Published: August 1, 2000
Rhinebeck Antiques Fair Attendance Is Summer Magic
RHINEBECK, N.Y – Records are set to be broken, although many stand for years and years. Not true in Rhinebeck, where Summer Magic, the one-day version of the two-day show which is staged every spring and fall, easily outdistanced the 1999 gate total. “We had just over 500 people more this summer than last,” Jimi Barton, show manager said. He added, “We noticed by our mailing list that some of the people had not been to a show in Rhinebeck for the past four or five years and this July many came from quite a distance.” According to questionnaires filled out at the show, a good number of the visitors came from the mid-west area and were on vacation.
When asked how business was in general on the floor, Jimi Barton mentioned that “there did not seem to be the large middle of the road group, but dealers either had a real good show or a poor one.” Dealers are asked by the management to turn in forms at the end of the show which rate the business activity of the show, customer response to the booths, etc. This summer 62 percent of the dealers posted excellent shows and this number was supported by the accountable pieces of furniture and large rdf_Descriptions that left the buildings. Management runs a truck up and down the hill from a storage area near the parking lot to the show, transporting all rdf_Descriptions too large to carry. This method is necessary as the fairgrounds does not allow any customer vehicles around the building once the show has opened. “We made more trips this year than last July, moving 240 rdf_Descriptions down the hill for pick-up,” Jimi said.
Mario Pollo of Port Ewen, N.Y. was among the high percent of successful exhibitors, selling both furniture, including a step-back painted cupboard, and many accessories. He offered a set of six cane seat Sheraton side chairs, along with an interesting arrangement of drawers, 22 in number, and grain painted. The 1940’s came alive in the booth of Mark Moody of Shohola, Pa., with the offering of a small bar in red and white vinyl with a Formica top. In contrast a yellow-painted dressing table with black decoration, high backsplash and two tiers of drawers, dated 1860.
Don and Kay Buck from Millington, N.J. noted that “We had a great show, saw a great crowd, and had fun doing Summer Magic.” Among the pieces of furniture which left their booth was a Windsor fanback side chair, painted black, circa 1810-40; a New England store piece in mustard paint, two drawers and one long drawer, 33 inches high; and a one-door hanging cupboard in green paint, 30 inches high. A wooden baseball dart board in red, mustard, yellow and black on a bittersweet ground, 36 inches square, was one of the first rdf_Descriptions sold form the booth. Kay Buck noted that “we could have sold our trade sign any number of times,” referring to a sign with black letters on a blue ground which read “Mrs Quick’s Home Grown Fruit.”
Raccoon Creek off Bridgeport, N.J. always has cases loaded with nice accessories and this time out was no exception. Pottery, wood carvings, painted tole, small baskets, and miniatures were among the rdf_Descriptions offered, along with a nice selection of redware and spatter. A step-back cupboard, with two doors in the top section and two in the lower, was against the righ side of the booth, and an interesting Victorian heart, constructed in great detail in hair, was glass covered and hung on the back wall.
“We are happy dealers,” Sanford Levy of Jenkinstown Antiques, New Paltz, N.Y. said a few days after the show closed. He added that with his partner, Charles Glasner, they were active all day long, selling a good number of baskets, lots of “smalls,” several paintings, and among the pieces of furniture, an apothecary cupboard on chest. “We had a nice mantle which sold within three minutes of the show opening,” he said, adding that “we love to do one-day shows and it is great being in Rhinebeck. Jimi makes it a very comfortable show in which to exhibit.”
A tablet-back Windsor rocking chair with the original paint and decoration, circa 1850, by V. Swint, Lancaster County, Pa., was shown in the booth of Thomas and Julia Barringer of Stockton, N.J. Old park paint, in good shape, decorated their carousel horse a circa 1910 figure attributed to Frederick Heyn of Germany. Near-by J.D. Querry, Martinsburgh, Pa., had his usual case of small scientific rdf_Descriptions and his collection of canes, which had handles in the form of carved birds, hands, ducks, and intricate ivory carved examples. A brass table telescope by G. Robson was complete with the original box.
“This is the farthest east we go to do show,” Melvyn Wolf of Flint, Mich., said, noting that “it is well worth the trip as we sell many pieces of pewter, meet new customers, and have a grand time in Rhinebeck.” His wife Bette added that “we were busy all day and sold more pieces of pewter that we did last year.” They carry an inventory of more than 300 pieces of pewter, two-thirds of which is by American makers. Probably the most important pieces sold in Rhinebeck were an Eighteenth Century Queen Anne teapot, American, and a selection of American marked beakers. The Wolfs have been dealers for the past 25 years and are long time members of the Pewter Collector’s Club of America.
Lighting comes in all forms, and few examples are overlooked in the collection shown by Pat and Chris Whittle. These dealers from Ithaca, N.Y. showed seven pairs of brass candlesticks, pierced tin lanterns, Betty lamps and rush lamps, and a number of hog scrapper sticks. Among the sampler hung was a work done circa 1820, New York Quakers, with a honey suckle border. New to the show this summer was The Fishing Room, West Cornwall, Conn., with all manner of fishing gear and related rdf_Descriptions. Rods, creels, plugs, and carved and painted fish were shown, along with an impressive collection of 54 flies, all made by Frances Stearns to catch Atlantic salmon.
George Harding, who has done both Summer Magic shows, noted that “it was really great and I sold very well.” A number of wood working tools, a ship model, two landscape oil on canvas works dating from the mid-Nineteenth Century, and a pair of lead garden urns with covers were among the things sold by the Wynnewood, Pa. dealer. Pam and Gene Martine of Greenwich, Conn., who never seem to think that their booth often has a sparse look, really did this time. The eight or ten rdf_Descriptions offered were highlighted by a wonderful birdcage, three floors of architectural beauty, nine arched windows and two arched doors on the front, and painted white with green trim.
John Robinson of Williamstown, Mass., had a good show, noting that “I sold several pieces of furniture and many smaller rdf_Descriptions. It was busy and very good for me.” Not sold was a nice hutch table in pine with red wash, small size, which had its start in Hamilton, N.Y. A colorful rdf_Descriptions in the corner of the booth was a red wool parka decorated with Eskimo dogs and sled, fur fringed hood, with a Quebec and Labrador Handicrafts label.
Joseph Collins, Cobalt, Conn., leaves little room to navigate in his booth, as it is filled with all kinds of furniture and interesting accessories. It is a booth which draws a fast crowd on opening day and among the furniture was an Empire chest, four drawers, circa 1820-30, of small size, and beside it was a Baltimore federal chest, tiger maple drawers, original finish, circa 1815-30. A French chaise with red and white stripes, circa 1920, lit up the center of the booth of the Ivy Urn, Greenwich, Conn. Two cast iron plant stands were also offered, painted white, each capable of holding six pots and standing just over six feet tall.
Elephant bamboo, circa 1940, was the tag on a pair of chairs, a sofa and matching table in the booth of David Ramsay of Limerick, Maine. The set sold at the show, but a large version of Thomas the Train, with room for a couple of kids, mid-Twentieth Century, is still available. A painted sheet metal weathervane showing a horse pulling a plow, guided by a farmer, was in the center of the booth of Holden Antiques, Sherman, Conn., and a stack of leather suitcases were ready for packing. An American Queen Anne side chair with bold turned stretchers, ball front feet, circa 1790-1810, original condition, was among the several chairs in the booth.
Antiques and A.R.T. of Portsmouth, N.H. had a decorative painted porch screen door, Victorian, a pair of cast iron andirons in the owl form, and a number of tack room saddle holders, cast iron, with the original painted surface. They were all mounted on one wall and Dick Costa mentioned that “few people have ever seen them before and don’t know what they are.
Blanket chests were shown by Jan and Jahn Maggs, Conway, Mass., both of New England origin. One was Queen Anne, circa 1750, with two working drawers and three fake ones in the upper section, while the other was a one drawer chest, two fake drawers, with the original red painted surface. James and Judy Milne filled the back wall of their booth with a large Adirondack painting of a lake scene with a series of seven hand carved ducks in various forms of flight attached to parts of the picture. A set of eight gameboards was on the left wall, each board depicting a different game of nursery rhyme.
“There were lots of new faces at this show, and a very buying crowd for me,” John Gould said, noting that he sold a harvest table, two extension tables, a sideboard, some homespun sheets, and a horse weathervane. He added that “the minute you arrive in Rhinebeck Jimi’s staff is attentive and most helpful, and that lasts right up until the time you pull out of the fairgrounds.” John is known for his gilt frames and many sell at each show. “I maintain an inventory of between two and three hundred at all times,” he said.
There always seems to be a collection of one thing or another in the booth of The Dutch House, Claverack, N.Y. This time the back wall of the booth was filled with wooden forks, about 25 of them, of various sizes and uses. Some were designed for brewery use, others for hay, and the tines numbered between two and six. A large farm table dating from the Nineteenth Century, Kentucky origin, red painted base and scrubbed top, took up a good portion of the floor space in the booth of Erik Wokl, Pomfret, Conn. The table was set with service for eight, with the original cutlery box available.
A circa 1860 wedding wreath pattern quilt, New Jersey origin, red flowers, yellow centers and green foliage, all on a white background, dominated the back wall in the booth of Bill and Elaine Koster of Clinton Corners, N.Y. A detailed family record, watercolor on paper with flags, flowers, and birds, was signed verso W.A. Turner, Fairmount, Ill. A pair of cast aluminum lamp posts, about seven feet tall with sailboats on the top and roping for the bulb holder, painted, sold from the booth of Jef and Teri Steingrebe of Bradfrod, N.H. Victorian lawn chairs, painted white, a pair of hitching posts, and several pots for flowers were also shown.
For those with a large family, the two-board top table in the booth of Gloria Lonergan, Mendham, N.J. would be just the ticket. It had a scrubbed top, turned legs, dated from the Nineteenth Century, and was 8½ feet long. Decorative objects included a gameboard with the ace of each of the four suits pictured, and a folky black rag doll from Strausberg, Pa.
“This was my first year in Rhinebeck and I loved every minute of it. And I sold seven paintings as well,” Arlene Berman of New York City said. A 1936 oil on canvas of The Swordsman by William H. Campbell was her most popular picture and could have been sold to any number of buyers. A primitive work by Vestie Davis of Coney Island was sold, as was a WPA painting by James Carland, circa 1940, depicting sailboats.
Paul T. and Karen M. Wendhiser of Ellington, Conn., offered a six-foot tall set of apothecary drawers with brass knobs and an open shelf at both the top and the bottom, along with a Classical revival maple and mahogany veneer bureau with two glove drawers over one full drawer, and three recessed drawer beneath. It was American, circa 1840. “We like Rhinebeck because it is such an easy show to do,” Paul said, “and Jimi is a great promoter. He does not wait for problems to happen, but goes about the floor checking to see how things are going and how he can make it better.”
“It was the best bottle cap chain I have ever seen and I had a good number of people who wanted it,” Howard Graff of Colt Barn Antiques, Townshend, Vt. said. The same multiple buying interest was shown in his painted clown shooting gallery target and the lighting rod with glass center and four stars. A collection of three pieces of cast iron was also sold, including a large pot with three hoofed feet, a cake plate and a dish. Two of the three large pickle crocks sold, as did a harvest table which left for Philadelphia. “It was a super show, but then that is generally what happens at Rhinebeck,” Howard said.
Jan and Scott Filar of Mad Parade traveled to Rhinebeck from Chicago for the show, and “it went very well” Scott said several days later. It was their first time at Summer Magic and Jan said that “some of our things are not easy sells as they do not fit into the scheme of decorating for most people.” However, an oversized fountain pen went to a very happy lady who asked to have the piece on hold until she found her husband for him to take a look. Apparently he liked what he saw, and the pen has a new owner. A small marble clock face, an auger used in coal mining, a table made from spools, a giant letter “F” in red painted metal were among the rdf_Descriptions which did not return to the Windy City. Scott mentioned a complete picnic set dating from the 1940’s, all packaged in the shape of a suitcase, which one couple purchased to give as a wedding gift. What did not sell, to the surprise of the Filars, was a vintage rowing machine dating from the turn of the century and of cast iron with oak oars and a wood carved seat.
Those interested in helping to break the attendance record in 2001, mark down July 21 when Summer Magic will again take over the Rhinebeck Fairgrounds. That same magic which Rhinebeck seems to maintain will be in full swing this fall when 193 dealers move into town on October 7-8. And it’s anybody’s guess what will show up in those booths. But then, that’s Rhinebeck.
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