Purchase Story

Steady Sales at Hunt Country Antiques Fair

Middleburg, Virginia

The 26th Hunt Country Antiques Fair, held November 11 and 12, 2017, at the Hill School in Middleburg, Virginia, was produced, promoted, and managed by Dordy Fontinel Show Management, Inc. Fontinel manages several shows in the mid-Atlantic states, and attendees have become familiar with the consistent quality of the items offered at her shows and with the high percentage of returning dealers.

Somewhere in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, a sign is missing, and Stillie Mason of Mosby & Mason, Nellysford, Virginia, has it. This great three-dimensional figural sign for Bear Butt Camp was priced at $425; the bear’s bewildered expression alone is worth that sum. The painted folk art relief carving of a man with a rifle fleeing from a rearing horse was tagged $175. Other offerings included the horseshoe-form pincushions ($65), a small stag figure ($45), and the small Black Forest twig picture frame ($68).

Mark Semmes and Carol Buscher of Southern Traditions, Hughesville, Virginia, asked $800 for the late 18th- or early 19th-century Italian still life of an overflowing flower-filled urn, presented in a carved and gilt octagonal frame. The pair of shield-form Rococo sconces of etched Venetian glass, each with two scrolled candle supports, was priced at $1850.

Michael Paul Gunselman of Wilmington, Delaware, said the large instructional wall chart in his booth came from a French monastery and had been hand painted by Belgian monks. It dates from about 1917 and depicts various water mold spores. One can only speculate on how it would have been used in a monastery. The price was $2200. The circa 1925 Buddy “L” fire truck appears to be in excellent condition, and it was priced at $1400.

Commenting via e-mail following the show, Fontinel allowed that November’s gate was down a bit from previous years, but traffic was steady, and business was good. She was very optimistic regarding the overall degree of purchasing that had been enjoyed, speculating that a very high percentage of those who had come to the show had made a purchase.

She related a conversation that she had with a dealer who had enjoyed a very good show. She said that his comment to her was that he would “rather see a small gate of qualified, interested buyers than a mob of people walking by eating popcorn.”

When I visited on Sunday, two things were obvious: the traffic was indeed very light, and there were many booths with empty wall space. The first observation was not surprising because, regardless of the indoor event, it is very difficult to compete with a beautiful fall afternoon in Virginia’s horse country. That said, those in attendance were seen buying.

Tom McCabe of Old Town Oldies, Adamstown, Maryland, offered this nice single-drawer mixed-wood dry sink for $575. The round wooden objects are molds used in the process of sand casting machine gears; they cost $5 and $10. The harness bell set was priced at $75, and the figural bookends were $40.

Tom McCabe also offered this cold-painted Vienna bronze table lamp in the form of an oasis scene with camels and two figures, tagged $575. The water feature is fixed with a small, low-power bulb to illuminate it from the underside.

This large oil on canvas by British artist Robert Henry Roe (1822-1905) depicts an eagle atop a rocky perch with its attention fixed on a passing heron-like bird. Susan Van der Veer Antiques, Toledo, Ohio, priced the painting at $4500. The pair of English Arts and Crafts three-socket candelabra was tagged $495. The elaborate three-piece French garniture with jasperware and cloisonné elements, circa 1900, was tagged $3900.

Court and Barbara Jo Smith of Winchester, Virginia, trade as Greystone Cottage Antiques from The Red Schoolhouse group shop in Millwood, Virginia. This sterling silver Arts and Crafts style engraved presentation bowl, awarded to “Cathode Pony,” the winner of the Ladies Hunter division at the Warrenton (Virginia) Pony Show in 1930, was priced at $295.

Empty wall space can also be interpreted as a reasonably good sign. Whatever had been hanging in that spot was now on its way to another home. The general comment from the proprietors of those booths was “yesterday was fantastic; let’s hope it keeps up today.”

As a whole, however, the dealers with whom I spoke offered mixed reviews about the weekend. All acknowledged that whenever the gate is down, the number of potential buyers is also down. It does not matter how affluent the patrons may appear to be; fewer people usually equals fewer sales.

Some dealers allowed that they had enjoyed a great Saturday, selling larger pieces of furniture, artwork, and bags and bags of smalls. Others were more reserved, commenting that they had made many good contacts that they hoped would materialize into sales or referrals in the future.

For additional information, contact Dordy Fontinel Show Management at (434) 361-1770 or visit (www.dfshows.com).

Libby Wojcik of Raleigh, North Carolina, who trades as adLib Antiques & Interior Design, had this early 19th-century cupboard as the focal point of her booth. The cupboard appears to be of red-washed walnut, and Wojcik pointed out that it has “great paint history.” When she removed one of the make-do patches that had been applied to deter rodents, the underlying surface was an exact match for the rest of the piece. The cupboard was available for $6500. The painted slide-top box with its owner’s initials brushed on one side (top center) was priced at $695, as was the mortar and pestle, and the woven rye basket with a tall, slightly flared base was $195. The box with extensive design work was $950, and the oil on canvas of a bird’s nest containing a single blue egg, $495.

This presentation was found in the booth of Vilnis & Company Antiques, Strasburg, Virginia. The large oil on canvas of draft horses, signed “G. Wolf,” dates from the first quarter of the 20th century and cost $5400. The 1810-15 sideboard of mahogany over white pine was marked $4850. The case features three drawers over two bottle drawers and a center storage compartment; the top features turret corners and nicely turned legs; the figured mahogany doors and drawer faces are accented with banded perimeters; and the decorative columns are in low relief. The pair of Staffordshire sauceboats with covers and ladles was $985, and the reticulated Wedgwood baskets were $895.

This array of dog portrait prints was offered by Smith House Gallery, Washington, D.C. Diane Afes-Smith explained that they are all the work of Lucy Dawson (British, 1867-1954), one of the foremost dog artists of the early 20th century, whose work ranges from pastels to paintings to etchings and even postcards, which she produced under the pseudonym “Mac.” Dawson was quite popular and even received a commission from the British royal family to paint a portrait of their favorite corgi, Dookie.

Rick Fleshman of New Market, Maryland, believes that this circa 1830 Classical Empire washstand with white glass pulls and extremely well-carved legs and feet may be from New York. Of mahogany veneer on poplar, it has three vanity drawers, a single long drawer under the lower shelf, and a pull-out washbowl slide. It was tagged $1295.

The booth of Robert B. Davis Antiques, Clarksburg, West Virginia, had this arrangement front and center. The small grain-painted four-drawer chest was $350; the dog pull toy, $75; the small beer barrel whimsy, $59; and the two-section cutlery box, $165. The one-drawer stand with bootjack style side panels was tagged $435; the baskets were $185 and $165; and the Eastlake-style stool or fern stand was $175.


Originally published in the February 2018 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2018 Maine Antique Digest

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