Published: June 6, 2023
Review & Onsite Photos by Rick Russack
DEERFIELD, N.H. — Like Topsy, Klia Ververidis Crisafulli’s Brimfield North flea market and antiques show at the Deerfield fairgrounds continues to grow as new features are added. This year, the Memorial Day Weekend show, May 27 and 28, added a food truck festival and contemporary craftsmen, juried members of the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen.
It’s the show’s third year and offers shoppers the opportunity to check out the wares of more than 200 vendors. Crowds have been huge: 8,000 to 10,000 shoppers each of the first two years and this year Klia reported close to 10,000 attendees, with 500-600 early buyers. The show used five fairgrounds’ buildings and hundreds of outdoor spaces, many in shady spots under large pine trees. The fairground facility is large, allowing exhibitors to have large booths and comfortably spread out their wares. Along with vintage items, one of the buildings was filled by new addition Mill 77, a company with retail stores in Nashua and North Hampton, N.H., selling new furniture made from repurposed building materials and industrial equipment. Several dealers have been doing the show since the first one in 2021 and several were doing it for the first time. Shortly after the show opened on Saturday, shoppers were busy filling wagons with their purchases.
Often, we start a review of a show by writing about the variety of things you might find. There’s no need to do that for this show…it’s simpler to say you would have found “everything.” And at all prices. There was Seventeenth Century furniture and there were Barbie dolls; hot wheels cars and a $15,000 painting. John McDermott, a set designer from New York City had never done a show before but he was catching on fast. With his sister Carol helping, there wasn’t an empty inch anywhere in his booth. Asked about that, McDermott said that he was moving to Germany next year and had to “downsize” his apartment and was doing it room by room. His booth had fossils, lamps, books, magazines, coffee mugs and much more, and it all came from one room of his apartment. He said that prices ranged from $1 for a miniature copy of an Oscar statuette to $4,500 for a first edition of The Great Gatsby to $7,500 for a poster signed by all four Beatles. It was that kind of a show.
Heather Lalonde, New England Old World Antiques, South Hadley, Mass., was doing the show for the first time and had the earliest furniture on the field: a booth full of Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century carved English furniture and accessories. She had several pieces of early Dutch delft and a pair of Seventeenth Century Dutch candlesticks. The furniture consisted of a wide selection of chairs, stands, tables and she had some carved panels that could have been mounted and hung on walls. She’s one of the “next generation” of dealers who hopes to make antiques a full-time job; she was accompanied at this show by her two young children and other family members. Her desire to be in the business stems from a life-long interest in history, especially early European history. She did not grow up in the business, but she said, “I love the stuff and the stories behind the pieces and the history of the period. I’ve been collecting for more than 10 years, and our home is furnished with Fourteenth to Seventeenth Century English antiques. Everything I sell is in ‘as found’ condition — nothing is repaired or refinished. This is what I want to do so I started the business in January of this year. My first show, just this month, was in Brimfield, at May’s [field].”
Her booth included a carved oak, footed Charles I (r 1625-1649) box with sled feet priced $3,250; another early carved box was priced $1,850. A heavily carved, polychrome mangle board dated 1761 was $1,200. She’ll be setting up again at May’s in July and will be a first-time exhibitor at “Antiques in Manchester” in August. She’s developing a website and currently sells through Instagram.
One of the crowd-pleasers was a welded iron robot about 7 feet tall, priced at $10,000, that was immediately inside the main entrance to the show. Constructed of found materials, it had been made by David Dawson, Scrapped and Found, Worcester, Mass., whose business card describes him as an “artist/welder.” Dawson said he’s been creating iron sculptures for about 10 years and for about five years as a business. This robot was his most ambitious piece to date, and he said, “so far, the most expensive piece I’ve sold was $5,000. I have smaller things that I’ve made, like the figures made from oil cans that are priced from $25 up. You’d be surprised at how much time it takes to make even the smaller pieces. I learned the welding skills in school and compete in national exhibitions. This my third year doing the show; I’ve always done well.” He also sells on Instagram.
Another craftsman offering things he made was George Merrill, Drydock Designs, Enfield, N.H. Merrill is a juried member of the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen and began using found materials to create sculptures of various kinds of boats and ships. A 24-inch-long steamboat sculpture included old wood from a telephone pole, a blade from an old wooden plane, old beads, an old iron door latch and several other “found” pieces. It was priced at $200. Merrill’s work has been featured on the television program, New Hampshire Chronicle and photos of his work were included with our coverage of last year’s show. His creations are unique, and he said business has been good.
There was at least one other vendor selling items made from salvaged materials. In this case, everything in the booth had been made by first time exhibitor Stan Dobrowolski, Freedom Flags, Braintree, Mass., using wood from old wooden pallets. Aside from toys, nearly everything used the American flag as a motif and prices ranged from $135 to $185 for the flags. He also made furniture such as tables and chairs from the pallets. He showed us one large table, with a flag painted on the top, that had a secret drawer.
There were several booths with trade signs and advertising material and there were many with toys and dolls. Tom Daley, Danvers, Mass., had a display of custom decorated champagne boxes. They were bright yellow and painted with the names of cities all over the world: Los Angeles, Berlin, Hong Kong and Miami, to name a few. He said that customers purchasing Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin champagne could order the customized packaging for $250 when buying from the company and he was asking $50 each for the empty tins. John Lincourt, Collector’s Corner, a Rhode Island dealer and a first-time exhibitor, filled a booth with automotive, food and whiskey advertising.
Ted Tremblay, Rochester, N.H., had a large selection of Japanese battery-operated toys that were priced between $60 and $300 and numerous tin windup toys, including several motorcycles that were priced up to $500. He was one of the dealers with a large selection of Steiff animals, ranging from $20 to $300. Tremblay’s large booth also included a collection of Roseville pottery starting as low as $20. Gary Passamonte, Westtown, N.Y., who sells on RubyLane, had two reasonably priced, well-dressed, open-mouth Armand Marseille bisque dolls. The larger was priced $195; a smaller one was priced $180. Passamonte also had three Skookums with original costumes, the largest priced $185.
In addition to the early English objects mentioned above, Nineteenth Century American antiques were also available. Butch McGrath, Scituate, Mass., offered two important American paintings. One was a mid-Nineteenth Century portrait of New Bedford whaling captain, Aaron Coffin, attributed to Joseph Whiting Stock (1815-1855). It depicted the captain holding a telescope with ships in the background. McGrath priced it $12,000. He also had an oil painting attributed to William Henry Bartlett (1809-1854), “Boston, and Bunker Hill, (From the East),” a scene showing the Massachusetts state house on Beacon Hill, the Bunker Hill monument, a bridge and a harbor with several ships. The view was published as a steel engraving in N.P. Willis’ book, American Scenery (1840). McGrath believed it to have been painted by Bartlett and used as the basis for the published view and he priced it $15,000. He also had a redware charger, priced $4,500, which was decorated with the words “Bull Run.”
After the show Klia Ververidis Crisafulli remarked “the weather on Sunday was a little too warm and I think that kept a few people home. If it had been more like Saturday, which was a beautiful day, we’d have easily gone over the 10,000 mark. I feel good that we’re continuing to see that size crowd. I think the mix of exhibitors works well: it’s a lot like Brimfield (Mass.) with a wide range including good antiques to recycled stuff to things by talented craftspeople and some very inexpensive things. That makes it perfect for families: they can find stuff for the kids, furniture for the house or garden, paintings and just about anything else. And there was plenty of good food.”
For information, 781-420-3375 or www.brimfieldlive.com.
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