Published: October 9, 2001
Beyond Expectations in Vermont
The Vermont Antiques Dealers’ Association Show
MANCHESTER CENTER, VT. – With air travel plans grounded for a great many people, managers of top-notch bed and breakfast establishments saying that this September was the worst start of the fall season in years, and travelers in general sticking close to home, Howard Graff, co-chairman of the Vermont Antiques Dealers’ Association Antiques Show said, “We didn’t know what to expect, but we were delighted in the outcome of our show. It was just super.”
This 27th annual event, staged at the Hunter Park Pavilion on September 29-30, again put on a fine looking show, causing Howard to comment, “We could not ask for a more perfect show.” His co-chairman for this event is Elizabeth Harley of Yellow House Antiques.
The gate in general, a figure just under 1,600, was less than 100 off from last year’s total and attendance was up on Sunday over last year’s numbers. About 50 shoppers took advantage of the free return policy and visited the show for a second time. There is no early buying at this show, which hours on Saturday were 10 am to 5 pm and on Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm. Next year’s show will be September 28-29.
Alan Katz of Woodbridge, Conn., had a booth at the entrance of the show and was highly visible to the people waiting in line Saturday morning. A carved and painted Indian tobacco trade sign, probably New York and by Brooks, circa 1880, stood at the front with hand raised as if beckoning people into the booth. Apparently it worked, as the polychromed figure had a sold sign attached to it within minutes of the opening gate. Red was a popular color in this booth and it appeared on a ship diorama showing Portland Light, on a stained glass trade sign and on a figure that Alan called “bathing beauty folk art.” This carving showed a woman in a one-piece bathing suit as the pedestal of a stand, all made from one piece of burl and polychromed. Before the show ended, more “red” appeared and made pack-out a very simple task.
In addition to a selection of furniture, including a chest on chest of early marriage, and a collection of gilt frames, John Gould of Yorktown Heights, N.Y., offered two stacks of boxes. The tallest stack was made from six blanket boxes of graduated size and colors – blue, brown, green and red – while the other grouping was made from documents boxes, all of figured maple, with a dome top example on top. “I seem to have cornered the box market and hopefully that will not be the case at the end of the show,” John said Saturday morning.
Steve Gerben of Pine Tree Hills Antiques, Wilmington, Vt., had a large end booth filled with many interesting things including a large ping pong paddle that once hung on a wall in a game room and held usable paddles. A small yellow painted stand with wonderful crackles surface and both side and back splash on tapered legs had a sold sign attached early in the show and attracting lots of interest, but unsold mid-Sunday, was a red, white and blue painted birdhouse that had a barrel in the center for bird occupancy. Steve referred to the front of his booth as his “gull exhibit,” showing a folk art carved wood and painted gull in full flight with wings upraised, and a gull with folded wings as if resting on the water.
George Keady of Drakefield Antiques, Longmeadow, Mass., was busy polishing a few of the many brass rdf_Descriptions in the booth just before the Saturday opening. He noted that “there is this little old lady who comes to the shows and touches every piece of brass in my booth and, as a result, I am constantly polishing these things.” And he added, “She hits every show in every state.” Colette Donovan of Merrimacport, Mass., offered a Shaker butter maker #3 from Enfield, N.H., and at the front of the booth was a nice New England tavern table with scrubbed top, one drawer, 1780-1810, probably from New Hampshire.
“You know me and chairs,” Ron Chambers said while pointing out one of his latest acquisitions, a circa 1700 bannisterback side chair with a Prince of Wales carved crest. It was from Boston, rush seat, and in all original condition. The earliest example in the booth was an English wainscot side chair with block and vase turnings, Seventeenth Century, in fine condition. Several racks of pewter were also shown.
Windmill weights have gained in popularity of late, and Deborah and Stan Rohd of Owings Mills, Md., provided two nice examples. Both roosters were by Elgin Co., Elgin, Ill., circa 1880-1920, a large rainbow tail and a smaller one, white painted surface. A small cupboard of square nail construction, blue surface, had two doors in the top section and one in the lower portion. A large painting of a train, oil on muslin, hung against the back wall in the booth of Mark Moody of Shohola, Penn. This work dated circa 1930 and once hung in a hotel in Turtlepoint, Penn. A grain painted blanket chest, red and bittersweet, was on pine and popular and measured 35¾ inches wide. It was probably from New York State.
Dating from the Seventeenth Century was a press cupboard or court cupboard in the booth of Sylvan Hill Antiques, Grafton, Vt. It was highly carved and retained the original patina. A farm table in cherrywood, 7 feet 6 inches long with three-board top and breadboard ends, was across the front of the booth. This table was probably French, three feet wide, and had one long drawer.
Local dealers Carlson and Stevenson offered a set of four pillowback side chairs, Nineteenth Century, green painted, with house scenes painted on the large splat by Warren Kimble in the 1970s. The set came out of the old Equinox Hotel. A Santos, Italian, Eighteenth Century, stood in the corner of the booth, a piece that was best attributed to Lorenzo Italian Bishop from Florentina or Slenna, Italy.
“Our retail sales outnumbered dealer business,” Neil Quinn said, adding, “sales have been good, but not as strong as last year. Also people seem to be out looking for small rdf_Descriptions and are staying away from furniture.” Among the sales he made, along with wife Mary Carden Quinn, Floral Park, N.Y., were a pair of sconces, tin with crimped edges, a selection of hooked rugs, and a number of painted rdf_Descriptions. Tommy Thompson of Northfield, N.H., sold a large yellow with blue stripe painted apple basket within minutes of the show opening, and before closing he parted with a number of early signs, wall shelf, rdf_Descriptions from his cases and an Odd Fellows heart in hand.
Dick Costa and Dave Currier of Portsmouth, N.H., always seem to do well and this show was no exception. “It has been real good for us and we love this show,” Dick said, recalling his sales that included a large circus poster, a Connecticut six-board chest in old blue paint, a Windsor chair, several pieces of Staffordshire, a large wooden bowl with painted surface, bench with Odd Fellows design on the back, and a wall cupboard from Brewster, Mass.
“We had a collection of five pulls toy that we would not break up,” Dave said, “and they went to one happy buyer.” A yellow pelican was the star of the lot that included a chicken, dog, swan and cat.
A Chippendale slant-front desk from Salem, Mass., possibly from the shop of John Chapman Tuttle, in mahogany, circa 1760-80, was offered by Judd and Peg Gregory of Dorset, Vt. One of the paintings in the booth, an oil on canvas, was “Noon, Castleton, Vt., “by James Hope. It was dated 1871. Nearby, more furniture was shown by Falcon’s Roost, Grantham, Vt., including a Queen Anne chest on frame, circa 1740, of Connecticut origin. A two-part cupboard in cherrywood, Pennsylvania, circa 1830-40, had two doors in the top section, each with three glasses.
Don and Kay Buck of Millerton, N.J., were new to the show this year and their very attractive booth was filled with interesting things. Speaking about a sled that hung on the wall, Don said “we have had that in our house for many years, to the right of the fireplace, and we have now decided to part with it.” The sled had a yellow and black painted surface, with J.E. Colby, Sept 15, 1844 carved in the top, and the word Swallow lettered on the side. A two-board sawbuck table in red, circa 1860, measured 6 feet long and 30 inches wide, and one of the weathervanes was a Jewell horse with zinc head, circa 1875, measuring 40 inches long.
An early Nineteenth Century hanging cupboard or hutch top, strong crown molding, old red wash, was filled with smalls in the booth of Jan and John Maggs Antiques of Conway, Mass. Against the back wall was a Queen Anne high chest with five graduated drawers over two, Connecticut, circa 1720-40. The piece had cabriole legs ending in pad feet and a fan carved drawer in the center of the lower section.
“We have had a great show,” Cheryl Scott said, and husband Paul added that “people have been buying across the board, from furniture to weathervanes.” An English writing desk, sawbuck table, arrow weathervane, horse weathervane, grinding stone, paintings, and small carvings all found new owners. Paul noted, “We have had the most interest in the two gourds on the table, but they are not for sale at any price.” Cheryl announced that Paul had grown them from seed in his garden, and Paul just stood there beaming like a new parent.
American Classics of Woodstock, Vt., had a very fun and colorful booth.
“Just the way I planned it,” Meryl Weiss said, sporting a white sweater with an American flag across the front. Among the rdf_Descriptions in her booth were a model of a two-prop plane painted silver, dated 1939 under the wing, that once flew between New York, Boston and central Vermont; a hooked rug depicting a plane, N.Y., dated May 20, 1927, and a life-size head and shoulders of a circus clown painted in bright colors. The clown head sold, but unsold was a red, white and blue banner announcing Hoxie’s Great American Circus, where the head was once displayed.
“There has been a resistance to furniture and I have found that people don’t seem to want to buy anything that weighs over seven pounds,” Stephen Score of Boston, Mass., said. As of mid Sunday he was anticipating return home with all of his pieces, but not among the things to pack were a number of hooked rugs, a gameboard, several signs and a selection of small carved figures.
Gloria Lonergan of Mendham, N.J., showed a Chippendale slant-front desk in cherrywood and maple, New England origin, circa 1760-80, and a hutch table in old blue, circa 1840, Pennsylvania origin, with canted ends. A collection of millweights, including roosters, horses and a large painted bull, was shown by James and Judith Milne of New York City. And true to form, this booth was filled with hooked rug with designs depicting cats, horses, a dog and houses. One of the best sheet metal weathervanes in the show was a large locomotive dating from the Nineteenth Century and painted green.
Jack and Ray Van Gelder of Conway, Mass., also noted that “furniture was not selling and we brought some along this time.” Ray added, “We have a policy when we are buying furniture. We weight it, lift it, and if we can carry it, we take it home.” Meanwhile their sales included a good number of small portrait paintings on ivory and snuff boxes, including a very early example dating circa 1720-30. “People were in the small portrait buying mood,” Ray said, adding, “we are going to have to replenish our stock for future shows.”
There were ten slant-front desks for sale on the floor at this show, and as of noon on Sunday only one had sold. “A lady came in, looked at our desk, then checked out everything on the floor, and came back and bought it,” Michael Seward of Pittsford, Vt., said. Lucinda Seward added that “we have had a very solid show and in addition to the desk, we sold a swing leg Hepplewhite table in tiger maple and a nice federal mirror.” Four paintings, a set of four Staffordshire teapots, a gameboard, a couple of hooked rugs, a yelloware crock and a Civil War musket accounted for more sales.
Ellen Katona and Bob Lutz of Greenwich, N.J., found that furniture also did sell well and moved a bed, stand and table among smaller rdf_Descriptions in their booth.
Howard Graff not only manages all of the ins and outs of the show, such as walls, lighting, signs, contracts, etc., but sells under The Colt Barn Antiques of Townshend, Vt. In addition to setting up his booth, he also arranges for the dealer coffee and refreshment stand, dubbed Jimi’s Diner North after the food booth at the Rhinebeck Antiques Fair.
“My show was not quite as good as last year,” Howard said, “but that does not matter. What I really want to do is to go on record saying that the dealers really put on the best show they could and it was our contribution to try to make things better in light of the events of the recent past.
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