Shopping For 150 Minutes In Milford Yields Great Finds

MILFORD, N.H. — Hampshire Hills Sports Center hosted more than 75 exhibitors and a new record attendance of shoppers for the first of the New Hampshire Antiques Week shows at Hampshire Hill Athletic Club on August 2. Jack Donigian started his short Sunday morning shows in the community hall of St Stan’s in Nashua, N.H., 38 years ago. It has now developed into even more fun for the exhibitors and shoppers.

This latest event, ushering in New Hampshire’s Antiques Week, was very well attended by shoppers, who were greeted by a packed house of exhibiting dealers, primarily from New England, but some traveled from as far away as Ohio, Virginia, Maryland, New York and Pennsylvania to offer their fresh-to-the-market finds, the latest antiques and early collectibles from attics, barns and estate sales they could offer.

Holding a few summer dates only became possible after Donigian moved to Hampshire Hills eight years ago with the summer shows now in their third year. This Antiques Week show was the largest yet in both attendance and exhibitors, he reported.

Exhibitors had to be quick. Their setup was only about two hours from a little past 6 am until the opening at 8:30 am. Buyers likewise had to be just as quick, for their opportunity was only two and a half hours to peruse all the antiques offered and make their choices. According to most exhibitors, however, it worked well, as sales were brisk.

One Litchfield County, Conn., shopper was hustling about the floor where he found an Eighteenth Century Sheffield Plate chamber stick, an early sterling silver pill box and two small painted pantry boxes. A Virginia shopper was picking through a collection from a Massachusetts South Shore exhibitor where she found an early quilt to carry back to old Virginia.

Jay McCarnis is a dealer in silver from Littleton, Mass., who exhibits at most of the summer shows in Hampshire Hills and about every other week during the winter. For this weekend he described his sales as “very good, selling a good quantity of silver and some other odds and ends.” His work during the week brings him into contact with silver and jewelry dealers, allowing him to find some of his inventory for the shows and offer it at attractive prices.

An early steeple clock was the best sale for Elizabeth Kingsley, but only one of many. The Contoocook, N.H., dealer sold well from her collection of Nineteenth Century toys, smalls and weathervanes.

Stephen Cyr is a full-time auctioneer and part-time dealer from Wells, Maine, and Salisbury, Mass. His collection at the show included an assortment of little things with a great variety of themes. There was a chip carved lamp, some early glass pitchers, an assortment of banks, some earthenware and treen ware and a few pieces of furniture.

Vermonter Greg Hamilton rarely misses the Sunday shows here. His exhibit is usually several of the standard booth spaces, which he then fills with tables covered with small antiques, fine art, folk art, some furniture and a great deal of silver and early silver plate. His sales at the show are usually among the highest totals, for the quality of his offerings is highly sought after by the shoppers. As soon as the show opened, he was seen discussing the terms of sale for a birdcage tilt top tea table, several early pieces of silver and a painting.

It is that kind of show; fast and furious and a lot of fun, with quick decisions made by both sellers and buyers. The next time it happens will be Sunday, August 31, just before Brimfield Week. Donigian expects a sell out, as usual, but he does still have spaces available.

His every-week winter series begin October 19 and continue into March, weather permitting. For further information, or 781-329-1192.

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