BRIMFIELD, Mass. – For three weeks each spring and summer, the little New England town of Brimfield swells with antiques collectors, decorators and dealers with antiques of all styles, descriptions and sizes.
The late summer September market has a slightly different personality from the May and July markets with many using the final show of the summer as their last buying opportunity of the year. For collectors, it’s a final opportunity to add to a collection until next May. For show and shop dealers, many stock up on inventory for winter. Exhibiting dealers often look at Brimfield as a last chance for the year to sell big.
These factors, and an improving market, gave the September gathering a decent boost in sales, with reports from different fields that most dealers were selling in good quantities.
Brimfield is a collection of contiguous real estate parcels, homes, small farm fields and even some houses with just an acre lot. These have all been transformed over the years into outdoor shows, with each field having its own rules and personality. For this most recent event, all the fields were open and hopping. While there were no million-dollar discoveries, there was good movement in many areas, including furniture, a good touchstone of the health of the business. There was a set of mid-Nineteenth Century chairs from Holland with decorative paint that was sold and carried off to Virginia, and an old store cupboard was the subject of great interest within the first hour of Mays Antiques Market; J&J on Friday saw brisk sales of small antiques and furniture from the nearly 400 dealers in place. This seemed to be the trend across the fields: Crowds weren’t overwhelming, but they were buying.
Brimfield Week, in addition to the shows in the town, has spawned two events in nearby Sturbridge at the Sturbridge Host Hotel and Conference Center. The first, on Monday, was Linda Zukas’ Antiques Textile and Vintage Fashion Show. Running on Brimfield Monday for 17 years, this was the 50th show and it has been a full house each time. With between 135 and 150 dealers in the large exhibition hall and several adjoining meeting rooms, the show is one of the largest of its kind.
Zukas has been successful in uniting dealers with eager collectors at this show, earning it an international reputation and following. There are several exhibitors from outside the United States and many customers from Europe and Japan.
The other Sturbridge Show is Nan Gurley’s Americana at Sturbridge, held in the same facility, on Thursday, Sept. 6, also for just the one day.
Brimfield happens again next year, with the first of the three meetings being May 13-18. Zukas’ show will be May 12.
For more information go to www.brimfieldexchange.com, where there are contacts for the individual promoters and a schedule of the openings, admissions and more. This Internet site is the only central information source for all the shows, though a few do have individual Web sites.