Maine Antiques Dealers Association Spring Antiques Show, Topsham, Maine
OK, folks, the masks are off...finally! As of this writing, it appears that COVID-19 is heading for the rear view mirror, at least as far as the Maine Antiques Dealers Association (MADA) is concerned. On June 5 about 28 association dealers gathered on the Topsham, Maine, fairgrounds to air their wares for the first time in about a year and a half. The fairgrounds administrators were happy to host the MADA Spring Antiques Show. Board member John Marsili reported that the contact person “has been really accommodating. ‘Need the lawn mowed? Need a food guy?’ Can you get the trash cans out? He said, ‘I’ll take care of everything.’”
Josh Farrin of Randolph, Maine, showed a loon decoy with its head uplifted in a calling pose. It was $75.
So the prediction is that this will not be just a “one and out” show but is one that will repeat year after year.
Even so, the start-up show was not without its problems. Board member Joe Bent related that MADA was unable to locate volunteers to man the gates, and so they had to resort to paid staffers. That’s hardly surprising in the current economic climate. Even in this supposed recovery, numerous well-established businesses are struggling to find employees.
Add to that the difficulties that MADA has had in maintaining its relationship with other operating venues. Show managers John and Elizabeth DeSimone of Goosefare Antiques & Promotions confirmed that their emergence from a COVID-induced hibernation has not come easy. Both the MADA Coastal Maine Antiques Show in Damariscotta and Goosefare’s own long-running Kennebunk Antiques Show & Sale in Kennebunk, Maine, had to be canceled because of staffing and other issues. Of the Kennebunk show, John explained, “We’ve run it since 1973.... Because of COVID, a lot of the older school custodians have decided to retire, and they haven’t been able to replace them.” Since a lot of the work that would have been done by August isn’t getting done on schedule, Goosefare “can’t use the Kennebunk gym...and the second problem is they’re taking all their furniture and stuff and putting it in the gym.”
This unsigned oil on canvas, a sweetly naive scene of hunting dogs in earnest pursuit of their quarry, had already grown a “SOLD” tag when I reached the booth shortly after the opening. Sherryl Cohen of Up Your Attic Antiques, Framingham, Massachusetts, sold it for $650.
As for the Damariscotta show, Marsili confirmed that school administrators simply refused to accommodate the association. “We even offered to do it outside,” he explained. “We said, ‘We won’t even need the buildings if that’s going to upset you. We’ll do it all under big tents in the back fields.’ I don’t know what their problem is.” But it was a nonstarter, and MADA is out.
But the good news is that last September’s spontaneous pop-up show in Thomaston, Maine, is very likely to be repeated. And this Topsham show had all the earmarks of success, with “SOLD” tags blossoming everywhere, and with exhibitors and attendees breathing a mostly mask-free sigh of relief as things seemed to be returning to a semblance of normality. Elizabeth DeSimone confirmed hopefully: “Yep, it’s going to be now and forever.”
John Marsili of Full Moon Antiques, New Harbor, Maine, thought highly of two end tables (one shown) by Kent-Coffey, offered for $900 for both. The Kent-Coffey Manufacturing Company had its origin in 1907 in Lenoir, North Carolina, and its Perspecta brand surged in popularity in the 1950s and 1960s as an affordable type of stylish furniture. “I figured this is a good place for mid-century,” Marsili speculated.
Betty Turney of Hallowell, Maine, offered a large English Imari chamber set with a pitcher and a basin for $320.
Here’s a little glass and iron device for providing maximum illumination from a single candle, with a thick lens to magnify the light. Bruce Trumper of Belgrade, Maine, offered it for $175.
Is this a cased daguerreotype of dear old Great-Grandma or dear old Great-Grandpa in drag? Sandi St. Pierre of Maine Attic Antiques, Cape Elizabeth, Maine, wasn’t certain either, but for $35 you could figure it out for yourself.
This $195 stoneware water cooler is just what is needed for a hot summer day. The maker’s mark on the bottom reads “THE ROBINSON CLAY PRODUCT CO. / AKRON / OHIO,” for a company that was founded in 1856. Dan Dechene of Portland, Maine, had the original cover with it, but it has some damage.
This flow blue platter by Enoch Wood & Sons, Burslem, one of a series of London views, this one of St. George’s Chapel on Regent Street, produced between 1818 and 1845, awaited $495 with Peter D. Murphy of P.D. Murphy Antiques, Bath, Maine.
Some careful study appears to reveal the signature on this small oil painting as “A. E. MATIA” or “A. E. MARIA.” I was unable to turn up any records for an artist by either name. But at roughly 8" x 10" (sight size), it’s a well-detailed portrayal of a small warship flying a large British ensign, with a uniformed crew, and Ann Dowrick of Brunswick, Maine, was looking for $200 for it.
“Go ahead and take a picture of me sitting here relaxed, comfortable, and making money,” Christopher Stanley of Bremen, Maine, challenged me, and of course I obliged. His small brass stamp boxes ranged in price from $25 to $95.
Martin Ferrick of Lincolnville, Maine, brought this simple and straight-lined North Shore of Massachusetts four-drawer Hepplewhite chest in mahogany, with slightly flared French feet, and delicate bellflower inlays around the single-board top, for $1695. A name that appears to read “Mrs. Whittemore” is scrawled across the single back board.
Here’s a delightful little carved rocking horse toy in its original red paint and mounted on a flat board awaiting $1425 in the booth of Samuel Snider Antiques, Wiscasset, Maine.
Show managers John and Elizabeth DeSimone of Goosefare Antiques & Promotions, Saco, Maine, apparently have added Shaw’s Furniture Store of North Fryeburg, Maine, to their business enterprises. “Yeah, we’ll do anything to make a buck,” John said with a laugh. But no, they just had the sign for $455.
Verna Scott of Main Street Antiques, Yarmouth, Maine, had the ideal fashion accouterment for the hot summer day, a flashy straw sun hat with goldish bronzed highlights. Scott offered it for $75.
By the time I reached the setup of Robert Foley of Gray, Maine, he was displaying only one Asian Indian painted wedding table with folding legs, priced at $575. He had started out with five or six of them, but the rest were already sold.
I estimated the age of this blanket chest with original cotter pin hinges, a molded top, no till, and cutout bootjack ends as circa 1740, and Hilary Nolan of Falmouth, Massachusetts, concurred. Nolan was seeking $650 for it.
The glass pig candy jar, with a fitted cork pork snout, came from an old store in Burkettville, Maine, right near the home of Howard and Judy Good of Loon Landing Antiques, Washington, Maine. This pig could fly for $165.
There’s not too much age on this flying goose copper weathervane offered for $330 by Bob and Tina Mortimer of Falmouth, Maine, but it would look flashy and classy atop a barn or carriage house.
As of the moment of the shot, a customer was seriously considering this framed Grenfell mat that used to be a purse, offered by Patricia Stauble of Wiscasset, Maine, for $450. The deal wasn’t quite iced up when I left, so it might still be available.
Phyllis Sommer of Pumpkin Patch Antiques and Dennis Raleigh of Dennis Raleigh Antiques & Folk Art, Searsport, Maine, offered an early and pristine Native American Pima basket tray for $695.
Originally published in the August 2021 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2021 Maine Antique Digest