Published: March 2, 2016
Review And Photos By Tom O’Hara
NASHVILLE, TENN. — The Nashville Show was a huge success for the dealers, according to promoter Jon Jenkins, who assembled more than 150 exhibitors at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds February 18–20. Formerly known as Tailgate Antiques Show and Music Valley Antiques Show, the combined event at the fairgrounds has continued to gain strength in the last several years with more quality exhibitions and antiques, he said.
The show opened at 9 am on February 18 with Ladybird English first over the threshold again this year for the tenth year in a row. The Memphis, Tenn., resident is a serious antiques collector and considers it a badge of honor to show her support and shop among her favorite exhibitors to add to her collections. The opening day crowd was a record breaker. Jenkins reported that there were good sales, especially in small things.
Dennis and Dad, Fitzwilliam, N.H., was organized near the opening and so benefited from the first entrants. Their stock is almost entirely early earthenware, with the majority of it from England or China. Proprietor Dennis Berard reported good sales in most categories that first day. Sales for the weekend included an exceptional Liverpool jug depicting a Boston schooner, which went for several thousand dollars; a pair of Eighteenth Century blue platters; a signed Bennington mug; several historical Staffordshire platters and even an early Twentieth Century painting.
Jim and Toni Stoma, Latcham House Antiques from Waterville, Ohio, were there with their latest collection of small antiques. Together they came up with a good quantity of Eighteenth and early Nineteenth Century American folk art, which sold rather well, according to Jim. Gone at the show were an Eighteenth Century sampler Toni found, a Pennsylvania papercut, which featured animals and was in its original frame; a Nineteenth Century watercolor of a whale and, from England, they sold a period Jacobean chest and a chalk cat.
Monty Young, Shelbyville, Tenn., is so close to home when doing this show that he is really a local fellow. As for many over the weekend, his dollar volume was made up with a great many sales in the little antiques, including several Eighteenth Century candlesticks and a penny mat from about 1850. One fun object was a life-size, fully articulated, white painted male manikin, which was the subject of much humor in how it was displayed until it was sold and removed. He also sold two pieces of Tennessee furniture, a cherry cupboard and a small wall-hung cupboard.
Benting and Jarvis from Barrington, N.H., has been at Nashville for more years than Al Benting can remember. But he could remember that it was the second best total for sales ever for the business. He began to list all the sales for the weekend, including a tiger maple slant front desk from New England; a nest of pantry boxes in early paint; an Eighteenth Century banister back chair from New England; also in original paint, a Maine blanket box; a large Nineteenth Century coffee grinder; a tiger maple server and about three dozen small things. Now, that was a happy dealer.
Steve Jenkins, the founder of the show, is now just a participating dealer, having turned the reins over to his son Jon a few years ago. With that, he was concentrating on his sales, which were “pretty good,” he said. One corner hutch attracting a great deal of attention was an atypical piece, Jacobean, open top and bottom in oak and chestnut from about 1700, he believed. It sold as the show was closing Saturday afternoon. Another Eighteenth Century corner cupboard, American, in original paint also sold late in the show. More sales included an English Windsor armchair, circa 1750; two New England blanket boxes; a sampler from 1840; and a great many small antique accessories.
Folk art was available in many forms. Kim and Mary Koklas, Garland, Texas, exhibitors, were showing late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Century advertising that showed caricatures of people, various ethnic types enjoying a variety of products.
Robert Conrad, Yeagertown, Penn., was offering a hand painted floor mat, not very big, only about 2 feet by 4 feet, which was very likely used in front of a fireplace or on a table top.
From Robesonia, Penn., Greg Kramer was offering a large cricket whirligig in original paint. It was displayed on an attractive grain painted blanket box.
Tom Delach found a collection of large painted blocks near his Columbus, Ohio, home. Standing about 6 feet tall, a stack of four spelled out “Toys.”
Architectural Anarchy, Chicago, Ill., was enjoying success at the show, having sold one of the firm’s early advertising signs to the popular singer Sheryl Crow for her home in the Nashville area.
Some of the quilts offered were of such wonderful handiwork they, too, could be considered folk art. Cathy Consentino, proprietor of Timber River Farm Antiques, Timber River, New Brunswick, Canada, was showing a spectacular Nineteenth Century polychrome piece on her wall. Marie Miller, Dorset, Vt., a specialist in quilts and coverlets, had several pieces as the backdrop on the entry lobby walls.
Some of the dealers are what the business calls pickers, folks who do not specialize so much in one style or area of antiques but have that good eye for finding a special antique at a special value. There were many of them exhibiting at the show.
Rob Hoffman of Montaine Antiques is from Florissant, Mo., and he shops all the time for special things at especially good value. He came into the show with such a variety of antiques that all he could do was spread them out on the tables or the floor and discuss prices. He sold several Eighteenth Century tables and stands, one from the South, with a tilt top and another probably from Ohio in cherry. Sales in English and American earthenware were good for him, too.
Nora Moore, Aripeka, Fla., was in the same category; that is, lots of inventory from many areas and periods. Her sales included several small Sabbath Day Lake Shaker fancy goods sewing pieces, some Enfield, N.H., Shaker woodenware and more.
Mark Teller, a Wallingford, Penn., dealer, likes small metal things for his setup without regard to their function. He sold several sanders for the desk; there were trays from the Nineteenth Century and early Twentieth Century; all kinds of small tools for the kitchen and a gentleman’s bar. He also was supplying visitors with antique picture and photo frames.
Vintage fashions were offered from Jonathan’s of Burr Oak, Ind., taking several exhibit spaces where there were gowns, dresses and even some everyday clothing on long racks offered. Gypsy Moon, Watertown, Tenn., was more to the point, with most of the garments in the selection designed for ladies getting ready for the evening, both early and late.
Carl Zehner was exhibiting for the first time, and he brought lovely music to the show. That is, Victrolas and other early phonographs from as early as 1900. He finds them, restores them and then sells them in his hometown of Nashville.
The Nashville show is a longstanding tradition for the shoppers and collectors, dealers and exhibitors. It is considered by many the hallmark of the Nashville scene and will be joined next year by the Fiddlers Antiques Show and another show, Heart of Tennessee, over the weekend of February 16–18.
For information, contact Jon Jenkins at 317-431-0118 or www.tailgateantiqueshow.com. The name change of the show has not yet been made on the web.
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