Published: July 3, 2023
Review & Onsite Photos By Rick Russack
WELLS, MAINE — Goosefare’s outdoor show in Wells on June 25 is one of those shows that gets better and better. In attendance were 75 exhibitors from nine states, the varied assortment of merchandise is uniformly high, dealers new to the show maintain the quality and the crowd was huge. The location, on the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve, is exceptional with hiking paths for those who want to spend a little time closer to nature, and it was an almost perfect day.
There were several pieces of Eighteenth Century furniture, early stoneware, good silver, an assortment of decoys, several weathervanes, redware and more. Perhaps the earliest object was a turned wassail bowl dating back to the mid-Seventeenth Century. Traditionally, wassail bowls were associated with medieval Christmas or New Year’s celebrations and were used to serve a variety of beverages. The one Oliver Garland and Hadley Dombrowski, Falmouth, Mass., had was an English one made of lignum vitae, a very hard and heavy wood indigenous to the Caribbean and the northern coast of South America. It was large — 11 inches in height and 10 inches in diameter — and was turned with a decorative design and with very thin walls, which could have resulted in cracks but did not. Garland said, “I think it’s probably about 1650, but let’s say it dates from the reign of Charles II (who reigned 1660-1685).” He was asking $5,250. The next day, Garland said, “We had a good show and sold several good pieces. We thought there were a lot of customers, and they were interested in what we had.”
Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century American furniture was plentiful. Don Heller and Kim Washam, Portland, Maine, had several pieces that included some early Canadian pieces, as well. They had a tall chest-on-frame, which Heller said had been made by New Hampshire’s John Dunlap in the Eighteenth Century. It had the distinctive scrolled apron that many Dunlap pieces have. They were asking $5,000 for it. Displayed prominently at the front of their tent was a 9-foot-long spruce harvest table, 3 feet wide with hand-forged hardware. Heller said that it had been found in the Maritime Provinces of Canada and he believed it to date to the Eighteenth Century. They also had a two-door pine raised panel utility cupboard, with raised panel sides as well. It had been cleaned down to the original dark blue surface, dated it to 1780-1820 and were asking $1,300. Sold tags appeared in their booth within a few minutes of the show opening.
Ian McKelvey, South Windham Conn., who now operates from Flying Pig Antiques, Westmoreland, N.H., had a pine and poplar sideboard, 1830-50, priced at $3,400. Martin Ferrick, Lincolnville, Maine, sold some Nineteenth Century pieces. He’s known for offering good furniture, ready to go in today’s homes. Bruce Emond, Village Braider Antiques, Plymouth, Mass., had a mid-Nineteenth Century cherry cupboard priced at $900.
Several dealers offered folk art ranging in size from weathervanes to miniature decoy carvings. Bettina Krainin, Woodbury, Conn., had a hollow copper weathervane in the form of a baseball player priced at $2,800. Butch Berdan and Tom Jewett, Newcastle, Maine, offered an unusual cast iron weathervane in the form of a large rooster and were asking $1,850. Tom Jewett said, “It’s a very detailed casting, probably dating to about 1860. We’ve never seen the form before.” They also had a fragment of a cast iron cemetery gate with a weeping willow tree and lambs, found in upstate New York, and priced it $695. A continental overmantel painting was $2,900, with an early maritime scene. After the show Jewett said, “We made about a dozen sales. The crowds were fantastic, it was probably our best Wells show, and we’ll certainly be back next year.”
Windy Hill Antiques, Topsfield, Mass., had a sheet iron weathervane portraying the Angel Gabriel blowing his horn which was priced $185. There were a number of early cloth dolls to be seen and one of the eye-catching ones was with Emily Lampert, Wenham Cross Antiques, Topsfield, Mass. It was nicely dressed and she priced it $750. She also had a small, lithographed Bliss doll house, with a swinging front and some furniture, which was priced $295.
Decoys were in several booths. Raven’s Way Antiques, North Kingstown, R.I., had an exceptional early Twentieth Century eider priced at $3,500. It was attributed to Charles F. Jacobs, Grand Manan, an island in the Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick, which is a 90-minute ferry ride from the Canadian mainland. It had a raised neck, working repaint and tack eyes. The price was $3,500. Some writers have attributed this style of eider to the northern-most parts of Maine. Raven’s Way had several other decoys, including a merganser hen by Harold Davis, who worked on Cape Cod in the first half of the Twentieth Century. With original paint and light gunning wear, it was priced $395. Canada goose decoys were offered by several dealers.
Ceramics ranged from a hanging shelf full of mocha ware, to a hanging cabinet full of shaving mugs to hand-painted porcelains. The mocha ware belonged to Nancy Douglas, Willow Springs Perennial Antiques, Rexford, N.Y. The shaving mugs belonged to Jim and Nancy Glazer, Bailey Island, Maine, and the hand-painted porcelains belonged to Dark Flowers Antiques, Haverhill, Mass. Their prices ranged from $195 to $595. They said undecorated porcelain blanks were imported from Europe and painted by china-painters in this country. Many are signed by the artists. Sandy Jacobs, Swampscott, Mass., had a large selection of transfer-decorated Staffordshire children’s mugs priced $65 and up. Jacobs is well known for her selection of fine jewelry. She said one of her favorite pieces was a carved banded agate cameo, surrounded by pearls, which was priced $1,975.
John and Liz DeSimone, after the show, said, “We’re very pleased with the way this show has matured. Many of the exhibitors have done the show for years and know what to bring. It’s important to us that whatever dealers choose to bring, that the quality is high. And we try to balance the show so that there’ll be something for everyone, regardless of their interests. Many of the buyers have become regulars that we see each year and they come from all over. The gate for the first hour of the show was the highest it’s ever been and the traffic was steady also. So much furniture was being sold that we had to open the back gate to allow buyers to load easily — that’s a good problem to have. Linda Perkins and Joe Kozloski, Reflections Antiques from New York, sent an email that said they had the best sales they have ever had since they began in business in 1986.” Goosefare’s promotion includes use of social media. John DeSimone related, “On Sunday morning before the show, I took a lot of pictures and uploaded them to the Wells Show Facebook page. A lady, who had not planned on coming to the show, told me she saw the pictures after noon and saw something she liked. She drove to the show and bought the item — a good sale that would not have been made if it were not for the Facebook page.”
For additional information, www.goosefareantiques.com or 800-641-6908.
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