The march to Manchester may not begin in this scenic mid-Hudson town, but dealers who are still looking for that great object do come to Rhinebeck Antiques Fair’s Summer Magic for the chance to find it. In its fifth year, Summer Magic remains a significant entry in the calendar leading up to New Hampshire’s early August frenzy, and is, by all accounts, a popular, well-attended event.
For one day only, Saturday, July 26, the Dutchess County Fairgrounds hosted a diverse lineup of 180 antiques dealers. They were promoted and supported by the dependable, well-oiled, behind-the-scenes logistical sleights of hand that Jimi Barton and Bruce Garrett have made Rhinebeck hallmarks for dealers and shoppers alike.
The Summer Magic show’s one-day-only format promotes an air of spontaneity and whimsy not seen in most of the so-called “serious” indoor shows. Where else can one find a 1940s Vermont-style canoe by Swiftwater taking up a good portion of booth real estate? At the decidedly eclectic display of By Chance, Preston Hollow, N.Y., the campy canoe vied for shoppers’ attention along with a Seventeenth Century Spanish santo, an 1840s vintage silver baby rattle and a Civil War-era picture frame with crossed swords.
“We definitely had a good show,” said By Chance’s Tony Maltese, who was celebrating his 71st birthday. His partner Ed Acciardi was able to find a carved French folk head during dealer setup the day before the show, which he presented to Maltese as a birthday gift. “For shopping, it’s great,” said Acciardi. In the way of sales, By Chance wrote invoices for a Nineteenth Century dresser in original paint, a rustic 1920s table and chairs with unusual oak slat seats and a Nineteenth Century English weathervane. “Our major sales were to other dealers or interior designers,” said Maltese.
Likewise, George and Sandi Goldring, Essex Junction, Vt., attributed their luck to the fact that they brought a variety of rdf_Descriptions ranging from 1830 to 1960 – “An unusual look for us but obviously a successful one this trip,” said Sandi Goldring. The Goldrings noted that there were probably more lookers than buyers at this year’s show. Still, the couple sold a pair of wood and plaster church pedestals from northern Vermont to a Red Hook, N.Y., woman who was changing the look of her den.
“We sold a Frost pattern hooked rug of a cat family to another New York retail buyer who didn’t know Frost or hooked rugs but loved cats,” said Sandi Goldring. They also sold early hand painted china, a Nineteenth Century tin pull toy cow, an oak gathering basket, a Nineteenth Century paint decorated child’s chair, a Nineteenth Century 50-piece Pennsylvania German handmade and painted wooden village set, and three colorful and graphic mid-Twentieth Century pinball games.
Another fun and lively booth was My Country’s Folk Art, run by Les Goldman of New Windsor, N.Y., which was filled with whimsical and colorful rdf_Descriptions. An early whirligig in the form of a washer woman, for example, was quite large and exhibited uniform paint. A fence post carving from the 1930s-1940s came out of Goldman’s own collection and an interesting trade sign in the shape of a loaf of bread proclaimed “Your Daily Bread.” Displaying a plethora of early signs, Goldman said he had brought at least 50 things that were specially priced at between $200 to $400.
“The Rhinebeck one-day show went very well for me,” said Goldman. “My preshow sales during dealer setup and the sales on Saturday were good. I had two interesting retail sales. I sold an early Twentieth Century barber shop pole from Indiana that had a red and white cylinder made from a piece of stovepipe; the top, bottom and hanging frame were wooden. I also sold a 1930s painted model home that still had its original glass windowpanes. Just a wonderful piece of folk art.”
For Judi Bodnar of The Botanical Bog, Rensselaer, N.Y., the Rhinebeck show office provided more than just the usual dealer support for this particular show. “Our son who is teaching school in the mountains of Belize this summer had left a message with friends that he was very ill and had lost hearing in one ear,” explained Bodnar. “The nearest telephone for him was a three-hour bus ride away from the village, and the clinic there had no otoscope to look in his ear. We were fortunate that our friends, including an infectious disease specialist, were able to help us out and give him proper advice and we appreciate the Rhinebeck show office’s help in alerting us to his telephone call.”
Aside from the family emergency, Bodnar said the show itself was a very pleasant experience. Having generated two sales through advertising prior to leaving for the show, Bodnar said she was delighted to have had very good sales, with nearly all in the medium to high range. “We had alerted our past customers to our participation at Rhinebeck and they accounted for about one-third of this activity,” said Bodnar. Sales of note included a 1750 Knorr folio sunflower, two 1568 folio woodcuts of vegetables, a first edition Audubon, an exceptional framed 1717 folio mandrake, and seven 1780 folio Martinet bird prints to a single buyer. “We were extremely pleased with our space, the ease of moving in and out, the exceptional security provided and friendliness of the Rhinebeck staff,” said Bodnar.
Barbara McLean and Susanne Edgerly, Main Street Antiques, Kent, Conn., showcased American, English and French country antiques, including textiles, furniture, apothecary rdf_Descriptions and decorative accessories. “It was a good for a summer show,” said McLean. “We did as well as we did last summer.” Sales of interest included a Nineteenth Century green painted cupboard, ironstone, an English folk art birdhouse dating from the early Twentieth Century on an Adirondack stand, European textiles, including tablecloths and duvets, an American country quilt and French wire oyster baskets.
Clifford and Nancy Wallach from Brooklyn, N.Y., displayed their collection of tramp art, folk art and Americana. “The show was great for us,” said Clifford Wallach. “It was the best Rhinebeck we have had. We had more than 12 sales and they were divided between new and prior customers.” Wallach said the best sales of the day were a couple of large frames. They also sold several boxes, smaller frames and a clock case. “Interestingly, before we left for the show we sold a piece to a decorator she had seen at the previous May Rhinebeck show,” he said. “We love the Rhinebeck shows for the variety of savvy customers it attracts. At every show we have met people who live or work in our Brooklyn neighborhood and have had multiple sales after each show. We are very happy to include a quality show such as Rhinebeck Summer Magic to our show roster.”
By Chance’s Maltese was not the only one marking a birthday during the show. Anna Emond, founder of Village Braider Antiques, Plymouth, Mass., turned 87 on show day. “Last year, it was the same thing,” said the Emond matriarch, adding that she started the business on August 26, 1970. Once she had agreed with her husband to open up an antiques business, she recalled asking, “What do we call it?” One of her children, young at the time, piped up, “We’re living in the village and you’re the braider, so it should be the Village Braider.”
Contacted after the show, Bruce Emond said he thought “the whole show looked really good,” and that the gate was strong. “We did well, with 25 sales for a one-day show,” he said. Among them, a pair of leather club chairs, a rare Old Hickory bar and the cast-iron antlers.
Jane and Phil Domenico, Jamesville, N.Y., like the Rhinebeck show especially because of the ease of getting in and out. “We drive down Friday and return on Saturday,” said Jane Domenico. “It is always a pleasure to do a show at Rhinebeck because of the way Jimi has everything down to a science.” The Domenicos brought, among a wide range of rdf_Descriptions, a bamboo hall tree with beveled mirror dating from 1880, a late 1900s shelf acquired in New Hampshire with an unusual form and a jelly cupboard in blue paint and cream interior with a scalloped base from about 1830-1840. Characterizing this year’s results as “fair,” Domenico said they remained busy until closing and sold rdf_Descriptions like a blanket chest, tiger maple stool, blue and white quilt and a Schoenhut clown.
Bev and Doug Norwood, whose Spirit of America is based in Timonium, Md., reported their best Rhinebeck ever. The Norwoods said they were gratified by the number of return customers at the show and delighted with the number of new customers. “The show is a joy to do because it is so well marketed and managed by Jimi and Bruce,” said Bev Norwood. “The load in and pack out are virtually stress-free. The dealers are carefully selected, with great collegiality evident.”
Sales included a first quarter, Eighteenth Century theorem on velvet attributed to Maria Merritt of Vermont. “It sold to two very knowledge collectors who recognized its scarcity and quality. We could have sold the theorem several times over and are still receiving inquiries about it,” said Bev Norwood.
An oil on canvas painting featuring three generations enjoying summer at the lake with their frolicking dog also went out the door. “The painting sold to a lovely couple who purchased an early theorem from us at our last Rhinebeck show,” said Bev Norwood. “Another couple had looked at the painting earlier in the show. When they came back to purchase it, the buyers were carrying it out the door.” The Norwoods also sold two pre-1840 American samplers, two trade signs, two hooked rugs, three pieces of early iron, six paint-decorated smalls, two game boards and a number of other smalls.
“As always, summer Rhinebeck was a bunch of fun,” said Susan and Ken Scott, of Malone, N.Y., on the Canadian border. The Scotts brought a colorful painted Chinese screen (“Not our usual kind of stuff,” according to Susan Scott) that they had purchased at auction, a refinished Chippendale corner cupboard and a cherry drop front desk with tiger maple drawers among their country furniture. “We sold across the board – from rugs, to a hutch table, to a set of pillars,” said Susan Scott, adding, “both Ken and I have a feeling that the show is not over for us. We had a lot of interest in our cherry Chippendale corner cupboard and the Chinese screen.”
“A good crowd. As always, a great place to be,” summed up Jill Wojtaszek, Port Jervis, N.Y., who brought, among other things, a large panel from a 1940s historical display from the Alfred E. Smith building in Albany, N.Y., depicting farm workers, lumberjacks and fishermen representing “Commerce in NYS,” a maple tester bed, stone bird bath and lawn sprinklers in the form of a frog and a duck. Two other panels from the Smith building, one depicting ice skaters in Central Park, advertised before had already sold.
A little more than 4,000 people shopped Summer Magic, according to Garrett, who said, “Attendance was right on the money. It was a good crowd.” Garrett said he got a telling indication of the impact the show has on Rhinebeck’s local economy when he recently went to a nearby bagelry. “The proprietor asked me ‘How was the show?” said Garrett. “I replied, ‘It was great,’ and she said, ‘Yeah, it was really good for us.'”
Dealers, collectors and shoppers will again get the chance to help support both the antiques trade and the quaint village of Rhinebeck’s restaurants and businesses when the Rhinebeck Fall Antiques Fair opens on October 11-12 featuring 200 dealers from around the United Sates and Canada.
For information, 845-876-1989 or rhinebeckantiques fair.com.