Start of Manchester Antiques Show, August 7‸ at the Event Center at C.R. Sparks, was “the biggest since we moved to this air-conditioned facility, with more dealers, more antiques and the biggest crowds,” according to Tina Bruno, co-owner and manager of the show. “When we moved there four years ago, we worried that maybe the dealers wouldn’t come with us and the shoppers wouldn’t find us, but each year it has gotten better,” she added. “In fact, we have had many dealers move to our show from other shows and some come to town just for our show during New Hampshire’s Antiques Week.”
The show had more than 40 dealers, with some sharing space just to be able to exhibit in it. The customers this year were calling it “the prettiest show of the week,” according to a group of dealers during the second morning’s preopening coffee. They were also remarking about excellent sales results for the opening day. In postshow interviews, many of the same dealers stated that sales continued strong the second day as well.
Pam Haft, working with Easter Hill Antiques of Sharon, Conn., was excited about her sales for the two-day event. “I sold a variety of early pieces, including an interesting family in calligraphy, a wonderful game board and a great many small antiques. I think it was my best sales total ever!” Other sales from the Easter Hill exhibit were a small three-drawer chest in red milk paint, which was believed to have come from Pennsylvania and was destined to end up in Nebraska; a full bodied eagle in flight weathervane; several pieces of Leeds featheredge porcelain dishes and some very early desk accessories.
There was an entire wall of an old Connecticut house that Karen and Edd Oberg had removed before the house was demolished. It included all the wood boards made into the wall and the shelves for the pantrylike storage. Trading as Richmond House Antiques, the name of their Ashford, Conn., shop, the Obergs sold it to a Philadelphian for use in her home there. The Obergs also sold several other pieces, including a cupboard and some tables and a variety of small household items.
A Nebraska buyer was buying from several of the exhibitors. His purchases also included a blanket chest from Emele’s Antiques of Dublin, Penn., and large cupboard from Hampton, Conn., dealer Diana Higgins.
This show was begun by Kay and Bill Puchstein in the late 1990s when the only location available in the area was the JFK Coliseum, better known as the “Ice Rink.” After several years, they had too many obligations in Florida, including about a dozen antiques shows there, so this show was sold to Flamingo Promotions. For Tina Bruno, it was coming home to her native state, but the rink was not a popular site. After much searching and consideration, Tina and her partner/husband John Bruno were able to find and contract with the C.R. Sparks restaurant and event center. Located just a few hundred yards from the Macy’s department store mall, with convenient access to exits from I-293 and Route 101, the show has flourished ever since.
The Puchsteins still exhibit in the show with their collection of early American furniture. Their favorites are usually painted pieces, with a red faux grain painted chest of drawers this time.
Richard and Sandra Axtell have a museum in Deposit, N.Y., which they care for in addition to their antiques business. Their assortment for this show included a primitive bucket bench and dry sink in the front of their exhibit; several early paintings and more furniture.
Blue Dog Antiques, now residing in Stafford Springs, Conn., and Marion Atten from Antiques at Hillwood Farm in Pecatonica, Ill., were sharing a large space in the show. Both are “very much into the country and primitive look and style,” according to Judy Stallmach, commenting about their inventory and personal collections.
Toys and transfer ware were the principal objects in the exhibit offered by the Kelleys of Century House Antiques from Alfred, N.Y. One portion of their display was a showcase filled with cast iron banks, both mechanical and still, as well as many examples of early blue and white dishes.
Shaeffer’s Antiques from Glyndon, Md., and Margaret J. Suder, Lafayette Hill, Penn., shared a space, which they filled with tall showcases and in turn filled them with dishes. There was Leeds featheredge and Staffordshire from England; spongeware from America and some Chinese Export, all for sale.
West Branch Antiques was there for the first time with a collection of early American hooked rugs, the firm’s specialty. The owner, Martin Webster from Delhi, N.Y., said he was very pleased with his results, selling several very valuable pieces. Case upon case of very small antiques were the majority of the collection and sales for Gladstone, N.J., dealer Marc Witus.
Marvin Wies, from Baltimore, Md., and nearby Plum Lucky Folk Art, Chesterfield, Md., were both offering funky and folky art and household pieces. Commodore MacDonnough’s Victory Coffee Pot made in the early Nineteenth century by Enoch Wood was the favorite of exhibitors William and Teresa Kurau from Lampeter, Penn.
Tina Bruno said she was very pleased with the results of this year’s show, and she received a ringing endorsement from the dealers, as most have already signed on for the next one a year away. “Knowing that there is no room for expansion probably had something to do with the quick re-signing, as all the dealers wanted to protect their space for the next show,” she said.
Look for the show again next year with the same pattern, Tuesday noon opening and Wednesday afternoon closing during New Hampshire’s Antiques Week. For information, 631-261-4590 or email FlamingoTB@aol.com .