Published: August 28, 2007
“Let’s take out a big advertisement and say that we were just kidding, that next year is our 50th anniversary,” Paul Scott joked after the New Hampshire Antiques Show, which celebrated its golden anniversary at The Center of New Hampshire Radisson August 9‱1.
Given the effort expended by Linda Tate, president of the New Hampshire Antique Dealers Association; show co-chairs Gail Piatt and Bev Longacre; and their colleagues, it is unlikely that the New Hampshire Antiques Show will throw another bash like this one any time soon.
NHADA went all out. An ambitious advertising campaign accompanied a series of tributes, including a visit by New Hampshire Governor John Lynch. Adding, as the show’s 66 exhibitors put it, to the fair’s “air of mystery and magic,” dealers brought their best pieces, waiting to unveil them just as the show opened. Some treasures had been off the market for decades.
NHADA’s loyal public turned out in force. Like a Southwest Airlines gate on Thanksgiving weekend, the sprawling line formed early, snaking and doubling back through the Radisson’s lobby. Camaraderie ran high. Shoppers and their friends lounged with pillows on newspapers on the carpeted floor.
“You don’t want to know,” David Malloy, a North Carolina dealer and collector quipped when asked how long he had been waiting. Third in line, Malloy and his wife have attended the New Hampshire Antiques Show for 25 years.
In the New Hampshire show tradition, crowds rushed in at the appointed hour, surging through the three aisles of the show’s upper level before packing the adjacent lower floor. There were reports from dealers that designer Anthony Baratta of Diamond Baratta Design, known for colorful, casual interiors, came through with clients from California.
Red stickers appeared like hives on walls and furniture. Nearly all exhibitors enjoyed excellent sales, though large furniture seemed to take a backseat to folk art and smalls such as winsome painted boxes.
“I haven’t gotten fast figures, but our gate was up. After Thursday, we had a good, steady crowd and dealers sold through the final hour of the show on Saturday,” said Tate.
Many individual milestones were acknowledged. Feted with an ice cream social on Saturday, 50-year veteran Howard Oedel shared his booth with Ron Bourgeault, who first exhibited as a teen.
Portsmouth, N.H., dealer M.S. Carter was there for her 46th time; New Ipswich, N.H., dealer Estelle Glavey, for her 38th time; Newbury, Mass., dealer Peter Eaton for his 35th time; Marlborough, N.H., dealer Tom Longacre, for his 30th time; and Bob Withington, for his 25th time. Along with its emphasis on fresh-picked, unrestored country antiques in a range of prices, continuity gives the New Hampshire Antiques Show the old-time flavor so prized by shoppers.
“Several things make this show so terrific,” said first-time exhibitor Amy Finkel, a sampler specialist who agreed that the NHADA show is “magic.” “One, this is the only Manchester show that has a weekend day. There are still plenty of people who come up to New England on weekends or can’t make it during the week. Two, the show is a perfect size. Buyers get overwhelmed at a 100-plus dealer show. Three, people love NHADA’s variety, they love the fact that not everything is expensive,” concluded Finkel, whose two dozen sales included an important Carroll County, Md., house sampler worked the same year as one at the Maryland Historical Society.
“We sold to new people we wouldn’t have met otherwise. Some were buying their first sampler,” said the Philadelphia dealer.
Early sales around the floor included a distressed and unpainted carved wood cigar store Indian chief at Peter Sawyer Antiques. Priced $38,000, the nearly 6-foot-tall figure was reportedly found at a dump in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., in 1965. A circa 1925 Indian maiden carved by Charles Huntington of Randolph, N.Y., turned up at Meryl Weiss Antiques.
Several hutch tables sold, including one at The Tates. The Sanbornton, N.H., dealers also parted with two circa 1830 appliqued chintz quilts, priced in the $2,000 to $3,000 range. The rarer quilt featured blue-resist fabric reminiscent of Historical Blue Staffordshire for the American market.
Portsmouth, N.H., dealer Hollis Brodrick’s many sales included a rare late Seventeenth Century pewter plate stamped with the mark of Edmund Dolbeare of Boston and Salem.
Furniture sales included two chests of drawers, an octagonal stand and an eglomise mirror at Peter Eaton Antiques. The double chests that anchored three walls of his stand were unsold, a rare occurrence for the Massachusetts dealer, who often sells to the walls in Manchester.
Hercules Pappachristos parted with an American two-part bookcase cabinet.
Normally not a fan of three-day shows, Lew Scranton was pleasantly surprised when he sold a costly card table late Saturday.
John and Deborah Melby, Eastport, Maine, sold a pewter cupboard with scalloped sides and a Windsor side chair.
Michael and Sally Whittemore parted with decoys, a mirror, a trade sign and a splay leg tavern table.
Stephen-Douglas sold a Nineteenth Century swan trade sign, a mirror with a DeWitt Clinton eglomise panel and a primitive candlestand. A highlight of the Vermont dealers’ stand was a rare Eighteenth Century French Canadian great chair, $12,500.
Jef and Terri Steingrebe sold a rooster weathervane and Bob and Debbie Withington parted with a splay leg stand with a Parcheesi board top. The Weissmans wrote up two primitive wood weathervanes of seamen and whales and a Kerry County, Ireland, table on a sinuous wood base.
One of the first things to go at Phil and Jane Workman was a white and green primitive toy box painted with animals.
Hidden under towels, sheets and swatches of fabric, stored in boxes and bags, “mystery” objects generated great excitement and speculation during setup. Nathan Liverant and Son waited for the requisite moment to bring out a rare watercolor of a fish by Charles “Shang” Wheeler of Stratford, Conn.
“Acquired by us in 1985 in Lexington, Mass.,” declared the sign on a precious Merrimac, N.H., redware pitcher displayed by The Tates.
“We bought it,” said Suzanne Courcier, ending the mystery about who acquired the unusual tripartite wardrobe and cupboard from William Smith’s recent sale of the Backofen collection. Courcier & Wilkins priced the red and yellow grain-painted case piece †not Shaker, though reminiscent of Shaker furniture †at $42,500.
Elizabethtown, Penn., dealer Steven Still proclaimed the patriotic side of the show with a red, white and blue eagle-decorated banner for a side-wheeler. The 13-star banner, marked $28,000, sold quickly. It may turn up in New York in January.
New Hampshire furniture was abundant at Peter Sawyer Antiques, Exeter, N.H., dealers also known for clocks and White Mountain paintings. A Concord, N.H., shelf clock by Nathaniel Munroe was $85,000 in the Sawyer stand, to the right of show’s entrance.
Just in time for the Peabody Essex Museum’s big fall exhibition “Samuel McIntire, Carving an American Style,” Mary Beth Keene and Rory Killeen of Wayne Pratt, Inc, featured a serpentine front sewing table, $85,000, with carving attributed to the Massachusetts cabinetmaker.
“We sold about five decorated boxes, great portraits, chests, a punched tin lantern and lots of smalls,” said Maine dealer Tom Jewett. A Maine step back chest of drawers painted white with fruit and vine decoration was $21,500.
“We do a lot with cupboards,” said Pennsylvania dealer Betty Berdan, who featured painted furniture from an old New York State collection. One prize was an early cupboard in soft, inky blue. It was shown with a rare circa 1800 Amish crib quilt from Nickel Mines, Penn.
Saving for the show paid off for Paul and Cheryl Scott, who quickly sold a prized Windsor armchair in old fire engine-red paint, in their collection since 1999, and a Massachusetts oval splay leg tea table. Other sales include a bird’s-eye maple server, a bow front chest, a convex mirror, weathervanes, paintings and accessories.
“We sold on all levels, stone fruit to Prior paintings, and a pair of fire buckets,” said Massachusetts dealer Pam Boynton.
A pastel portrait of a young red-haired boy holding a whip, probably by Jacob Bailey Moore of the Prior-Hamblen school, was one of several showstoppers at Barbara Pollack Antiques.
Boasting bold color and graphic strength, a primitive landscape stopped traffic at Jef and Terri Steingrebe, New London, N.H.
Nathan Liverant and Son unveiled a portrait of a girl in the distinctive hand of Deacon Robert Peckham. “We sold it about 30 years ago and just got it back,” said Arthur Liverant. The booth also featured a New York or Connecticut crewel embroidered blanket, indigo blue on white, inscribed “D.M. Smith” and “Hebron” and dated 1849; it was $9,750.
“We are a menagerie booth,” said Russ Goldberger, pointing to the ducks, shorebirds and horses that joined a brilliant hooked rug in a polka dot pattern, $11,500, and a New York State pine and poplar apothecary chest, $38,500.
Eagles were everywhere at Ron and Penny Dionne, Connecticut dealers who quickly sold the star pinwheel on their back wall.
Seaver & McClellan brought a galleried pyramid for displaying toys and other holiday items. The folk art construction was $12,500.
“We brought tribal weavings here and sent our more formal rugs and carpets to Newport,” said Karen DiSaia, who set up in New Hampshire while husband Ralph and son Adam were in Newport. The back wall was devoted to a great old Serapi with an expansive, open field and warm, soft color. A small Kurdish rug in a geometric pattern reminiscent of a hooked rug was DiSaia’s surprise item.
Congratulations to the New Hampshire Antiques Show on its first half century. Here’s to the next 50 years. For information, 603-585-9199 or www.nhada.org.
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