Happy tunes at Music City Shows: Customers and dealers sing the praises for Nashville’s trio of antiques shows

By Tom O’Hara

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Happy tunes were sung by customers, dealers and even the show promoters at Nashville’s Antiques Week as results were tallied after the Feb. 13-16, 2013, events. Three shows were well attended with good dealer participation and good sales at the annual event.

In the more than 30-year history of the antiques week, shows have changed, locations have changed and even the dynamics of the shows have changed their focus to stay up to date with the latest trends that the customers want. More folk art collectibles and even vintage with mid-century décor now sells alongside early country and Americana.

Each show has a personality of its own, and here is a short take on them in order of their openings.

Fiddlers Inn Antique Show

The Fiddlers Inn Antique Show had a new partner in ownership and management this spring, with Doug Supinger present and covering the details of set-up for Emerson Events. As manager of several other shows, Supinger brought management experience to this semi-annual event, aiding in the set-up and marketing of the show.

At the opening, many dealers were busy selling in spite of several weather-related Nashville-2013-083FWproblems. Amana, Iowa, dealer Dale Frese was writing tickets for smalls, including a small 18-drawer apothecary cabinet. While he still has “a day job,” Frese takes time off for this show. As he said, “Nashville sales seem to always be worth the time and it’s a lot of fun here, visiting with dealer friends and regular customers.”

Michael Naylor, Abe’s Old Hat Antiques, was pleased with his weekend. From Springfield, Ill., the dealer said he should have brought more but he was still selling Friday evening from his collection of 19th century antiques. Sales included some early tools, lighting toys and furniture. The furniture was in early paint with one piece – a chest of drawers – in several colors.

The exhibits at Fiddlers are in outside-entry motel rooms where the dealers can rearrange the motel furniture to open the space, and then decorate as they wish and furnish with their antiques. Cabin in The Woods Antiques is Cheryl Jones’ business from Belle Vue, Mich.; for the show she makes the hotel room look like the inside of a log cabin, with rustic board siding and her inventory serving as the furnishings.

The sales reported by most dealers here were good in small antiques with some furniture going off to new homes, too, according to Rose Cheap, Period Antiques of Scottsburg, Ind. She and her husband, Tom, have a second home in Maine; they shop there as well, providing a great variety to their collection.

Tailgate-Music Valley Antiques Show

Tailgate-Music Valley Antiques Show is the popular Jenkins Management show that has moved a couple times in the last 10 years from hotel rooms on the east side of Nashville to the Tennessee Fairgrounds to now at Henderson Expo just north of Nashville. The site is popular with dealers and customers, alike, and with Jenkins Management’s experience backing the dealers’ efforts, the show is now the biggest of all three. In fact, its total of exhibiting dealers equals the other two shows combined.

The show opened Thursday morning with about 140 dealers exhibiting and hundreds of patrons waiting for the starting bell.Nashville-2013-009FW

Kim and Mary Koklas, Dallas, specialize in early advertising and pottery. For this show, Kim said sales were very good with several pieces of Anna Pottery going out, including an Anna pig and an Anna snake jug. “As the show began, we sold an early wooden Coke cooler, a walking pig pottery jug, a large 30-inch Columbia candy jar and a lot of early advertising signs.”

In an exhibit filled with early primitive furniture, Matthew Ehresman was selling throughout the show and even after to people who saw things there but were slow “to pull the trigger.” The Wadsworth, Ohio, dealer practically sold out with cupboards, bucket benches, a table, small cupboard and a good deal more finding new homes.

From Shawnee Mission, Kan., Ted Feuhr’s American Spirit was doing well. While he did not sell much furniture, he did sell early portraits and smalls for a good total. That was true for many other dealers as well. According to Sue Hartman of Hartman House Antiques, East Bridgewater, Mass., “The show was really good for us. We sold the Connecticut tall case clock, a pair of early iron gates and tons of smalls!”

Centralia, Ill., dealer Kim Logan was selling furniture throughout the weekend. Early to go out the door was an unusual pine cupboard in old paint, high on one side and low on the other, resembling a cobbler’s work bench; another pine cupboard in blue also went out.

Nashville-2013-054FWPennsylvanian Robert Conrad was, as he stated it, “pleasantly surprised because I did really well.” He reported sales that included “an early Southern pie safe, a punched tin coffee pot, two weather vanes, lots more smalls and a checker board right off the wall!”

Vintage is a part of this show, since moving to Hendersonville a year ago. Jon Jenkins began this with the help of author Sue Whitney, where she takes what she calls junk and makes it into contemporary décor. There were about 40 vintage dealers exhibiting, allowing Whitney to take some things from their displays and place them in the center of the vintage section as fresh ensembles. This proved so popular that Whitney had to keep refreshing the display as parts of it sold.

This show is held twice each year, with the next edition scheduled for Oct. 30-Nov. 2, 2013.

Heart of Country Antiques Show

Heart of Country was the original show in Nashville’s Antiques Week, held at Marriott’s Opryland USA for more than 30 years. Founded by Elizabeth “Libby” Kramer, it is now owned and managed by her daughter, Susan Kramer Hunkins. There were about 70 exhibitors, which opened with a large party on Thursday evening.

With unusual folk art, Harvey Pranian, Evanston, Ill., was there again showing what his search turned up; the favorite object in his collection this time was a carved figure of a Native American holding his pipe as a gesture of peace to all who came. Found in Northern Michigan, it sold at $8,900.Nashville-2013-036FW

New Hampshire dealers Bob Jessen and Jim Hohnwald sold a small wall-hung cupboard in the first minutes of the show. Johnwald said it had original paint, justifying the $9,000 price tag.

David White, Yarmouth, Maine, was selling so quickly as the show opened he didn’t have much time to chat. His collection is nautical antiques, including several ships models from the 19th century, which found new homes during the show.

City Mouse Country Mouse, Cincinnati, does much of their buying in England to find those little things that would have been in an American house 200 years ago. Nan Donovan, one of the partners, said they did really well selling the concrete lawn dogs immediately after the opening and “a little bit of everything throughout the show.”

Bill Kee, of Kee Antiques from Atlanta, was exhibiting for the first time and felt beginner’s luck was with him. While he did not sell out, his sales included several good early pieces of American furniture and art.

Heart of Country Antiques Show has always had a special booth with antiques offered by all the exhibiting dealers for a low price. The maximum price now for any object is $200, but 30 years ago it was less: A sign of the times, the staff conceded.

For many customers, this booth is the first place to go to scope out the deals on preview night after getting a glass of wine.

Heart of Country is only once a year, so for 2014 look for it during the second weekend of February.

For more information on these exciting Nashville shows, contact the show promoters at: www.fiddlersantiquesshow.com, 937-875-0808; www.tailgatemusicvalleyantiques.com, 317-598-0012; and www.heartofcountry.com, 314-962-8580.

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