Dealers and collectors bid a soggy farewell to 2011’s Brimfield antiques show season

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Normally a babbling brook a couple feet wide, the rainfall Wednesday night created this river between J & J and Mays Parking; note the foot bridge in the background is under water. Photos courtesy Tom O’Hara

BRIMFIELD, Mass. – Weather again menaced Brimfield for this season’s final gathering September 6-11, 2011 with rain Tuesday and a storm Wednesday overnight called the hundred year rainfall by the weather reporters on TV and radio. The rain was so severe it saturated the field at Mays Antiques Market preventing dealers from driving onto the grounds for Thursday’s opening. The show did eventually open Friday with about half the dealers who were still in town ready to show and sell.

Brimfield Week markets began at dawn Tuesday in the rain with their usual fields that are open all week making ready for a wet early part of the week as predicted. Tents and tarps were the order for the day, keeping merchandise under cover while umbrellas and slickers were required apparel for customers to shop in some level of comfort. By the middle of the day while it was still overcast, there was no rain and spirits were higher for a good day’s shopping.

Dealers Choice, Tuesday’s 11 a.m. opening was showing a good supply of exhibitors and antiques. Shoppers enter with a plan to tour this field and buy on impulse for just two hours so dealers are quick to quote best prices presuming there will not be a second opportunity. The field is too big to make a second round before the next show opens.

Brimfield Acres North is now owned by just the Hopfe Family as Colleen James sold her interest to Robert Hopfe’s daughter and son-in-law Sue and Michael Rohrbacher last winter.

Their opening at 1 p.m. was also dry, with a couple hundred exhibitors the field offering good shopping. Mario Pollo was at the entrance with several friends showing a collection of folk art and early furniture. Further back Pat Greika of Stafford, Conn., was offering a large collection of smalls with the help of her daughters. Her husband, Roman passed away during the winter, so she was selling from both their collections. Country furniture sold well for New Hampshire dealer Tom Pirozzoli.

Sport and Spool Antiques and Collectibles, Goldsboro, N.C.
Sport and Spool Antiques and Collectibles, Goldsboro, N.C., at the J & J Promotions Show.

Wednesday was a fair weather day with the traditional openings of New England Motel at dawn, Heart of the Mart at 9 a.m. and Hertan’s Antique Show at noon. The difference between Wednesday and Tuesday show openings is that Wednesday shows stay open later in the week with many of the dealers staying on site until Friday evening, Saturday or in the case of New England Motel until Sunday.

Each of the three seems to have a personality of its own while, of course, letting in any antiques exhibitor. New England Motel has become known for the country and 19th Century furniture with many dealers migrating to this field with more of that style in the last few years. For example, Blue Dog Antiques, Susan Worth, The Oberg’s Richmond House Antiques, Sasha’s antiques are all dealers living in Connecticut with great tents of country antique furniture. Heart of the Mart is popular with its art, textiles and 20th Century styles and Hertan’s seems to attract dealers with very special smalls.

Art Bennett, Waitsfield, Vt. offered this very unusual fireback in cast iron with relief of a train from the 1800’s. at Mays
Art Bennett of Waitsfield, Vt. offered this very unusual fireback in cast iron with relief of a train from the 1800’s at Mays.

This September the rains affected the second day of these three with lots of standing water late Thursday morning. On a positive note, however, with Mays field closed the customers who came to shop went to these other shows to spend their money. Friday was J & J Promotions, the original field run by Brimfield’s founder’s [Gordon Reid] daughters Judy Mathieu and Jill Lukesh.

After poor weather through the week, Friday’s forecast of mixed clouds and sun, but no rain, benefited the J & J show with more dealers and very good crowds for the 8 a.m. opening. Sales were good early that morning even with the opening of Mays at 9 a.m. It was suggested by many that this unusual circumstance of both shows opening on Friday may have increased the total of shoppers.

Mays dealers were having mixed results; most were pleased with their sales in a qualified manner, that is, not the usual but not too bad either. Customers at both shows were walking out with arms full of smalls, folk art and furniture. One dealer found a hollow copper weathervane horse at Mays which he believed was special.

Saturday and Sunday sales were typically to people looking for home furniture and accessories, with the concentration of activity at the east end of town, J & J, Mays and New England Motel as the town was drying out. 

Brimfield is three times each year with the 2012 dates May 8-13; July 10-15 and Sept. 4-9. 

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More Images:

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Horse drawn sleighs and wagons were restored and ready to go from Leon Demers, Belchertown, Mass. The sleighs were priced from $495 to $1,895 and wagons were $1,195 to $2,000.
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Dave Proctor was admiring an early large hollow copper horse weather vane purchased at Mays. Except for a few bullet holes it was in very good condition.
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Vintage New England, Canton, Conn. trades in early kitchenalia including coffee grinders shown here at J & J
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Early coin and sterling silver flatware was included in the collection offered at J & J by Susanne Edgerly of Main Street Antiques, Kent, Conn.
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Beth Denning and David Charron, from nearby Charlton, Mass. were at Mays for the day late opening and started to write up sales as soon as the show opened.
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Stephen and Douglas of Rockingham, Vt. at Mays
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Magoun Bros from South Paris, Maine was selling canoes well, perhaps with encouragement from all the rains at this most recent Brimfield Antiques Market at Faxon’s Midway show.

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