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An All-American Success

February 21st, 2013

A well-weathered biplane weathervane soared over Woody and Nancy Straub’s booth. Tagged $695, it flew back to Florida with the Straubs.

Mario Pollo of Bearsville, New York, offered three chests. From left: a cherry wood-grained panel chest on turned legs was $2350; a dovetailed sea chest with beckets and a painted compass rose under the one-board lid, $3350; and a wood- grained chest with contoured front boards, $1350.

The diversity of Mario Pollo’s offerings is seen here. From the top down: a theater “will call” ticket holder with slots for each seat at $1850; Brown Trout, an oil on board by R.A. Gridley, $875; and a Victorian chest with original glass drawer pulls and painted burl pattern, $3950.

Monty Young continues to find and sell all-original southern hunt boards. This example with original finish and from Franklin County, Georgia, was no exception. It was tagged at $11,500.

Monty Young Antiques & Art offered this all-original child’s double-door walnut cupboard with shaped apron for $2400.

Perhaps the most formal sugar chest in the show, this figured maple example with slightly tapered legs was tagged $20,000, offered by Michael Hall Antiques & Art, Nashville, Tennessee.

Madison Antiques Show & Sale, Madison, Georgia

Exactly what makes a quality, successful antiques show and sale? Certainly it’s not a glitzy Web site or slick advertising. From the dealers’ point of view, a successful show has a good flow of knowledgeable potential buyers that results in sales. Those buyers are looking for quality merchandise that is honestly described and presented with realistic pricing. The sponsors and organizers look for all of the above, resulting in both the dealers and buyers planning to return the following year.

The 12th annual Madison Antiques Show & Sale in Madison, Georgia, held February 21-23, may well be a model of a successful quality show. The show sponsors are busy all year attending other antiques events searching for dealers that would fit their group showcasing American antiques and accessories. Even though the Madison show has a waiting list of dealers, the organizers continue to look for dealers that would round out the merchandise shown in the 20 spaces that they have available.

This year’s sale had 18 dealers. For five, this was only their second year, and for two, this was an entirely new experience. Madison shows its appreciation for the dealers in many ways, including a special evening meal in one of the historic Madison homes. Dealers comment every year that even when their sales volume is off, they are glad to be part of this sale. Many of the veteran Madison dealers said they feel much appreciated and know that the show sponsors have done everything that they can to make them successful.

More than 21 pieces of furniture were sold, the equivalent of more than one for every dealer. Monty Young Antiques & Art, Shelbyville, Tennessee, a veteran at Madison, benefited most from this surge selling. Young had a collector waiting to see a Franklin County, Georgia, hunt board. The hunt board, tagged $11,500, met the collector’s expectations and was purchased. Young sold five pieces of furniture at this year’s show.

Jerry McKinley of Shelbyville, Kentucky, was a first-timer and located at the first booth inside the door. Featuring southern primitive furniture and accessories, he offered a pine worktable with pegged square tapered legs from the Camp Nelson Civil War Heritage Park for $5700. A western North Carolina jelly cupboard with original paint and turned wood knobs was $4200.

Two Kentucky crocks offered by McKinley, a collector of advertising jugs, crocks, and pitchers, underlined the difference rarity can make. A bulbous salt-glazed crock with cobalt decoration and stencil-style lettering reading “F W FIELD NEW, ALBANY” was tagged $7500, while a much plainer “LE MCCARTHEY” crock was only $475.

Another dealer new to the show was Iron Renaissance, Vero Beach, Florida, and Damariscotta, Maine, with a focus on vintage lawn and patio items. A wide variety of items were offered including a canvas ballet backdrop from a theater in Waterville, Maine ($575); an oversize (7' tall) Eiffel Tower wicker floor lamp by Heywood Brothers and Wakefield ($645); and an 1880’s cast-iron plant urn for $375. The lamp had been rewired, and new sockets had been installed.

Mark Gaines, a snowbird from Englewood, New Jersey, was returning to Madison after making his first appearance a few years ago. He brought a wide variety of material and successfully sold across the board, including a circa 1780 Baltimore gate-leg walnut table with original hinges and glue blocks at $1650. A 1940’s Florida watercolor, possibly by one of the Highwaymen artists, was tagged $675. Gaines rounded out his “definitely good for me” Madison experience by selling coin silver, southern items, and books about southern antiques and history.

Dealers Nancy and Woody Straub of Umatilla, Florida, offered the most unusual merchandise. A rustic child’s ladder-back chair with a stretched hide seat was $225. Homesick New Englanders could have bought an all-wood cranberry scoop for $475. Straub’s most expensive offering was an American red walnut Queen Anne corner chair from Connecticut. It was marked $6500 and included a family history dating to the 1770’s. A walnut and maple Rhode Island highboy with original hardware and an old finish was $4800.

Michael Rainey Antiques, based in Beaufort, South Carolina, brought three early tall clocks. An 1800 cherry-cased example by a Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, maker named Kepner was tagged $9500. Another Pennsylvania example, circa 1820, in a curly maple case was tagged $9500 and sold. Rainey also sold a large (9' long) Georgia heart pine stretcher-base tavern table marked $2900; a Tennessee candlestand at $950; and a number of smalls.

Mary Lawson of the Polished Antique, Greenville, South Carolina, one of the founding dealers, always has a fine corner cabinet. This year’s example was a pegged poplar cabinet with a mix of old and new glass in the upper doors priced at $3500. A pair of arrow-back Windsor chairs was marked $1195 and sold, as did two other pairs of chairs, and a pine single-drawer stand. Many smalls sold, including Chinese export and Worcester china, coin silver, and Sheffield silver plate.

Dennis and Dad Antiques, Fitzwilliam, New Hampshire, provided the china that most large case pieces on the floor were designed to showcase. This was the 11th year for Ann and Dennis Berard, as they missed only the first year! Selling a “few pieces” of historical American china, yellowware, transfer pieces in a variety of colors, and a spatter example added up to a “respectable” show. Prices ranged from $200 to $2400.

Blandon M. Cherry of Paris, Kentucky, stated that the show “went well” for him. Sales included a corner cabinet at $4500; a circa 1800 Connecticut River valley inlaid bowfront chest of four drawers tagged $13,800; a southern Indiana paint-decorated hanging cabinet, circa 1880, for $2800; additional smaller furniture; and a variety of smalls. It went well indeed.

Alice Rickstrew of the Kentucky Sandpiper, Russellville, Kentucky, offered a Georgia pine tavern table with pegged and tapered square legs for $750. The table was topped with a number of smalls including a Kentucky pottery rabbit that was $110.

Sharon and Claude Baker Antiques of Hamilton, Ohio, presented a 19th-century walnut sugar chest with tapered legs priced at $2800. A related piece, a sugar cutter, was an unusual farm-made primitive device that resembled a paper cutter. From the Maryland or Kentucky area, it was tagged $1450. Another sugar chest in a Sheraton dry sink form with dovetailed panels and a shaped skirt, all supported by turned legs, was tagged $4900.

Easter Hill Antiques, Sharon, Connecticut, offered two unusual folk art pastel children’s portraits on marble dust (sand) paper. These were found in Bourbon County, Kentucky. Easter Hill’s Thomas O’Hara observed the activity this year and commented that “it was good to see legitimate antique furniture popular again!”

The show actually reduced the available booth space this year to accommodate two special exhibits. The exhibits supported this year’s two lecturers. Michael Crocker, a widely known and well-regarded Georgia potter and collector and curator of the Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia, spoke about “North Georgia Folk Pottery ‘Embellishments’” and the vital role whimseys and decorations played in the survival of the age-old craft.

Margaret Browne, owner of Chivaree Southern Art & Design, Cashiers, North Carolina, a folk art gallery, presented “Elements of Value and Connoisseurship: What makes a piece of late 20th-century Georgia folk art ‘good,’ ‘better,’ or ‘best?’” Both of these presentations took place just prior to the show opening.

So how did Madison do in 2013? Nancy LeRoque of LeRoque Antiques, Art & Jewelry, Atlanta, summarized it this way: “Every year is an improvement over the previous. Dealers are more sincere in their efforts to offer a great show. Customers seem to be happily open-hearted in their appreciation and enjoyment. Almost feel silly…how much I love and appreciate this venue and how my heart would break if it were no more!”

Not to worry; the 13th annual show and sale is already scheduled for February 20-22, 2014. For more information, call the Madison Morgan Cultural Center at (706) 342-4743 or go to the Web site  (

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

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