Published: February 27, 2018
Review and Photos by Tom O’Hara
NASHVILLE, TENN. – The Nashville Show, conducted February 15-17 at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds was, according to Jon Jenkins, co-founder and manager of the show, a “wonderful success for the dealers and customers.” He added, “We had a 10 percent increase in the number of dealers over last year, a 15 percent increase in the number of opening day shoppers and spending was definitely up!”
Jenkins also said, “The show founded by my father as the Tailgate Antiques Show more than 30 years ago and Music Valley Antiques Show founded in the early 1990s moved around Nashville several times, causing some confusion, but now it is firmly entrenched as one of the most popular antiques shows in the country, with a huge national audience, something customers plan vacations around, for time at the show and in Nashville.”
The merchandise offered was also special, he said, with dealers collecting and holding pieces for this show with its tradition as one of most popular venues for Americana, as well as fine antiques.
American Spirit Antiques is, just as the name implies, an antiques business specializing in the American style. Ted and Jennifer Fuehr, from Shawnee Mission, Kan., were having a fine time selling from all parts of their collection on each of the three days of the show. A large, one-piece corner cupboard was one of their sales, as well as a mustard painted bootjack back set of chairs from Lancaster County, Penn., and a seven-drawer chest. They sold from their household items a New England trotting horse weathervane and an assortment of mochaware and redware. Jennifer also sold some of her collection of Native American and early estate jewelry.
Perkins and Menson Antiques have been coming to the show for many years from their home in Ashby. Mass., which is more than 1,000 miles from Nashville. They brought a collection of early American furniture, accessories and textiles. Barrett Menson, a second-generation dealer, always has with him a large collection of Nineteenth Century frames, which is his specialty. According to Martha Perkins, their sales were good; they sold several pieces of furniture, led by a Sheraton chest of drawers, many of the frames and a good supply of her textiles.
Jon Jenkins’ parents, Steve and Barbara Jenkins, are now just dealers in the show as they spend their time between homes in Shelbyville, Ind., and Florida. Here, Steve was selling furniture, including an Eighteenth Century cherry farm table, probably from Pennsylvania and about 7 feet long, a chest of drawers he found in Ohio, a collection of miniature furniture and a good deal of the small antiques he brought.
Schoolhouse Antiques from Kirkwood, Mo., is the business of two retired school teachers, Barbara and Neal Finbloom. Barbara likes to trade in early American textiles, especially hooked mats, while Neal does more with furniture. Together they had a large assortment of American baskets and more accessories. Neal reported that this was their best show ever for total sales, selling well in all categories.
Sharon Green Antiques from Sharon, Conn., began selling little things from its show cases early on the first day. One such sale was three emeries – pin cushions – in sterling silver in three different sizes and very valuable, made by Samson, Morden of London, circa 1890. Sales from this booth also included a set of six fan back Windsor chairs, circa 1725, made in Connecticut and two brass chandeliers from England, dating to the late 1700s.
Boston dealer Stephen Score brought a spectacular quilt; it was probably made to commemorate the occasion of Oregon becoming a state, or a very early anniversary of it. It created quite a stir but did not find a buyer during the show. His sales were primarily from the early American paintings, textiles and accessories he brought to the show.
Toys, games and colorful novelties are probably the only way to describe the wonderful and unusual offerings of Iowan Paul Smith. He said he had a great time this weekend – the best show he could remember – selling more than 20 of his iron shooting range targets, these being colorful little profiles of chicks and ducks and geese and more from shooting galleries of bygone times. He also moved a great many of his early advertising signs, most more than 100 years old. Before the show, Paul also had a huge assortment of egg beaters, but nowhere as many after.
From Wadsworth, Ohio, Matt Ehresman works hard to create an environment that resembles a pioneer or pilgrim home in America some 250-300 years ago. From that scene, he then sells all the furnishings, this time including a wonderful curved settle bench, a primitive table and all the accoutrements.
Collections of earthenware were selling well by Dennis and Dad, aka Dennis and Ann Berard, of Fitzwilliam, N.H. Fortunately, they had a day and a half to unwrap all of the thousand or more dishes they had brought. According to Dennis, it was worth the effort in the end as sales of Staffordshire, mochaware, yellowware and more, virtually all from the Eighteenth and early Nineteenth Centuries, were very good.
Z&K Antiques was exhibiting at the show for the first time. From Urbana, Ill., the pair of dealers, Bob Zordani and Heidi Kellner, are just-retired school teachers who now have the time to pursue their passion for antiques. Bob said they had great fun and good sales, such as a Nineteenth Century Southern sugar chest going to a new home, a Speaking Dog mechanical bank, as well as several trades signs and more in small antiques and textiles.
Alderman Ford Antiques is predominantly a jewelry dealer with antique, estate and vintage jewelry in its collection. From Columbia, S.C., Margaret and Bob Ford trade at a variety of shows and did well here, selling to some customers from Atlanta, who Margaret said still come for the fun of this show.
Mike Gallant, Hometown Antiques from Glenburn, Maine, came for the first time and said he sold so well he was signing up for next year. He set up next to Sandy St Pierre, now in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, who also had fun selling from her collection of antique Maine objects.
Jenkins said the three-day show boasted a new overall attendance record, increasing last year’s figures nearly 20 percent.
Jenkins gave out contracts for the 2019 show on the last day of this year’s show and was thrilled with the response: 75 percent of this year’s dealers returned contracts for next year with their deposits. The date will be February 14-16, so mark your calendar. For additional information, www.tailgateantiqueshow.com or 317-598-0012.
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