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Coastal Maine Antiques Show 2013

August 28th, 2013

Robert Foley of Gray, Maine, had a tag on this sea chest that read “Over the Top Sea Chest.” He wasn’t kidding; it had carved and polychromed mermaids, flags, birds, flowers, shields, and other animals, as well as old photos. The chest was tagged $2500. “It’s the most ornately carved sea chest I ever owned,” said Foley, “The maker had a lot of time on his hands and a vivid imagination. ” Foley said the show was “Fabulous. It’s one of the very best shows I do for the money. It’s an amazing little show.”

The one-drawer table with a one-board top with breadboard ends was a New England piece tagged $1550 by Colleen Kinloch Antiques, and it sold. The chickadee carving was done by contemporary Virginia carver C.W. Waterfield and was $225, and the redware jug holding the flowers was only $45. John and Colleen Kinloch split their time between Laurel, Maryland, and Bristol, Maine.

This country Hepplewhite chair-table with a round top and tapered leg base, circa 1800, was $975 from Marion Redlon of New England Antiques, Bath, Maine. The four Hitchcock chairs around it, 1820-40, with stenciled decoration, were $1650 the set. The brown transferware tureen with ladle was tagged $375.

The two-sided (one side colored) “Lakeside Lodge” sign from the 1940’s was $850 from Bill Quinn; the “Hootin Holler” sign from the 1960’s was $265. “It was a good show but not as strong as in past years,” said Quinn, “but that may be because of my inventory. I get quite a few people who come to my shop in Alna the day before the show, and they hit me before I load the truck. This year I got pounded pretty good, and that affected the amount of inventory I had at the show.”

Damariscotta, Maine

It was 1998 when the Maine Antiques Dealers Association (MADA) decided to host an antiques show in the midcoast Maine town of Damariscotta. It was a simple concept—any member of MADA was welcome to exhibit, booth rent was priced low, and it was one day only, the last Wednesday of August.

It was an instant success.

Fast-forward 15 years, and the show is still a success. Noticeably smaller, yes, but the antiques business has gone through a contraction since the show’s debut. For this year’s show, held on August 28, there were only 73 dealers; the show once had as many as 129.

For dealers, it remains a winner. Judy Waner of Blythe House Antiques, Wiscasset, Maine, summed it up succinctly: “This is an inexpensive show that really produces.”

Gardiner, Maine, dealer Paul Fuller took the reins this year as show manager. “I think it was more of an upbeat show than it has been the last couple of years. The attendance was up…we got around 150 more people than last year. That’s really good these days. We also had eight more dealers set up this year, a big improvement. I got some good positive comments from dealers; most did quite well.”

The Damariscotta River Association, the owners of Round Top Farm, provides the grounds and some volunteers in exchange for 80% of the admission fees. Everything else goes to MADA, which turned a small profit this year.

Howard Graff of Colt Barn Antiques, Townshend, Vermont, said, “It’s a wonderful show—it’s continuously wonderful. I had a very good show as far as sales are concerned. The people are enthusiastic and knowledgeable—they know what they’re looking at. And all the dealers are wonderful…the whole thing is run so pleasantly and beautiful.”

Dealer Bob Withington of York, Maine, echoed Graff’s sentiments. “It’s a wonderful show, a great day for people to get out. I see people there I don’t see at other shows. In that sense, it’s a great formula, and that’s what the antiques business needs to do; they need to strike out and find other ways for getting to customers.”

Jeff Cherry—whose Cherry Gallery is less than a mile from the show—addressed the show’s diminished size. “The biggest problem is there aren’t as many dealers doing it now as there once were,” he said, “but that reflects what’s going on in the whole antiques world in general; there are fewer dealers. There aren’t many shows that are increasing in size.”

Could a change in date make the show even better? In the 15 years the show has been in existence, calendars have changed, and schools and colleges are beginning terms much earlier, meaning some summer residents have already headed home. Fuller confirmed that moving the show to an earlier date has been under discussion within the organization.

“In past years the last weekend of August was a good time because people weren’t going home until September, but the schools are opening earlier and earlier,” said Judy Waner, who acknowledged that moving the show dates would interfere with other shows going on.

Jeff Cherry said, “I think it would be much better if it was a week earlier.” Tanya Artinian agreed: “I do wish the timing were different. I’d love to see it held in the first two weeks in August….when there are still plenty of people around, and they are not packing up.”

For more information, contact MADA via its Web site (

For $615, you could buy this grain-painted chest from Patricia Ann Breame Antiques, Woodstock, Maine.

Perfect weather for the early morning setup. The space where the tents were placed serves as an outdoor ice-skating rink during the winter months.

Jon Magoun of South Paris, Maine, asked $400 for the long green-painted bench and $145 for the tin finger cranberry rake.

Edward and Lillian Miller of Pioneer Folk Antiques, Ellsworth, Maine, tagged the 1920’s hooked rug $475. It sold, along with another hooked rug to the same customer. “As always, it was a good crowd, and the dealers had nice inventory. We did very well…I think this year was stronger for me than last year,” Edward told us.

This knife box—with painted pinecones on the outside and real pinecones in the inside—was $350 from Bill and Shirley Ussery, summer residents of Damariscotta, Maine. (In the winter, they are in Lake Wales, Florida.) “The crowd was steady all day long,” said Shirley. “They kept coming and coming.”

This unsigned Thomas Willis double-ship portrait in a great tramp art frame was $2700 from Dave White of White’s Nautical Antiques, North Yarmouth, Maine.

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

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