Published: February 17, 2004
– “St Stan’s”: Twenty-seven years and still sold out.
It began when a young Jack Donigian graduated college in 1976, not sure how to set off on a career path. Should he interview for some “corporate American” job or med school (he was a premed undergraduate), or take another direction?
In the early 1970s Jack would accompany his parents to the old Amherst, N.H., outdoor market in late spring and summer. Sometimes, in addition to shopping, his parents would set up a booth as dealers and he would help. Or he would park cars. No matter what he was doing, Jack always enjoyed his time there, so his big decision, in the end, was not so hard to make.
Jack discovered St Stanislof’s Church in Nashua had a function hall that was both a fair distance from the church and unused on Sunday mornings. He made an agreement with church administrators to go in early Sunday morning and be out in the afternoon. There was a good deal of on-site parking, a kitchen for the food vendor, a stage and several entries.
The hall accommodated 45 dealer booths and Jack has produced the shows from the third Sunday of October through the first Sunday of April every year since then.
Exhibitors offer simple displays of antiques they have usually acquired in the prior week on house calls and from other sources. In addition to collectors and decorators, buyers are frequently dealers in shops, group shops and shows looking for goods to resell. It is a “simple basic show [with] its own market, an affordable ‘wholesale market,'” according to Jack. And the merchandise does sell well.
From Vergennes, Vt., Greg Hamilton is also a regular dealer. He came with a Hendel electric lamp, circa 1915, priced at $2,875, and a small, fire hydrant-shaped sewing machine at $675. He sold both in the first few minutes of the show.
In Mike Hughes’ booth one table was filled with treenware — wooden objects made on a lathe — including several goblets. a rolling pin. oil lamps, vases, and mortar and pestle sets. Prices were very affordable so he went home “light” on merchandise.
Dealers at this show can be found offering a very wide variety of merchandise in their booths. Alan Clark, Worcester, Mass., had late English brass accessories, such as a hook for fireplace tools; decorative carvings; a doorbell, the kind mounted on a store’s entry to jingle when a customer enters; and some painted country accessories. As Jack also has some dealers set up outside in the parking lot, Alan holds open shop there as well as inside.
J&S Antiques, Revere, Mass., offered art mostly in wall hangings, including numerous paintings and some samplers. Additionally they have art glass and early Tiffany style electric lamps.
Bruce Miller is from West Franklin, N.H., and does many shows in southern New Hampshire and eastern Massachusetts, usually with the latest additions to his extensive collection of small New England antiques. Wooden tools and gadgets, wood and tin boxes, small Shaker-made rdf_Descriptions and small furniture are typical of his inventory.
In the special language of antiques, someone who has “a good eye” can spot a genuine antique at an especially good value. Many dealers and collectors have it, including Bob DeLuca, Amesbury, Mass. He brought an early small work table, Hepplewhite style, circa 1800, in mixed woods, with original finish, priced under $300. Middlebury, Vt. dealer David Thompson had several pieces of furniture as well as a patented “no spill” ink well in flint glass with pewter top from 1851. Another dealer found a teapot in Old Sheffield plate for under $200. This is a great place for good stuff at low prices.
Summing up, St Stan’s — a great place for good stuff at low prices — occurs every Sunday from mid-October through early April. Just off exit 6 on New Hampshire Route 3, dealers are let in at 7:30 am, while early buyers ($4) or season ticket holders ($80) enter at 9:30. Regular admission is at 10:30 ($2). Dealer space rents for $45, including three eight-foot tables, one card table and use of a wheeled cart. Spaces are reserved by calling Jack at 781-329-1192, who has never missed a show in 27 years. Try to catch one yourself — it is worth the trip.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm