Published: June 5, 2012
For many people, Memorial Day weekend is more than time for family gatherings, picnics, trips to the mountains, or time to go to the beach. It is also Rhinebeck weekend, as it has been for the past 35 years, a time to visit this ever-popular antiques fair at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds in search of some sort of treasure to add to their collection.
And if there is one thing Rhinebeck has to offer, it is variety, furnished by 145 exhibitors with booths filled with all manner of things. Most of the objects fit into the definition of “antique,” while a good number of things reflect the Twentieth Century, which has an ever-increasing following, especially among the younger collectors. Safe to say, most everyone should be able to find something at Rhinebeck, and they do, as witnessed by the number of dealers who report good to adequate sales over the two-day period.
The show opened at 10 am on Saturday, May 26, to a crowd that rivaled the gate last spring. The morning was busy, when most of the sales were made, but “things slowed down in the afternoon, mostly because of the heat,” according to Bruce Garrett, manager of the antiques fair. He added, “Sunday’s attendance was down a bit, but everything went well considering the economic climate of the antiques business.” The show closed at 5 pm on Saturday and at 4 pm on Sunday.
Of the 145 dealers in the show, 15 were new this year and a few returned after a year or two absent.
Talk about variety; witness the display of Susan & Rod Bartha Antiques, Riverwoods, Ill. A 5-foot-long fountain pen, once an advertising piece, was shown on the back wall of the booth directly over an 8-foot-long stuffed alligator. Nearby, seven cast iron ducks were in a row, once part of a carnival shooting gallery, and an apple picking ladder measured about 10 feet long. The framework, or skeleton, of a one-person kayak was mounted high on the back wall.
Twelve early and colorful pinball games hung on the wall in the booth of Your Grandma Had It, Brooklyn, N.Y., including Kick-Ball, Lucky Strike, Wild Cargo, Bank Shot and Poosh-m-up.
Rhinebeck regulars Judith and James Milne of New York City offered two patio sets of furniture, each with a table and four chairs. A Rochester Iron Works rooster weathervane was at the back of the booth, and on the left wall hung a very large carnival game wheel with a bright blue painted star in the center. A pair of cast iron eagles perched on balls, retaining some of the original painted surface, were flat on the back as they were probably once attached to the side of a building.
A real eye-catcher was a collection of 104 colorfully painted tops, arranged in a set of white-painted shelves and hung on the wall in the booth of Lost Found Art, Stamford, Conn. “It took about three years to put this collection together,” Mark Indursky said. Other collections, all tastefully arranged either on stands or specially designed frames, included 12 bicycle seats, nine baseball gloves, 15 sling-shots, about a dozen tin horns and several pairs of croquet sticks. A row of dog tags hung on a brass rack, and a grouping of round brushes was displayed on wooden racks. “There is nothing I won’t collect and put together,” Mark said, and his booth certainly proves the point.
Dealer Bill Lohrman made several trips to the Lost Art booth, each time checking out the collection of tops. “I think it is a great collection, well displayed, and I have about 40 of them, not even half way to this collection,” he said.
Knollwood Antiques, South Bridge, Mass., showed a hand-forged steel Windsor-form armchair with matte gunmetal finish, and displayed on stands was a pair of whippets, circa 1950‱960, handcarved wood, gesso, bronze and gold leaf, measuring 30½ inches.
Mary and Josh Steenburgh of Pike, N.H., had an early set of six metal stools that probably came out of a soda fountain, and a large sign in the form of an arrow pointed the way to “Snack Bar.” A large wooden wheel, fashioned as a gear, measured about 6 feet in diameter and was a foundry pattern for a grist mill. “I found this mold in Troy, N.Y., and brought it home strapped on the top of my minivan,” Josh said. When not in the role of an antiques dealer, he is in the auction business and noted, “We have ten good sales planned for this summer alone, and nine of them are onsite sales.”
Kocian DePasqua Antiques of Woodbury, Conn., showed a Sixteenth Century French monastery settle in simple Tudor form with rare medieval “linenfold” panels from the Eliot Pratt House in New Milford, Conn. A large Hutchinson hooked rug, circa 1930, featured “This motley crew&•
A yellow painted firkin of extra large size was at the front of the booth of William E. Lohrman, New Paltz, N.Y. The surface matched a coat rack with wooden pegs on the back wall, and a selection of watering cans, some with paint, was stacked in a corner. Several pieces of decorated stoneware were offered, as was a gray/green painted one-door jelly cupboard with cutout base.
Bridges Over Time, Walden, N.Y., had several tables, including an oval-shaped example and an American iron and glass table dating circa 1920s. A teak console featured stone inlay.
Stone Block Antiques of Vergennes, Vt., offered a nice Nineteenth Century sawbuck table with red painted base and scrubbed three-board top with rounded corners, found in a Kearsarge, N.H., camp. It measured 9 feet long and 3½ feet wide. Michael and Lucinda Seward of Pittsford, Vt., shared a booth with Bob and Janet Sherwood, Cambridge, N.Y., and both dealers offered a dollhouse, one dating from the Nineteenth Century, yellow paint with dormers, from New York State, the other larger, circa 1870, with porch and open back showing interior details such as a circular staircase. It, too, was painted yellow with green trim.
Several trade signs were in the booth of Robert M. Conrad Antiques, Yeagertown, Penn., including one offering “Hot Dog on Toasted Roll †20 Cents”, and another for the “Paxton Pub,” complete with an overflowing beer stein centered on crossed pool cues.
Michael Haskins Antiques, Palmyra, N.Y., hung two early barometers on the back wall of the booth, near a diorama of a three-masted ship at sea with wooden sails. In keeping with Memorial Day, an Uncle Sam stood ready to hold a mailbox by the side of the road.
A large stretcher-base table with shaped hardwood top, Continental, circa 1700, was at the front of the booth of Jan and John Maggs Antiques, Conway, Mass., and an oak desk box with two interior drawers, original butterfly hinges, was of English origin and dated circa 1680.
A large graphic printing of Uncle Sam, red, white and blue, circa 1930, hung in the booth of Denny L. Tracey of Ann Arbor, Mich., and a three-tier copper eagle finial was of Michigan origin. A selection of early painted fish lures was shown, along with stands made for display.
Hartman Antiques, Wallkill, N.Y., showed a Thonet-style bench, a three-tier wire birdcage on stand, and an +early drying umbrella rack, while Nancy Prince, Portland, Maine, had an Eighteenth Century tambour desk in bird’s-eye maple and a Nineteenth Century walnut and pine Maine sofa.
Melissa Bourque Antiques, Garrison, N.Y., offered an Eighteenth Century stretcher base, splay leg tavern table with birch base, two-board top, and a circa 1760‱770 Queen Anne, New Hampshire, four-drawer chest in birch with finely carved cyma skirt on the bottom. It measured 36 inches wide.
Karen and Paul Wendhiser, Ellington, Conn., had a running horse weathervane with zinc head, a sheet copper plant stand depicting the four seasons on the sides by R.J. Horner & Co., New York City, and an Indian club carved with a moose head, Indian head and jumping fish. A late Nineteenth Century transom featured a hand painted center, with straw hat, rake, flowers and bird, surrounded by stained glass, that came from a home in Hartford, Conn.
A child’s bench in wood, red painted, was shown by Missouri Plain Folk, Sikeston, Mo., and a large trade sign advertised “Feed,” while another sign, blue and white, was for “Wallpaper.” A gathering of small, woodcarved and painted comic figures, including Mutt, were probably used as garden or lawn ornaments at one time.
Nine pieces of blue flower and bird decorated stoneware were shown by Mad River Antiques, North Granby, Conn., along with a blue painted wooden bin marked on the front “Hollings Worth Patent, May 4, 1852.” Judging from the weathered surface on three cast squirrels, they must have spent most of the time outdoors.
Lana Smith of Louisville, Ky., had a colorful string of boat bumpers and a pair of whimsical horse collages, yellow horses, by Beardsley, 1880‱890, while Charles and Barbara Adams of South Yarmouth, Mass., had a Sheraton spider-leg candlestand in maple and tiger maple, a selection of early bottles and their usual collection of Bennington.
Saddle River, N.J., dealer Richard Kyllo had numerous pieces of furniture, including a New England Nineteenth Century wall cupboard with a six-light door, a Hudson Valley jelly cupboard in green paint dating circa 1800, and a circa 1850 Maine dressing table, two tiers with decorated backsplash and turned legs.
Dennis Raleigh, Wiscasset, Maine, had a couple of pairs of figural cast iron andirons, Indians and a lighthouse, and a cast iron fireback with a fox head sticking out from tall grasses. Uncle Sam, “Who Needs You,” was painted on the back of a banjo in patriotic colors. And it looked like the setting for a carnival in the booth of Joshua Lowenfels, New York City, with a colorful face of a clown bursting through a red and yellow hoop, with a collection of nine ball-toss dogs lined up on a shelf below.
Passport of Salisbury, Conn., was ready for the gardener with a selection of cast iron urns, two pairs and several singles, along with a 55-inch-diameter clock face marked “DREVON” dating from the early Twentieth century.
Victor Weinblatt of South Hadley, Mass., said, “We had one of our best Rhinebecks in years, as we offered many fresh-to-the-market things.” He mentioned among objects sold an articulated mannequin with tin-sheathed limbs dating from the Nineteenth Century, a mid-Nineteenth Century sideboard in the original red surface, an assortment of trade signs, a collection of six circa 1920 business motivational illustrations, a circa 1930 folk art figural flower-form lamp, and “our coolest piece of folk art in years,” a circa 1910 nearly life-size wood and metal butler in a red jacket and yellow vest with a white porcelain apron that lifts up to become a bar table. It had two tin doors underneath and a panel at the bowtie that slides down to reveal liquor bottle and glasses. It retained the original surface and was outfitted with wheels for easy moving. It came from the personal collection of a legendary Virginia dealer.
Marie Miller, Dorset, Vt., had a circa 1880 green painted pie safe with pierced tin panels, one long drawer over two doors in front, and a cherry and tiger maple Federal two-over-four chest, New York State, circa 1840. And, as usual, racks and stacks of quilts were available.
Jenkinstown Antiques, New Paltz, N.Y., had two Hudson Valley pieces of furniture, a large kas and a country linen press. A rare Val-Kill Eleanor Roosevelt Canterbury (a copy of one is in Jefferson’s Monticello), was offered, as was a Nineteenth Century two-part gate, iron, with floral and vine decoration.
A set of six fruit decorated, half-spindle Windsor side chairs was from Lancaster County, Penn., and a green painted paper bag holder, about 30 inches tall, was from a country store. A Chippendale slant lid desk on stand in maple and pine was from the Eighteenth Century and measured 30 inches high, 30½ inches wide and 18 inches deep.
Daniel and Karen Olson, from just down the road in Newburgh, N.Y., had a booth filled with furniture, including a mid-Nineteenth Century sawbuck table, American, with two-board top and measuring 7 feet 11 inches long, and a circa 1780 maple and birch flattop New Hampshire highboy.
Rhinebeck Antiques Fair is generally a three-times-a-year event, but at this point no decision has been made about Summer Magic. “We have proposals out right now regarding air conditioning for Building E, which will have to be presented to the fairground’s management,” Bruce Garrett said, “for we are not going to run a July show without air conditioning in both of the buildings we would be using.” The other building already is air conditioned.
A decision will be made in the near future and published in this paper. The fall show on Columbus weekend will go on as scheduled.
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