Published: July 10, 2001
The Ann Arbor Market
By Susan and Al Bagdade
ANN ARBOR, MICH. – A perfect day for an outdoor antiques market brought large crowds to the June 17 Ann Arbor Market on the Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds. Now owned and managed by Nancy and Woody Straub of Panacea, Fla., the Ann Arbor Antiques Market is in its 33rd season.
Owner Woody Straub sat down with us to talk about the numerous improvements at this year’s market. The market definitely is more collector friendly with lots of strategically placed new wooden benches for resting, as well as tented areas for eating away from the sun. Woody and Nancy want to make shopping “as pleasurable as possible” and even arrange to carry heavy rdf_Descriptions to shopper’s vehicles.
There is more variety to the food sold as well as having food areas throughout the market. Cleaning is going on constantly with more than 300 cans placed around the grounds. The Botanical Society at the University of Michigan planted 250 flowerpots as a project in exchange for a donation. There is even a specific smoking section in the tented eating area. Woody pointed out that the fairgrounds people are excellent to work with.
From a dealer’s point of view, the Straubs have also made improvements. The market, which runs April to November, averages about 375 dealers with the opening April market growing to about 525 exhibitors, and the smaller markets having about 325 dealers. Woody is trying to vary the dealers so he does not have the same group each month, and the exhibitors have an opportunity to bring fresh merchandise when they do come.
“We want to make it as workable for dealers as possible,” continued Woody. “Every dealer now has electricity with two outlets per booth. We have a new kitchen with discounted meals for the dealers and staff that is also open during set-up. Colorful flags mark the walkways from the parking lots to the market. We are developing smaller all-white tents to improve the appearance and keep the tents cool. Wooden posts that stay in the ground are replacing the older metal ones. An excellent team of Boy Scouts and tent teams have the market knocked down by nightfall.” concluded Woody.
Attendance was estimated at about 10,000 for the third market of the season. Shoppers were definitely concentrating on architectural artifacts and garden furniture and accessories at this particular market. We saw just about everyone walking out with something to enhance the garden whether it was a fence post, a finial, a chimney pot, iron fencing, paving stones and the like.
Pickett Fence Antiques from Midland, Mich. sold an 1850s jelly cupboard in green over red paint, a wicker couch, an 1850s large walnut chest and a server in the early hours of the market. They had other early furniture in paint and wood finishes.
From Davisburg, Mich., Susan C. Gahan was in Ann Arbor for her very first market. She was selling peanut machines, apple peelers and pottery. A nice set of cane seat pressed back chairs was available for $1,350, an unusual child’s swing was $125 and there was a large selection of kitchen utensils and various types of grinders.
Olde Good Things from New York City was selling a lot of architectural artifacts and antique mirrors frames constructed with ceiling tins in a variety of styles and sizes. There was a large selection of mantels, iron consoles, tiles, lanterns and doorknobs.
Architectural merchandise was flying out of the exhibit of Heritage House Architectural Antiques from Norwalk, Ohio. Sales included two large armillarys, lots of obelisks, French garden stakes and fence tops, fencing in various sizes, architectural stars, garden posts and iron benches There was a nice selection of Nelsonville Paving Brick dating circa 1880-1910 from Ohio. The dealers were showing three patterns of highly decorative bricks that were glazed, vitrified or sidewalk bricks. Near the end of the market, almost all of the bricks were sold.
Old Glory Antiques from Wasco, Ill., had lots of painted trunks, good sports stuff such as tennis rackets and snow shoes, Chinese baskets and trunks, an old farmyard feed trough, jelly cupboards, copper molds and an unusual double-sided wine rack.
At English County Antiques from Astabula, Ohio, we noted a selection of Royal Doulton Toby mugs in several sizes. They were selling well as they usually do in Ann Arbor.
Chicago’s Canyon Company traveled to Ann Arbor with an array of American art pottery, Indian baskets, and Bakelite bracelets.
From Fruitport, Mich., Glorious Antiques sold French garden chairs, rattan furniture, other garden chairs and sterling silver pieces.
In addition to selling four chimney pots, Greg’s Antiques from Cincinnati, Ohio showed a brass bed, iron gates, stained glass windows, mantels and light fixtures.
Hodge Podge Antiques from Titusville, Penn., was aptly named with its selection of Gothic window mirrors, grinders, spice cabinets, yellowware, Wedgwood ironstone, furniture, and a primitive cobbler’s bench.
Sporting goods were also the emphasis for Kalik’s Antiques Shop from Plymouth, Mich. Roger Smart had a large canoe, tennis rackets, fishing creels, baseball gloves and decoys, we did see a “sold” tag on a propeller.
Mike and Jodie Roberts from Homer, Mich., always bring a selection of antique white wicker furniture, and their sales were good. One could find settees, lounges, teacarts, desks, tables, chairs and a porch swing perfect for lazy summer days.
Tramp art boxes and frames, Weller, McCoy and Van Briggle were all well displayed at Chathams from Pontiac, Mich., a dealer who specializes in pottery. Gail Dunn from Waterville, Ohio showed beaded purses, dresser sets, dolls, purse handles, wine openers corks, knife rests, picture frames and hat pins.
Grain linen made between 1900-1920 was selling like crazy for Vintage Fabrics and Etc. from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Grain linen is a look this exhibitor started selling. The yardage is eight to 12 yards and sells for $45 per yard. The grain bags sell for $75 to $85 and are 40 to 50 inches long and 18 to 23 inches wide. The hand towels, ten percent of which are monogrammed with the farm or the bride that married into the farm, sell for $30. The grain linen is homespun and woven from flax and made on European farms. This dealer’s booth was mobbed and she comes to the show in April and June.
Brass connection from Painesville, Ohio had brass light fixtures and lamps, copper wash tubs, towel bars, soap dishes, hooks, doorknobs and plates and copper teakettles. All was guaranteed to be pre-1930.
An interesting mix of antiques was available at Barnery Antiques from Scroggsfield, Ohio. We noted a 1932 “Little Duke” one cent slot machine by Jennings for $5,900, gum ball machines, wooden butter churns, South Pacific glass floats, sleds, snow shoes, a rare American horse for $1,795 and an old iron chicken windmill weight on base and chain from Lancaster, Penn., for $475.
Speers Antiques from Ann Arbor, Mich. had two different exhibits. Dee Speers sold an Edison phonograph with a large black horn, drafting equipment and also had toy sewing machines, featherweight sewing machines, slide rules and scientific instruments. Mary Lou Speers sold Steiff bears and animals, as well as turn-of-the-century antique dolls. She also had doll accessories and furniture.
Another Ann Arbor dealer was The Crockett Collection with a large collection of vintage linens. Here one could find pillows, runners, napkins, christening dresses, place mats and bonnets.
From Albion, N.Y., Fischer’s Antiques reported selling cupboards, chests, mirrors and advertising stuff. They also had a fine selection of crocks, yellowware and daguerreotypes. Dating circa 1840, was an Orleans, N.Y. pine stepback cupboard tagged $1,395 and a circa 1850 New York poplar jam cupboard was $525.
David Kucker from Galena, Ill. had Native American baskets, beadwork, Indian dolls, whimsies, scrimshaw, Indian jewelry and Staffordshire spill vases.
At Roger and Nancy Parsells from Lebanon, Ohio we noted late Nineteenth Century German curd bowls that were stoneware cheesemaking tools along with copper pudding molds. An Eighteenth Century Dutch blue two-piece cupboard with a “tombstone” motif and unusual finials on the top and bottom section was $2,200. There was also an interesting selection of face jugs and strap hinges.
Heritage Harvest Antiques from Metamora, Mich. sold a pantry cupboard, a Federal stand and some smalls. More than 40 pieces of iron from a widow’s walk also sold. With the original hardware was a circa 1840 four-tin pie safe with large pinwheel tins that was scraped to the original surface for $1,900.
Antiques and Art, Inc. From Panacea, Fla. showed excellent yellowware, redware, crocks and Seminole dolls.
From Stockbridge, Mich., Thomas Forshee Antiques had blue and white Staffordshire, blue and white Canton, Rose Mandarin and Spode.
Lee Foster from Janesville, Wisc., sold the best pair of inlaid picture frames that he ever had. He felt that Woody and Nancy have done an excellent job of upgrading the market.
The next Ann Arbor Markets will be July 15, August 19, September 15 and 16, October 21 and November 11.
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