By Tom Carrier
EDITOR’S NOTE: Brimfield, Mass., is a small New England town with a population of about 5,000 or so. Settled in 1706, it shows its traditional New England quaintness rather well. It has its large, steepled church, and with the leaves of autumn or the snow of winter, looks the part in any Norman Rockwell painting. And then for one week every spring, fall, and summer, the population doubles with 5,000 antique dealers converging on Brimfield to create the “Antique Capital of the United States.”
Dan Borsey travels through Brimfield for WorthPoint to see what is new and what fascinates the dealers and collectors. Surprisingly, Dan met Matt Wylie and Zeb Koch, owners of Back Door Antiques. The surprising part is that both Matt and Zeb are close friends and college students.
“My family is a real close family business. My dad is a big antique dealer and he’s been here 20, 30 years,” Matt says. “I met Zeb a couple of years ago,” Matt starts, but Zeb finishes, “from soccer and just started hanging out and turns out he only lives right down the street from me and just started hanging out with him going to flea markets with him on the weekends. He asked me to go to bigger shows and this is the best one we ever had.”
The main item that attracted Dan to Matt and Zeb collection was an unusually multi-colored beer “pong” table. “It came from a frat house at the University of Maine,” says Zeb. “The use the big drinking horns to drink beer and they take the little ones and do shots with them.” The horns Zeb is referring are hollowed out antlers. There is a version of beer pong played similar to ping pong, although without the paddle and involves drinking beer from a cup where the ball lands. The winner, if there is one, is the one with most of their cups still full of beer. You might guess that this sport is important to the college and professional tailgaters.
Another interesting piece the guys had came from the top of a building in India, probably circa 1860, Matt says. “We had it in our garden for awhile, but I was afraid it was going to deteriorate, so we brought in the hope somebody would make us offer for it,” Matt says, looking at Dan expectantly. No, no sale there.
“Well, you look around these fields and its always a certain age class of people, and it was such a breath of fresh air to see Matt and his buddy peddling antiques with the best of the rest of them,” Dan says to Matt’s father, Bruce.
“Yeah, its’ true. It is such a good thing to see. I love seeing it myself,” Bruce Wylie answers.
To watch a video of Dan Borsey’s visit with Matt and Zeb, click here.
Tom Carrier is a general Worthologist, with an expertise in a wide variety of subjects, including vexillology, or the study of flags.
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