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Carlson & Stevenson’s Newest Show Gets Lucky

David Hewett | July 13th, 2013


Lewis Scranton of Killingworth, Connecticut, said he found this wicker carriage in a corn crib recently and described it as being in “unbelievable” condition. His under-$600 asking price was nearly unbelievable too.


Quiet Corner Antiques, Sterling, Connecticut, showed some traditional country Americana. The stretcher-base one-drawer table in red paint was $3500. The pair of Windsor chairs in green paint, probably made in the Boston area somewhere between 1790 and 1810, according to shop owner Michael Rouillard, was $3200.


Wagon seats are a form that used to appear with some regularity on the show circuit but now are rather scarce. This early wagon seat in black paint was $500, shown by Dennis and Valerie Bakoledis of Rhinebeck, New York. Wagon or buggy seats always have a thicker center leg. On a settee, by way of contrast, all the legs are the same thickness


Barrett Menson of Townsend, Massachusetts, offered this set of six painted balloon-back Pennsylvania chairs for $1200.


This octagonal-top shoe-foot hutch table from the Hudson Valley with a three-board top, measuring 44" x 46", was offered by Marc Witus of Gladstone, New Jersey, for $9500.


These cast-iron planters were designed by 19th-century British architect and Aesthetic Movement designer Thomas Jeckyll. They are about 22" long, and the price was $650 the pair. They were offered by Charles Gardiner of Ashburnham, Massachusetts. Gardiner still has his house in Jamaica, Vermont, and used to sell from there.

Summer Antique Show, Manchester Center, Vermont

It’s pretty obvious that Phyllis Carlson and Tim Stevenson pray to the right weather gods. Whoever he/she or they might be, those deities certainly smiled on the Manchester Center, Vermont, duo on July 13.

Their newest show, called simply enough the Summer Antique Show, went off as scheduled under one large tent, surrounded by a ring of smaller ones, on the second Saturday in July. It took place on the mowed grass across from the parking area of the Riley Rink outside Manchester Center.

Carlson & Stevenson hold a big fall show inside Riley Rink at the close of Vermont Antiques Week in October. The success of that event led them to schedule this one-day-only outdoor show on the date that promoters Forbes and Turner used to hold alternating yearly outdoor Vermont shows at Dorset and Hildene.

“We were so fortunate,” Phyllis Carlson said two days after closing.

She was referring to an almost miraculous break in the constant rains the East Coast has endured this year.

Vermont was subjected to the wettest weeks in recorded history during May and June. The Green Mountain State had three times the normal amounts of moisture. Over the first two weeks of July in southern Vermont, it had rained, sometimes in torrential amounts, at least once a day for day after day.

On the national scene, a record number of East Coast major league baseball games had been rained out by July 13. It wasn’t just recreational events that suffered, unfortunately.

Farmers depend on the summer’s cuttings of hay and corn for fall and winter livestock feed. Farmers who usually have been able to get in at least two cuttings of hay (for a fortunate few, three) by the third week of July had been able to get in only one, and rain spoiled even that crop for many.

Fields became so water-logged that harvesting machinery was unable to drive on them. Strawberry crops rotted in fields across some areas of Vermont and New Hampshire, and other seasonal crops also suffered (there was a very short shelling pea season in parts of Vermont’s Windham County this year).

“We had just the tiniest of sprinkles in the late afternoon on Saturday,” Carlson said, “and some dealers moved a few pieces in under their tents, but it didn’t amount to anything, really. We worried about the saturated greens in the week before the show, but the one day of sun we got dried them up in time for setup.”

Carlson said that sales were typical for most antiques shows: “Some dealers had excellent sales, others told me they’d done fine, and I expect there were a some for whom business was off a bit.” More telling, she noted, was that “No one complained, and people were buying furniture.”

As for attendance, it was very busy during the two hours we were there. “The number of admissions was a lot better than we expected,” Carlson said, “and it was busy all day through.”

One element in the show’s successful ability to draw tourists was the fact that Riley Rink has a nonprofit standing, enabling Carlson & Stevenson to put up banners and various other signage throughout downtown Manchester and at the various major highway intersections. That was a first for them, because commercial enterprises aren’t allowed to use that form of advertising in Manchester.

There were 49 exhibitors, and quite a few told the organizers they want to do it again next year, she reported. “Many of our exhibitors had never done a show with us before,” Carlson said. “That’s very rewarding, and we do thank them for trusting us to attract customers.”

At least one cupboard sold while we were there, and Carlson reported that a New York state dealer sold two cupboards and a dry sink. (We were unable to reach many of the exhibitors by phone in the week following the show; they may have been out on the road looking for fresh stock, or away for other reasons, but most of our attempts were unsuccessful.)

We did speak with two New Hampshire dealers who did the show. Tommy Thompson of Keepers Antiques in Chichester said it was an unsuccessful event for him. Steven Rowe of Cornish said he’d had mixed success, with just six sales; a Federal/Classical two-drawer stand was his only one of consequence.

Both dealers, and several others who exhibited in Manchester, planned to do the big NHADA show in August, and Thompson was also showing at the annual VermontADA show later in July as well.

And one last word about the weather.

Carlson & Stevenson’s show took place on the same day as the last show in Brimfield was being held. One exhibitor did both shows, and we heard second hand that when he called his wife to see how she was faring, he reported, “It’s raining in Brimfield.”

For more information, contact Carlson & Stevenson at (802) 236-2342 or (802) 236-4945.

Michael Weinberg of West Pelham Antiques, Pelham, Massachusetts, offered this complete 22" high doll’s canopy bed, including all the hangings and quilt, for the very enticing price of $275.

The skies darkened a couple of times, but only a brief sprinkle fell on the Summer Antique Show, and considering how bad it had been during May, June, and the first two weeks of July, it seemed almost miraculous to exhibitors and attendees alike.


Originally published in the October 2013 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2013 Maine Antique Digest

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