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Shenandoah Antiques Expo

Walter C. Newman | May 10th, 2013

This hooked rug was found in the booth belonging to a Fishersville regular, Jim Fisher of Fairfield, Pennsylvania, who trades as Plain Dealer. The folky rug features a clipper ship flying an American flag as it sails toward a harbor with a lighthouse. The rug was $395. The group of baskets ranged in price from $45 to $125. The small stools feature mortise and tenon construction. The smaller example was $185, and the larger one was $145. The advertising tins ranged from $45 to $75.

Bill and Melissa Smith of Walnut Cabinet Antiques, Prince Frederick, Maryland, offered the small oval one-drawer table for $450. The barnyard set appears to have been assembled from several sources and was tagged $325. The striped redware dish was marked $40; the eagle-decorated plate was $85. The larger single-drawer table features breadboard ends and is raised on Queen Anne-style legs. It has had some repairs and was marked $800. The deep cutlery box was $325; the food molds were $65 each; the book-form Bennington flask was $65; and the painted southern belle-form doorstop was $225.

Here are a few of the collectible smalls in the booth of Hannah and Danny DeToma of The Feather Tree, Brevard, North Carolina. This group includes a set of miniature colorful gaming chips for $65; a cartoon mouse figure driving a tractor and another flying an airplane, $69 each; a celluloid bank in the form of a Scottish terrier in a barrel, $75; and a small Native American pot, dated 1931, $125. The gas can to the left is labeled as a “Sexton’s Safety Can” and was $49. An ashtray advertising “Parsley Brand Salmon” was $69; a tea tin was $15; and a child’s decorated tin plate from the Ideal Toy Company was $15.

Mark Amis and Kathleen Vance of Greenville, Virginia, are familiar faces at Fishersville. Amis and Vance always have a booth full of folky Americana. The framed sampler, dated 1789, appears to be a daughter’s tribute to her deceased father and was $1400. The pewter plates were marked $195 each, and the maple drop-leaf table was $495.

Fishersville, Virginia

The 52nd edition of the Shenandoah Antiques Expo at Fishersville, Virginia, was held the weekend of May 10-12. The semiannual event has been a mainstay for countless antiques enthusiasts in the mid-Atlantic states, drawing collectors, dealers, designers, and browsers since 1986.

The Fishersville show has had a history of weather-related incidents that have disrupted the show. The past several shows, however, have been spared any severe meteorological events. That luck ran out late in the day on Friday when a severe thunderstorm hit the show area. The open-air vendors in the infield were most affected. The sunshine on Saturday revealed a number of vacated vendor spots, and those who did remain were attempting to empty the rainwater from their wares.

Weather conditions aside, it is no secret that dealer participation appears to have declined in recent years in most shows. Fishersville has not been immune to that trend and has suffered a noticeable decline in participating dealers over the past several shows, especially the number who set up in the infield. Part of the decline must be attributed to the timing of the show. The spring Fishersville sale has always had to compete with more than its fair share of events. Mother’s Day, college graduations, and the Brimfield shows up North are always in the mix, competing for time and attention for any May event. This year, the weekend of May 10-12 was Mother’s Day weekend.

The dealers I spoke with were very matter-of-fact about the declining number of dealers from one year to the next. They reminded me of two facts in particular: the number of full-time professional dealers is on the decline, and dealers are simply cutting back on the number of shows in which they participate, as well as the number of miles they are willing to travel. Now, more so than in past years, dealers plan their annual show schedule with a calendar, a road map, and calculator. The dollars and cents of show travel planning has always been a consideration, but it is now openly discussed.

One dealer spoke very candidly about his dilemma. Remarking about another show where he had recently set up, he stated, “I simply can’t afford to go to a show where I don’t even gross my booth rent, much less my lodging and gas expenses. Even if I get a callback or two, it is just not worth it. These days I have to think hard about where I set up.”

Ray Stokes, the face of the show’s promoter, Heritage Promotions in Lynchburg, Virginia, is acutely aware of the timing issue and the fact that his dealers must see his show as a value to their business. His job is to provide them with a good venue, to promote the show, and to bring people through the gate. Stokes told me that he has made the decision to move the date of the spring Fishersville event to the last weekend in May, beginning with the 2014 event. That date may be a bit problematic. It will certainly avoid many of the competing dates earlier in the month, but it will always fall either the weekend of or the weekend following Memorial Day.

The future of Fishersville is certainly not doom and gloom. The show is strong and will continue. There are still more than 400 vendors offering a smorgasbord of antiques and collectibles in every price range. There will be changes and some new faces, but Fishersville weekend will continue to be marked on thousands of calendars.

For additional information, contact Heritage Promotions at (434) 847-8242 or (434) 846-7452 or visit the Web site (

Bruce Shoemaker and Rose Gallo of Baldwin House Antiques, Strasburg, Pennsylvania, offered this circa 1850 walnut drop-leaf table for $185. The jardinière by Weller was tagged $75. The ironstone dishes with brushstroke decorations in black date from the mid-19th century. Two patterns of the tableware were offered, Tulip and Fern and Heath’s Flowers. Priced individually, the dishes ranged from $40 to $150. The antique quilt was $1600.

John Knight of Richmond, Virginia, offered this walnut four-drawer Valley of Virginia chest. It features a shaped skirt, slightly flared front feet, fine string inlay framing the drawer fronts, and light wood kite-form escutcheons. The chest was tagged $1150. The walnut tabletop document cabinet, also from Virginia, was marked $375. The small basket was $150. The crock on the left has advertising from an Alexandria, Virginia, merchant and was $295. The crock on the right by Washington, D.C., maker Enoch Burnett, circa 1860, was $275.

Jeanne Kauffmann of Tinker’s Wagon Early Country Antiques, Flint Hill, Virginia, stocked her space with primitives and country smalls. The yellow pine corner cupboard is a convenient size for pantry storage. It was tagged $425. Kauffmann had an interested party and was busy on the telephone verifying the cost to ship the cupboard to Florida. The large wooden mixing bowl was $315; the wooden mortar and pestle, $185; the earless stuffed animal, $75; and the locking red-washed wooden document box, $100. The round wooden boxes in the cupboard are measuring scoops, tagged $45.

These stoneware pottery items were also in the Evanses’ booth. Chris Evans stated that the stoneware birdhouse is quite rare and attributed to Philadelphia maker Richard C. Remmey, circa 1870. It was tagged $2850. The miniature pitcher features a faux screw head molded into the base of its handle and was $1350. The storage crock from Philadelphia was $650, and the incised and cobalt-decorated pitcher from Baltimore was $450.

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

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