Published: September 19, 2006
Sales were surprisingly strong for the 25th consecutive Labor Day edition of Farmington Antiques Weekend at the Farmington Polo Grounds, September 2–3. Rain was in the forecast, residue from a recent hurricane, causing at least 40 dealers to cancel and numerous others to simply not show. This reduction in dealers may have boosted the remaining exhibitors’ sales for as hardy dealer Gerard Enoksen said, “the show turned out better than the weather.”
Show promoter Steve Jenkins was clearly disappointed with the missing dealers and the reduced number of visitors Saturday but he said Sunday’s numbers were in line with the past several years, and customers were spending when the sun returned early that afternoon. Jenkins pointed out how many dealers were selling even Saturday to a dedicated crowd of antiques buyers with dealers like Mike Gagnon, Red River Antiques of Shohola, Penn., selling several pieces of furniture. Enoksen together with his wife, Jane, trading as J&G antiques from Amityville, N.Y., sold several pieces of oak furniture.
Poverty Hollow Antiques is the business of Bob Baker, Ridgefield, Conn., who said he “sold well, surprisingly well but mostly smalls.” Baker does much of his buying in England with early porcelain and small wood objects such as tea caddies and desktop boxes and accessories. These small pieces were displayed on antique furniture, both hardwood and soft, creating the ambiance of a fine shop on Portobello Road.
Dealers often have second lines of merchandise; a collection of antiques which may not be their usual assortment but which they acquire as the result of buying an estate or from a house call. Mad River Antiques was selling such an assortment, which the owners bought near their home in North Granby, Conn. Lorraine German said they were selling early garments and textiles from the collection fairly well.
Bill and Kay Puchstein, American Heritage Antiques, was selling fairly well with an inventory collected in their native Ohio. Now residing in El Jobean, Fla., they also manage several antiques shows there in the winter while Kay is co-manager of the Music Valley Antiques Market in Nashville, Tenn. Featured prominently were numerous big pieces of painted furniture and earthenware.
Smalls is the word for the entire collection offered by Higganum (Conn.) House Antiques. Owners Neal and Pat Blodgett offer nothing larger than a breadbox and in fact most of their collection are objects much smaller. Lighting is one of the many categories but while it was still raining early Sunday, Neal was discussing the merits of various different corkscrews with a prospective customer.
Peter Moses is from North Syracuse, N.Y., and he seems to be the expert at packing a minivan with an enormous amount of inventory for a show. His taste in antiques runs to the early American periods with an emphasis on small furniture and household decorative items but he was also showing some early folk painted boxes and art.
At front and center of Patricia Ann Breame’s display was an early American mahogany drop leaf table surrounded by draped tables filled with antiques collected near her home in Woodstock, Maine. Tom Nagy, Chelsea Hill Antiques of nearby Hampton, Conn., was offering his collection of fine Nineteenth Century hardwood furniture and two favorite pieces, a dulcimer the size of a piano and an early cradle which he said were both French.
From western New York, Robert Perry was offering furniture in primitive or country style together with small accessories and a large collection of textiles. “I didn’t sell any furniture and that was disappointing but we came way ahead with the textiles.” On the other side of the coin, Benting and Jarvis, Amesbury, Mass., reported having “the second best show ever anywhere.” Colchester, Conn., dealer Philip Liverant was selling from an assortment of exotic small porcelain and glass objects including early blue transfer ware and some mercury glass.
Nancy Koly was selling from an extremely crowded area. She had been planning to spread out her Akron, Ohio, collection but the steady rains Saturday and early showers Sunday had her packing it all into the tent. Her offerings included Nineteenth Century furniture, majolica and accessories.
There was an early hammered sheet iron weathervane offered by Robert T. Baranowsky of Portland, Conn. Complete with a few bullet holes, it was for sale at the show for $1,275. Dennis and Dad, Fitzwilliam, N.H., offered its enormous collection of early English porcelain and soft paste dishes. Blue Dog Antiques was selling early furniture. Owner Jude Stallmach from Stafford Springs, Conn., said their favorite antiques are the Pilgrim style, which she often offers together with her Illinois friend, Marian Atten.
North Carolina was represented by at least two dealers. From Raleigh were Rick and Dwan Mabrey with early American primitives and some American Southwest style furniture and textiles. Susan and David Byerly of Madison were offering their collection, which is assembled primarily on their trips to Europe.
Indiana is home for the promoters, Steve and Barbara Jenkins, and they have encouraged Gayla Bailey to also venture east for the show. This Georgetown, Ind., dealer shows early painted furniture and had a collection of early dolls.
Textiles in many forms were available. Marsha Manchester, Hallowell, Maine, specializes in dining table pieces. Connie Brown, Norwalk, Conn., was offering a wide assortment of early handmade quilts and bed coverlets while Becker Brooks, Washington, D.C., had an early homespun coverlet.
The show has a long tradition as the best source for early American and country style antiques. Founded by Don Mackey 25 years ago it was sold to another promoter about 15 years ago then to Jenkins before the June 2000 show. The absent dealers were only about 15 percent of the total expected so there was still a great selection for the visitors.
Held twice each summer, in mid June and Labor Day weekend, look for it again next year. Jenkins said he is negotiating the sale of the Polo Grounds but the sale gives him the lease back rights for the show for the next ten years. For information, www.jenkinsshows.com or 317-598-0012.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm