Published: October 19, 2004
Nicknamed Black River after the name of the high school in which it is conducted, the Ludlow Antiques Show, managed by Barbara Morgan and Ann Firkey, celebrated its 40th year when it opened on October 1 at 7 pm. Its popularity as a “pickers’ paradise,” however, was clearly evident by the long line of shoppers – many familiar dealer faces included – at 5:45 pm, more than a full hour before the show was to open.
For those who develop a certain room setting “snow blindness” intrinsic to the higher end shows, the mostly table top settings at the Ludlow show let the “merch” speak for itself, and some 40 exhibitors were doing just that. The Black River show is co-managed by Barbara Morgan and Anne Firkey, who are especially revered by participating dealers for the wonderful, homey dinner they provide an hour before the show opens. So while the crowd salivated outside the gymnasium, dealers were cheerfully breaking bread and catching up with one another at long tables in the school cafeteria.
Ann Firkey, who exclaimed “We love our dealers,” reported that the weekend turned out “perfect,” with approximately 550 showing up to mill around on Saturday and 235 at the Friday evening preview.
“There was a never-ending line outside the door waiting for ‘gate time,’ as usual,” said Jay Clark, who with his wife, Patty, was displaying ephemera – his specialty – and Flow Blue. Along with a rare discharge document for Ezra Butler, Clark showed early books, regimental rdf_Descriptions, broadsides, a Winslow Homer print and a White Star Line passenger list advertising the newest ship – the Titanic.
“This show is incredibly well-organized and advertised, goes along flawlessly every year,” said Clark. “There is a friendly group of dealers with a nice assortment of wares. We had a Buerk watchclock which generated a lot of interest. We don’t do a lot of shows, but have done three or four in the past and this has always been the best by far.”
A nice selection of glass bottles and stoneware awaited showgoers at the booth of Doug and Linda Burr, who trade under the name Wigwam Hill Antiques, Wilbraham, Mass. Bottles included a Westford, Conn., sheaf of wheat flask from the mid-1800s in light amber, a hand-blown pontilled medicine bottle from 1850 or before and a double eagle flask in amber, probably from New Hampshire. “We do about 20 shows a year and [Black River] is one of our favorite shows,” said Doug Burr. “The show is very well run and very dealer friendly.” Burr said the show was very successful for them, with a very good Friday evening preview gate and a good and steady Saturday gate. “Our sales were very good, we sold stoneware, small furniture, bottles and a variety of smalls. We were pleased to have repeat customers especially the ‘stoneware buyers’ from Illinois, who were pleased to purchase four pieces of New England stoneware, as they did last year at this show from us.”
Ann Hall and Mark Brady showed up from Sturbridge, Mass., with their extensive inventory of antique prints. “There was a lot of interest and action on Saturday,” said Hall. “There was an especially strong interest in botanicals without a lot of color. The folks throwing the show did a great job.”
LaRouche said his most interesting sale was a large stoneware cider jug that had written on it “Devon Cyder” with an inside screw threaded stopper.
Rick and Karen Matteo, Ballston Lake, N.Y., specialize in period furniture, early accessories and Oriental rugs. “The retail trade seems to enjoy the ambiance and the displays at the show, and many have indicated to us that they can buy good quality antiques at affordable prices,” said Rick Matteo. “That being said, we must indicate that although the crowd was excellent the retail buyers were not there in abundance and investment-quality antiques went begging. We did sell a wonderful period cherry drop leaf table to a dealer during the preview on Friday who I suppose showed it at a different venue on Saturday.”
For information, 802-226-7789 or 802-226-7574.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm