DEERFIELD, N.H. — It was 48 degrees on Tuesday morning, August 8, at 6:30 when exhibitors and early birds began pulling onto the Deerfield Fairgrounds for Nan Gurley’s Americana Celebration, the first antiques show of a busy Antiques Week in New Hampshire. Jackets and sweatshirts seemed to be the dress of the day, and Howard Graff of Colt Barn Antiques even resorted to waiting for the 8 am opening of the show in his van with the heater going full blast.
As usual, there was a large crowd at the starting gate, with many well-known dealers and collectors rushing into the show and quickly populating the buildings and the grounds where a good number of exhibitors were showing under tents.
“We had 135 dealers this year and I did not get any complaints. It was probably the best show we have ever had here and it was nice to see things selling,” Nan Gurley said. She mentioned that close to 500 people were in line for early buying, and people kept coming during the regular hours. The show closed at 4 pm. “I only know of one dealer who did very badly, but I will not mention that person as it is way too close to home,” Nan said.
Among those rushing into the show was Blanch Greenstein from New York City, who paused long enough to say, “Yesterday was a bad day; hope this one will be better.” She told of meeting Tom Woodard in the city and changing cars with him, only remembering to take her suitcase for the week with her after Tom drove away. “My shopping up here turned out to be more than for antiques,” she said.
Both walls of the corner booth of Firehouse Antiques Center, Galena, Md., were covered with early tiles from Armstrong Flooring, circa 1930–1940, depicting game boards and nursery rhyme characters. Once part of a floor, the tiles, found in Pennsylvania, were now framed and in good condition. Also shown was a cast cement man with painted clothes and marble eyes, about 3½ feet tall, who was moved about the booth on a dolly. “He is one of three figures from the same collection, the two others a woman and a bear,” Paul Thien said. He added, “We brought only one figure due to the weight in the van.”
Don and Betty Jo Heim of Jersey Shore, Penn., offered a collection of trade signs, including Western Union, Singer Sewing Machine and Auto Insurance, as well as a large selection of occupational shaving mugs. Several cast iron toys, as well as a number of still banks, added to an interesting booth.
Perfect for a home on the beach was a large, green painted basket filled with clam shells, now glued together and mounded in place, in the booth of Log House, Doylestown, Penn. A selection of wooden objects included trenchers, storage boxes, handled buckets and a large carpenter’s tool carrying case.
For the collector of sports-related material, Paul and Nancy Hahn of Bowie, Md., offered a couple of early catcher’s masks, a full run of pool balls and a game counter, and pennants for various colleges, including Navy, Dartmouth, Princeton and Harvard.
Mary de Buhr of Downers Grove, Ill., had an Eighteenth Century American settee with rosehead nails and the original red surface. The seat lifted for storage and it just came out of a Midwest collection. A wall table from Maine retained the original legs and sold, as did a canted wall shelf. A selection of early shoes was shown and at the end of a leash, standing on the floor, was a cloth dog with collar.
A couple of tables were at the front of the booth of American Antiques, Troy, Ohio, including a large drop leaf with turned legs, button feet and old red surface, and a two-board, scrubbed top sawbuck with the original, gray-green painted base. Nearby, Country Seat Antiques, Litchfield, Conn., showed a selection of early trade signs reading Locomotive, Parking 25 Cents, Slow, 1818, and Organic Eggs with the “N” printed backwards.
Bob Hartman of Country Huzzah Antiques, Burke, Va., known for his iron objects, came with a heavy load that included doorstops in many forms, including a rare penguin, rabbit, Old Salt, two lighthouses, a pair of owls and a fox. Food molds were in the form of a Santa, rabbit and lamb, and a large millweight in the form of a rooster retained the original black painted surface.
A fall-front bureau, desk or butler’s secretary in bird’s-eye maple and tiger maple, Pennsylvania origin and dating from the Nineteenth Century, was shown by Denise Scott Antiques of East Greenwich, R.I. Among the accessories in the booth were five hog scraper candlesticks, two with wedding bands, and a group of seven pewter mess bowls for the British Royal Navy dating from the Nineteenth Century.
Canterbury Country, Canterbury, N.H., had a very large selection of ironstone with pitchers, covered dishes, wash bowl and pitcher, coffee pots, plates and cups and saucers filling a couple of tables, while Stuart Magdefrau of Ellington, Conn., showed a selection of mocha, early blown bottles and several stoneware pieces, all with cobalt decoration, including both floral and a number of birds.
Nan Gurley not only has her hands full managing the show, but she also has a booth at the front of one of the buildings with Peter Mavris, offering an interesting selection of both furniture and accessories. A large farm table in the original paint, 8 feet long with tapered square legs, was at the front of the booth, and hung on the back wall a sign for “Albion House,” large wooden letters in iron frame-work. A Maine two-drawer, lift-top blanket chest, circa 1810, was offered, and on it was a pair of mercury candlesticks that measured 12 inches tall. A nice paint-decorated bookcase dating from the early Nineteenth Century, seven shelves high and tapering upwards, offered plenty of storage place for either books or small collections.
Michael and Lucinda Seward of Pittsford, Vt., took a year off from exhibiting at the New Hampshire Antiques Show and did Americana Celebration with a mixed selection that included an Eighteenth Century Queen Anne tea table in old finish, a log cabin bird house, two miniature chests of drawers and a World War II folk art army flag. “A one-day show is the best thing for my knees,” Michael said when questioned about the change of venues.
A Nineteenth Century set of post office boxes, originally from Vermont, was shown by William Gittos, Barrington, N.H., along with a couple of sheet metal weathervanes, rooster and running horse. Several painted tole document boxes filled a shelf, and a pair of cast iron Hessian andirons, in paint, marched on the floor.
Helen and Larry Bryan of Princeton, N.J., had a Nineteenth Century Peerman table light for burning fir, a small lift top desk with turned legs in an old red surface, and from Lancaster, Penn., an early Nineteenth Century 17-drawer apothecary with the original finish.
Cape Porpoise, Maine, dealer David Ramsay filled his corner booth with all manner of things, including a large Adirondack rustic dining table, the top measuring 6 by 3 feet, surrounded by six armchairs with white birch legs. The set came from Moosehead Lake, Maine. Other Adirondack items were a blue painted chair, a pair of oversize snowshoes and a few boat paddles.
Among several sawbuck tables at the show was one with three-board top and red painted base in the booth of Bill Quinn of Alna, Maine. Also shown was a large carpenter’s tool carrying box in old blue, a fancy cast iron gate and a trade sign advertising Botanical & Nature Items.
Ron Chambers of Higganum, Conn., has been doing the show for the past 20 years and continues to bring good early furniture, especially chairs, and pewter. His seating included a Connecticut shoreline banister back armchair, Stratford area, circa 1750–1760; a Windsor side chair, yellow painted with floral design on the back splat, and a New England high chair, rush seat, dating from the Nineteenth Century. One of the early pieces of pewter was a tankard by Thos Griffin, London, circa 1770. Ron mentioned, “This is the coldest show I have ever been to in Deerfield.”
A large Parcheesi game board in red, green, yellow and black hung on the back wall in the booth of Shirley Quinn, Hopkinton, N.H., and among the selection on a table was a variety of dollhouse furniture. Lots of wood, including kitchen boxes, firkins, mortar and pestles and cutting boards, was shown in the booth of Period Antiques, Scottsburg, Ind. An interesting sign read “Shaker Chairs for sale here made at Sabbathday Lake, Me.”
Richmond House of Ashford, Conn., had a large tent and it was filled with country things, including a very large sycamore tree stump that was found along the Ohio River in Indiana and once used for dry storage. A schoolmaster’s desk or country store counter was in the original yellow paint, and a two-board sawbuck table featured a scrubbed top with breadboard ends.
Jenkins Antiques, Springfield, Ohio, offered a nice wagon seat, a set of wooden measures and a couple of sawbuck tables, while Country Antiques Two, Mullica Hill, N.J., had a New England writing arm Windsor with three drawers under the seat, an Eighteenth Century fanback Windsor side chair from Lancaster, Penn., and a New England two-drawer blanket chest, blue over the original red, wood knobs and bracket base.
And it happens every year. One booth always sells out, the pie lady. This year, 20 fresh baked pies arrived at the fairgrounds at about 10 am and were all gone shortly after. All taste reports were A-plus.
Nan Gurley begins her once-a-month shows at the Frank Jones Center, Portsmouth, N.H., on September 29 through April, missing only December. “This one-day show has about 45 dealers, some high-end things, and has proved to be a popular event,” Nan said.
For additional information, www.nangurley.com or 207-625-3577.