Two Rivers Mansion is on the McGavock Pike, located between Nashville and Hendersonville. David McGavock began building the mansion for his bride in 1859. It was completed after the Civil War. It remained in the family until the last heir died in 1965, and it became a public property. For the past two years, friends of the elegant Italianate historic house have held Two Hearts Antiques and Crafts Show to coincide with the February antiques shows in the Nashville area. Sunday afternoon appraisals by Sarah Campbell Drury of Case Antiques, Inc., Auctions & Appraisals in Knoxville drew even more visitors to the event.
Greg Kramer of Robesonia, Pennsylvania, had an extensive display in multiple booth spaces, manned by son Eric. At the front stood a full-bodied wooden sculpture of the angel Gabriel, late 18th or early 19th century, for $19,500. The carousel horse by D.C. Muller, 1910-20, in good paint with jewels was $8500.
A couple who always presents their material well, Lynn and Michael Worden of Burr Oak, Michigan, had a kitchen theme going with the large wooden dough bowl at right for $575, a wooden table with industrial legs for $1150, and a circular zinc pan from a French fish market on the wall for $395.
Textile dealer Connie Marks of Victoriana, Rocky Point, North Carolina, had not been to Nashville for two years, so she enjoyed seeing many of her longtime customers again. She said, “They were looking for their favorites in my booth. I sold vintage clothing, napkins, lace, lots of handkerchiefs, big hats. They pretty much stripped that case, so I had to add more things today.” The French baby bonnet trimmed with silk roses at the front was $175; the lace pillow beyond, $225.
Colleen Boland Frese of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, set up in a row with Mustard House Antiques, Greenfield, Ohio, and Suzanne Baker. A shopping couple examines her painted cupboard.
The Tailgate-Music Valley Antiques Show, the combination of two earlier shows promoted by Jon and Steve Jenkins, brought together around 120 dealers at the vast Hendersonville Expo Center in Hendersonville, Tennessee, a northeast suburb of Nashville, for a February 14-16 run. The event begins with an early bird admission period for $25 from 9 a.m. to noon on Thursday morning for eager buyers. This show opening—by mutual management coordination—falls between the Wednesday start of the Fiddler’s Antique show and the Thursday evening preview party at Heart of Country.
On Friday, Jon Jenkins seemed pleased with the first day’s turnout. “I’m very happy; yesterday’s attendance was up about fifteen percent over last year,” he said. “The shuttle is running between the shows. We did that last year, but people are getting a little more used to taking it.” Certainly serious collectors, in town for the weekend, are not deterred by the travel time to Hendersonville from the Opryland area. If there are antiques to be seen, they will find them.
Last year Jenkins introduced a separate show section at the back of the facility labeled “Vintage Marketplace,” which targets younger collectors. Offerings are trendier, more affordable, and often made in more recent decades. This section expanded from 17 dealers last year to 32 dealers in 2013.
Jenkins views this addition as a learning experience all around. “The Vintage Marketplace has experienced steady growth, not only in the number of dealers, but also in the presentation values. Some of those dealers are new to the business or shows of this type, and they can come in and learn, and then traditional dealers also can learn something from them. They see people coming in and say, ‘How can I attract that kind of traffic? How come that merchandise is engaging younger customers?’ ”
The old Tailgate show was always a diverse event and offered every sort of antique, so the vintage additions merely broaden the market. What does “vintage” look like? Everything from shabby chic to mid-century modern to industrials to new objects and clothing created from old elements. Some dealers once in the traditional section of the show have moved to Vintage Marketplace because their merchandise fits and the traffic is good.
Don and Marta Orwig of Corunna, Indiana, did just that, setting up a massive multiple-space display at the very back. They carry a lot of inventory including many large objects, so the spot made sense for them. Todd Miller of West Alexandria, Ohio, had another expansive display. He advertised his breadth from the 19th to 20th century with an emphasis on “high design” and Modernism. His Ritts Company tropical rattan furniture suite for $1998 was one of the best vintage offerings on the floor and would make anyone long for cocktails on the veranda.
Charles Bachmann of Thornville, Ohio, set up a display of mid-century modern in the vintage section while maintaining a room of more traditional material at the Fiddler’s Antique Show. He has a large inventory, which he can tailor to each particular show. Even in the 20th-century range, he might exhibit more important pieces at an all-Modernism event but bring affordable furniture and smalls to Hendersonville. Comfortable with gearing his offerings to the market, he said, “We all know the definition of insanity. If the business is not working for you, you adapt to what the current taste is.” In the vintage section, he sees new buyers come to the show who are trying to figure out what they like, “and it’s probably not a portrait of a dead person. They may want a ginger jar, but not a roomful.”
In the much larger area at the front, around 90 dealers presented more traditional American country antiques and decorative arts, advertising, textiles, and toys in room settings. One of these was David Zabriskie of Lake Placid, New York, who has “been in the show since the word ‘go’” and likes the Hendersonville venue and the Vintage Marketplace, although he wishes that the three show managements in town for February would talk to one another more. “This show’s filled up, and I thought it looked fine. I like this area back in the back—all the kids seem to love it. They’re buying; that’s all that’s really important. They’re hauling it out of here, so there must be somebody who likes it. Some dealers complain, but that is where the market is.”
Thomas Delach of Columbus, Ohio, is an Americana dealer with an excellent eye for folk art. He was sharing a booth with two other dealers and said, “We had sales every day. Attendance was good all the way through the show, and there were a lot of young people on the floor.” Sharing a single or multiple booth spot is not uncommon at this show; dealers can take a break and always have someone on the floor. Then there are single exhibitors, Pennsylvania dealer Greg Kramer, for example, who spread a large inventory over multiple spaces.
The assumption may be that having a good show means selling major pieces of furniture, but the same totals can be achieved by selling many high-end smalls.
Neal L. Blodgett Jr. owns Higganum House Antiques, Higganum, Connecticut. His handsome “Jeweler & Optician” trade sign, priced at $12,500, was not large but very fine. He enjoyed excellent sales on opening day. “I sold a ton of stuff, a lot of primitive tin cookie cutters, game boards, twelve or fourteen doorstops—and some of them were very expensive. I’ve got a full book,” he said. “A lot of this is fresh stuff, I’m a buyer—I’m out every day.” With his inventory, restocking is easy. When one thing sells, another antique takes its place.
Tailgate-Music Valley Antiques Show will return for its fall outing on October 31 and November 1 and 2 at the Hendersonville Expo Center, 90 Volunteer Drive, Hendersonville, Tennessee. For more information, call Jenkins Management at (317) 598-0012 or visit the Web site (www.tailgatemusicvalley.blogspot.com).
Robert Conrad of Yeagertown, Pennsylvania, sold the refinished pie safe with star tins. Above, he placed a hanging wall cupboard with Gothic windows, circa 1860, tagged $3200.
Charles Bachmann of Thornville, Ohio, divided his Nashville material between vintage modern at Hendersonville and more traditional antiques at the Fiddler’s Antique Show. He noted that mid-century modern collectors like to see labels from well-known firms. The Drexel server from its Profile line was $245, and $85 would take home the colorful double peacock chenille spread.
Vintage Marketplace expanded to 32 dealers in 2013, and Don and Marta Orwig of Corunna, Indiana, moved to a vast booth in that section, where they could display an extensive inventory of large pieces. The mirrored windows from Paris at the back were $3500 each. The red metal chairs on the left were $95 each. The huge circular gear on the wall sold.
Originally published in the May 2013 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2013 Maine Antique Digest