Published: March 4, 2003
Solid and Not Slowing Down:
By Jackie Sideli
TOLLAND CONN. — , now in its 37th year, shows no sign of slowing down. The gate was solid, from the opening bell for early buying at 8:30 through the closing at 4 pm. The dealer base for this long running antiques show is undoubtedly part of the reason for its success and longevity. The dealers come from Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Massachusetts, and they are the among the best American country dealers on the East Coast.
The show offers Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century American period furniture, and accessories — the real McCoy. It is sponsored and run by the Tolland Historical Society, and has been managed for the last ten years or so by Kathy Bach, Tolland Historical Society member. The show is entirely produced by the volunteers, who take a few months off after the show, and then begin again, spending eight or nine months on it.
Tolland has been a success story for 37 years now, a staple in the antiques community. It has been growing in prestige and popularity for the past decade or so, in part because of the selectivity of Bach and her crew of volunteers, who strive to keep the look and content of the show good clean American country.
The customers know they can buy at this show, and in the words of one longtime exhibitor, “they just keep coming” — at one point it was a wall of people. Sandy Doig has been exhibiting at for ten years and said the gate is the envy of other shows, early buying was good, and there is a good sold retail; the show is busy all day.
Hiram Griswold had sold a massive architectural lion’s head, possibly lead, covered with green patina. It had been salvaged from a building in Hartford, Conn., in the 1940s and had been in private hands ever since.
New Hampshire dealer Thomas Longacre sold a lot of stuff — an oval-top tavern table, Windsor armchair, collection of carved birds, some early treen and lighting. “This show has been fantastic, I have no complaints,” he said.
J&J Murphy Americana were also doing well with Jim Murphy commenting that there were so many people it was hard to see in the booths. That sentiment was shared by Hanauer & Seidman, who were also having a really good show. They were exhibiting an extensive collection of American Nineteenth Century decorated stoneware and redware, as well as some fine examples of mocha. Derek Pulito’s booth looked like it had an attack of the measles, there were so many red sold signs. Pulito had sold, among other things, an Eighteenth Century tavern table, two paintings and a six-board chest.
Penny and Ron Dionne had a booth full of period weathervanes in old surface, as well as an outstanding graphic hooked rug and some period furniture. Rhode Island dealer Charles Muenchinger was exhibiting a rare child’s make-do wheelchair, crafted from a painted rocker, in old yellow paint, with grained painted seat, which he was offering for $2,300.
Hollis Brodrick from New Hampshire had some early smalls in his booth, including two Eighteenth Century hand inscribed lottery tickets. David Bland had a selection of Queen Anne slat back side chairs for sale in his booth. Antiques dealer Fred Giampietro had some outstanding American slip decorated redware dishes, as well as some early paintings. Denise Scott was offering a collection of woven Nineteenth Century American coverlets and quilts, as well as painted baskets and other country smalls.
Karen Alexander offered a formal tall chest of drawers, with six drawers, on a bracket base, along with a fanback Windsor side chair and a period mirror with reverse painting on glass.
The gate kept coming, and they kept buying; it was a very strong show, with the focus on American country in old paint, great iron, early pottery, great smalls. Its no wonder that there is a waiting list for this venerable old show.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
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