Published: September 28, 2010
The fall edition of Brimfield Week that ran September 7‱2 was at or near capacity for many of the 20-plus fields for this last installment of the three-times-a-year happening.
Visitors, knowing this was the last time this season for them to pick over the available antiques, were there in big numbers and doing what was expected of them †buying antiques, according to many dealers questioned. According to one Harlan, Iowa, dealer, “Well I can’t quit and go live on the Riviera, but I did have a good week and, ya know, this is Brimfield, so I had a heck of a good time!”
Assisted by clear weather nearly all week, and comfortable temperatures, visitors were perusing the shows starting at first light Tuesday morning. One of the popular first stops for the week has become the Vermont Tent at Green Acres. Tuesday found the collection of mostly Vermont dealers selling antiques easily identified with New England and in many cases Vermont or New Hampshire that were offered by well-known dealers from that same area.
Judd Gregory, Dorset, Vt., was showing an American highboy, while the tent’s organizer, Greg Hamilton, Vergennes, Vt., was offering a large collection of small antiques. Another in the tent, Michael and Lucinda Seward, Pittsford, Vt., were also selling small things in good numbers. One of the few out-of-state dealers “allowed” to exhibit in this tent was Josh Steenburgh, the popular auctioneer from Pike, N.H., who took the teasing in good spirits for he also was selling well from his combination of furniture and smalls.
Dealer’s Choice opened as usual at 11 am for an audience that had been overflowing into the grassy right-of-way for Route 20. With around 500 patrons waiting in the dining area, there were perhaps 200 to 300 more at the drive-in gate, which opened as well just for the pedestrian traffic. Sales were reasonable, according to a poll of several dealers. Tony Sirianni, West Palm Beach, Fla., sold several early sign pieces, including a caricature of a car and a hot air balloon, both probably for a novel carnival ride. From Huntington, N.Y., Bill Grothier and Brandon Levine were selling smalls rapidly at the show’s opening. One piece from Levine’s collection was an early carved cherub head, and there were early dishes, brass for the home and more.
Across the street, at exactly 1 pm, Colleen James and Robert Hopfe opened their gates at Brimfield Acres North, allowing most of the same crowd of shoppers to migrate into their show and continue their serious shopping. Mario Pollo of Bearsville, N.Y., Bob Kettlehut, Ann Arbor, Mich., and Otto Hart, Arlington, Vt., were sharing several spaces at the entrance that they filled with an assortment of art, folk art and early furnishings. Just beyond them, taking one booth each on either side of the field’s driveway, were Pat Greika and her husband, Roman, from nearby Stafford Springs, Conn. Selling small things and furniture that included three Connecticut candlestands, Roman noted they “have done this field every time since Colleen and Bob have run it, now over 20 years.”
Clearly sellers and buyers were having a good time buying and selling. While taking photographs in the big tent at this show, a dealer was overheard saying to a customer who was negotiating the prices for some of his antiques, “No sales under $50. You gotta buy more!”
Amid cloudy skies, New England Motel opened up at 6 am and within the hour, the skies opened up with a drenching rain as buyers hastily opened umbrellas or donned their ponchos, while dealers threw covers over their more perishable items. The rain did not even last an hour, and by midday the sun was blazing hot. In the glass and china tent, dealers were soon emptying out rainwater from glasses and bowls on tables that jutted out past the tent canopy and were soon back to business.
Buckboard Antiques, Springfield, Mass., had secured a prominent position in a group tent right at the left of one of the show entrances, and was featuring a pleasing assortment of country furniture in its booth, including a delightfully small marble top table that would fit anywhere.
Standouts at Twinkling Jewels, Bridgewater, Conn., were carved Bakelite clips, a copper African bracelet and a necklace adorned with decoration of African masks, a triple-piece Bakelite “apple juice” clip embedded with gold flakes and “apple juice” rhinestone Bakelite clips.
Still lifes of flowers and pleasing landscape oil paintings, amid other artworks, filled the booth of Ferro Antiques, Fairfield, Conn., while Chris Saari, American Dinnerware Antiques, Worcester, Mass., offered several fine examples of Blenko glass from the 1960s, as well as a gondola sofa in plush cherry red and navy blue fabric.
Highlights at River Wind Antiques, Deep River, Conn., included Roseville pottery; a Veuve Perrin ginger jar, about 12 inches tall; a fine roll of sturdy upholstery fabric with a pleasing ground of red, blue, green and black tones; and a great pair of black cement poodles that flanked the booth entrance.
Elmwood Antiques, Elmwood, Mass., packed its booth with all manner of smalls from pocket watches and dog figurines to toys, advertising tins, campaign buttons and more, ensuring there was something to appeal to all collecting tastes.
Christiby’s, Traverse City, Mich., offered a trio of papier mache life-size figures from the Cardboard Army series of Diever Studios, circa 1930. A dancing peasant girl “greeted” visitors at the booth’s entrance, while a fisherman figure holding a big fish stood against the back wall, aptly near a display of creel baskets.
A few hours later, buyers eagerly made their way across the street to Heart-O-The-Mart, which opened up with a good-size crowd waiting in line for the large gates to be swung back promptly at 9 am. Americana and country-style offerings were liberally sprinkled around the field, including at Gene Pratt, Rochester, N.Y., who set up a fetching display in front of his booth with two chairs in black paint and a folky hooked rug featuring a black and white dog.
Christie’s Corner, Chicopee, Mass., which specializes in vintage chrome appliances, featured a nice collection of early telephones, kitchenware, an old Radio Flyer scooter and an industrial-type fan. A few aisles over, R.T. Facts, Kent, Conn., featured a very modern-looking tall steel sculptural garden item and a colorful mosaic tile topped table that had an Asian feel to it.
Eye candy at Las Antiguas, Sarasota, Fla., was a massive Fiske fountain, circa 1880, showing a boy holding a fish, while Bakelite bracelets and more in a dizzying array of colors and patterns were on hand at Vintage Bakelite For You, Lansford, Penn.
City Mouse, Country Mouse Antiques, Cincinnati, Ohio, displayed a good collection of doorstops, including a black Mammy, an oversized dog and two ships. Two antique samplers also drew interest.
SoWa Vintage Market was at the show, drumming up interest for its weekly markets in Boston’s South End every Sunday, spring through fall, as well offering its inventory of midcentury and modern and the oh-so-popular industrial look today.
Lisa and Steve Fisch Antiques, Wappingers Falls, N.Y., had quite the eclectic and interesting booth with a life-size figure carved in cherry, titled “Man with Hoe” by Aaron Bindman, and dated 1977; a Grenfell rug in an unusual large size of ducks in flight. A collection of Coca-Cola items was led by a 1949 salesman’s sample book that was a fascinating look into marketing strategies at the time.
Also spotted on the field were circus and naval battle maritime posters at You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet, New Haven, Conn., colorful offerings at The Textile Tent, and an eye-catching Guffram Marilyn Bocca lip sofa that was in the back of a truck at The Village Braider, Plymouth, Mass.
The trifecta of Wednesday’s field openings concluded at high noon at Hertan’s, where buyers could find a great variety of offerings.
Country Star Antiques, Afton, Va., offered an attractive selection of painted and mostly Southern furniture. A buyer perusing the booth during our visit exclaimed that dealers Don and Donna Smith were also as friendly and nice as they were knowledgeable about antiques. A mincemeat bucket in its original chrome yellow paint and stenciling was a highlight.
Grain bags with simple decoration were selling like hotcakes in one booth, while Stonegate Antiques, Glastonbury, Conn., featured a variety of trade signs, including “Farm And Garden Tools At Wise’s” and “John E. Melvin / Plumber / Tel.Conn.”
Any buyer looking to renovate a home would have found a treasure trove of architectural salvage at Great Stuff by Paul, which offered a large collection of wooden and painted doors and more.
Timber River Farm, New Brunswick, Ontario, Canada, offered a fine mix of quilts and textiles and rugs, while Ironstone Antiques, Chester, Va., featured Nineteenth Century firkins and sugar buckets, a fine oval braided rug, acquired recently, that found a home before it even made it into the dealer’s shop.
Cupboards were fashionable at the show. Turnpike Antiques, Madison, Conn., showed an 1890s jelly cupboard, and Dan and Karen Olson, Newburgh, N.Y., showed a tall cupboard, with four shelves over two drawers, in black paint, that sported a sold tag.
Thursday morning the weather continued to be excellent, so the opening at May’s Antiques Market was filled with exhibiting dealers and prospective buyers.
Exhibiting for the first time was Daniel Romani, Chepachet, R.I., offering an original finish Queen Anne tea table from his home area. Steve Cirillo of Paisley Pineapple, Orange, Mass., was showing a collection of very early American furniture in as-found condition. One piece drawing great interest was an early corner cupboard with several layers of paint showing through.
Sandy Doig of Karen Alexander Antiques, Somers, Conn., was exhibiting with Derik Pulito from Kensington, Conn. Together, they had a collection of early American furniture that included several stands, an assortment of Windsor chairs and a set of sausage turned ladder back chairs, along with a variety of small wooden antiques.
A 200-year-old jelly cupboard was offered by Mike Boyer of Campbelltown, Penn., and two pairs of very similar Windsor armchairs were offered by Candlewick Antiques of Milford, N.H.
During the start of the show, the Springfield, Mass., NBC-TV station was doing a live interview for its morning show with Martha May of the May’s Antiques Market. She was telling about the great finds available as the commentator was showing some antiques he found †good publicity for Brimfield and good for May’s.
With J&J Promotions’ new opening time of 8 am Friday, dealers really were ready and not quite as bleary-eyed as in the past when the field opened at 6 am. Judy Mathieu, co-owner and co-manager with her sister Jill Lukesh, said she felt this later time was making an improvement in the number of visitors and as such, in sales as well. Even though this is the last field to open all week, dealers either do not set up at other fields during the week, or if they have set up elsewhere, save merchandise so their exhibit here is fresh.
Quiet Corner Antiques, Sterling, Conn., was offering a large load of early furniture. The Rouillards have a personal fondness for early New England painted furniture, which they liberally featured in their exhibit along with redware and stoneware.
Daniel Romani went home overnight to have a fresh supply for J&J, including several Rhode Island cupboards in original finish. Vintage New England, Canton, Conn., usually does several shows during the week, but Joanne Delphia had a knee problem so she was only at J&J with their collection of furniture and early mechanical tools for the home. Her husband, Jim, has a large collection of coffee grinders, apple peelers and other assorted machinery, which is in excellent condition and useable. In spite of their New England name and roots, they also had several Virginia pie safes to offer.
Harlan, Iowa, dealer Paul Smith was showing what he called his best find of the week, an early Pennsylvania candle dryer, made before 1850 and priced at $1,250. North Syracuse, N.Y., is home for Peter Moses who came in his minivan that was loaded with furniture and small antiques. His early sales included several paintings and other small home accessories.
Jill Lukesh said the show had nearly 400 exhibitors on the field, a good total for this, the original Brimfield antiques market. Early attendance she added also was very encouraging with big crowds and full parking lots nearby.
For the week, dealers visitors and show promoters were in general agreement†not bad, good sales, good buying and a great time for most in attendance.
Brimfield runs three times each year. Mark your calendars for next year during the weeks of May 10‱5, July 13‱8 and September 7‱2. For more information, www.brimfieldshow.com or call the local Chamber of Commerce at 413-283-2418.
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