Published: March 15, 2011
A noticeable vigor and an impressive crowd permeated the space at the Holliston Antiques Show where dealers were, for the most part, buoyed by the brisk buying. A crush of visitors caused smalls to fly out of the large gymnasium of the Holliston High School, and trucks and vans queued up at the back door to load in larger pieces. On February 26′7, some 125 exhibitors attracted buyers inspired by cabin fever and the slightly lightening weather, or perhaps the slight glimmer in the economy. Dealers packed up purchases for buyers as others waited patiently for their turn.
The gate was up this year by 11 percent; show promoter Steve Allman advertises heavily and he said the efforts of the Citizens Scholarship Foundation, which benefits from the show, provided strong support. Last year’s show raised $43,000 for the foundation, helping send 28 students to college.
The show, in its 44th year, has been managed by Allman for 34 of those years and is a fixture on the antiques calendar in the area.
Sylvia and Bill Stickney of Holliston, who deal as The Yankee Picker, acknowledged the elevated mood that prevailed, noting, “Much better energy this year.” The tea services and ceramics they brought along drew steady traffic.
A case filled with Wedgwood ceramics from Ten Mile Antiques included jasperware and transfer ware bottles and jugs, teapots and other vessels. The Attleborough, Mass., dealer also exhibited fine jewelry and Staffordshire.
Jewelry was a big draw; those dealers who sold jewelry guaranteed themselves land-office business. Dealers George Bernheimer of Bridgewater, Mass., and Karen Abroms of Holliston brought choice pieces and fared especially well.
A pleased Stephen Fletcher, vice president and head of Skinner’s Americana department, is an equal opportunity buyer and seller. He sells and he buys. He was laden with packages as we arrived and was delighted to display his finds, most for his own collection, and one a birthday gift for a friend. He was particularly pleased with a Buffalo ware New Haven Railroad plate in the Merchants pattern, but observed that at $110, it was considerably more costly than the first one he bought for 25 cents many years ago.
Hampton, Conn., dealer Tom Nagy, who deals as Chelsea Hill Antiques, filled his customary double booth with fine Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century pieces. His tall clock with chinoiserie decoration and a brass dial engraved by the London maker John Wright, circa 1725, sold on Sunday. A New York State secretary bookcase from 1810‱829 had its own admirers.
Back for their second year at Holliston, Steve and Doris McKell of Tradewinds Fine Art of Narragansett, R.I., were so busy making sales and wrapping up purchases of New England scenes that they were hard pressed to find the opportunity to refresh their stock. Obvious blank spaces on the booth walls attested to their brisk sales. Doris McKell described the event as “a jewel of a show.” A fine Impressionist landscape with sheep by George Hay was under consideration by several buyers.
The focal point of the booth of dealer Richard Fuller of South Royalton, Vt., was an Ohio cupboard that was found in a barn in the Western Reserve. Its surface was mottled beautifully and crunchy with years of old paint; the upper part was lined with wallpaper. Fuller showed country woodenware, yellowware and textiles.
The walls of Michael’s Antiques, Franklin, Conn., were hung with antique cast iron kitchen and fireplace implements of every variety. A Krups hunting rifle, however, drew separate interest. It was made with nitro barrels with floral engraving and the walnut stock was carved in a checkered pattern.
Holliston dealer Hills Antique Clocks had a second period Thomas Watson clock, a US Navy clock and examples by Ansonia, Howard, Seth Thomas and Waterbury. Several sales had been consummated already on Saturday morning, and considerable interest in repairs was expressed by future clients.
It was difficult to photograph the booth of the Linen Lady of West Brookfield, Mass., because of the consistent traffic and sale through the selling space. Bed and kitchen linens were grabbed up, as were some early white dresses.
The booth of Vintage Cod of Westfield, Mass., was an oasis of color and cool. White and green garden and domestic ornaments and antiques were arranged in an appealing conformation that drew buyers. Sales were abundant and the booth was in constant rearrangement to cover the holes left by sold objects.
Grantiques of Winchester, Mass., was having a terrific show. Early jewelry sales and the sale of a large piece of Roseville made for a very good day.
Bayberry Antiques of Rockland, Mass., showed excellent country pieces, including a Rhode Island Windsor youth chair that had been converted to a rocker, a good cupboard, baskets and ceramics, and a bright quilt and other textiles.
Buyers loved the offerings from Boston Books and Antiques of Millis, Mass. Postcards, maps, prints, books and old advertising attracted people fascinated by antique views of their towns and birthplaces.
The most exotic booth was that of Mohammed Jangana from Gambia by way of New York City. The tables were piled high with strings and ropes of beads of every imaginable color from various African countries.
Gloucester, Mass., dealers Harry and Mary Ellen Morgan were pleased with their sales of silver and ceramics, glass, Satsuma and Staffordshire. They observed a greater presence of younger buyers than seen previously †a good sign all around.
Pat Bleecher of Northboro, Mass., had a plump Steiff rooster perched atop some vintage luggage. Bleecher, who had a good show, said that the Holliston show was her last one †she is retiring after more than 35 years in the business.
Back by Popular Demand of Pepperell, Mass., brought back a group of antique and vintage padlocks and other smalls that included a group of German stoneware beer and wine bottles. A branding iron attracted more than one passing glance.
From Portsmouth, N.H., David Hallmark of Imagine Counts had stacks of bound volumes of early Twentieth Century major American newspapers; he had sold two volumes of The New York Times and one Boston Globe . Hallmark, a self-described aviation preservationist, also had for sale historic aviation ephemera, particularly of the years 1909‱911.
A yellow skeet shooter made by the US Pigeon Company was found on Prudence Island in Rhode Island and held pride of place in the booth of Curry’s Antiques of Newton, Mass. Fish decoys and vintage decoys and automobilia, ceramics, silver and fashion illustrations rounded out the eclectic selections. Several antique car horns sold early in the day.
Jamie Turbayne of Needham and Jerry Arnold of Dover, Mass., shared a booth dominated by a gleaming sousaphone. They sold smalls and a nice grain painted two-drawer lift top blanket chest, and had made sales of books to a couple of eager children.
Red Barn Antiques of South Egremont, Mass., had the brightest booth by far. It was festooned with all manner of antique lighting shedding light on smalls like glass and ceramics and, just in case, a Gamewell fire alarm box.
For general information, www.allmanpromotions.com or 315-686-5789.
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