Published: February 23, 2021
Review by Tom O’Hara, Photos by Lisa Maughmer
NASHVILLE, TENN. – Jon Jenkins created the phoenix of antiques shows with this year’s offering of The Nashville Show, conducted this year only at the city’s new Music City Center February 11-13. Jenkins gathered 140 exhibitors for the show, and they all agreed to the unusual rules currently in place due to Covid-19 restrictions in order to exhibit at the show that has a tradition of drawing shoppers from around the United States.
Not long after last year’s show at the Nashville Fairgrounds, the entire country began to shut down due to the pandemic. This resulted in the closing of a great many facilities that housed antiques shows, including the fairgrounds, which had been hosting this annual event. The facility was turned over to local social services to assist with housing and to provide other services to local people.
Jenkins had to then search around the area for an alternative facility and, when found, conform with its conditions and additional Covid-19 prevention rules for the operation of his show. This included limits on the number of visitors at any time, parking limitations, food service controls and more. These unusual rules included limiting the number of visitors at any one time so that there was never a crowd at the show. This was restrictive, but the event worked in spite of the limitations. Further, the total number of admissions was similar to recent years, with shoppers only allowed to shop for limited times, thus controlling the total number of people in the buildings at any time.
Margaret Ford, Alderman Ford Antiques of Columbia, S.C., said, “We had the best show we have ever done anytime, anywhere!” She sold valuable antique and estate jewelry, some furniture and also from a collection of silver and crystal.
Another exhibitor, Larry Thompson from Stone Mountain, Ga., who was anxious about his chances for success with all the Covid-19 prevention rules, said sales were slow for him Thursday and Friday. On Saturday, the last day, with some customers who took a day or more to consider and some late arrivals, he made it a very good show selling art and furniture. His early Southern mahogany chest was among his best pieces of furniture that he delivered after the show.
Ray Lassen, Wilmette, Ill., said he was having a good time with his country look. He came to the show with a quantity of Eighteenth Century American furniture in its original painted surfaces, selling several pieces.
Pennsylvanian Jeff Bridgman was there with his historic American flags and associated paraphernalia. He has been a dealer at shows since his late teen years, at first with country furniture, but ultimately his current specialty and now has a reputation for his theme of flags and similar items. One customer came to him “just to buy a bunch,” and they did, he said. Several other sales for him included a signal cannon, trade signs and accessories from 200 years ago.
Rick and Becky Coffin were having a fine time, and she said they were rewarded for their effort, energy and expense to do the show. Becky sells what she really loves, early American primitive furniture, especially in original paint, which she finds near home, Ludington, Mich. Their sale included a 16-tin pie safe in original finish; a pewter colored dry sink; a celery painted jelly cupboard; another pie safe with hearts and stars in the pierced tins; several more pieces; along with accessories and quilts.
Munday and Munday, a mother/daughter team from Sesser, Ill., said they were thrilled with their results for the long weekend. Daughter Makala said their sales were “fantastic.” Sold items came from their inventory of pottery in great quantity, jewelry, hooked rugs and some furniture and household accessories.
Patriotic antiques were doing well for Penny Williams. The West Palm Beach, Fla., exhibitor sold a wooden shield and had more sales of similar items. Her rag dolls from the Nineteenth Century did very well, also Steiff bears and primitive lighting.
The show had more than 140 exhibitors offering variety and values for all the shoppers. Those who were exhibiting seemed to be all of the same thought – the show was a great success in very difficult times. Shoppers that came, whether local or those who traveled some miles to be there, seemed to believe that the show was a wonderful escape from all the negatives of the past year and appreciated the efforts put forth by the promoter and exhibitors.
In a post-show conversation, Jon Jenkins again said how pleased he was that the exhibiting dealers had the courage to come to the show with their collections. He added, “Most said their sales were good, sufficient to justify the costs and effort put out to do the show.” Customers also were generally appreciative of the show as well, even with the restrictions caused by the Covid-19 prevention rules.
Next year, Jenkins said the show will return to its usual location at the Nashville Fairgrounds, February 17-19, 2022. For information, 317-431-0118.
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