really needed on Monday.
Several early advertising signs were posted by Mark Teller of Wallingford, Penn., along with a collection of woodenware, and Daniel Chen of J’s Jades, Flushing, N.Y., offered several grades of jade jewelry, from the very rare to the everyday necklaces.
A homemade racing car with canvas hood and a large wooden barn were shown by Richard Corbett of Miss Pickle’s Attic, Burlington, Vt., and clothing racks held the inventory of Vintage by Sue Harmon. In addition to men’s and women’s clothing, vintage jewelry filled several cases.
Hot spots to visit and means of travel were among the subjects covered by Vintage Poster Art of New Jersey, Monroe Township, N.J., and birds, botanicals, maps and animals all were represented in the vast selection of prints and lithographs offered by Maile Allen of Colonia, N.J.
In addition to the antiques fair, there was entertainment by Gary Dillon, a food and kettle corn booth, a plant sale by the Friends of Lasdon, and appraisals by Jay St Mark of Newtown, Conn.
For additional information, www.CordShows.com or 914-273-4667. Two fairs are conducted at Lasdon Park, the next to take place on Labor Day.