UNION, MAINE — Paul Davis gathered exhibitors and shoppers together again on the second weekend of August for his annual three-day antiques and picnic spree — the Maine Antiques Festival, which he conducted for its 32nd year August 9–11 at the Union Fairgrounds.
About 150 exhibitors were on hand at the Friday 2 pm opening, along with more than 400 shoppers in the first hour — in spite of heavy rains. Saturday and Sunday’s weather was perfect for summer days in Maine, pleasantly warm with gentle breezes, “so the numbers of visitors swelled and sales were generally good,” Paul said.
Steve Jenkins has been an antiques dealer for most of his adult life and also a show promoter. He and his wife consider the Union show a working vacation, driving east from their Shelbyville, Ind., home with a load of fresh antiques, including their specialty of early American furniture with a slightly country flair. His early sales included a set of American-made Sheraton-style chairs with early rush seats, in early paint decoration to a visitor with a summer home in nearby Tenants Harbor, Maine. He also sold a Shaker child’s rocking chair, New Lebanon, N.Y., sized as a 0 in nearly perfect condition, to a shopper from Nantucket. Early lighting, including several Betty lamps, were also good sellers.
Cedar Rapids, Iowa, dealer Colleen Frese sold an oil on canvas to a Friday shopper, and many more small antiques over the next two days. She came with a friend, Suzanne Baker, from Westville, Ind., who was also selling well for the duration of the show. Both were offering collections of early American home accessories and folk art.
Two Sides of the River, New London, N.H., is Mike Pheffer’s business. He specializes in furniture from the latter half of the Nineteenth Century. His prize piece was an oversize Hoosier kitchen cupboard, complete and original. His sales included an early mahogany dining table, drop leaf, with pineapple carved legs and several stands.
Union, as the show is best known, attracts exhibiting dealers with great variety in their collections. Paula Cohen of Your Grandma Had It, Brooklyn, N.Y., focuses on art glass from the early Twentieth Century and going back to early ironstone from the Nineteenth Century. She also has fun with early manual pinball games and period toleware.
Ozad Akramov, Fair Lawn, N.J., was offering his collection of fine early Oriental rugs. Country Squire Antiques, Gorham, Maine, is Jane and Ed Carr’s business, which specializes in pine furniture refinished or in original paint.
Art Bennett, Waitsfield, Vt., was selling early English and American silver. His collection included an assortment of Old Sheffield plate as well.
Art pottery was offered by P-B Antiques, Peterborough, N.H. Pam and Barry Brenner are also collectors, and their sales for the weekend were reported to be good, according to Barry.
From nearby Jefferson, Maine, Bill and Ruth Garland, Garlands Antiques, were showing their latest acquisitions in country furniture. They buy from local sources, including homes, auctions and other dealers, featuring choice Maine pieces. Their recent sales included an early lift top commode, a painted wood box and more.
Vintage weapons were the primary stock for Carole and Richard Pleines, Killingworth, Conn., dealers. The collection included more than a dozen early cartridge long guns, some black powder pieces and an assortment of knives and swords.
Barbara and Harry Hepburn of Hermitage Antiques, Harrison, Maine, were having a good show with the sale of clocks that he restores. One sale was a tall case clock, which in itself made the show good for them.
Five Corners Antiques, Essex, Vt., was selling early country furniture from its tented exhibit. The offerings included several jelly cupboards, a large church bench and a selection of interesting signs.
From Limington, Maine, Linda Rubley was offering her collection of mostly small things displayed on several large pieces of early furniture. Among her sales was an old wooden whirligig of an airplane.
David Beane does his collecting from two home bases, one is Benton, Maine, and the other in Seminole, Fla. This gives his collection great variety, which at this show included a faro wheel, one of those games of chance at carnivals; some erotic statues, firearms, early advertising and period furniture. Another piece in his collection was at first thought to be some steampunk object, but in fact it was a mechanical bellows used for either a church organ or possibly a machine.
Paul Davis began the show 32 years ago with the idea that if he built it’ they would come and he has been proven right. This year, while many of his original dealers are not still in business, the show hosted more than 150 dealers. Despite the rains Friday, attendance was a good number of shoppers on the field, and the weekend overall’s gate was typical. Next year, Davis plans the same date pattern, August 8–10.
For additional information, www.maineantiquefest.com or 207-221-3108.