Manchester, New Hampshire
"Sales at the show were sort of out of sight,” wrote Wiscasset, Maine, antiques dealer Peter Eaton regarding Antiques in Manchester: The Collector’s Fair, held on August 11 and 12, promoted by Karen DiSaia Management.
The Rogers family William and Mary maple high chest has a molded cornice, applied double-arch molding on the case, a triple arcaded skirt, turned legs with compressed cup turnings, shaped stretchers, and compressed ball feet. Peter Eaton of Wiscasset, Maine, asked $44,000 for it. The top case is 34¾" wide, the lower case is 37", and it stands 65¾" high. It descended in the William Rogers (1709-1772) family of Newport, Rhode Island, and Eaton’s tag noted that the high chest exhibits “classic Rhode Island turned elements and is the finest example I’ve seen.”
“I sold seven [Justus] Dalee portraits, a Dalee family register, a signed and dated theorem, two oval-top Queen Anne tea tables, a hutch table, three candlestands, a Vermont tall clock, a William and Mary highboy, a four-drawer Pilgrim chest, a Martha Washington chair, a Spanish footed side chair, three candlesticks, two pieces of early glass, two early mirrors—one an early japanned New England example—a hanging shelf, and half a dozen other accessories,” Eaton said in an e-mail.
The show—back after COVID-19 relegated it to an online-only affair last year—saw 64 dealers set up in the cavernous Thomas F. Sullivan Arena on the campus of Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire. The 65,000-square-foot facility easily accommodated the show.
The root rocking chair was by Sweet Springs, Virginia, blacksmith E.L. Goodykoontz and was tagged $2400 by Folk Lodge Antiques, who will soon be opening a shop in Saranac Lake, New York. Antiques in Manchester was the first New Hampshire show for Michael Meadows. The chair is pictured in Rustic Traditions (1993) by Ralph Kylloe. In the book, Kylloe notes that Goodykoontz’s style showed Gothic influences and incorporated a Chinese Chippendale motif in the backs of chairs and settees. The chair sold and is going to a camp in Georgia.
Michael Meadows of Folk Lodge Antiques, Chicago, and Saranac Lake, New York, doing his first show in Manchester, echoed Eaton. “The show was great. The buyers were in full force purchasing from us. The first four hours of the show was a buying frenzy.”
The Adirondack mirror in a so-called “lobster frame” was $1475 from David Zabriskie of Lake Placid, New York. “The Collector’s Fair was decent for most every dealer. The attendance was average, neither over- or underwhelming. Business was brisk for a solid three hours then tapered off till closing. Second day was slow until noon, then afternoon was a slow and steady crowd, both fresh and return customers,” Zabriskie said. “People were optimistic, and, for the whole, very happy to put the pandemic in the back seat after a year and a half.”
David Zabriskie of Lake Placid, New York, was less effusive but took a positive outlook. “Overall most dealers were happy. Some did fantastic, a few were disappointed, but the mean was satisfied. The show looked great, and even a lot of furniture sold, which has not been the norm. There were many great things from a vast array of categories.”
Karen DiSaia working the door at her show. She gets high marks from her dealers.
For her part, DiSaia was pleased. “I thought it went well. For me, the measure is how many people did well.” She reported that the gate was not as good as 2019—off about 15% to 20%, she thought—but it was better than 2018.
“The gate was really respectable, all things considered. I expected it to be way off, and it was not. I think there were a lot of out-of-towners who didn’t come,” she said.
For the out-of-towners, Antiques in Manchester introduced a new feature: the show continued online via Incollect (www.incollect.com) for another week, closing on August 19.
“We’ve been talking about this for a long time—finding a way to put a show online when there is a real show first,” DiSaia said, noting that last year’s online-only show attracted 7800 unique visitors, “which is way more than you get to a real show. And people sold to all over the country.”
Incollect developed an app that was used to photograph booths and labels and provide contact information for the dealers. Sales were made during the extended online run of the show.
“We thought it would be great if we could include the online show well after the real show opened. So the people who took the trouble to get there had first crack at everything, but you could still reach other people,” said DiSaia. “I think it worked out.” The service was included in the booth rent—for this year’s show at least. “It was a test. It was like beta testing,” said DiSaia.
Comments from dealers revealed two big themes: the crowd was noticeably smaller, but those who were there were eager to buy, and Karen DiSaia is a skilled promoter and manager.
This cupboard hailing from the North Shore of Massachusetts is a rare form, according to David Hillier of Antique Associates at West Townsend, West Townsend, Massachusetts. The 18th-century cupboard has an original surface and was tagged $18,000. It sold. “Sales were excellent, both for midrange and high-end objects. Post sales have been good. It was a very nice show, with lovely displays,” said Hillier, who added that it was nice getting out, seeing folks, and being seen. He’d like to see the show add a third day.
“The show ran smoothly from start to finish. Karen DiSaia should be complimented,” said Zabriskie. David Hillier of Antique Associates at West Townsend said, “Karen and her team are very professional and supportive.... Having not done shows in many years, I was impressed overall.”
The large eagle, attributed by Madison, Connecticut, dealer Allan Katz to John Haley Bellamy of Kittery, Maine, was $110,000, and it sold. It measures 12'6" long and has a “historic surface.” In a letter written on March 16, 1873, to his father, Bellamy noted that he charged $1 per foot to carve large eagles. “We had a very good show selling to several new people....We sold about ten to fifteen additional pieces,” said Katz.
Allan Katz of Madison, Connecticut, doing the show for the first time, said, “Several dealers did say they felt the attendance was off from prior years. I guess that was to be expected. New Hampshire is a destination show that needs people to travel into the show from all over the country. Several of our sales were to people that flew to get to New Hampshire. Clearly not locals. With COVID on the rise and the antique community aging, it was not surprising that many stayed home. Karen DiSaia and her team did a great job. She had a lot to navigate, especially in the months leading up to the show.”
The giant pair of scissors—a 19th-century trade sign—has eight layers of paint on it and was $9500 from Arne Anton of American Primitive, New York City. “There’s a pent-up demand to satisfy collecting urges,” said Anton. “This kind of collecting is a visceral experience.” After the show, Anton said, “I loved being in New Hampshire and back in the saddle again after last year. The show was less than past years in sales for me but enough to make me feel good. What was interesting for me was that half of my sales came from my posting pictures of the booth on Instagram and Facebook and making sales to people that did not attend. I had saved pieces not offered before so they appeared fresh in my booth.”
Aarne Anton of New York City also weighed in: “I found the St. Anselm Arena well suited to the COVID period with spacious booths and wide aisles. You could almost sense smiles through peoples’ masks—being back.”
Masks were not required but were strongly recommended by DiSaia. Our personal observation revealed most attendees and dealers wearing masks, although, according to DiSaia, there were several dealers who refused to mask up. “For the most part, people wore masks. If they didn’t have a mask on and we asked them to, they usually complied. If they didn’t have one, we gave them one,” she said.
For more information, call (860) 908-0076 or check the website (www.antiquesinmanchester.com).
This unusual built-in tall clock made for a corner, 8'4" tall, circa 1810, with works by Richard Sterling, a South Woodstock, Vermont, cabinetmaker and clockmaker, was $4500 from Norman Gronning Antiques, Shaftsbury, Vermont. “Nobody has seen anything like this,” said Gronning. A complete family history was included on the inside of the door. “Our sales for the show were good.... We sold at setup, at the show, and even the second day. The show was a very fine-looking show with lots of wonderful things as always. Some good buyers that we know did not attend, and I think overall the attendance was down from where it has been. However, the people that came to the show came to buy,” said Gronning.
This collection of six paint-decorated “naughty Nelly” bootjacks was $2600 from Ron and Joyce Bassin of A Bird in Hand Antiques, Florham Park, New Jersey. Ron Bassin said it took him about three years to collect them—most examples are not paint-decorated. “We feel we had a very successful show. In addition to selling our traditional Grenfells, decoys, and folk art, we sold two very important paintings,” said Ron, referring to a large painting of Peary’s ship the Roosevelt, trapped in the ice, and a Jacobsen painting of the Columbia. “Though we felt the attendance was off from previous years, with a lot of out-of-towners not traveling to the show because of COVID, the people who did attend were enthusiastic buyers,” he added.
The large (28¼" x 81") circa 1870 African American folk-art textile, probably from the southern United States, was offered for $32,000 by Steven S. Powers of Brooklyn, New York. “There’s no fabric later than 1850,” he said, citing an opinion from textile expert Jan Whitlock. The black figures are depicted with full faces—the white figures are not. Provenance includes Whitlock and Grace and Elliott Snyder. Powers said, “I did OK. We can always do better. I sold a few game boards, a very good painting by New Jersey artist Isaac Nuttman, a trade sign, and a few smalls. Though at the start there seemed like a good crowd, it was noticeably smaller...but this is to be expected in this stage of the pandemic. I’m happy we could safely participate in a crowded venue at all.”
This game board, 19¼" x 19¼", is dated 1876 on the back, and the front has “Hayes & Wheeler.” It was $1300 from Mo Wajselfish of Leatherwood Antiques, Sandwich, Massachusetts. Hayes and Wheeler refers to Rutherford B. Hayes and William Wheeler, the 1876 Republican ticket, and winners of the presidential election that year. “I had quite a few customers that I didn’t see there,” said Wajselfish, “but I did quite well. Enough people came to make it a good show.
The paint-decorated Maine transitional rocking chair with all-original decoration, attributed to chair maker Daniel Stewart of Farmington, Maine, circa 1820, was $3800 from Samuel Herrup of Sheffield, Massachusetts. “I had several good sales of needlework, pottery, and furniture,” said Herrup. “Most were to serious collectors and dealers. I would have liked a couple of sales to retail buyers furnishing with antiques. I thought our show looked good this year, and it was very good to see people again. I hope it continues.”
The 6½' long hooked rug from the 1920s has no restoration and depicts historical events surrounding its center motif, “The Minute Man.” Lisa McAllister of Clear Spring, Maryland, asked $4000 for it. “I thought the show looked great! I think we all sold, commensurate with the size of the crowd, which was depleted, of course. Some due to death and aging, some due to the virus,” McAllister said.
Brian Cullity of Sagamore, Massachusetts, was back at Antiques Week in New Hampshire—he’s previously exhibited at several of the week’s shows in years past. The German tankard or Schrelle, on the left, decorated with the arms of England, dated 1594, was $1900. The large 16" high Bellarmine jug, with the arms of Amsterdam and dated 1661, was $5000. “I was very pleased with the show. It looked great, with a wide variety of fine offerings reasonably priced,” according to Cullity. “I know that sounds like a rote response, but it really was a very approachable and affordable show. My sales were very good, almost all smalls. No furniture to speak of. I had over thirty individual sales, which was better than any expectations I might have had.”
The early 19th-century children’s Windsor settee was $5600 from Saltbox Antiques, Sugarloaf, Pennsylvania. Possibly made for twins, the early 19th-century settee has traces of a red wash. Sarah Yenkevich said, “In the time of COVID, the show was tops. Sales during setup and the first day were good. I sold a piece after the show, which will be picked up in York.”
The Saint Julien weathervane, 21" high x 40" long, attributed to J.W. Fiske, with surface wear and some original gold leaf, was $14,000 from Willow Springs Perennial, Rexford, New York. Saint Julien, driven by Orrin Hickok, was world champion in 1879.
The red, white, and blue folk-art house, possibly for the U.S. centennial, was $3800 from Robert Conrad of Yeagertown, Pennsylvania.
The New England knuckle-arm sack-back Windsor, circa 1770, was $2750 from James Kilvington of Greenville, Delaware.
The 18th-century Queen Anne armchair, Delaware Valley, 1740-60, has an elaborate cutout splat, a bold front stretcher, and unusual rolled arms and handholds. In the original red wash, ex-Paul and Margaret Weld, it was $35,000 from Elliott and Grace Snyder Antiques, South Egremont, Massachusetts. “We had a terrific show and sold across the board. We sold a surprising amount of furniture, ranging from very early New England pieces to 19th-century paint-decorated pieces. We sold folk art, including a wonderful overmantel, folk paintings including a Prior painting and a [Ralph] Redpath, and great smalls, including both decorated American pieces to quite a number of early candlesticks, metalwork, early German stoneware, and needlework. All in all we had thirty-plus sales. Crowds were very enthusiastic—clearly pent-up demand as a result of the pandemic. The crowd size was a bit off, obviously due to pandemic wariness, but I’d have to say, better than we expected,” said the Snyders in an e-mail.
Late 19th-century apothecary trade sign, $3950 from Joseph Lodge of Lederach, Pennsylvania. The tag pointed out that the arched wooden portion of the sign has vivid letters with painted shadows, and the decorative ironwork is “substantial and exceptional.” The mortar-and-pestle is three-dimensional.
Shaker sewing desk, butternut and poplar base, circa 1860, with a cherry and poplar gallery, circa 1880, 38¾" x 33" x 20 7/8", offered by John Keith Russell Antiques, South Salem, New York, for $30,000. The dealer noted that it exemplifies an adaptive reuse—it was a worktable with the gallery added to store sewing supplies.
The portraits by John Brewster Jr. (1766-1854) of Captain Samuel Lewis and his wife, Abigail Lewis, painted circa 1800, are each 38½" x 33½" and oil on canvas laid down on aluminum lining. The pair was $37,500 from Roberto Freitas of Stonington, Connecticut. Abigail Lewis and Brewster were cousins. The paintings’ provenance includes Jim Meltzer, Andrew Wolfe, and Wunderlich & Co., which advertised the portraits in the spring/summer 1984 edition of The Clarion, noting that they had descended in the family of the sitters until then.
Originally published in the October 2021 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2021 Maine Antique Digest