Published: July 10, 2018
Review and Photos by Rick Russack
WELLS, MAINE – Weather forecasts had not been encouraging all week. But by the time Sunday, June 24 rolled around, it was a perfect early summer day, and the crowd was huge for the 75 dealer show, managed by John and Elizabeth DeSimone, Goosefare Antiques and Promotions. Dealers were selling within a couple of minutes of the 10 am opening. The show is primarily a “country” show, but there were plenty of other things for shoppers, dealers and collectors. It is a show that is “shopped” by many New England dealers seeking reasonably priced, quality inventory for the upcoming Brimfield and New Hampshire Antiques Week shows.
Material ranged in age from the Seventeenth Century to the Twentieth. Perhaps one of the oldest items on the field was in the booth of Harold Cole and Bettina Krainin from Woodbury, Conn. They had a Seventeenth Century tooled leather, iron bound, casket or small chest. The stamped leather panels were outlined with large, old brass-headed nails, and the leather showed traces of old blue paint. The decorative hardware was obviously hand-forged, and there was a key for its lock. Krainin thought it might have been Italian and said they were considering whether to sell it as-is or perhaps do some minor restoration.
MG Antiques, East Kingston, N.H., also had an item that clearly showed its age and was in good condition: a large tin lantern with horn inserts. The dealers dated it to circa 1780-1820 and had it priced at $750. Harry Hepburn III, Harrison, Maine had an Eighteenth Century European miniature of a religious figure, painted on silk and surrounded by decorative embroidery with gold threads. It was in a hand-carved, gold leaf frame in very good condition. It was priced at $2,200. Hepburn also had a circa 1865 wall clock made by George Hatch, an Attleboro, Mass., clockmaker. It was priced at $1,275, and having been restored, was fully guaranteed.
There was plenty of good furniture on the field. Hilary Nolan, Falmouth, Mass., had a matched set of six side chairs with unusual heart-shaped cut-outs on the splats that he thought had been made by one of the Dunlaps. The set was priced at $2,800. Martin Ferrick, Lincolnville, Maine, had a circa 1850 inlaid, bowfront chest, ready to go in any home. Don Heller and Kim Washam, Portland, Maine, brought a Massachusetts bandy-leg walnut Queen Anne slant front desk, circa 1750-70, which they priced at $2,850. Not as old as some of the other furniture on the field, but a very usable form, was a 10 foot long trestle table with a matching pair of benches. Joe Spaider, Iron Renaissance Antiques, Damariscotta, Maine, said the set had been made about 1950 and priced it at $1,400.
There was a variety of interesting folk art on the field. One couldn’t help but notice a 1950s 6Ã½-foot-tall three-dimensional tin figure of a mustached tin soldier at the front of the Heller-Washam booth. The figure was all tin, including his early army uniform, the triangular tin hat atop his head and his tin firearms. They said it was a 1950-60s theatrical figure from Skowhegan, Maine, and priced it at $1,550. Other interesting folk art included a very well-done wooden model of the early tug-boat Seguin. A label accompanying the model stated that the Seguin had been launched in Bath, Maine, in 1884, and it had been in service for 85 years on the Kennebec River and along the Atlantic coast. It had been moored in Bath, but it no longer exists. The model was in the booth of Bob and Tina Mortimer, Falmouth, Maine.
Carved whales are popular with many collectors, and the name of Clark Voorhees is often associated with the best. However, Harry Hepburn had two whales carved by Wick Ahrens (1944-2016), who had spent time in the Voorhees studio in Weston, Vt. Ahrens bought one of the Voorhees whales for $30, as the story goes, and put it away, only to uncover it years later and start carving himself. In 1984, Ahrens was commissioned by the Coyote Point Museum in California to carve an 18-foot whale for permanent display. It took a year. He eventually settled in Weston, Vt., and worked as a cabinetmaker and wood carver, primarily carving whales that he had studied up close by swimming alongside them in the ocean. The detail that Hepburn put into the carvings was outstanding, and if you are interested in whale carvings, Ahrens’ work is worth tracking down.
There was plenty of other interesting stuff to look at. Spotted Horse Antiques, West Windsor, Vt., had American Indian baskets, including a large Pima example, which was priced at $550. They priced a Chippewa beaded leather shirt at $950. Mario Pollo, Bearsville, N.Y., had several early large carvings of saints. Sandy Jacobs, Marblehead, Mass., had a large, stylish Art Nouveau vase, bronze-plated over base metal. A large selection of framed prints was offered by Don Lutz of Newburyport, Mass. Justin Cobb, Captain’s Quarters Antiques, Amherst, Mass., had a selection of marine paintings and a selection of carved wooden artifacts. Redware was shown in abundance. Lewis Scranton, Killingworth, Conn., had several pieces, as did David McLean, N. Monmouth, Maine, and others.
Jim and Nancy Glazer, Bailey Island, Maine, had amongst many other things, a selection of occupational shaving mugs. Jim Glazer has been collecting and selling them for years. Prices for those at the show ranged from $100 to $3,200. He explained, “Most shaving mugs were decorated by hand to a customer’s order. Depending on their trade or occupation, some can be quite rare. An example of a rare one would be that of a baseball player from Providence, R.I., which had been done about 1880. We were the only country in the world that used occupational shaving mugs, although the blanks were made in European factories. Many were decorated by Koken Barber’s Supply Company of St Louis, Mo. They started decorating mugs in the 1870s and eventually employed more than 2,000 men and women, designing and painting mugs. Many examples are one-of-a-kind, and that’s the fun of collecting them. You never know what may be out there.”
After the show, John DeSimone shared some thoughts. “We were very lucky with the weather. From the forecasts, we weren’t sure which way it would go. The day before the show, I asked a number of the outside dealers if they’d like me to set-up another tent so they could be under cover if the forecasts were right. Several did, but we weren’t able to get another tent up because of septic field considerations. But it was okay, and the crowd was the largest we’ve ever had. Several dealers told me they’d had a very good show and were impressed by the crowd. There was a lot of preshow business, which is always a sign that dealers are optimistic and that business is good. Looks like we’ve turned the corner.”
For additional information, www.goosefareantiques.com or 800-641-6908.
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