Sunday, August 22, 2010

So What Have I Found

So what have I found in the last couple of weeks? Well, I was able to buy several Finnish-American Hand Loomed Rag Rugs, of which the best of the lot is an 11'-6" runner. It was made by the grandmother of the woman selling the rugs, who is my age (shall we say politely, over full retirement age...). She estimated that the rug was at least 80-100 years old, and I concur.

It's strong enough to go on the floor, but bright enough to be hung on the wall as textile art, especially in a room with a cathedral ceiling.

On a much smaller scale is an ironstone platter, c.1870, bearing the seal of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society. Apparently these were used to display fresh cut flowers and produce and fairs and displays sponsored by the Society. Like most ironstone, this piece will need to be cleaned to be presentable, but that's an easy enough task. By the time I offer it for sale it will look a lot better.

And here's another nice little thing, a spinner from one of the many woolen mills that could be found all over New England prior to the Civil War. At one time you could find these by the thousands, probably by the tens of thousands. They're not that common any more, but normally I still wouldn't bother with one, but this one was turned from figured wood, either Curly Birch or Curly Maple, I can't be sure which. It's highest and best use now, probably a candle holder.

Last week I found a c. 1949 serigraph by Harry Reeks, a New Orleans born man who became a combat artist during WWII, then spent a couple of years in San Francisco after the war ended. His work was, frankly, tourist art, lively, colorful, and intended to be a souvenir, an inexpensive reminder of one's visit. I have a number of similar pieces, in both intention and period, by Vermont artists. They've become very collectible, and I'm willing to bet that Reek's views of postwar San Francisco will prove similarly popular. This one has never been out of its original frame. It really should be rematted in acid-free materials, but that's another day.

Only a few weeks before I had found a watercolorist's field easel to display it on. Easels like this one were built to lie flat, if you were painting washes, or at angles, usually in 15° increments, all the way up to 90°. I've owned several, and they seem to be popular both with painters and displayers.

But I think the prize of what I've come upon in the last few weeks is an Herb Dryer. I almost missed seeing it, folded up flat. It hangs on the wall, flat when not in use, but lifts and folds when used to dry bunches of herbs.

It's very well designed, the rods nearest the front are offset, upper and lower, so that herbs can be hung from every rod. To put the frame into use, the pieces unfold and the ends are slipped into hand chiseled channels. It's ingenious and simple, and, of course, the question everyone asks is, "Is it Shaker?" Well, it might be, I don't know.  I do know that many auction houses, even the ones that specialize in Shaker sales, would be likely to attribute it to them, but that doesn't make it so. I guess it will just have to be left to others to decide.

And finally, one last thing...

Remember these?

They were featured in my May 30th post. I didn't sell them that next weekend at the Cape Cod Antique Dealers Association as I expected, but they did sell a few weeks later, and they did sell down on the Cape. I made my money-- I was happy.

Imagine my surprise when I spotted them again in a Kaminsky Auction catalog for the August 28, 2010 sale featuring Nautical Antiques. They've got an estimate between three and four times what I sold them for down on the Cape... Am I upset? No. I don't know yet what they will sell for, but Kaminsky's is a quality auction house here on the North Shore of Massachusetts and I'd like to hope that they're right, and that their current owner meets his or her expectations, just as mine were met.  No, my message is to you, and what I want to tell you is that you shouldn't assume that the things offered at antiques shows are too expensive for you to buy, and even make money on!

Next outing is in Madison, CT, on the Village Green, Saturday, August 28, for the Madison Historical Society. Under tents, rain or shine, it'll be a good show.

So don't be shy, there's money to be made at antiques shows, for sellers and buyers both! See you at the shows.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Come and Gone

Early Sunday morning at a nearby flea market I spotted a pair of handwrought andirons. The seller said they had come from the Malden, MA, estate of an ironworker.

Both, of course, are right handed, and one is smaller than the other. I have no way to know if they were made as a pair or not. Nor, apparently, does it matter. This is Antiques Week in New Hampshire, and some of the best dealers in the country have gathered for the several shows in and near Manchester this week. The andirons visited Manchester yesterday and sold immediately. Come and gone.

From a different seller at the same market I got a cast iron stove door with a floral decoration that strikes me as quite unusual.

I know nothing of the maker, and can only estimate that it dates to c. 1875, but I like it, and it will find a place on my wall as a painting or drawing might, a cast iron drawing, as it were.

And from a third seller (still at the same market) a pair of Lomax Oil Guard lamps. These are the smaller size of the upright model, nicely scaled for use in the bedroom. Since the original Lomax burners are gone, I'll have sockets and wiring added, find a couple of nice shades, and take them out on the show circuit.

I turned out to be a good day at the flea market.

See you at the shows!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Another Spider

I've managed to come up with a few interesting things in the last week or so...

Totally unlike what I usually find, or even notice, this drying rack and its pair of waders caught my eye, more as sculpture than anything else.

I've never done the show, never even been to it, but I'll see if maybe I can arrange for them to hitch a ride over to the Adirondack show next week. The crowd might like them over there, or maybe some of the "object" sellers in Manchester, NH... I'm going to sit out Antiques Week in Manchester, too, although I might have to go over to see the NHADA show, grab a glimpse of the really good stuff before it flies out the door.

I picked up a nice little Tiger Maple Masher, one with distinct tiger stripes on the handle that, when you get down to the wider diameter of the masher itself turns into a quilted pattern, quite unusual.

A pair of hand wrought scissors was a nice find in a New Hampshire shed. I don't run into these nearly as often as I did when I was younger. Of course, that was quite a while ago...

From over in New York state I uncovered the base (just the base, I'm sorry to say) of a child-size chair table.

It hasn't very sophisticated construction, and of course there's a lot missing altogether... believe me, I wish it wasn't... but what's there I love, and I think it will turn out to be a great starter piece for a collector of children's furniture.

And, saving favorites for last, I chanced upon another spider, this one originally found near Canterbury, NH. There's nothing to suggest a connection with the Shaker community there, although there's nothing to argue against it either. This is something that I bought from a collector, so I have no knowledge of its original context, save that it was originally found in the area.
This is another nice early example (see the last post), late 18th century or perhaps very early 19th century, and although it will be offered for sale from time to time, it will spend the rest of the time on my kitchen hearth.

My next scheduled show is still on the last Saturday before Labor Day, on the Village Green in Madison, CT, for the Madison Historical Society. Of course, until then I'll still be poking around to see what else I can find.

See you at the shows!