More than 50 dealers displayed a wide variety of merchandise at the Greenwich Spring Antiques Show and Sale over the weekend of March 24 and 25, much to the delight of local collectors and enthusiasts who traveled from near and far to attend. Show promoter Derek Johnson commented in the days following the event that he was more than satisfied with the positive results posted over the weekend.
“It is a good looking show and each year we are getting more of a positive response from the customer base. As a result, the show gets better and better every year,” stated Johnson, who used to manage the show with his brother, but took over sole responsibilities of management last year.
In contrast to last year’s attendance figures, “Saturday was a little bit slower than Sunday was, but the weather was to blame for that,” he said, in regard to the first true springlike Saturday of the season. Despite the smaller Saturday crowd, those that did attend were serious clients and business was reported as being good for many of the dealers. Sunday sales were also up from last year, with many of the dealers reporting activity from not only people returning to the show after first attending on Saturday, but a whole new crop of serious buyers. “It was a solid weekend,” stated Johnson.
“Paintings seemed to be flying, accessories seemed to be flying, although furniture sales were a little bit slower than what we saw last fall,” said Johnson. “Most of the dealers seemed to have had good shows, which I was pleased with.”
The Greenwich show has had a storied history, quite popular decades ago and then subjected to an eventual demise and ultimately its discontinuation many years ago. Its rebirth five years ago was spearheaded by a request from the Greenwich Kiwanis directing the Johnson brothers to revive the event. The evolution of the show during the past few years has been noted by customers, designers and dealers alike with it being termed “A Must Attend Event.”
“It has come a long way since the first show that we put on here,” said Johnson. “The makeup has changed quite a bit and there is a greater diversity of material offered around the floor.” And indeed merchandise included everything from the clean lines of Oriental furnishings displayed by Philadelphia dealer David Salkin to the stylish top end American Chippendale highboys and chests of drawers seen in the booths of Stonington, Conn., dealer Roberto Freitas and Maine dealer Heller Washam.
“We are now attracting a better dealer base and the customers are responding positively to that,” stated Johnson. “The show is really starting to work its way up and it is becoming noticed not only amongst the trade, but also within this community and surrounding areas,” he said.
Management reported a large percentage of the crowd in attendance coming from the affluent areas in lower Fairfield County and Westchester County, with the majority of the retail crowd being made up of people from within a 30-mile radius. The show’s reputation has spread further, however, with management reporting a good crowd of people that “came up from the City” and also a “decorator from Texas that came in and bought quite a few things.”
SAJE Americana, Short Hills, N.J., was on hand with a good selection of early American antiques, including an attractive corner cupboard in the original blue paint, circa 1790, that was thought to have been made in Bergen County. Formal furniture in the booth included a sideboard with a carved basket of fruit on the back rail and the accessories included a large bronze plaque with relief decoration of an Abraham Lincoln bust.
Gordon Converse offered a varied assortment of merchandise, including a nice Hepplewhite hunt board that was topped by a large Faience charger. An oil on canvas depicting “the Monitor versus the Merrimac” hung nearby, as did two banjo clocks with painted tablets, one of which had been made by Daniel Munroe, Jr.
Jewelry specialist Brad Reh’s stand was the subject of constant attention, with diamonds and rubies successfully beckoning to the ladies throughout the weekend. Highlights from the display included a Mauboussin platinum and diamond encrusted necklace with matching earrings.
Essex Antiquarians reported a strong show with a John Walker carved and painted eagle with banner attracting attention. Also on display was a wonderful Nineteenth Century American mahogany card table with maple inlay, on which was seated an English Regency ebonized tea caddy with ivory banding, circa 1820; a Louis XVI walnut canapé with attractive upholstery was shown nearby.
The spotlight in Roberto Freitas’ booth was centered on a highly important American Chippendale serpentine front four-drawer chest with shell carved drop pendant. Attributed to Eighteenth Century cabinetmaker John Cogswell, the striking chest had been executed in a bold tiger maple. Another Chippendale four-drawer chest on a bold bracket base had two large pieces of Liverpool, a pitcher and plate decorated with ship transfers, displayed on top.
A pair of neoclassical games tables attributed to William Fisk, Boston, circa 1810, with lyre form pedestals and saber legs ending in brass capped paw feet, were attracting attention in the booth of John Spencer Antiques, Salisbury, Conn.
North Norwich, N.Y., dealers J. Gallagher tempted buyers in need of fireplace implements and fixtures. “Bring your measurements and let’s get your fireplace ready,” was the dealers’ call.
Henry and Nancy Fender’s display was attracting attention with a comfy looking pair of leather club chairs inviting those looking for a moment’s peace. A nice secretary bookcase was available, as was an early leather top desk, a fanciful inlaid sideboard and several girandole mirrors.
Martin Chasin reported quite a bit of activity and numerous sales from his selection of English and Irish silver. “The show started off slow for me,” commented the dealer; however, sales made on the second day of the event attributed to the “best show” he has ever had.
The Greenwich show is conducted twice yearly with the next show scheduled for fall. For further information, contact B&D Johnson at 845-868-7464.