Published: March 3, 2020
Review and Photos by Tom O’Hara
NASHVILLE, TENN.- The Nashville Show hit big, according to promoter Jon Jenkins, with a more than 30 percent increase in attendance and a full house of dealers in the facility at The Fairgrounds Nashville in Tennessee’s capital city February 13-15. Traditionally conducted close to Valentine’s Day weekend, the show, with roots tracing back more than 30 years “is the most popular destination for shoppers looking for Americana,” said Jenkins, defining it as antiques and vintage collectibles from American homes of the last 400 years. Home décor from Pilgrims to pioneers, Native American textiles, folk art, fine art and furniture from America’s Colonial and Federal periods and vintage advertising and collectibles were all there for the many thousand shoppers who traveled from all around America and Canada to shop and add to their collections.
Sales throughout the three days were considered by the exhibitors to be good, especially with small items that were easily carried home. Three dealers – Kathy Hind of Seattle, Wash., Diane Stafford, of Martinsville, Ind., and Sherre Mumpower, of Troy, Ohio – exhibiting together gave multiple examples of this. Speaking for the group, Mumpower said they sold “expensive smalls, special antiques in good quantity.” A few of their sales included a linsey-woolsey, a work of art hanging on their walls depicting a lady in white in a garden background; a very early carved wooden pipe rack; several chargers of carved wood; and a Kentucky long rifle with a tiger maple stock.
Across the aisle was Butch Leever from Hebron, Ky. His favorite collectible is stoneware from the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries. Sales were good as he sold several pieces that had maker marks or user branding as well as decorations. He also sold painted pantry boxes well, and several interesting advertising or store signs; one getting the most attention was a primitive sign reading “Washout Road Not Passable.”
Oakland Art & Antiques, the business name for Bob Ketelhut of West Bloomfield, Mich., was there with a popular collection of 100-year-old (or more) folk art. Drawing the most attention early were a sign from a cemetery about grass clippings and a primitive painting of a cut watermelon.
Alderman Ford Antiques & Jewelry had “a blowout show,” according to Margaret Alderman Ford. “One of our best ever,” she enthused, with jewelry going great. Ford is a jewelry designer and maker for some of her work and also has a large collection of vintage and antique pieces, with nearly one showcase devoted to antique cameos from all over. One such piece depicts George Washington on a horse in his Colonial uniform. Her husband, Bob, sold from their silver and Asian porcelain collections.
Michael Hall, a Nashville-area dealer, specializes in vintage American flags, pennants and banners. His largest was a 36-star American flag, which did not sell at the show but drew a good deal of attention. Sales, however, included several of his other smaller US flags and some from states and more.
FolkLodge Gallery from Chicago was having a very good time, according to owner Mike Meadows. He was offering several especially popular hand-sewn quilts from Pennsylvania, and sold a number of them. One early sale was a full-size quilt, all hand work, with a 48-star American flag on pole as the center on a light blue field with red, white and blue chevron border; another that he called a Century of Progress quilt was also full size, with the Century of Progress building in the center surrounded by various modes of transportation, circa 1900-10, and from Chicago. A vertical wooden sign “Cabins” was another of his good sales over the three-day affair. Meadows also said he was pleased with his success selling Adirondack and cabin-style furniture.
Robesonia, Penn., dealer Greg Kramer came with a great deal of Pennsylvania painted furniture. There were two faux grain painted corner cupboards and a stack of grain painted blanket boxes graduated up to something more like a small dower chest. As usual, Kramer sold an assortment of Eighteenth Century porcelain, including feather-edge, transferware and redware, along with other small pieces of American folk art found in his Pennsylvania Dutch region.
Ford Art & Antiques, Sarasota, Fla., did the show with an overflowing truckload of antiques, art and even some jewelry. Andrew Ford’s inventory is supplemented with many articles from his large shop and his warehouses. As such, for this show he worked hard to select what was going to be popular with these shoppers. From the looks of his display between the start and finish of the show, he picked well. His walls were light by four oil on canvas paintings, all from the Nineteenth Century or before. The center of his booth had featured an elegant Federal period table, fixed top, in maple with stout turned legs, and a set four of New England bannister-back armchairs, all of which went to new homes, as well as a selection of silver hollowware, a variety of English porcelain and a few pieces of folk art.
Chris and Bernadette Evans, Waynesboro, Va., are dealers with a love for early American antiques, from furniture to stoneware and lots more in between. While this young family has regular employment, they spend time together in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley searching out special objects with age and utility in them for their collection and inventory. Chris came to the show with a large sampling of their objects and although he did not sell furniture, 33 objects found new homes from his booth. The set of stoneware jugs – numbered 1, 1½, 2 and 3 – were sold as one of his more valuable transactions; also, a hooked mat of a fox. Another piece of stoneware selling was a “Chicken pecking corn” crock and many other small utilitarian antiques.
And there was a great deal more. Barry Ezrin, Moffat, Ontario, Canada, was selling folk art and painted furniture. American Spirit Antiques, Shawnee Mission, Kan., was showing a collection of tiger maple furniture and American folk art. Elegant Reflections, Chicago, specializes in lighting, including gilt and glass prisms from Austria and Germany. Toys abound in Michael Paul Gunselman’s exhibit, where the Centerville, Del., dealer shows his merchandise from times gone by.
The show has, over its long history, moved to several locations around Nashville, having begun as the Music Valley Antiques Show, but now with this new hall at The Fairgrounds Nashville seems to be set for the future. For next year’s show, February 18-20, 2021, more than 80 percent of this year’s dealers have already signed up to secure their booths in the limited space available. For information, www.thenashvilleshow-antiques.com or 317-431-0118.
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