Brimfield completes Fiftieth Year Celebration

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Magoun Bros. is a South Paris, Maine, dealer known for country style antiques and canoes. Photos by Tom O'Hara.

 

BRIMFIELD, Mass. – The Brimfield Antiques Markets finished the fiftieth year with great selection of antiques, big crowds and good sales. Held three times each season from Tuesday through Sunday the final session, September 8-13 saw good weather for most of the week encouraging the activity of showing and selling antiques and early collectibles.

Brimfield is about 20 separate fields each with its own promoter, days and times of operation and dealers. Some dealers exhibit at more than one field during the week, offering different collections from one field to the other. Cook outs, parties, even camping out on the fields in some cases is typical for  participants approach the week as  fun and a time to socialize with friends.

Tuesday morning at the first hint that the sun will rise again in the East fields quickly spring to life with the same early morning flurry of a chicken coop: shoppers peek into as yet unopened tents, where the exhibitors are setting out their collections to be ready for the onslaught they hope will be rushing around their available antiques. Sales are often quick, “how much?”

“a hunnert,”

“ that the best ya can do?”,

“aaw, I’ll take ninedy for it” and  so it begins, a week of active selling and buying.

Selling this September was “good with the economy as less than the best right now” according to an Indiana dealer.

Sun broke through the morning fog for the Tuesday openings including  a new field, Grand Trunk at the western end of the village. Formerly a private home with parking during the week, it was purchased by Jim Hopkins and his wife last year; the lot was cleared and than it became another field.

The Vermont Tent at Green Acres was filled with shoppers in the early morning. According to Greg Hamilton its organizer “sales were not bad.”

Wednesday there were the usual three fields opening; New England Motel at 6:00 AM was the first. At this field most dealers stay for the balance of the week, with large quantities of furniture exhibited and sold. Several dealers are now creating a buying area at this field where they all generate extra publicity for their group in the center of the field. As Country Squire, Sasha’s Antiques, Susan Wirth, Richmond House and Blue Dog Antiques were all close to one another they distributed flyers showing their location and advertising  what they were offering.

Heart of the Mart opened at 9 a.m. with a rousing big crowd. In July a painting was discovered on this field which is believed to be worth $500,000 or more so customers were flocking in to see if they might win the lottery this month. While there were no such reports, sales were good.

The noon opening Wednesday was Hertan’s with their 300 spaces filled as usual. The rule about set up has been relaxed slightly in the last year allowing dealers to unload but cover the antiques until the bell rings at noon to begin selling.

Thursday is the day for Mays Antiques Market, opening at 9 a.m. This field, while difficult for the dealers, is popular with customers.

No merchandise is allowed out of the trucks, vans and trailers until the gate swings open. Customers love the plan that gives them the first look at all that is available, even before the dealers exhibiting on the field as those dealers have no time to look while still setting up for their own exhibit.

The Original, J&J Antiques Show was celebrating Gordon Reid’s start of Brimfield in 1959 for this field was the site of that beginning.

Sisters Judy Reid Mathieu and Jill Reid Lukash the current owners of the business were there helping their father in the first years and have always been involved in the market week. Their field, the largest site on the street was opened this September to light rain which as the morning progressed became heavier. But the shoppers were undaunted, running from tent to tent, finding those precious additions to their collections.

Brimfield will be back but not until next May when all the field can be expected to be filled with antiques and the shoppers who are looking for their best treasures. To join them, check our advertisers or go to www.brimfieldexchange.com for details.

More Images:

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New England Motel Antiques Market hosted Country Squire Antiques with an eclectic collection of furniture and home accessories, even an early gas stove.
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September morn in Brimfield, Mass., on the first day of the antiques markets when the mist creates a surreal atmosphere for the early shoppers.
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Susan Wirth was exhibiting her stock of American Country antiques at New England Motel.
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Vintage New England deals primarily in early home machinery such as coffee grinders and mixers at J&J's.

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