Published: September 28, 2004
Coming off a couple of less-than-stellar years from a sales vantage, the one-day Wilton DAR antiques show, conducted Sunday, September 19, was a shining star for the many of the 80-plus dealers in attendance. Show manager Marilyn Gould commented that the gate was up overall in comparison to last year, and that rdf_Descriptions sold well in a wide variety of specialties.
The show had a different look than it has had in previous years, with several exhibitors making note of those who were either not displaying there or those who were new to the show. Gould commented that several dealers had dropped from the roster for a variety of reasons, the largest factor being health and personal reasons. At least 15 new faces were at the show, including a handful that have never participated in an MCG Antiques Promotions event. The show was also smaller, with about a half-dozen fewer dealers, which allowed for a more open format.
Change is not always a bad thing, however, and the makeover that Wilton received for this particular show seemed beneficial. There appeared to be more affordable rdf_Descriptions with both a good country and decorative look, and many of these were the pieces that sported red dots and sold tags.
While not all the reports from Wilton were glowing, the majority of the dealers there seemed to be selling.
“I will tell you,” commented Gould, “that the comments from customers were really wonderful. They loved the way the show looked. I was trying to make the show more affordable and the customers reacted well to it, several mentioned that they liked the fact that there were less expensive things to buy.”
Russ Goldberger of Rye, N.H., reported more than 15 rdf_Descriptions sold from his booth, including a pair of Mason decoys, a barber pole, a watercolor theorem, a Parcheesi board, a carved Bellamy-style eagle wall plaque and a pair of sconces.
“This was a very strong show for us,” stated the dealer. “Retail folks came and showed a lot of energy,” he said. “I saw more enthusiasm this time around, and it seemed to me there was some genuine interest and people were pulling the trigger. Let’s just hope this bodes well for the fall.”
“We had a very good show,” commented Stephen Rowe, who occupied a spacious front booth right at the entrance to the show. “We sold nine pieces of furniture” starting with an Empire scroll arm saber leg armchair at the 9 am opening. The dealer reported making sales throughout the day, with his last being a pair of English turned leg chairs that moved from the booth just 15 minutes prior to closing.
Other furniture to move from Rowe’s booth included a country sofa, a mahogany center table, a pair of Nineteenth Century upholstered slipper chairs, a French style marquetry stand and a black and gold decorated side table. Rowe also reported the sale of “paintings, a good wall shelf a pewter tankard and a pair of large tramp art frames.”
Rowe commented that while returning from a delivery at 4 pm, “There was a steady stream of customers going in, but also leaving the show with purchases. The crowd was great; hopefully, this will be a new trend for the fall.”
Also experiencing a retail surge in business were George and Debbie Spiecker of Fine Americana, North Hampton, N.H. The dealers reported no sales during early buying and no sales throughout the morning. The afternoon came alive for the dealers, however, as one couple that had gone home to do some measuring returned and bought a Chippendale corner cupboard. A short time later the Spieckers sold a Chippendale flame birch oxbow slant front desk with ball and claw feet, followed by a Hepplewhite chest and a tiger maple one-drawer stand.
“It ended up being a pretty good show for us,” said George. “We didn’t sell a single picture or any folk art, just furniture.” Spiecker also commented that he was particularly pleased with the fact that three of his four major sales were made to new customers.
Eaton stated that his clock was a rare paint decorated example with elaborate fretwork and a stipple hood, a false mahogany grained case door with freehand Greek key around the edge, and Riley Whiting wooden works. The clock came with the family history, “from the time it was purchased in 1825 from Whiting right up to being bought at a garage sale 15 years ago, with a table saw, for $100.”
Brownstien’s folky portraits, in wonderful paint decorated frames and executed by Jonathan Adams Bartlett of Rumford Center, Maine, also sold to a retail client. Eaton commented that he felt this Wilton, in contrast to past shows, was “more of a retail show with good local area retail sales. My sense was that for a one-day Wilton there were more expensive things sold than usual.”
In regard to the number of strong retail sales, Eaton commented, “I hope it is a good sign, a sign for the fall.”
Another dealer with sales recorded throughout the day were North Granby, Conn., dealers Steve and Lorraine German of Mad River Antiques. The dealers reported moving “a lightning rod, a tin lantern and a couple of our better pieces of stoneware.”
“And to prove that it’s never over until it’s over,” said an ecstatic Lorraine German, “while packing out, we got a call on our cell phone from a customer who had bought something from us earlier in the day, telling us that they had decided to buy our Eighteenth Century single-drawer candlestand.”
Thomas Longacre, Marlborough, N.H., reported a “good show,” although he noticed “early buying did not seem to have the regular dealers/customers seen in the past.” The dealer commented that his “best stuff was selling, objects that had merit.” Items that Longacre sold included a “very good unsigned oil on canvas still life, an early Nineteenth Century Dunlap-style candlestand, a copper ship weathervane, a colorful folk art Parcheesi board from New England and two good painted baskets.”
We had a pretty good show,” commented Orient, N.Y., dealer Douglas Constant. “The crowd seemed steady from early buying on into the afternoon.” The dealer reported selling “across the board – silver, furniture and fine art.” Among the rdf_Descriptions to move from his booth was a Queen Ann maple side chair with Spanish feet, a Georgian silver cream pot, circa 1765, and an American helmet form silver cream jug marked “James McMullen Philadelphia,” circa 1814. The dealer also sold a watercolor still life.
Rufus Foshee, Camden, Maine, commented that he had his “first decent show in a long time. There were certainly more knowledgeable people shopping the show,” he said. The dealer stated that he had sold “lots of undecorated creamware, a limited amount of mocha and a little bit of spongeware.”
“The customers that were there,” said the dealer, “at least the ones that came into my booth, whether they bought or not, were interested for the first time in I don’t know how long. Those that didn’t buy were still very interested, and I expect some follow-ups as well.”
“Ron and I had a good show,” stated Willington, Conn., dealer Penny Dionne. The Dionnes offered up a good selection of weathervanes, including a horse and rider, three horse vanes, an eagle and two roosters. They also served up a wonderful selection of redware that included an exceptionally rare Maine harvest jug in green. While most examples of this form have a Continental look, this piece had been fashioned from a traditional jug form with the addition of a second spout. A small slip decorated loaf dish was also on display, as were jars from Connecticut.
“Sales were varied,” stated Penny, “a candlestand and Windsor chair both sold in furniture, a weathervane, portrait, redware, and other smalls. Overall the dealers in my vicinity sold well,” she said. Dionne felt the show’s attendance was “good after the early buyers’ hour. We’ll be back,” she said.
While this show was a benefit for the Daughters of The American Revolution, there was also a benefit being conducted for the Wilton Historical Society. A special silent auction deaccessioning about a dozen rdf_Descriptions from the society’s collection was taking place. Gould explained that the rdf_Descriptions were either not of local interest to the society or were duplicates in their collection. Nearly $5,000 was raised, which, according to Gould, “is just about enough to pay for the significant additions of Norwalk redware and stoneware that they have made to their collection.”
Dealers seemed to be upbeat about the show and were looking forward to the Wilton Holiday show on December 5. The Craftsman show will also be coming up in Wilton with dates for November 13 and 14. For information, 203-762-3525.
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