Published: August 29, 2006
By quarter of nine on Wednesday, August 9, the line — six abreast in some places — to enter Barn Star Production’s Mid*Week in Manchester Antiques Show stretched toward the parking lot. It trailed down the hill past the ticket booth where it split in two. One line headed toward the tent pavilion, with 77 noted Americana dealers. The other line snaked up to the Wayfarer Convention Center, housing 33 exhibitors.
“To be honest, I don’t have the figures yet, but I think our gate was at least as good as last year,” promoter Frank Gaglio said two days later from the floor of his Bedford Pickers Market, which follows Mid*Week in the same venue on Friday, August 11.
“We’ve had major retail buyers here for both shows. Some of them brought their friends and clients,” said Gaglio, clearly buoyed by results.
Now in its 13th year, Mid*Week in Manchester opened at 9 am on Wednesday and closed the following day at 4 pm.
“We had a flurry in the last two hours of the show. Given the amount of merchandise for sale during Antiques Week, business is robust,” said Pennsylvania dealer Greg Kramer, whose doublewide display showcased a folky Pennsylvania sideboard carved and painted with animals and a homestead scene, $14,500.
Though Mid(Week’s exhibitors are not universally agreed, many would like to see their show extended so that exhibitors at nearby fairs have more time to shop Mid*Week and so that collectors have more time to consider major purchases, such as furniture. Gaglio says he is considering keeping Mid*Week open later on Thursday.
For the first time, Barn Star air conditioned its tent. Even in this year’s cool, dry weather, the tent started heating up in the afternoon. Air conditioning kept the facility comfortable and shoppers lingered in a way that they have not in the past.
Mid*Week in Manchester consistently impresses visitors with the high quality of its merchandise and presentation. Much to Gaglio’s satisfaction, the show’s roster is a who’s who of leading dealers, ten of whom participate in New York’s Winter Antiques Show.
Several new exhibitors gained coveted spots this year when others withdrew for personal reasons. When Ballyhack Antiques cancelled, Gaglio left messages with several potential exhibitors, telling them that the first to call would get the spot. Oriental rug specialist Peter Pap claimed Ballyhack’s space. The dealer, who has galleries in Dublin, N.H., and San Francisco, adventurously ornamented his walls with a circa 1700 fragment of a Mughal summer carpet, $21,000; an Eighteenth Century Persian mosaic-work textile, $14,000; and a Samarkind Suzani dating to the mid Nineteenth Century, $15,000.
Also new to the show were Jonathan Trace, Terry Dwyer, Dave Ammarell, David Horst, Susan and Otto Hart, and Marion Maus. Tom and Nikki Deupree returned after an absence.
Several exhibitors said that they thought furniture sales were slower this year, though that was certainly not every dealer’s experience.
“We’ve sold very well,” said George Spiecker, who parted with a tiger-maple highboy. A second highboy was on hold in the New Hampshire dealer’s truck.
“We sold this and two pieces that are in the truck,” said Jeff Cherry, pointing to a circa 1930 mosaic twig chest from Long Beach, Ind., on southern Lake Michigan. The Maine dealer displayed the ultimate camp painting: a watercolor on birch bark portrait of a hunter, his dog, canoe and camp by Henry Walker Herrick of New Hampshire.
“We’ve sold everything,” said George Allen of Raccoon Creek. The Oley, Penn., folk art dealers were off to an excellent start, having written up a carved eagle with flag and shield, a quilt and stoneware.
“We sold a set of mustard chairs, a desk, teddy bears and a lot of good textiles,” Massachusetts dealer Susan Stella said shortly after opening.
“I sold across the board, about 60 things,” said New Jersey dealer Jim Grievo.
Michael and Lucinda Seward were similarly elated. “It was an extremely good show. We sold three pieces of furniture, three signs, a great family record and a whole bunch of smalls. We sold our bird tree at the very last minute on Thursday. We bring good, fresh things to Mid(Week. It makes a big difference,” said the Vermont dealers, whose neighbors Mario Pollo and Tom Brown also had good shows.
“The top of the market is booming,” confirmed Massachusetts dealer Grace Snyder. “The first five hours were very busy. We sold many smalls and had serious interest in our furniture. Extending the show hours would give collectors more time to consider major purchases.”
“I sold almost all of my important smalls — velvet fruit, miniature wallpaper boxes, sconces — so it added up. Plus, I bought quite a few things at the Pickers Market, so it was a fun time and pretty good business for me,” said Pennsylvania dealer Jan Whitlock.
“We sold more smalls than ever before and also some furniture,” said Massachusetts dealer Paulette Nolan. “The air-conditioning was great. I was still selling one minute before the show closed. I’d love Mid*Week to be longer.” Among the Nolans’ Antiques Week finds was Piccolo, an Italian restaurant on Elm Street in Manchester.
Mid*Week is a big show with many treasures. Many exhibitors bring pieces of New Hampshire interest. There were several Rochester weathervanes on the floor, including a large rooster, $17,000, at Susie Burmann, New London, N.H. New York City dealers Kelter-Malce paired a midsized Rochester horse, $26,000, with a two-part pewter cupboard in old paint, $19,500.
Other folk sculpture included an oversized pigeon’s head, $10,500, and a horse weathervane, $32,500, at Fred Giampietro; a large molded copper cow, $23,000, at Charles Wilson; and a full-bodied horse tin’s smith sign, $16,500 at Jackie Radwin.
“I have many customers here who are not from New England,” said Sumpter Priddy, who stands out with his interesting mix of Middle Atlantic and Southern fine and decorative arts. The Alexandria, Va., dealer’s showpiece was a rare Kentucky dressing table, $16,500, of walnut and cherry with a shaped, reeded front.
“It’s one of only three like it I’ve seen,” Massachusetts dealer Elliott Snyder said of his one-drawer blanket chest, $18,500, painted with a semiabstract image of a face. Six North Shore, Mass., side chairs, with heart-pierced splats were $22,000.
New York dealer Guy Bush boasted a set of seven Rhode Island or Connecticut Windsor chairs with traces of old paint, circa 1780–1800, priced $95,000.
“I’ve always had a special affection for these because the head turner was a man named Buckley,” Salisbury, Conn., dealer Don Buckley said of two Samuel Durand of Milford, Conn., side chairs, $3,200, in his display. Two similar chairs retained their old paint.
“It’s best of show. I paid $12,000 30 years ago and that was a lot of money at the time,” Woodbury, Conn., dealer Harold Cole said of his Maine architectural corner cupboard, $36,000, in old blue paint. A teal corner cupboard with a bittersweet interior and shaped shelves was $9,500 at Joseph Martin, Brownington, Vt.
Mid*Week was also rich in folk painting. “They’re by King in Philadelphia,” said Harold Cole, who sold a pair of early Nineteenth Century portraits of a sea captain and his wife.
Another remarkable pair of portraits belonged to New Hampshire dealer Joan Brownstein. The Prior-Hamblin school examples depicted Maine sea captain Elihu Hoxie and his wife, Thankful Conant Hoxie, around 1841, the year of their marriage. Elihu is shown with his ship, Tamoree, which flies a large American flag. The pair is probably from Orrington, Maine.
Massachusetts dealer Sam Herrup featured a striking portrait of a child in a straw hat topped with a blue ribbon and feather plume, $19,500. Maryland dealer Margaret Canavan offered a signed Horace Bundy portrait of a young boy, $5,500, and a Jacob Maentel portrait of G. Daniel Babb, II, $11,500.
Massachusetts dealer David Wheatcroft displayed an overmantel painting of three deer in a landscape. Exhibited at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in the 1950s, the picture was $75,000. A double silhouette of a man and a woman by the Red Book Artist was $12,500 in the same booth.
“This sold for $18,000 in the 1970s,” David Schorsch said of a Shute watercolor portrait of a girl from the Garbisch collection that he offered for $125,000, half the price of the Shute portrait in the Egan Sale at Northeast the weekend before.
“There is serious interest in the $40,000 to $70,000 range,” said Amy Finkel, a Philadelphia dealer in antique samplers. Finkel sold her star piece, a Philadelphia needlework by Eliza Hodgson. The 1804 sampler includes the distinctive figure of a man with rifle and a castle. Finkel earlier sold a sampler by Hodgson’s sister to The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
“We’ve sold five or six things so far,” said Connecticut dealers Stephen and Carol Huber, whose sales included a 1817 Newburyport, Mass., mourning embroidery by Mary Jones Cornwell in memory of Thomas Cornwell.
There were great quilts to choose from, among them Jan Whitlock’s flannel crazy quilt, $18,500, depicting the Patterson family of Illinois; Fred Giampietro’s early Twentieth Century African American quilt, $68,000, with figures of jazz players and cars; Julie Lindberg’s Baltimore friendship crib quilt, $12,700; and Colette Donovan’s tumbling blocks quilt pieced from early to mid-Nineteenth Century chintz, $4,900.
“This has great punch because of its color,” Maine dealer Nancy Glazer said of a Maine dressing table, $8,500, yellow with green sponged decoration.
“I bought a rare Bennington pitcher on the floor. It’s too big for my shelf,” said South Yarmouthport, Mass., dealer Barbara Adams, who snagged an important example illustrated in Richard Barrett’s Bennington Pottery and Porcelain. She repriced the pitcher $3,000 and sold it shortly thereafter.
“I’m like a mother with her children. They’re all my favorite,” said Lisbon, Conn., dealer Selma Blum, taking a pair of circa 1750 English brass swirl-base candlesticks out of her case for further inspection.
“Everyone likes the squirrel,” Valerie Bakoledis said of a 19½ -inch by 16-inch hat box, the favorite from a group of 14 boxes. The New York dealers also showed a red “Harvard” wagon of 1850.
“I’m leaving on Saturday for Indian market in Santa Fe,” said Hudson, N.Y., dealer Richard Rasso, who revealed his affinity for the Southwest with a Tonita Pena “Corn Dance” gouache, $1,350; and Spanish Colonial retablos and laminas.
A great pair of circa 1820 wood and tin sconces with heart finials was $26,000 at Hilary and Paulette Nolan, Falmouth, Mass.
Ohio dealers Good and Forsyth featured a two-light iron candlestand, $22,500. A carved and painted spoon rack was $27,000.
“Customers tell me that they love this show and appreciate the improvements that we make each year. That’s the nicest complement of all,” said Frank Gaglio. Now that New Hampshire Antiques Week 2006 is in the books for Barn Star Productions, its on to Antiques in A Cow Pasture in Salisbury, Conn., on Sunday, September 10.
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