Published: August 29, 2006
Antiques Week in New Hampshire got off to a running start at 8 am on Tuesday, August 8, when Nan Gurley opened the gate to early buyers at her Americana Celebration Antiques Show. Eager buyers ran, jogged, walked fast and moseyed along toward the four buildings housing the inside exhibitors and the many small tents set up by those dealers who liked the outside. Among those on the run to the show was Tommy Thompson who “dashed” by, claiming to be a former Olympic runner. (Believe that and you will believe anything.) In any case, he came away from the show pleased with a number of purchases, as did many of those who visited this annual event on the Deerfield Fairgrounds.
When asked about the show, manager Nan Gurley said, “It was great. The weather was perfect for both setup and show day, people came to buy and many of my dealers left on Tuesday night with lots less than they came with.” As far as attendance was concerned, there was a nice change. “We had more early buyers than last year and our overall gate was up by just over 200 people,” she said.
This year there were more dealers in the show than in the past, 160 vs 145 a year ago. Unfortunately, indoor space is limited and more and more dealers do not want to set up small tents. “It is too much of a struggle for some of them, and the weather scares some off,” Nan said. “We are considering a solution for next year, a large tent that could hold up to about 40 more exhibitors,” Nan said. She has been talking this option over with the fairgrounds people who have two large tents they use for other functions on the grounds.
Ron Chambers of Higganum, Conn., a 12-year veteran of the show, said, “Pewter is alive and well here,” having sold a dozen pieces including a Hartford flagon and a Philadelphia deep dish. He also noted that many of the buyers came from a distance and sales were made to visitors from Florida, Virginia and Houston, Texas.
Falcon’s Roost of Grantham, N.H., was at its regular stand in the corner of one of the front buildings, offering a selection of furniture that included a New England highboy, flat top with cabriole legs, a mahogany drop leaf dining table, and a set of four pillow back side chairs with the original paint decoration and rush seats.
David Proctor of Brownsburg, Va., showed a nice sawbuck table of large size, original surface, three-board top, while Eagle Antiques of Northwood, N.H., offered a selection of wooden buckets and firkins in a variety of paints.
Firehouse Antiques came up from Galena, Md., for the show and filled a corner booth with trade signs, plant stands, painted furniture and a striking hooked rug depicting two large standing horses facing each other.
Jason Hietala of Bolton, Mass., brought about ten pieces of case furniture, including a chest on frame, a mahogany secretary, a slant front desk and several four-drawer chests. A blue and white coverlet hung in the booth of Jim Woodruff Antiques of Chester, N.J., serving as a backdrop for a four-drawer chest with cutout ends, large wooden knobs and the original red painted surface.
Two candlestands, one in the original blue paint, round top, snake feet, were at the front of the booth of Malcolm Magruder, Millwood, Va., and the surface of a hutch table was covered with a selection of seven redware jugs, each with a different glaze. He also offered seven small pieces of redware, to be sold as a collection, because they had been found in one dig.
John Lord Antiques & Tyme, Wells, Maine, had a pair of giraffes, Steiff, about 8 feet tall, standing at either end of his tented area, while another Maine dealer, Poet’s Antiques of Hallowell, offered two large fiberglass heads that came from the Expo in Canada, 1967. A toy circus, complete with tents and props, was set up in the booth of Robert and Janet Sherwood, Ballston Spa, N.Y.
The informality of this show, and not knowing what kind of treasure might just show up, makes the Americana Celebration a popular start to Antiques Week in New Hampshire. And under the watchful eye of Nan Gurley, who travels the fairgrounds in a motor-driven chair, both dealers and visitors all seem to have a good time. Her next outing is the September 7 show in Sturbridge, Mass.
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