Review and Photos by Tom O’Hara
MILFORD, N.H. – Jack Donigian had his hall at capacity on October 22, with more than 60 exhibitors and a large, appreciative audience of shoppers starting at 6:30 am. The earliest buyers at the Milford Antiques Show enter with the exhibitors at that hour, watching as the antiques come into the Hampshire Hills Athletic Club court, filling booth spaces.
Donigian began the early shopping feature recently as the market has changed, to allow more time for shoppers to find great deals at a premium entry fee of $40. At 8:30 am the fee drops to $5 and at 9:30 am entry is free until the end of the day’s event at noon.
Bud Tully, Dunstable, Mass., has been at the front door of this Sunday market for many years, with his collection of mostly small antique earthenware and lighting.
The portraits Brian Feltus brought to the show were sold. From nearby Townsend, Mass., Feltus was also at the front door, with two oil on canvas life-size portraits from the first half of the Nineteenth Century that attracted a great deal of attention from the first moments he unveiled them. Another item in his collection was an electrostatic generator, a device used to demonstrate electricity when hand cranked, from about 200 years ago.
Jamie Doris, Nashua, N.H., is a new dealer to the Milford show, here showing his collection of fine art and ephemera. He is a comparative newcomer to the business side of antiques, although he has been a collector for most of his young life. Living in Nashua he can easily do this Milford show and bring a good inventory, which he said sold well this weekend. His sales included a set of cyanotype photos documenting a trip down the Hudson River by two gentlemen in 1882, an antique banjo clock made by Massachusetts clock maker Abel Stowell, travel books from about 1810 of England and Spain, an early postcard collection and a 37-star American flag.
Walter Norris, Concord, N.H., was offering his collection of antique handguns and a large assortment of small objects. This show with its quick setup time and short duration encourages box lots of small antiques so dealers like Norris bring valuable little things, such as a circa 1800 transit, a Nineteenth Century lifeboat compass, a salesman’s sample of a kitchen cook stove and similar little antique objects.
Along those lines, Joe Martin, Lyndonville, Vt., filled one table with his collection of Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century candle holders.
Another newcomer to the show, Dan Reidy, Manchester, and his friend and assistant, Margi Knott Lord, Warner, N.H., were offering art, furniture and some later Art Deco dÃ©cor pieces. Sales were not bad, Reidy said, including some jewelry, glass and more.
The Caputos were there from Pittsburgh as a part of their future move to the Northeast, according to Janice Caputo. Their collection for the show was light, just a limited amount of early Nineteenth Century transferware, furniture and home furnishing accessories.
Sewing notions and other small things were selling briskly for Elaine Fleming as the show began early Sunday morning. Quickly she sold several antique strawberry emeries, a silver needle case, two sets of bone dice and a Belsnickle. This Middleboro, Mass., dealer had more to offer in Shaker objects as well.
Greg Hamilton, Stone Block Antiques, Vergennes, Vt., was filling four spaces again this Sunday with his assortment of art, silver hollowware and furniture. His sales began promptly that morning with the silver going out the door, a tea service and some other assorted pieces. Later, some of the furniture was getting good interest as well.
Joan Flynn, Newton, Mass., has been doing this show most weeks for the last 42 years, according to Donigian, but he said she might have missed a few now and then. In any case, she seems to usually come up with some unique pieces. This week she had an unusual poster about a show in the 1930s, probably politically incorrect today but still rare and collectible.
Peter Sztramski, Clinton, Mass., had a rare painting on glass similar to Gilbert Stuart’s portrait of George Washington in his inventory for the day.
James Johnston, Franklin, Mass., was taking extra space to show all he brought. His collection included more furniture from the late Eighteenth Century, American made in hardwoods. There were two card tables with folding tops, an assortment of chairs and, on the tables, art from the same period and pewter.
Bill Gittes, Barrington, N.H., brought all kinds of small things and was selling from the first minutes. One of his early sales was a Lone Star quilt, with a dominant pink color and in need of cleaning.
Pepperell, Mass., dealer Mike Coffey offered a flying eagle weather vane in copper with directional arrows and full staff.
Great stuff for the picking was here and it happens every Sunday until March 25, except December 24. The Hampshire Hills Athletic Club is at 50 Emerson Road. For more information, www.milfordantiqueshows.com or 781-329-1192.