Published: January 14, 2020
Photos and Review by Greg Smith
STURBRIDGE, MASS. – The sun rose early on January 1 as dealers readied themselves for commerce at the Sturbridge Host Hotel for what would be their first show of the new year and decade. The Sturbridge Antique Show closed after its 2018 edition and did not appear in 2019, leaving an open slot and opportunity for The Journal of Antiques & Collectibles and its local publisher Maxine Carter-Lome to pick it up, rebranding it as the Antique Collectibles Show.
A sentiment shared by many of the exhibitors in the room, and echoed by Carter-Lome and the show’s attendees, was that people hoped for the return of the show that they had come to expect each New Year’s day. There have been on-and-off antiques events, including shows and auctions, at the location going back decades.
“We were fortunate that the dealers were ready to come back. Most of them had done this show in past years,” Carter-Lome told us. “There are some beautiful things here and some great dealers came from all over the region: from Connecticut, central and south Massachusetts, New York and New Hampshire.”
The publisher is located nearby in Sturbridge and related that the expansion of the show into collectibles is in line with their subscriber demographic.
It was also the first time that Carter-Lome had managed a show, and when asked near the opening if it was going smoothly, she laughed and said, “I’ll tell you at the end of the day.”
By all accounts, the show was well produced and the public responded positively. Nearly 100 people lined up at the 10 am opening gate and rushed in to see what was on offer from the 45 or so exhibitor spaces.
Right inside the front door was a country booth filled to the brim with smalls from Pantry Box Antiques, Stafford Springs, Conn. Owner Charlie Guinipero featured country primitives, stoneware, antique Steiff and related animals, and a colorful display of antique Christmas items. Guinipero said he always had a good show here and he was glad the promoters brought it back. Within a half hour of the opening he had sold an assortment of country goods, including a trencher and a hat box.
Chet and Cathy Cwilichoski, Ansonia, Conn., brought with them an eclectic mix of antiques, ranging from decorative pieces and baking molds to paintings and furniture. Chet related that he did this show 30 years ago in another of its iterations, and he always comes back for more. The couple featured a 7-inch diameter pewter ABC dish along with a German stoneware wine cooler with a griffin head by Mettlach.
Brookfield, Mass., dealership Quirky Antiques, exhibited an 1890s automaton pull toy featuring an African American boy, with a bisque head and bells hanging from his cap, playing on his drum. The platform was hand painted and everything was all original. The dealer said the toy was made in Germany.
Gary Sohmers, from Hudson, Mass., goes by the moniker of the King of Pop Culture. He appeared on the Antiques Roadshow for a number of seasons, always wearing his floral shirt, and he donned it again for this show. He also produces the Northeast Comic Con & Collectibles Extravaganza in Boxboro, Mass. Sohmers was selling two carnival or sideshow wood cutouts as an inseparable pair, one featuring a bellhop in a red getup that read “ontinuou,” the rest of the message not included probably reading something to the effect of “continuous shows,” while the other featured an image of the “Giant Amazon Woman” with a bullring through her nose and draped in an orange/red dress.
Morgan Wood, from Southampton, Mass., displayed his varied collection of minerals and artifacts. Among them were geodes, vertebrae bones, a box of Mason Creek, Ohio, fossilized ferns and a number of Herkimer diamonds.
Trunks of all kinds were in the booth of Paul Norton, who runs Hartco Trunks out of Terryville, Conn. “Most of the good old trunk locks were made in Connecticut,” Norton said, motioning towards a few sample boards with hardware pinned to them. He mentioned The Eagle Lock Company in Terryville and Corbin Cabinet Lock Company in New Britain, which moved but is still in operation since 1882. New Britain, Conn., is known as the “Hardware City” for its industriousness in this area. Norton featured a log trunk in calf hide, entirely without hair, dating from 1819. It is called a log trunk because of its cylindrical form. He noted that the trunk had an American lock, which was unusual at this time. “It used to kill the makers to have to use a lock marked with an English crown,” he said.
Walker Homestead, Brookfield, Mass., was featuring a selection of early pottery, including stoneware and redware. A Hudson River Valley stoneware jug with an incised and cobalt-decorated tulip was displayed alongside a redware jar attributed to Thomas O’Hara Goodwin, and a pitcher by William Pecker, Merrimacport, Mass. Pecker’s work is heavily featured in a current exhibition at the Custom House Maritime Museum in Newburyport, Mass., titled “Potters on the Merrimac: A Century of New England Ceramics,” on view through April and written about in the Antiques and The Arts Weekly September 20, 2019 issue.
“This is a nice show and I’m glad that they reinstated it,” said Ernest Eldridge, from E.S. Eldridge Auctioneers, Willimantic, Conn. He and his wife Anita were selling a mix of country furniture, early glass, European porcelain and more. On the back wall was a large cutout sign in the form of a wagon buggy, extending 10 feet high, advertising “Dr Hippocrates M. Quackshoddy Ph.D Miracle Elixir and his Patent Medicines.”
J&M Antiques, Munson, Mass., was featuring a mixture of toys, holiday ephemera and pop culture pieces. Among them was a Borden’s Farm Products milk and cream tin lithographed wagon with wood wheels, roof and horse. The driver on the inside was original. Also among his offerings was a fantastic piece of marketing, an unused vomit bag for the 1970 movie Mark of the Devil, which was the first film rated V for violence. The bag said “positively the most horrifying film ever made / see it soon at a theatre near you.”
Among other offerings were dealers specializing in dolls, antique textiles, coins, silver, comics and ephemera. The show plans to be back in the same place in 2021. For information, www.facebook.com/theantiquecollectiblesshow/ or 508-347-1960.
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