Published: August 20, 2002
By R. Scudder Smith
MANCHESTER, N.H. — “In case you didn’t know, and there is the possibility that you don’t care to know, but there are 42 steps from ground level to the exhibition floor of the New Hampshire State Armory,” Jack Van Gelder said as he ascended the last few steps with some breath to spare. After the climb, the Riverside Antiques Show awaited and it was well worth it. Sixty-six dealers were set-up, including nine showing for the first time, and show manager Linda Turner produced an interesting mix of exhibitors. “I am real happy,” she said the day after the show closed, noting that there were more than 1,000 people at the Tuesday, August 6, afternoon opening and “the show ran smoothly from start to finish.” This was the ninth year for the show, fourth year under Forbes and Turner, and the second year the show has had the Tuesday opening.
“It all happened on opening night and sales were very good, but I did nothing on Thursday,” Tom Jewett of Searsport, Maine, said. And not only was he pleased with Riverside, but “the weather was great this year and I had time to shop the other shows.” A number of hooked rugs hung in this booth, including one with a cat playing with a ball, one with a shield and four stars, and another floral pattern with a cross in the center, sign by the maker, Myra V. Skinner.
Jeff Bridgeman of Dillsburg, Penn., took advantage of the wall space in the cafeteria area next to his booth and decorated it with a variety of framed flags. As the show ended he concluded “people up here were not heavy into flags, or at least not those hung in an eating area.” He sold only one, a centennial example with 13 stars, and among other rdf_Descriptions in the booth were a set of six plank seat Windsor side chairs, black with rose decoration; a large terra-cotta eagle; and a pie safe in old blue-green paint with eight punched tin panels in the front.
“The antique community is not hurting as a result of this week in New Hampshire,” Neil Quinn remarked, adding “it is not up to last year, but not far off.” The booth of Mary Carden Quinn, Floral Park, N.Y., is known for its neat appearance and hooked rugs, and such was the case at Riverside. Six rugs were sold, along with a pair of Indian clubs, an Amish quilt, a blanket chest, a wooden bowl and a large fireplace gridiron with pierced handle with star, heart and club. A selection of smalls accounted for a more than respectable show. Two pieces that remained to be packed out were a tombstone end child’s crib from Lititz, Penn., 35 inches long, old green surface, and a Lancaster County two-board top tavern table in old red, dating from the Nineteenth Century.
Mark Moody of Shohola, Penn., sold his folk art tall-case clock, a marquetry example with sawtooth top, metal face with applied numbers, that dated from the early Twentieth Century and came from Orange County, N.Y. “I bought the clock right out of a house in Slatehill, N.Y.,” Mark said, and “it was truly an unusual example.” Other sales included a painted document box, a cast-iron football player, and a good number of accessories.
“About the best wagon seat we have ever seen,” was how Edward and Judith Kelz of Woodbury, Conn., described the New England example they displayed in their booth. Dating from the Eighteenth Century, this seat had well worn finials, mushroom capped arms, splint seat, grand finish and measured only 36 inches wide. It was shown on an early Nineteenth Century work or center table, tiger maple legs and pine top, walnut apron, measuring 32¼ inches high, 5 feet, 7 inches long, and 30¾ inches wide. At the back of the booth was a grained jelly cupboard in the original paint, 55 inches high, dating from the Nineteenth Century.
Bruce Emond of Village Braider, Plymouth, Mass., called the show “decent for me, but not comparable to the selling blitz we had at Rhinebeck.” In addition to a selection of decorative objects, he sold a 33-drawer apothecary, grained frame with lettered draw-fronts. A pair of Argand lamps and a Salem, Mass., girandole were shown on a grained mantle with turned columns on the front.
Barrett Menson of Townshend, Vt., had lots of good things to say about the show, including “real happy.” This remark grew from a nice list of sales, including a carousel horse from a Coney Island steeplechase ride, a hanging cupboard, a number of pieces of art work, and a selection of smalls. One of the rdf_Descriptions he had been saving for the show, a lake view of Newport, N.H., oil on canvas by V.C. Dumand, Nineteenth Century, remained unsold.
A one-board tap table with drawer and cherrywood base, traces of old red and the original brass pull, was shown in the booth of Carol Wajtkun Antiques of Preston, Conn. Other furniture included an Eighteenth Century two-drawer blanket chest with bracket base.
Another pine blanket chest, dated 1748, old red surface, from South East Massachusetts, was shown by Brian Cullity of Sagamore, Mass. Other furniture included a Classical pier table, probably Boston, with the original marble top and casters.
Cothren House of Lanark, Ill., set up a buttery/pantry in the booth, a piece complete with five three-board shelves inside. It was taken out of the Capt Roode House in Griswold, Conn., circa 1740, and was in its “never painted” condition. A portion of the booth was taken up by a nice country step-back cupboard, two pieces, with the original white paint. It dated from the Nineteenth Century and had glass doors on top and two short drawers over two doors in the lower portion.
Ken and Susan Scott of Malone, N.Y., experienced a very good show, selling an Amish quilt, a still life pastel, wood finial, pieces of stoneware, and lots of accessories. “We sold no furniture,” Ken said on closing day, and prepared to pack out a jelly cupboard with one door and a long drawer on top, a country sofa in pine, 76 inches long, and a stand with a game board carved into the top, black and green painted. “Our bow back Windsor armchair got lots of interest, but no takers,” he said, allowing how people had turned the chair over time and again since the start of the show. “It is completely right, and it sits well,” he said.
“No furniture, but a good number of sales including two in the last ten minutes of the show,” said David Weiss of Mill River, Mass., making it, “OK for me.” One of the final sales was a landscape of the Connecticut River. Unsold furniture included a slant lid desk in cherrywood, French feet, old finish and simple fitted interior, and a maple chest-on-chest with bracket base, original pierced brasses, circa 1780, and of New England origin. A banner weathervane drew lots of attention during the show, “but it is still here,” David commented.
A Sheraton chest of drawers, cherrywood with tigering effect on the drawers fronts, turned legs, scalloped base, circa 1810-20, was in the booth of Jane Domenico of Jamesville, N.Y. Very good paint remained on an early American Railway Express sign that dated from the late Nineteenth Century. Claude and Sharon Baker of 1848 House, Hamilton, Ohio, offered a shoe-foot chair table from the Hudson Valley, Eighteenth Century, and a circa 1790-1810 New England one-drawer blanket chest in old blue paint and cotter pin hinges. They displayed a good example of the Dexter Ethan Allen horse weathervane, zinc head, dating from the late Nineteenth Century.
Sylvan Hill Antiques of Grafton, Vt., was the only dealer in the show with a booth filled with English furniture and decorative accessories. Included were an assembled set of eight Windsor armchairs, six low back and two high back, circa 1850, shown around an oval gate leg table, circa 1690. A potboard dresser with rack and the original cup-hooks dated circa 1770 and was of small size.
“This show beats my best Riverside by three times,” Judd Gregory of Dorset, Vt., said, adding, “all of the best things went right out including the large painted step back cupboard with lamb’s tongue columns that was on the center of the back wall.” Judd has done this show from the very first year and he was among the few who moved furniture. Other sales included a New York chest, wing chair, and two-drawer work table. A painted blanket box, probably from South Shaftsbury, Vt., circa 1825, was attributed to the Matteson family according to the form of the cutout base and the grain painting.
A nice selection of furniture was shown by Michael Regan Antiques, Greensboro, N.C., including a Federal slant front desk of small size, New England, circa 1800; a walnut dressing table with trifid feet, original brasses, circa 1790, Piedmont, N.C.; and a Connecticut shoreline two-drawer blanket chest with the original brasses and finish, circa 1750.
A Federal Hepplewhite painted one-drawer writing desk, New England, circa 1790-1810, red paint with fabric inset, 24- by 19-inch top, was shown by Rathbun Gallery of Wakefield, R.I. A painted and feather decorated three-piece wardrobe/cupboard in pine had the original red paint, circa 1850, measuring 73½ inches high, 40¼ inches wide and 15¼ inches deep. Good color was shown on a pair of decorated fancy Windsor side chairs, grained seats, fruit decoration on the top back splat, with a Vermont attribution.
One of the largest weathervanes in the show was the running horse, 40 inches long with zinc head, displayed by Rutabaga Pie Antiques of Chesterfield, Mo. Furniture in this booth included a Queen Anne maple porringer-top tea table, probably Rhode Island, circa 1750-70, with splay legs and large overhand, and a Chippendale chest of drawers, Connecticut or Massachusetts, cherrywood with applied bracket base and exceptionally high feet. It dates circa 1770-80.
Don and Pat Clegg of Abbottstown, Penn., called the show “pretty good,” indicating that no furniture sold but game boards, lighting, wall shelves, carved birds and other small made the show worthwhile. Erik Wohl of Pomfret, Conn., echoed the “no furniture” sales, but indicated that lots of small things, including wrought iron pieces and pearlware, kept him going. John Long of Mineral, Va., has had an end booth at this show for many years and came with a large inventory ranging from a hooked rug depicting a deer standing on a mountain top, to a three-board bench table from Pennsylvania. “I might be getting too old for all this moving about,” he said, and on top of that, “the show was not strong for me.” We expect to see John in the same spot again next August.
Manchester Antiques probably came the shortest distance to do the show and offered a set of four Windsor side chairs, yellow with a vase of flowers on the back, branded “A. Howe,” a maker from Northfield and Brookfield, Vt. A sold sign was attached to a framed album quilt that had a central motif of tulips, birds and pinwheels.
A set of Shaker presentation boxes was shown by American Decorative Arts, Canaan, N.H., four pieces that had not been shown before. These finger boxes, complete with the maker’s tool, were in chrome yellow, salmon, chestnut, and nut yellow. Also out for the first time was a set of six #3 Shaker straight chairs, Mt. Lebanon, N.Y., circa 1890-1900.
While setting up “I drank four bottles of water in three hours,” Bette Wolf said, noting that Monday was “as hot as they come.” She and husband Melvyn, Flint, Mich., showed close to four hundred pieces of pewter including a tankard by Herny Will, New York City; a chalice by Peter Young, Albany; and a well-formed Boston tankard. “In the first fifteen minutes of the sale, we sold two important pieces of pewter and people continued to purchase things right through Thursday,” she said. All in all, about forty pieces were sold during the run of the show.
An eye glass sign was sold from the booth of Otto and Susan Hart, Arlington, Vt., who married recently. A large green-painted chandelier hung in one corner of the booth and a clerk’s desk of Maine origin, circa 1830, was grain painted. A New England tap table dating from the early Eighteenth Century, two-board top, 78 inches long, 40 inches wide and 28 inches high, and a three-drawer blanket chest with untouched old red surface, late Eighteenth Century, were shown by Antiques at Hillwood farms, Pecatonica, Ill.
Jim Burk, manager/dealer from Pennsylvania, was one of the main attractions in the booth of Jason Dixon of Lancaster, Penn. “I came up to give Jason a hand with his booth, not to scout out the area to start another show, as some people think,” he said. Jason offered a plant stand in yellow paint to “end all plant stands,” a fanciful example that came out of either Pennsylvania or New York State. In the center of the booth was a Massachusetts shoe-foot chair table, Eighteenth century, with old blue surface.
The evening after Riverside opened Jim Burk was seen passing through the lobby of the Holiday Inn, headed for the elevator with a chair under his arm. “One of the best Lancaster Country Windsors I have ever seen,” he said as he entered the elevator. The person next to the controls asked people, “What floor,” and Jim Burk replied “What floor is Charlie Santore on?”
Ray Cushing of Rockport, Maine, had a grand show and sales included a grained cupboard, two paintings, a hooked rug and a hanging cupboard. Kelly and Jenner of Sherman kept the “no furniture” routine alive, but John said, “We have sold a boat load of smalls. Among the important things sold was a pair of triple glazed hounds, 14 inches tall, Lancaster County, “best guess.”
Dee Wilhelm of Grand Blanc, Mich., was among the “very happy,” with sales of lighting, hanging corner cupboard, sheet iron sailboat sign, and a New England two-drawer blanket chest in old blue paint. Windle’s Antiques of Wilmington, Del., sold a good number of things making for a “very good show.” Sales included a set of 27 drawers, once built-in to a country store in upstate New York, an adjustable iron candlestand and a redhead decoy by Jack Whitley.
“Tuesday was good, Wednesday was better and Thursday was OK,” Ray Van Gelder of Conway, Mass., said of the Riverside Show. Sales included a Pembroke table in cherrywood, a Log Town trade sign, lots of Staffordshire and miniatures, and a hooked rug with trees and birds, an example ray called “small but precious.”
David and Karen Olson of Newburgh, N.Y., were doing the show for the second year and had a large end booth at the main entrance to the show. “It was really wonderful for us,” David said, reeling off a list of sold objects that included three ship watercolors, a Chippendale side chair, several pieces of decorated stoneware, Hudson Valley Staffordshire, brass andirons, Queen Anne sticks and a couple of burl bowls. “Guess that is enough to give an indication of how well the show went for us. We found people looking for just the right thing and when they found it, they bought it,” David said.
“I really sold off the walls,” Howard Graff of Colt Barn Antiques said, noting, “People came rushing in, pointed at something on the wall, said to hold it, and continued on.” Howard mentioned that it was like the good old days and the show was “excellent” for him. His table of smalls, including many cast-iron pieces, looked sparse after the opening of the show and replacements had to be set out for the opening on Wednesday. Trade signs disappeared from the walls, hooked rugs sold well, and an Empire lyre base table in white paint found a new home. “All of my cast-iron animals sold, except for my blue painted frog,” he said, “but I was warned that blue frogs were hard sellers before the show opened.”
It appears that the combination of the old and a hand full of new dealers met with customer approval, and there seems to be some magic in the late Tuesday afternoon opening. In any case, Riverside was a crowd pleaser and picking up momentum each year.
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