Fishersville Antiques Expo, Fishersville, Virginia
The 67th semiannual Fishersville Antiques Expo was held as scheduled, October 8 and 9, at the Augusta Expo in Fishersville, Virginia. The show is staged by Heritage Promotions, Lynchburg, Virginia. The firm is co-owned by Ray and Martha Stokes and their daughter, Lesley Bartram. Fishersville is arguably one of the premier antiques events in the mid-Atlantic and is eagerly awaited by dealers and by antiques and collectibles enthusiasts.
In May the Fishersville show emerged from a full one-year pandemic-related postponement and enjoyed exceptional results. This summer’s upsurge in the COVID-19 Delta variant and concerns associated with vaccinations and mask protocols loomed as possibly dulling some enthusiasm. That was not the case. From all accounts, this edition of Fishersville topped the May sale by every measure. In fact, the first day of this show set a record for single-day attendance, with more than 2000 eager patrons coming through the gate. Most of the crowd appeared to arrive before 10 a.m.
Nothing in Mark Carpenter’s booth was as red as it might appear in this photo. Sunlight through the canopy is the chromatic culprit. Carpenter is from Buffalo, New York. The merchant’s countertop slant-top desk with one locking drawer was $200. The tablet-back and paint-decorated continuous-arm child’s rocking chair has a plank seat and turned spindles. It was priced at $55 and sold later in the day.
Aside from the size of the crowd, several things were noticeable. First, it was a bit surprising to see the amount of furniture that sold early in the day. By noon, several dealers, most of whom were set up in the infield, told me that they had nearly “sold out” of furniture. Most of the pieces that were still in their booths were waiting to be picked up. In an email following the show, Ray Stokes stated that one dealer told him that the May show had been his best show ever anywhere. He then added that this show surpassed his May success by a considerable amount.
Marilyn Lamb came from Seaford, Virginia, to shop at Fishersville. She was kind enough to hold this 21" diameter bowl to show perspective. Notice the flattened areas on either side of the rim indicating where the log had been sawn before the bowl was turned. Brenda Hannah Daniel of Athens, Alabama, priced the bowl at $1600.
Another observation was the obvious increase in younger buyers and browsers. Lesley Bartram credits some of the increased attendance, especially among the younger patrons, to a concentrated social media campaign. A slightly different take on the increased number of younger buyers was offered by Jay Gates, an established Midlothian, Virginia, dealer. Gates was not participating as one of the dealers but attended the show as a buyer. He related that he has recently experienced younger buyers coming to his shop who are eager to furnish their homes but are frustrated with being told that delivery times are months away. They are very willing to take a close look at the values offered in the antiques world.
A third observation is something of a double-edged sword. The number of dealers at Fishersville does not seem to be growing. The past several shows have been stable following a slow decline over time. It is heartening, however, to see an increase in the number of first-time participants. These are not folks who simply pack up some stuff from the barn and head out to sell. These are active antiques and collectibles dealers who see the benefits of in-person events like Fishersville.
It is tempting but certainly unproductive to compare shows. They are all different, whether it is looking at one show from year to year or at different shows in diverse venues. They all draw from different segments of society, whether it is by geography, age group, or category preference. There is increased competition for the attention and pocketbooks of potential buyers. But there does appear to be a broad and strengthening demand for in-person antiques events. This show goes a long way to remind us of the value of in-person participation.
For additional information, contact Heritage Promotions at (434) 846-7452 or see the website (www.heritagepromotions.net).
Bill and Diana Higgins went to Fishersville from Santa Fe, New Mexico. The Canada goose was priced at $200; the pressed glass fluid lamp base, $45; and the tabletop cabinet, $395. Readers will be relieved to know that groceries offered by A.J. Eustice are indeed sanitary. The sign was marked $650.
Richard Fuller of South Royalton, Vermont, trades under his own name. I’m not sure what to call the little storage piece (left) on the top shelf, but it is homemade from sardine cans and is fitted with wooden knobs. It sold early in the day to a fellow dealer. The large vintage buttocks basket was tagged $85; the bentwood pantry boxes were $35 and $55; and the circa 1910 souvenir Native American open basket was marked $85.
This group of redware dishes was offered by Bill and Melissa Smith of Walnut Cabinet Antiques, St. Leonard, Maryland. Three of the dishes feature a coggled rim, and all but one have yellow slip decoration. They were priced from $60 to $120. The blue-and-white delft-style tiles have felt applied to the underside for use as coasters. They were priced at $20 each. The early 19th-century wooden tricorn hat box was tagged $150.
Brenda Hannah Daniel of Athens, Alabama, offered a wide variety of Americana in her booth. This unusual three-drawer chest was the object of considerable conversation. Daniel stated that it originated in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, but she knew little more of its history. The red-washed case appears to be constructed of mixed woods, with three narrow drawers. The drawer faces are pegged in place, and the back of each drawer is dovetailed. There are two small panels on each side, and each is constructed differently. All of the pulls appear to be original—four match, and the other two are a different style. Could this have been a practice piece for a cabinetmaker’s apprentice? The chest was tagged $2900. The single-side game board (partially seen) was priced at $225; the large slide-top candle box, $325; and the striped slide-top box, $275.
This well-used plank butchering table, often referred to as a butchering bench, was offered by Trudy Hinton of Pioneer Antiques, Dry Fork, Virginia. The splayed-leg oak table was priced at $495. The large dough riser, with its cover, was tagged $95.
This cast-iron kettle was offered by Mark Amis and Kathy Vance of Greenville, Virginia. The body is cast with its maker’s identification: “North, Chase & North / Philadelphia.” The firm was active in the mid-19th century. This example is a six-gallon cauldron-style kettle, identified as “#9,” and displays the firm’s anchor mark. The kettle was priced at $295.
Here is one wall of the booth belonging to Chris and Bernadette Evans of Waynesboro, Virginia. The blanket chest displays exaggerated mustard and brown grain painting. It was priced at $495. The stoneware jug decorated with a cobalt butterfly was $795; the stoneware pitcher decorated with alternating flower heads and stems, $2650; and the full-body copper horse-form weathervane element, mounted on a display stand, was marked $2450. On the wall were a small leaf-form hooked mat, $475; a “Home Sweet Home” hooked rug, mounted as a wall hanging, $950; and a folk-art watercolor of a woman, $245.
Judy Warren of Stonecrop Antiques, Mt. Crawford, Virginia, offered the small three-leg slab stool for $175. The Wythe County, Virginia, food safe dates from the mid-19th century. The tins are punched in an elaborate crosshatch diamond pattern and have lacy corner spandrels. The safe was priced at $4350. The 18-drawer spice cabinet/apothecary from York County, Pennsylvania, was tagged $4800.
Rick Fleshman of New Market, Maryland, offers a wide range of antique furniture. This well-proportioned Queen Anne table was from a collection of bench-made miniatures, likely dating from the mid-20th century. The table, constructed of boldly figured tiger maple, features one long and one short drawer and is raised on expertly turned legs. The table was priced at $1050. The antique pencil boxes were $40 each.
Ruthie Szeto was a first-time exhibitor at Fishersville. Szeto trades as Doodle Creek Antiques at the Lazy Daisy Gift Store in Spotsylvania, Virginia. The carved wooden bird squeaks when the bellows base is depressed. It was priced at $165. The small stool with a boot-jack base was $150; the paint-decorated two-handled stoneware bean pot, $160; and the small bail-handle basket, $165.
Lexington, Virginia, dealers Robert Zordani and Heidi Kellner trade as Z & K Antiques. This was the first time that the recently transplanted midwesterners had participated in the Fishersville show. The Pennsylvania hanging or tabletop corner cabinet features extensive spool-turned elements, and the crown exhibits heart-shaped cutouts. The cabinet was tagged $1850. The hooked rug, designed as a Betsy Ross-style flag, is mounted for hanging. It was priced at $1750. The pressed steel U.S. Army truck is from American-National. This circa 1930 vehicle is from the Toledo, Ohio, firm’s “Giant” series. The 27½" long truck was marked $3500.
Jay and Lisa Garver of Back In the Day Antiques, Berryville, Virginia, priced the carnival-style game-of-chance wheel (below) at $595. The wooden alphabet blocks used to advertise the Garvers’ booth came from a plastic tub containing several hundred of the educational toys. Spell what you like for $1 per block.
Ken Farmer, a popular longtime appraiser on Antiques Roadshow, is a regular visitor to the Fishersville show. He was all smiles with one of his finds. The board was likely used at a music festival venue, and its message has special meaning to Farmer, himself a musician. The sign is essentially a warning that any would-be entertainer who accepts the offer on the left must promise to adhere to the exceptions on the right. The penalty for noncompliance is unspecified, but the term “tough crowd” comes to mind.
Visiting the booth of Cynthia Berrier is always a treat. Berrier is from Lewistown, Pennsylvania, and trades as Queenie’s Junktique. She always has something interesting and out of the ordinary. Here is a homemade backpack used for gathering huckleberries. Fashioned from a Borden’s Condensed Milk Co. crate and fitted with a couple of old leather harness shoulder straps and a small pillow back support, the pack was ready for berry pickin’. The pack originated in Center County, Pennsylvania, and was tagged $85.
John Knight of Richmond, Virginia, enjoyed a very productive morning. His booth was guarded by an attentive Canada goose. The mid-Atlantic one-drawer stand in cherry and mahogany was priced at $296. The three drawers of the maple and yellow pine child’s chest are flanked by deeply reeded side panels. The chest has an applied top edge, and its drawers feature kite-form escutcheons. The little chest was tagged $595.
Kay and Bill Puchstein are dealers and show promoters from Frankfort, Ohio. Their booth featured this large mule chest in pine, with applied shaped molding to the lid and three graduated long drawers below the storage well. The base features very bold cutouts with prominent spurs. The surface displays old green over red paint. The chest was priced at $1495. The folk-art portrait was $395; the hanging slant-top wall box in an old mustard finish, $495; and the hand-painted dome-top valuables box, $1450.
Scott Cilley of Northumberland Antiques, Richmond, Virginia, enjoyed a very busy morning, and by noon his outdoor booth was nearly empty. The red-washed yellow pine box is a Virginia piece originally constructed as a bottle case, as evidenced by alterations to the interior. It was priced at $365. The small Virginia server is a rather unusual form, with a single long drawer and raised on tall turned legs. The top has an applied edge that tapers to a low gallery at the rear. The server is constructed of yellow pine and poplar and was tagged $675.
As one of the co-owners of the Fishersville Antiques Expo, Ray Stokes enjoyed one of the “cushy” parts of the job; he spent most of Friday supervising the parking areas. He took the opportunity to converse with customers coming, going, and relaxing. He shared this picture of a group of women taking a lunch break. It looks as though they are enjoying themselves. Their serving bench is likely an early acquisition from the show.
The American bachelor’s or butler’s chest/desk in cherry was offered by Jerry and Judy Brill of Brill’s Antiques, Newport News, Virginia. Unlike many of this style of chest, this example is low enough that a person can sit comfortably at it when the writing surface is down, exposing the pigeonholes and document drawers. Below is a storage cabinet fitted with fielded-panel doors, opening to a single fixed shelf. Two secret compartments are accessed from the lower section. The nice little desk was priced at $1800.
Tom Thornton of Tobaccoville, North Carolina, is a veteran participant at Fishersville. Much of his booth had been emptied early in the show, but these three early New England chairs remained. The smaller examples were priced at $185 each. The larger chair was marked $450.
Deborah Fisher Antiques, Lebanon, Ohio, offered this 19th-century oil on canvas depicting two kittens intently focused on a suspended ornament. The painting, housed in a deep period frame and signed “C. Peterson” lower left, was priced at $395.
Deborah Fisher offered these large turned wooden bowls. From left to right, they were priced at $385, $875, and $685. The two-handle brown-glazed jug was priced at $575, and the lozenge-shaped wooden bowl, $475.
This food safe was found in the booth of Chris Smith of American Antiques, Waynesville, Ohio. The doors have small beveled diamond cutouts with punched-tin inserts. The side panels have small round cutouts also with punched tins. The safe displays an old gray-blue surface and opens to reveal three fixed shelves. Smith believes that the safe originated in the Midwest. It was priced at $1200.
Originally published in the December 2021 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2021 Maine Antique Digest