There is nothing in the antiques world like the opening of the largest antiques show in the US in Brimfield MA. It’s an overload of sensory perception, a carnival of the unusual, a mind boggling plethora diversity, and that’s just the people!
Seriously, there are over 5,000 dealers that set up over the course of a week. The show runs on Tuesday through Saturday May 13th – 18th this year. The show comes to Brimfield 3 times a year, May, July, & Sept. and always starts on the 2nd Tuesday of the Month and runs until Saturday. Tents and displays are set up at more than 20 massive farm fields along RT 20 in Brimfield. There are 19 on the official roster, but there are a few renegades as well.
I’m lucky enough to live just 45 minutes from the town of Brimfield, so being an antiques auctioneer, I naturally get to it at least once per season. I usually go as a buyer, not to sell. This year it was fun to cover the event as a blogger, allowing me to view it from another perspective. It was refreshing to cover the event without the concerns of purchasing items and promoting an upcoming auction, which are my usual motives for attending.
I covered 2 fields for this trip and will be going back later on in the week, here are the results of my first visit.
One of the strangest things I’ve ever seen at Brimfield or anywhere else for that matter, was a Corona. Upon hitting the first field, (Brimfield Acres North) I saw several hundred people looking straight up in the air at a rainbow around the Sun. I’d never seen one before and it was breathtaking, I’m still rubbing my eyes, however. If you think a rainbow around the Sun is strange, the site of a field full of people looking up in the air all at once is even slightly more so!
The state of the antiques market seems to exist in it’s own world that operates outside of the normal economy, and here’s what I found to be the buzz topics of this show.
* Most agreed that there was an exceptional amount of very good quality items this year. The reasons given were that, “high end” is selling, and selling well.
* Furniture overall is still soft.
* The opinions on why high quality items were selling well mostly came in two categories. The first is that those with money in this tough economic season are looking to invest in antiques and art. I also heard many old school dealers pronouncing the “death of eBay” at least the antiques part of it and have opined that this is the main reason for the increase in quality items at this year’s show. Many believe that with eBay’s new policies confusing and alienating so many, that antiquers are looking once again to market there better items at big shows. Some I talked to said they’ve seen an increase in quality items at other shows earlier in the year, and the same reasons were given.
* This year there seemed to be an above average amount of European and Canadian shoppers at the show, no doubt due to the value of those country’s currencies versus the US dollar. One woman from London, filled 2 suitcases with $25,000 worth of Sterling Silver from one dealer. Suffice it to say that most of the foreign shoppers are not buying furniture, another kick in the head to the struggling antique furniture market at this show.
* Art, art, art. People were buying paintings, great US Art Pottery and other Object d’Art in what seemed like record number.
* The market for good antique musical instruments appeared to be very strong.
* Early toy and games dealers were doing well.
* Anyone with good, unusual smaller items priced right, probably did well at this show.
Items and asking prices
Here are a few things I found interesting and their asking prices. The dealers contact info appear next to the item if I was given permission to print that.
Wendy & Chuck LaVigna of Stone Cottage Antiques did well and had the following items for sale.
• A wonderful faded yellow painted primitive foot stool $165
• Super pair of Torino mfg Chrome Retro Lamps $375
• A large Petit Point of a Biblical? scene. $375
A dealer from Maine offered one of the nicest spool cabinets I’ve seen.
• Belding Bros. 3 foot tall spool cabinet, $1500
• George Clark spool cabinet $1495
• The Great American Game an early tin Baseball Game by the Hustler Toy co. of Sterling Illinois. $295
• There was a companion Football game priced at $295 as well
• Antique Slot Machine $1500
Dennis Carlson Antiques of Moodus CT had a very interesting display which included the following
• A circa 1920s Mr Wood boat model $850
• A fully working 3 foot long Railroad Steam Engine circa 1920s – $4250
From dealers who did not wish to have contact info published I found.
• A Hurdy Gurdy cart fully working at $950
• An antique motorcycle, (the dealer was not at the booth, and this item did not have a price tag
• A miniature hand-made cupboard $475
• A White’s 4 gallon crock with cobalt blue floral decoration $485
• Clark Jr Crock of NY also cobalt blue decorated $475
• An Oak bow-front curio cabinet with applied lions, $1295
What I took away from the show was this.
* Big Antique Shows are back.
* High end is selling.
* Art is selling.
* Smalls are selling if they are unusual.
* The foreign antiques investment market is aggressive and looking to buy good quality.
* Sterling and gold, name your price.
* Coins are selling.
* Don’t talk about gas prices and don’t talk about eBay.
Thanks for reading.
For a complete 2008 Brimfield Shows Schedule click here.