Published: October 15, 2002
Story and Photographs by Carol Sims
OLD GRENNWICH, CONN. — The annual antiques show sponsored by the Putnam Hill Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution and the Israel Putnam House Association took place on Saturday and Sunday, September 21-22, at the Greenwich Civic Center.
All of the proceeds went to support the DAR and Putnam Cottage, the former Knapp Tavern, which was established in the late Seventeenth Century and was frequented by Revolutionary War General Israel Putnam in the Eighteenth Century. The “Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes” Putnam is a fascinating historic figure.
The 26th annual antiques show was steeped in tradition — the tradition of antiques, the tradition of Putnam Cottage (celebrating its 310th anniversary), and the tradition of the Putnam Hill Chapter DAR.
The Putnam Hill DAR made everyone welcome, with special attention to perking up a drab dining area with bright flowers and table cloths. Friendly volunteers greeted shoppers. The wonderful large topiaries provided by Keith Buesing, Gardiner, N.Y., were strategically placed to offset the Civic Center’s utilitarian form.
Also in the lobby, Molly Oakley of Shushan, N.Y., a specialist in textiles, ceramics and smalls, was on hand to appraise rdf_Descriptions for show patrons. On Saturday, Oakley sold a major set of French porcelain to a very satisfied buyer.
David Shufelt and William Panitch offered appraisals on coins, stamps, historic documents postcards and letters. Set up to the right of the show entrance, Annie Hall of Annie Hall Antiques, Sturbridge, Mass, did a good business selling vintage prints.
Inside the show area 32 dealers set up room settings of antiques, and Mastraur Galleries, New York City, displayed mostly oriental carpets and a few European tapestries on the stage. Dealers came mostly from New England and New York, with some from Kentucky, Illinois, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
This was the kind of show that enriched your day without monopolizing it. The dealers brought a good variety of reasonably priced antiques. There were plenty of tempting smalls all over the floor as well as signs, country and fine furniture, rugs, paintings, prints, quilts, silver, jewelry, etc. A careful review of each booth was very doable in two hours, less if you were looking for a particular rdf_Description, more if you were a hardcore browser.
Helen Anderson, the show chairman for the DAR, spoke about the show’s attendance. “Some years are better than others. This year was so-so. It was a beautiful day. Everyone in this town is out on the golf course. It was a pretty show, convenient and very positive. Some of the dealers did very well. They had to go out and restock.”
Mrs Anderson did not have attendance figures to report, but when the show opened on Saturday there were only two people waiting at the door. The show was held the same weekend as the Hartford and the Wilton antique shows.
This year’s show manager (the show has had two show managers in two years) was Corinne Burke. She has had experience working with charity committees. Her Ridgefield show is done in conjunction with the Ridgefield Community Center committee. “We have got [Ridgefield] down so that everything works.”
Burke felt that some of the promotional responsibilities slipped through the cracks for the Greenwich show. “I should have been more forceful in making sure that everything that needed to get done got done. The committee’s responsibilities need to be revamped. When it comes down to it, it’s my fault.” She added, “If I do this show again you will see an absolute turnaround. I have the loyalty of the dealers.”
Most of the dealers this year were new to the show. Gert Wirth, owner of Ingeborg Gallery in Northfield, Mass., was one of the returning dealers. “I only recognized about four or five dealers from last year,” he said.
Wirth continued, “The people who bought three pieces from me on Saturday were clients that I met at a Darien show. I sent them a card inviting them to Greenwich. Sunday I sold two more pieces. I was one of the fortunate ones. Wilton hit us on Sunday. Hartford now collides with Greenwich too.”
Linda Koe, Kirkwood Quilts, Stamford, Conn., had a strong display of antique quilts. Her favorite at the show was an 1870s Log Cabin quilt in mint condition from southern Ohio. “It has quarter-inch pieces, whereas most quilts have half-inch pieces. It is beautifully executed in rich madder brown, cadet blue, cream, cheddar — gorgeous — with a botanical print cotton on the back.”
She was pleasantly surprised that she sold some things at the show in spite of the light crowds, noting, “Maybe one in 20 people who come in are looking for quilts.” Koe also remarked on the high quality of merchandise on the floor.
Edward and Sheila Hylan of Southport, Conn., had excellent sales. Their booth featured baskets, textiles, furniture, pictures and frames from the Victorian era, and other rdf_Descriptions.
Steve and Lorraine German of Mad River Antiques, LLC of North Granby, Conn., specialize in Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century country antiques. They brought mulberry-colored plates and a platter by Thomas Walker, Staffordshire, England, circa 1825-50. They had a sponged border as opposed to a transfer border. They also brought a charming watercolor by John Hanneford of Stoke Gabriel, Devonshire, England.
Steve said, “If they made 300 on Saturday, then they had perhaps 100 people in on Sunday. Wilton was a factor. With a warmer day maybe people tried to get that last summer day in. All in all it was a good show for us. We sold the whole mulberry platter set. We also sold pewter plates, small textiles, a cradle, a theorem, a pine wall shelf and books. The bulk of our sales were all on Saturday. More than covered the rent. I would do the show again.”
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