Manchester, New Hampshire
If it’s Wednesday afternoon in New Hampshire during the annual Antiques Week events, you must be inside the JFK Memorial Coliseum for the two-day Barn Star Productions show, MidWeek in Manchester, managed by Frank Gaglio.
What really seemed to please patrons were the new booth layouts, the whole Cinderella turnaround of an ordinary coliseum/arena into an indoor park, with plants, benches, color, space, and, most important, fascinating exhibits. A cigar-store Indian here, a one-of-a-kind Coney Island “rocking” horse relic there, shining armor, carved penguins, and horse saddles accented by “walls” of color. These objects and more dominated the show. Large booths around the floor perimeter, filled with excellent quality, demanded inspection and lingering, as did more treats in the center booths.
This Coney Island horse came from Steeplechase Park, and it was offered by Peter E. Baker of Elgin, Quebec, for $18,000. It is not really a rocking horse but rather a wooden horse for racing down a huge inclined track. It was $18,000, and it may be the only one in existence. Riders had to be 48" tall to ride these horses that went side by side on tracks. It was like a horse ride roller coaster—mechanical horses on a simulated race—named for the real Steeplechase.
We went nutty over this small piece, a miniature tree with branches holding “leaves” of nut shell baskets—almonds, pecans, walnuts, etc. It was unique, and it sold. From Baker & Co. Antiques, Delmar, New York, it was priced at $695.
Armor is something not usually seen at Antiques Week in New Hampshire shows, so this booth by Axe Antiques, Charlotte, North Carolina, stood out. The 19th-century miniature figure in armor was $975; the full-size armor (right), probably worn by a Spanish conquistador, with a helmet (cabasset), was $3750; and the French Second Empire armor (left) was $2900. Axe Antiques also exhibited swords and other weapons.
Cabin on the Hill, Georgetown, Texas, new to the show, offered country furniture such as this cherry two-board- top table with a blue base for $750. The large pine cupboard was $8500.
Gaglio designed the most unusual booth pattern we have ever seen—hexagonal. Yes, six-sided, which meant that dealers did not just have three walls to furnish and cover with merchandise, they had as many as five walls. It was very clever and gave plenty of room and angles to show off inventory.
Thirty-three dealers from the Midwest, Northeast, and Canada exhibited from 1 to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, August 9, and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday, August 10. The coliseum, only a few miles from downtown Manchester, was air-conditioned, and there was plenty of parking.
We saw lots of selling in almost every booth during the opening hours. In fact, over the entire week we saw enthusiasm and a real fever for buying at all the shows. The tide was in, people had money to spend, and they did.
Another sign of the times: there were lots of people walking around, taking pictures with cell phones. What was that all about? We got an answer from one dealer—they probably were posting pictures on social media. We heard that after the show one dealer got a call from someone about an item in his booth, prompted by a social media post. So, dealers, welcome to the world where nothing in public spaces is private, for better or for worse.
Gaglio’s comments after the show reflected his and his buyers’ and dealers’ enthusiasm. In an e-mail, he wrote, “This year’s MidWeek show in a word was amazing. As a boutique show in size, MidWeek’s thirty-three exhibitors filled every collector’s expectations as always. Our new floor plan laid out perfectly with three center ‘Pinwheel Islands’ of booths, three ‘contemplating’ parks with benches and ferns surrounded by perimeter exhibits, and a new dining area and exceptional caterer were well received. Show attendees left MidWeek with arms full and complimented my admission staff about how spacious, bright, and cheerful the show was, and requested complimentary return passes.
Neverbird Antiques offered this rare 1970 Italian hand-carved chess set for $3000.
This Amish quilt in vivid reds and blues was $3500 from Pilgrim/Roy Antiques and Interiors, Warner, New Hampshire.
It works, and it’s fun. This small wooden organ grinder figure was $650 from Francis Crespo of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
“Additionally, the upgraded air conditioning kept the show cool and comfortable for the two-day run. As the show opened, many booths quickly filled with attendees who set their sights on early Americana and English furniture and accessories, with several dealers reporting their ‘best MidWeek ever.’
“Needless to say everyone’s hard work, loyalty, and dedication to MidWeek paid off in spades, and we look forward to seeing everyone next year.”
For more information, call (845) 876-0616 or check the website (www.barnstar.com).
Mark Eckhoff Fine Art, New Hope, Pennsylvania, showed art pottery and accessories, but it was his simple and elegant furniture that made his booth shine. The four Frank Gehry chairs from the early 1990s were $950 each.
James Grievo of Stockton, New Jersey, offered this huge scissors sign for $2850 and a small apothecary hanging cupboard for $575.
Colleen Boland Frese of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, offered a $475 sign, a $765 one-door cupboard that later sold, and a decorative urn of flowers plaque on the wall that was $1095.
This booth was dedicated as a memorial to the late Helen Marler of Alton, Illinois, by Robert Perry of Orchard Park, New York. After Marler’s death, her daughter called Perry and asked him to take much of her mother’s collection to the show. The result was a fine assortment of country pieces from the private collection of a longtime dealer, and they were priced to sell.
Dollhouse, $2200, from R.M. Worth Antiques, Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania.
Originally published in the October 2017 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2017 Maine Antique Digest