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  • Carole Conn

Antiques Week in New Hampshire

Thos. Bartlett Antiques and Oddments, Chichester, NH

To see the very best in American country antiques, folk art and Americana, you should go to the New Hampshire Antiques Week which is held each year during the first week of August.

This year, August 4-10 was the big event. We attended all but one show, visited some shops and some of our favorite pickers, and came back with some treasures.

But the best part was the eye-watering, fabulous, rare, special, unique and just plain wonderful antiques to be seen. Many were at breathtaking prices, but collectors still bought the best of the best.

This is a chronicle of our New Hampshire adventure.

We missed the first show which was on Sunday morning starting at 6:30 am for early buyers at Milford, NH at the Hampshire Hills Athletic Club. Just a bit too early if you're starting out in Connecticut! I hear it was a good buying show.

The Deerfield Show was Monday. This venue used to host the Americana Show run by the late Nan Gurley. Before Nan died she decided to move it to an indoor venue in Concord, where it is still run on Tuesday by her husband Peter Mavris.

A few years ago her children, Rachel and Josh Gurley decided to revive the Deerfield venue. It is such a fun show! Dealers spread out over the lawns and in 2 large barns with lots of good early stuff. Each year the show has gotten better and this year was the best so far. Rachel and Josh have brought new life into the antiques business - we see a lot more young people at their shows.

Buyers packed the barns and browsed outside on a beautiful day.

Tuesday brought the Americana Celebration (mentioned above) at the Douglas Everett Arena in Concord.

A large crowd of early buyers lined up at 8 (at $25 per!)

This is a beautiful show! Dealers set up in room settings with many wonderful items to be had. Prices were generally reasonable, and there was a huge variety of American antiques for sale.

Two shows began on Wednesday. The first was the Collectors' Fair at the Sullivan Arena on the campus of St. Anselm College in Manchester, run by DiSaia Management.

It seemed that the crowds grew as the week went on. We were given numbers and seat assignments for a strict order of entry. Which is fair, but it was a bit like being in the military. No one was allowed to move until everyone sat down. But it worked.

The show from the balcony.

This show was a bit pricier than the earlier ones, but with beautiful items and lots of variety. I met up with my sweet friend, Jami Wilmarth of Tin Cat Antiques, who drove all the way from Texas to exhibit at the show. Her booth was beautiful, as always, with a special stack of pantry boxes that caught my eye.

The show was packed with wonderful things.

The Midweek in Manchester show opened at 1:00 at the IFK Memorial Coliseum in Manchester. We were herded onto bleacher seats to wait for the opening, and it all went smoothly.

This show, run by Barn Star Productions, used to go through Thursday, but it was shortened to Wednesday from 1-7. That's probably because the big attraction on Thursday is the opening of the biggest and most spectacular show.

I loved this show. There were dealers I'd not met before, and many old friends. Prices were generally reasonable, with some very pricey exceptions. My Connecticut buddies, Cy and Judi Stellmach of Blue Dog Antiques had a great booth, with a wonderful double wall box that really tempted me, among their other special finds.

The main attraction, of course, was the 62nd Annual New Hampshire Antiques Show at the Double Tree Inn in Manchester, which ran for 3 days ending on the 10th at 4pm. This show is run by the New Hampshire Dealers Association and is absolutely spectacular.

We got to the show an hour before opening, thinking we'd get a good spot in line, but were # 232 and 233. I was told people started lining up at 5 am. By the time the show opened at 10 there were over 1000 people in line.

What can I say about this show? It was breathtaking. With some breathtaking prices, but things that you just don't see often. It is visually wonderful, exciting to walk through and see and touch all these special items. What follows are some shots I was able to get while ducking around the crowds.

It was a wonderful week! Inspiring and exciting. If you love this stuff as I do, it is a trip worth making and an unforgettable experience.

Next year, New Hampshire Antiques Week will by August 2-8, 2020. Make your reservations early!

Carole Conn

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