Woodview Antiques, Sandwich Village, Massachusetts, offered this primitive cranberry table and scoop from the Gristmill Hiller Farm, Rochester, Massachusetts, for $595.
Woodview Antiques asked $285 for this 19th-century nicely grained spice cupboard with seven drawers.
Tom Joseph of Limington, Maine, offered this late Federal mahogany fold-over card table with crotched mahogany bookmatched veneers, Boston, 1800-20, for $1400.
Stephen-Douglas, Rockingham, Vermont, wanted $1150 for this 19th-century oil painting on tin measuring 18" x 24".
Queen Anne cherry candlestand with original and very unusual reinforcements, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, 1770-90, $675 from Denise Scott Antiques.
Denise Scott Antiques, East Greenwich, Rhode Island, offered a green-painted pine blanket box, all original, from the 19th century, for $895.
Wells Outdoor Antiques Show & Sale, Wells, Maine
“Rain, rain, go away” must have been ringing in the dealers’ ears as unwelcome showers threatened the 13th annual Wells Outdoor Antiques Show & Sale, produced by Goosefare Antiques and Promotions at the historic Laudholm Farm in Wells, Maine, on Sunday, June 23. It was lucky that the show wasn’t a complete washout, and the clouds parted by afternoon, allowing it to be an actual “sun” day (no pun intended).
Rain, however, is no real deterrent to serious buyers and collectors; almost all came well equipped, donning slickers and boots, or huddled under umbrellas, ready to browse and, it was hoped, to buy. It seemed that turnout was good in light of the unexpected downpours, but some dealers felt the attendance was poor and that their sales suffered as a result. Those not under tents were especially worried about their inventory.
Regardless of the weather, the location of the show itself was picturesque, perhaps the quintessential setting for a sale such as this. With a period farmhouse and barn surrounded by a sprawling lawn and tree-lined meadows, the gorgeous and secluded location is one of Maine’s hidden treasures. First settled in 1643, Laudholm Farm has as rich a history as the objects and furniture encountered at the sale.
In the barn, there was a treasure-trove of handsome antiques in the booth of Stephen-Douglas Antiques. A charming brown- and black-decorated chest, 1840-60, was priced at $1950; it was resting atop an 18th-century Connecticut chest of drawers with all-original hardware priced at $1800. Returning for their fifth year, the Rockingham, Vermont-based dealers were no strangers to the show and were optimistic that they would do well despite the rain. Though they had some nice pieces of furniture, such as a petite inlaid one-drawer stand with candle slide for $675, they stated most of their sales were of small items such as china, glassware, and penny banks.
Across the way from Stephen-Douglas, Woodview Antiques, Sandwich Village, Massachusetts, offered a primitive and gnarled piece of furniture that was a work bench from the Gristmill Hiller cranberry farm in Rochester, Massachusetts. It was appropriately accompanied by a cranberry scoop. Though not a pristine specimen, it had a nice weathered and worn patina that, for $595, could make it an interesting piece in someone’s home, possibly as a counter in a kitchen or as a potting table.
East Greenwich, Rhode Island, dealer Sam Scott of Denise Scott Antiques pointed out the unusual original reinforcements on the bottom of a 1770-90 candlestand from Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Normally the top would be attached with only a cleat or batten to the column of the table, but in this case there were four additional pieces of wood attached at an angle from the column to the underside of the table top, acting as both a brace and a support; the piece was priced at $675. In addition to a nice variety of decoys and a selection of princely pewter, the Scotts’ booth also sported a lovely 19th-century pine blanket box painted in a jaunty shade of green for $895.
Limington, Maine, dealer Tom Joseph had an eclectic mix of furniture and decorative objects, from 19th-century Americana to mid-century modern. Though there were some jazzy mid-century pieces, something I hadn’t anticipated seeing at this particular sale, he also had an elegant late Federal mahogany fold-over card table with crotch mahogany bookmatched veneers, 1800-20, that was in excellent condition and priced at $1400.
An extremely oversize corner chair with an 18" rush seat, 1780, was offered for $995 by Ian McKelvey Antiques; it was custom made for a rather portly gentleman.
Dealer Derik Pulito of Kensington, Connecticut, had a rare adjustable trammel-type betty lamp with possible remnants of original fish oil or fat trimmings still inside. The betty lamp is thought to have originated in Germany, Austria, or Hungary in the 18th century. Yet it has become synonymous with Colonial American domesticity; a drawing of a betty lamp was adopted by the American Home Economics Association (AHEA) in the early 1900’s as its symbol. The organization has since changed its name to the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (AAFCS) and changed its emblem so that it barely resembles a betty lamp of yore.
Under the large tented area, mostly small goods were being sold, such as paintings, textiles, pottery, silver, and other knickknacks. At the booth of MG Art & Antiques, East Kingston, New Hampshire, there was a rare, possibly 19th-century painted dummy figure of a young boy dressed in 18th-century costume and holding a posy of flowers and a tricorn hat. Such figures were made to stand in the inglenook in a kitchen or saloon as a domestic friend in the lonely days before modern media communication. Though there was crackling to the paint, the color was still very rich and in fair condition.
Out of the many small decorative objects I saw, the following stood out: a lovely painted 18th-century bride’s box, a small majolica fish plaque ($200), two figured and fancy weave coverlets ($125, $425), a framed arrangement of red wax seals ($590), a very amusing drawing of a cat ($160), a log cabin pattern hooked rug ($50), and endless amounts of salt-glazed crocks and jugs as well as Shaker boxes and woven baskets.
Whether a collector or a dealer looking for fine furniture, an interior designer looking for a trendy apothecary, or even someone looking for a small trinket as a gift or souvenir, everyone could find something at the show. The range of prices, as well as the variety of objects, made it easy for shoppers to bring home a treasure. There were some great deals to be had for under $100, with rarer and more valuable items priced into the thousands of dollars. For the most part, dealers said they sold many of their small items, and most shoppers were looking for something reasonably priced and easily carried home, while it was to other dealers they sold their more expensive items, such as furniture. Either way, in this turbulent economy, many people are hesitant to buy. It is a much easier decision to spend $75 on a mochaware pitcher than to spend several thousand on a piece of furniture, though the latter may be a better investment in the long run. People today are not the risktakers they once were, and many dealers said that antiques shows are nothing like they were 30 years ago when people were scrambling to buy. But even with the economy in a slump, shoppers and buyers alike had an enjoyable day in a rustic pastoral setting.
For more information, call (207) 646-0505 or see (www.goosefareantiques.com).
Originally published in the October 2013 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2013 Maine Antique Digest