Published: September 18, 2007
Excellent weather greeted great numbers of visitors on August 17‱9 for the 36th annual Madison Bouckville Antiques Show in this little New York hamlet about 30 miles south of Syracuse.
Billed on some signs as “1,000 Dealers,” the reality, according to show owner and manager Jock Hengst, was more than 700 sold exhibitor spaces. “According to the revenue, there was 25 percent higher attendance through the gates,” said Hengst.” He added, “The crowds were staying longer, too, for in the middle of Saturday afternoon, all three food vendors ran out of food.”
For the first year, Hengst organized Appraisal Alley on the two days of the show. Visitors could bring an item or two for experts to give an opinion of what the object was and its value. Hengst charged $3 for one item and $5 for two, and the proceeds were donated to the Hamilton area Veterans Memorial Fund. During the weekend, more than 500 appraisals were conducted, so he expects to continue the program as a service and boost to the attendance.
Customers come to this show as a prime source for the right stuff, real antiques in a great many styles and functions. While country and primitive furniture was available in great quantities, it is not the only style offered. Don and Marta Orwig, Corunna, Ind., have a collection of early advertising. It would seem that whenever they acquire another piece for their collection or inventory, it has to make them smile first. In their collection for the weekend was a cigar store Indian that looked like it had been designed by Andy Warhol. They also had a copper full bodied rooster, which was probably first used as an advertisement, a sign depicting a hand pointing to a sale and a pair of angel statues. There was also available a dispenser for use in a store selling ribbon.
Sticking with the country theme was Period Antiques of Scottsburg, Ind. The owners, Tom and Rose Cheap, had been collectors and dealers in the same style before they met, and since their marriage a few years ago the inventory and collection have grown. For this show they offered a variety of firkins and pantry boxes in many sizes and colors, all original, they said, and in excellent condition. Additionally, there were early textiles in hooked rugs, quilts and quilt patches, which were framed as wall hangings, and painted furniture, including a handsome shelf in red milk paint they were using to display some of their wooden ware.
The show site is 300 to 400 miles closer to the middle states than New England, so it attracts many buyers and sellers from that area. Clarke and Farley are dealers from Merriam, Kan., whose specialty is cast iron toys and banks, both mechanical and still. They have been regulars for many years with a collection in one of the multi-dealer tents showing the many forms in excellent original condition.
Kathy Bonnes sold an early sawbuck table priced at $1,250 and in very good condition with the very first admissions that Friday morning. From Mentor, Ohio, she has been in the show for many years as part of her marketing and vacation plans. Nearby, Ron Broughman and Bill Flanigan from Matamora, Mich., were too busy to talk. As photographs were being taken of a stack of early painted blanket chests, Broughman delayed the photographer long enough to remove one chest, which he sold. The dealers’ collection is principally early furniture in native wood, mostly pine, including several chests of drawers, candle boxes, tables and chairs. Accessories offered were early lighting pieces, such as crusie and Betty lamps, and carved birds.
Pat and Fred Heisler, Smithville Flats, N.Y., have been exhibiting in the same spot for many years. It is the front line of the show, with their own tent filled with early American primitive and country pieces. Under the rules of the show, nothing can be open for inspection or sale until 10 am on Friday, so promptly at that hour they roll up the front of their tent to a waiting audience of regular customers. This year as the front came up they sold several pieces immediately, including a handsome and unique cobbler’s bench.
Early glass, including the well-known makers such as Sandwich, Corning and Pairpoint, are the mainstay for Scott Rowland’s GlimmerGlass Antiques of Schenevus, N.Y. Dave Baldwin and Lisa Annenberg, the owners of Rarebird Antiques from Oswego, N.Y., were offering their collection of early hardwood furniture, including a mahogany corner cupboard from England.
Another fixture at this show is Carrie Eck from Lebanon, Conn. Her collection this year featured an early tilt top candlestand with several decorative pieces to complement it. Hamburg, Penn., dealers Ken and Jan Silveri had their typical production with their most recent acquisitions in furniture and dishes. They shop extensively in central Pennsylvania, and so find a great deal of early painted softwood furniture. One item fresh to their inventory was a sprightly painted podium, which looked like it had been used as the ticket collector’s booth at the circus.
Doug and Diane McElwain of Goldsboro, N.C., were offering vintage sporting goods, including some baseball, football, cricket and rugby items. Shopping mostly in England for his inventory, Hank Laman of Hedgerow Antiques was offering many small metal items from the Eighteenth Century. There were pewter plates, brass candlesticks, some assorted silver items and even some English and Chinese Export dishes.
Ponzi’s is a dealer from nearby Trumansburg, N.Y., with Nineteenth Century furniture. The dealer featured Regency and early Victorian pieces, many in mahogany veneer. There was a tilt top game table and a sewing table, each with a pedestal base in mahogany; a tiger maple stand with an original period milk glass drawer pull in a Sheraton design style; and a table filled with period brass candle holders and other small accessories.
The show has great variety and style, and with its 36-year tradition a strong position in the marketing of antiques.
After the show, Hengst discussed the future of the show. He said that he and his wife, Cindy, were “planning to retire or at least slow down some, and so we have begun the process of selling the business.” Their business in addition to the Madison Bouckville Show each August includes two other shows in the area, fall and winter. Hengst has no intention of letting the shows be downgraded from the strong events they are now, so he said he will sell them, including the real estate for this show, to someone prepared to maintain their current successful operation. In the meantime, he and Cindy will continue the operations with plans already in place for next year’s shows. For information, 315-824-2462 or www.bouckvilleantiqueshows.com .
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