Scott Bassett of the Peter Sawyer firm unveils the rare Aaron Willard shelf clock they kept covered until the doors opened at 10 a.m. It was available for $55,000.
After the show had closed, Peter Sawyer said, "We had a very good show, [selling] two bureaus, two tall clocks, a candlestand, paintings, and other items. There weren't a huge number of sales on Friday and Saturday, but we are always glad to be there to make contacts. Unlike the last few years, we saw retail customers looking for furniture for use in their homes. That's very rewarding to see."
The 1874-dated oil on canvas by Samuel Griggs (1827-1898), approximately 42" square, depicts trains running up to the resorts through the Crawford Notch in New Hampshire's White Mountains. Meryl Weiss of American Classics, Canaan, New Hampshire, priced it at $5900.
Shown by Russ and Karen Goldberger of Rye, New Hampshire, the circa 1890 rooster hooked rug, about 30" long, was tagged $4900.
Manchester, New Hampshire
by David Hewett
"The gate was up from the last few years, and the biggest increases came on Friday and Saturday, which few of us expected. I had my second-best show ever, and it was Friday sales that pushed me over the top," reported Thomas Thompson of Pembroke, New Hampshire.
He and 67 other exhibitors were uniformly positive in their reports about the 55th annual New Hampshire Antiques Show, held August 9-11 at Manchester's Radisson Hotel. The aisles were jam-packed on opening morning, booths were crowded, and sold stickers and tags blossomed like dandelions in the lower pasture in the spring.
The crowds seemed larger than ever this year, and it was so packed inside that some people left and went off to one of the other shows to wait until it was less hectic here. Exhibitors loved having customers on the next two days, and some had their best sales in years on Friday and Saturday.
"I had my best New Hampshire show ever," said Killingworth, Connecticut, dealer Lewis Scranton when we caught up with him at a Skinner Americana auction days later, "and my best sales came on Friday, the second day we were open."
York, Maine, dealer Bob Withington took notice of the attitude of the crowds too. "I got the impression that people are feeling better about the business; spirits seem to be up. Maybe the business is returning to normal somewhat. We did very well; we sold a high percentage of what we brought, and that's always a good sign."
A collector couple from Texas waiting in line on Thursday morning spoke about why they had made the trip to New Hampshire for the past 15 years. They used to buy from dealers who shopped in New England, they said, until they finally realized that "if you collect these things, this is where you have to be."
If you collect "these things"Americana, New England furniture, and painted country accessories and folk artthere really is no better place to find them than in the exhibition hall at Manchester's Radisson on a Thursday morning in August.
It has been said before but still is true; the exhibitors really do put away the treasures they find during the rest of the year to offer at this show. And customers do snap them up.
Among other things, Exeter, New Hampshire, dealer Peter Sawyer sold a Portsmouth, New Hampshire, lolling chair, a Federal bowfront chest attributed to Spooner & Fitts of Athol, Massachusetts, a Boston Chippendale mahogany blockfront chest of drawers attributed to Benjamin Frothingham, and a New Hampshire tall-case clock.
Punta Gorda, Florida, dealer Michael Whittemore sold a group of Hummer iron windmill weights, a large bull weathervane, and several signs. Jewett-Berdan Antiques, Newcastle, Maine, had sales that included a circa 1860 table rug with appliquéd animals and a William Mathew Prior portrait of a young woman in a paint-decorated frame.
Penny Dionne of Willington, Connecticut, sold weathervanes: a flying goose, a rooster, and a horse and rider. Thomasville, Pennsylvania, dealers Newsom & Berdan sold a large hooked rug depicting a pot of flowers; it had been priced at $5500 when we saw it before the show opened.
Caught on opening day, Jeff Noordsy of Cornwall, Vermont, said the show was, in one word, "Incredible! We have already done more business than we did in New York and Philly combined!"
Michael and Lucinda Seward of Pittsford, Vermont, sold a circa 1810 pair of very fresh watercolor on paper portraits that had been discovered in an abandoned Vermont farm. They also sold a Woodstock, Vermont, schoolgirl-decorated maple box and some stoneware.
Rockingham, Vermont, dealers Stephen-Douglas Antiques sold a long Windsor bench to a retail customer, plus a lift-top two-drawer Vermont blanket chest with superlative paint decoration (it had been marked $14,000). Arthur Liverant of Colchester, Connecticut, sold a Federal window seat.
All of these sales came between 10 a.m. and noon on Thursday, with two and a half days of the show yet to come.
One had to come away from the New Hampshire Antiques Dealers Association show with positive feelings. It may not be back to the old days, when everything in an exhibitor's booth sold within a half-hour of the show's opening (a fantasy, in reality), but it sure was better than in 2008 and 2009.
For more information, contact Beverly Weir-Longacre at (603) 876-4080, or visit NHADA's Web site (www.nhada.org).
It's a 55" x 64" fragment of a plastered wall, painted around 1840 by John Avery of Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, for the Hobbs Hotel in West Ossipee, New Hampshire. Jason Samuel Fine Art and Antiques, Milford, New Hampshire, offered it for $14,000.
Jan Whitlock of West Chester, Pennsylvania, had a 38" x 42" patriotic Civil War-era crib-size quilt, dated 1862 in one corner, priced at $12,000.
The roughly 30" diameter Great Seal of New Hampshire, painted by George Geiwitz of Baltimore, Maryland, was $1600 from Thomas and Beverly Longacre of Marlborough, New Hampshire. The carved and painted 22" long wooden boat was priced at $1850, and it sold. Beverly Weir-Longacre said they had an excellent show. "We sold to several people who had never been to [the NHADA] show before; that was good to see. Everyone was impressed by the attendance on Friday and Saturday; the aisles were full at times on those days." About the crush on Thursday morning, she laughed and remarked, "It's not for the faint of heart, those first few hours on opening morning."
These two interesting smalls were offered by Jeff and Holly Noordsy of Cornwall, Vermont. The ceramic bowl of a ceremonial pipe (left) was $1850. The inkwell, made of a soft stone such as soapstone, has been inscribed on the underside "Taken at Plattsburgh from the Americans." It was $1650 and immediately sold to a specialist in historical Americana.
Judith and James Milne of New York City showed the superlative J. Howard horse weathervane from a New York collection. Approximately 32" long and dating from about 1870, it had a $42,000 price tag.
Don't think that NHADA is trying to keep up with the times? Michael Hingston of Etna, New Hampshire, is one dealer who says otherwise. He showed Arts and Crafts pottery, silver, and furniture at this year's annual show. The Gustav Stickley bookcase, 1907-12, is 62½" high and has the red decal marking ($5400). Inside it is a selection of Roseville and Weller pottery priced from $295 to $550. The large Zanesville pottery jugs on top, circa 1920, were $1200 the pair.
Offered by John D. Wahl of Richmond, New Hampshire, the roughly 36" long blacksmith- or farmer-made cow weathervane with a few patched bullet holes cost $3995. It sold within a couple of minutes of the show's opening. He also sold a paint-decorated trunk, signs, and a small blanket chest on Saturday.
Pratt's Antiques, Victor, New York, one of two dealers new to the show this year, had a beautiful booth. The circa 1820 two-door, 30-drawer New Hampshire apothecary in old green/blue paint, 60" high x 47¼" wide, was fabulous. Priced at $18,500, it sold on Thursday morning.
Suzanne Courcier and Robert Wilkins of Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts, are veteran Shaker dealers. They brought a circa 1840 cherry dining table from the Watervliet, New York, community that had been modified by the Shakers with a leaf at each end. It had once belonged to Mrs. John C. Spring and was priced at $32,000. On top is an assembled set of nine lidded oval boxes from New Lebanon, New York, all circa 1840 and running from 3 5/8" to 15" long; the set cost $14,000.
Douglas Solliday of Columbia, Missouri, offered the Dowse family fireboard, circa 1835, which had been found in a sealed room in the attic of a Dover, Massachusetts, house in the 1970's. It was professionally restored soon after. It measures 33¾" x 43" and cost $25,000.
Now here is one great rooster weathervane, recently out of a collection and shown on page 54 of Robert Young's 1999 book Folk Art. Newsom & Berdan Antiques, Thomasville, Pennsylvania, asked $16,000 for the barn roof treasure.