Published: October 16, 2018
Review and Photos by Rick Russack
LUDLOW, VT. – The long-running show at the Ludlow Community Center, now called the Black River Antiques Show, differs from the other shows during Vermont Antiques Week. It is the only table-top show of the week and, for years, has attracted the same 30-plus, mostly local dealers. The show began with a preview the evening of September 28 and continued all day Saturday, September 29. The preview started at 7 pm, deliberately scheduled after the close of the nearby Weston show and the first of the two shows at Okemo. As a result, many of the exhibitors from the other two shows were in line before this show opened.
The show is known to have very saleable stuff, often at attractive prices. After last year’s show, it was bought by Kris Johnson and Steve Sherag. They manage two of the other Vermont Antiques Week shows, both at the Okemo Mountain resort, also in Ludlow, over the same few days. One of the Okemo shows was open Saturday, so shoppers could easily visit two shows within the same town. The show at the Weston Playhouse, about half an hour away, was also open Saturday so there were actually three shows running the same day. Johnson and Sherag made few changes to their show this year, which benefits the Holy Name of Mary Church in nearby Proctorsville, Vt. Church members provide dinner for the exhibitors and the show attendees. Johnson said they raised more than $2,000 for the church this year.
Being a table-top show means that there’s less furniture and more smalls. Several dealers had selections of redware; there was also stoneware, early English ceramics, Pennsylvania chalkware, good cloth dolls and folky cloth animals, quantities of woodenware, quilts and other textiles, baskets, woodcarvings, toys and games, small painted furniture, kitchenware and a late Twentieth Century studio pottery bowl. Quality is generally high.
Susan Gault, Thetford Center, Vt., had – for a short time – a wonderful hide-covered horse that probably had been in a tack shop. Hide-covered horses may not be rare, but this one was much larger than most, and its red/brown covering was in fine condition. It had no wheels, supporting the thought that it had been in a tack shop and was not a child’s pull toy. In addition, it had a leather “English”-style saddle, a complete bridle and reins and a horsehair mane and tail. Gault thought that it dated to about 1880-1900. It was bought by another dealer who does a number of shows.
The term “table-top” may have a connotation of inexpensive merchandise, but there was at least one item, a horse weathervane with a zinc head, that was priced more than $10,000. It was in the booth of John and Eileen Smart, Park Antiques, Inc, of Rutland, Vt. Diane Farr Antiques, Boalsburg, Penn., had a selection of brightly colored chalk animals, including a rooster priced at $675 and a squirrel priced at $625. Farr was also one of several dealers with burl utensils. Farr had a large, 10-inch burl bowl, for which she was asking $895. She was set up next to Rona Andrews, Wellesley, Mass., who had an early, small sea chest with rope handles and an old painted surface. Andrews was asking $795 for the chest and also had an interesting leather-covered armrest in old green paint priced at $595.
Stoneware was available in several booths. George Johnson, Montpelier, Vt., had a New York crock decorated in blue with a bird, which he had priced at $375, and numerous other pieces, as well. Diane Farr had several pieces, as did Caroline Dirsa, Orange, Conn., including a jug with floral designs.
One of the large booths belonged to Village Antiques, Camillus, N.Y., and had countless dolls – cloth dolls, Raggedy Ann dolls, china head dolls, bisque dolls and more, along with clothing and doll-sized toys for them. The booth also had cloth animals of several types – dogs, cats, rabbits, teddy bears, etc. Charlie Landon, who owns the business with Sandra Belko, said that he does more than 45 shows a year. He grew up helping his mother, Barbara, who was also a dealer, selling early toys and other material. Catchpenny Antiques, Rochester, N.Y., had a selection of cloth animals.
John Bourne, Pittsford, Vt., always has a selection of Twentieth Century carved birds and animals; a large swan was priced at $650, as was a large owl. Bourne had an interesting, triangular, colorful YMCA sign. It was inscribed “Railroad YMCA” and Bourne said that it had come from a town named “Railroad.” Pastimes Antiques, Central Square, N.Y., had a double booth, which also included carved figures. A pair of hunters with rifles and a deer on a pole was priced at $1,600. A carving of a Native American with a canoe painted to resemble birch bark was signed by Paul LaValle and priced $485. A large carved wooden trade sign, in the form of a pig, advertised “Higgs For Pigs, Breeders of Pedigree Pigs For Over 100 Years.”
Kris Johnson, show manager, said that he and his partner, Steve Sherag, do not anticipate making any changes to the format or location of the show, at least for the immediate future, and it will continue to be scheduled in conjunction with the rest of the Vermont antiques shows, during Vermont Antiques Week. The show has been in existence for more than 35 years, and, he said, is a major source of revenue for the church group that benefits from it.
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