Published: June 15, 2021
Review and Photos by Rick Russack
TOPSHAM, MAINE – The Maine Antique Dealers Association (MADA) conducted an outdoor show at the Topsham Fairgrounds on June 5, a first for the organization at this location. John and Elizabeth DeSimone, Goosefare Promotions, managed the show for the association, of which they are longtime members. The event’s new location was necessitated by the fact that the Damariscotta, Maine, high school, where the organization normally runs a show, is unavailable this year due to the pandemic. Both the DeSimones and MADA president, Joe Bent, Clovercroft Antiques, Nobleboro, Maine, said that this location will continue to be a home for the association’s show. The DeSimones have been running shows in New England for more than 40 years and they’ve developed procedures that work for dealers and attendees.
Is “hacking” only a problem for major corporations and governments? Apparently not. The Goosefare website was hacked before the show and when trying to reach the site, one would have been redirected to a site selling Viagra. The problem has been corrected.
Not surprisingly, the emphasis of the show is on country Americana: painted wooden ware and painted furniture, stoneware, quilts, hooked rugs, early lighting, folk art, garden furniture and accessories, early furniture, paintings, ceramics, but there was even a table full of cut glass. There were also one-of-a-kind items such as circus sideshow banners and a circa 1500 Corpus Christi figure. MADA has about 140 members and most of the exhibitors are members. A few of those exhibitors are in their 80s now, but they’re counter-balanced by exhibitors like Sam Snider, in his 30s and doing his first show.
The earliest item in the show, by far, was a circa 1500-20 very detailed carving of the body of Christ. Oliver Garland, Falmouth, Mass., said that it originated in southern Germany and was carved from lime wood. It had appeared on the market about 1930, when it was sold to a Swiss collector and eventually wound up at a Christie’s sale in London in 2010, where it was bought by an American collector. Carvings such as these were part of the celebration of the Feast of Corpus Christi, a solemn Catholic ceremony dating back to the Thirteenth Century. Garland priced it $2,400. He also had an unusual, early Nineteenth Century sewing box, with a quilted interior and a needlework sampler made to fit the box as the cover. Along with a house, it included figures of parrots, peacocks and other foliage. It was priced $425.
Sam Snider, the newest MADA member, said that he had just recently started selling. His shop is on Water Street in Wiscasset. He said that he had been a clothing designer and textile collector before deciding that this is what he wanted to do. He was optimistic about Wiscasset, even though there are fewer antique shops in the town than there used to be. At the other extreme, age wise, was Betty Turner, Hallowell, Maine. She’s now in her 80s and decided that this is the right time for her to retire. She had several pieces of blue and white Staffordshire, Canton and Willow pattern. She said she had collected Willow pattern dinnerware for years.
Dennis Raleigh and Phyllis Sommer, Searsport, Maine, had three cast iron heart-in-hand symbols of the Independent Order of Oddfellows. The interlocking chain links, with the letters “FLT,” represent the core beliefs of the organization: Friendship, Love and Truth. The fraternal organization, once with lodges all over the country, was founded in 1819 and is still active. Raleigh and Sommer priced the heart-in-hand symbols between $950 and $1,250. They also had a selection of decoys, painted woodenware, and a wonderful cast iron shooting gallery target in the form of an eagle, painted tole and more.
Perhaps a miniature sideboard could have been considered outsider folk art. It was decorated with trees and rectangles, and boldly marked Joe Gibson. Toni Lima, Damariscotta, Maine, priced it just $125, but did not know details about Gibson. Garden items included an unusual concrete planter, with two French hens. The price was $595 and it was in the booth of Charlie and Susan Sorrentino, Westport Island, Maine.
Reminiscent of the elaborately decorated Victorian cottages on Martha’s Vineyard, Hilary Nolan, Falmouth, Mass., brought an elaborate, brightly painted Victorian architectural bird house with accompanying trim.
Several dealers had examples of early lighting but perhaps the most interesting group was offered by Josh Farrin, Randolph, Maine. He had a small collection of five early tin, iron and glass lanterns, including “onion” styles that were priced between $275 to $400.
A few days after the show, Liz DeSimone said that nearly all the exhibitors said they had a good show. “We had about 500-600 attendees and it was a good crowd. Pretty steady until the afternoon. We had some of the association’s older dealers and I think that one, Ann Dowlick, is pretty close to 90. This is the sort of business that many older people just continue to work at.” When asked about plans for the show in the future, she said “This was the first year for this show. It will be an annual event and we plan to schedule it just after Brimfield, but not competing with Rhinebeck. Next year, hopefully, the Damariscotta show will be back so MADA will have the two shows.”
For information on this show, and the other Goosefare shows, including the large Wells, Maine, show later this month, visit http://www.goosefareantiques.com/ or call Goosefare Antiques and Promotions, 800-461-6908.
For information on the Maine Antique Dealers Association, email email@example.com.
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