Published: October 5, 2004
Regardless of the state of the economy, and a few dozen other things, dealers, avid collectors and the general public interested in antiques will agree on one thing – fall is a busy time for everyone. Dealers are not only doing shows, attending others and trying to be represented at auctions, but some are also attending shop and making house calls. The buying public is pulled between a good number of shows, lots of auctions and even some home chores such as kids going back to college and general readiness for the coming colder months.
It is a busy time, but somehow it all shakes out and most everyone finds time to do the important things. Such was the case over the September 25-26 weekend when close to 1,500 people visited the 30th annual Vermont Antiques Dealers’ Association Show at the Hunter Park Pavilion and sampled the wares of 76 dealers. “It was good, in fact very good,” Howard Graff, show co-manager said after the walls were taken down and the ice rink setting returned to its original use.
“We were up against a number of good other shows, the religious holidays, and yet the show went without any serious hitches,” he added. “We had wonderful comments from the people who came, and many of the dealers went home very well satisfied.”
Phil and Jane Workman of New Boston, N.H., moved from an interior position to one of the booths at the show’s entrance and by Sunday morning the couple was all smiles. “We have had the best VADA show ever,” Phil said, a five-year veteran of this popular fall event, “and most of it has been retail sales.” He listed an 1830 hearth rug with leaf decoration, a painted blanket chest and a painted Windsor side chair, along with “lots of smalls,” as among his sales the first day.
“This is such a nice show to do and Howard does a fine job taking care of all the details,” Jane said.
From the adjoining booth, David Weiss of Sheffield, Mass., had sold a bow back Windsor armchair in black paint, a child’s Windsor chair, several pieces of Leeds, other smalls and a Hudson River paintings, and “we have a very serious interest in our chest-on-chest of New Hampshire origin,” David said.
A carved cherry wood bonnet top chest-on-chest, New London origin, circa 1770, was among the furniture offered from the booth of Judd Gregory of Dorset, Vt. An oil on canvas, James McDougal Hart, dated 1879, cows in a landscape, hung on the back wall of the booth over a tiger maple one-drawer table with brass pulls, New England origin. “This is a fun show for me to do as I live just down the road,” Judd said on Saturday. “And while furniture has not been selling well as yet, I have met several new people who will probably be back sometime in the future.”
Howard Graff not only spends much of his time with the organization and actual running of the show, but also uses what is left to man his own booth under the Colt Bard Antiques banner. “It’s lots of work, but fun, and on top of that I have had a very good show,” he said.
His sales included a long one-board bench, a Hunzinger lollipop armchair, a small cast iron eagle, a rare duck decoy anchor, several paper weights and three ogee mirrors. “Each time I took one down as I sold it, and put another one up, it too was sold,” he said.
“We also sold some redware pottery, and there seemed to be a strong interest in this area of collecting,” Michael said. “And fifteen minutes before closing on Saturday we sold a Seventeenth Century portrait.”
Seven-year veterans of the show, Jan and John Maggs of Conway, Mass., found smalls moving faster than furniture, but had sold a banister back armchair of Deerfield, Mass., origin and a pinewood box in old blue paint. Against the back wall of the booth they offered a flat top Queen Anne tiger maple highboy, circa 1770, of Rhode Island origin.
“I can’t believe we have not sold the New Hampshire corner cupboard,” Daryl Dodson of Pine Cone Antiques, Lyndonville, Vt., said Sunday morning. He was referring to a nice example in green paint with the original crackled salmon paint inside to top section, open shaped shelves, circa 1780. He indicated there was lots of interest in it, and “the day is still young.”
However, he had done a good deal of selling on Saturday, including a hooked rug, two pieces of Bennington pottery, a tole decorated coffee pot, a sampler, three watercolors, a Seventeenth Century English lowboy, two lamps, two Vermont cobalt decorated stoneware jugs and a Vermont sponge-decorated washstand.
Victor Weinblatt of South Hadley, Mass., noted the show “was not as strong as last year, but we did a fair amount of selling” including a few signs, game boards and several paintings. “It is a very pleasant show to do,” Victor said, “made that way by the presence of Howard Graff who is a thoughtful and considerate manager.”
“We have sold only one piece of furniture,” Bob Lutz of Greenwich, N.J., said as the show closed Saturday afternoon. His first day sales also included a cheese basket, three doorstops and a table lantern, among his list of smalls. With Ellen Katonah, he will be managing a new show next year in Key West, Fla., at a Civil War location.
“The show will preview on a Thursday and then be open for two days, February 24-25, with about 25 dealers taking part,” Bob said. He indicated the show is filling nicely, but “we still have a few open booths.”
Stephen Corrigan of Stephen-Douglas, Rockingham, Vt., also noted the sale of furniture was slow, but “we have done well since we brought many accessories.” His sale included a large mocha pitcher, “the largest one we have ever owned,” a Massachusetts sampler, a blue painted bin and a mantel of the same color, a six-board chest, a yellow mocha pitcher, a painted Shaker box, a stoneware jug with incised bird and a bronze frog.
Otto and Susan Hart live in Arlington, just a piece down Route 7A from Manchester Center, and took advantage of the short travel to bring a most unusual piece to the show, a six-foot-tall folk art musical mechanical clock, signed and dated 1917. The face of the clock was housed in a building with many windows, each with some sort of figure that moved or changed as the clock operated. In all, 114 figures and models were involved in this complex Snyders Miniature Fair Clock. Also of interest was a large bird tree with 19 carved birds dating from the early Twentieth Century.
“We had an interesting New York City couple in our booth on Saturday who had never been to an antiques show before. They were having a good time and, among other things they bought on the floor, purchased from us a very nice table quilt,” Joe Hart said.
Joe Mulder of Liberty Hill Antiques, Reading, Vt., sold one of the two workbenches offered, as well as a Windsor bench with eight legs, a good number of hand tools and a large folding rack, painted mustard on the inside, that held the tools. George and Sandi Goldring of Essex Junction, Vt., sold a one-drawer blanket chest in old salmon paint, a cast iron hitching post from Burlington, Vt., a drop leaf farm table with turned legs and a painted wood box, along with a good number of smalls.
“One of our standards for the VADA Show is a good mix of dealers; we like variety and do not want to see the show take off in one direction only,” Howard Graff said.
Howard Graff noted that he gets most of the credit for the operation of the show, which is probably true. However, he gives credit to Elizabeth Harley, his co-chairman, who handles the show contracts and cards, as well as all the advertising. “And a number of the exhibitors pitch in when needed,” Howard said, “and everyone works hard to make the show look fine.”
In Manchester Center, VADA is alive and well. Expect more of the same September 24-25, 2005.
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