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Fig. 1: Starting at 4 am on Thursday morning, a line forms in the NHADA show lobby, then spills onto the street as it swells toward 1,000 people. Photography courtesy of NHADA.
“There are three major Americana events in the country—New York in mid-January, the Philadelphia shows in April, and Antiques Week in New Hampshire in August. Nowhere else can you see as much Americana in a week as you can during New Hampshire Antiques Week. Most of what you see is buyable, and the excitement is tremendous.” So commented Peter Eaton, a premier antique furniture dealer from Newburyport, Massachusetts.

Antiques Week in New Hampshire is the scene. Enthusiasts come from all over the country to attend the various shows scheduled for this buying extravaganza. Scanning down packed show aisles, you might spot among the crowds some of New York’s most regaled designers, CEOs of blue-chip firms, and Hollywood celebrities who have donned disguises so they can attend. Even politicians George H.W. Bush and John Sununu have shopped the shows. Tourism experts declare the week to be one of the ten major draws of the year in the Granite State. Without reservations, accommodations can be hard to find within a 50-mile radius of the epicenter of events—Manchester.

The New Hampshire Antiques Dealers Association (NHADA) show sowed the seed for Antiques Week over forty years ago, and it remains a mainstay. Howard Oedel proposed the first NHADA show, held at the New Hampshire Highway Hotel in Concord until its move seven years ago to Manchester. Since then, association officers Bert Savage and Carole Hayward have each served as show chairman.

Russ Goldberger of RJG Antiques, Rye, New Hampshire, commented, “the NHADA show has a unique formula. It is the only show that combines nationally prominent dealers with little-known New Hampshire dealers who tuck away wonderful things all year, holding them for this show—it’s the single show they do.”

“Over the last five to ten years, an increasing number of my sales have been to collectors outside New England,” added Peter Eaton. “Most serious collectors in the country schedule their vacations around the New Hampshire Week.”

Mary Beth Keene of Wayne Pratt Antiques, Woodbury, Connecticut, noted, “at the NHADA show we always sell a lot of folk sculpture, paintings, and furniture. A memorable recent item was the largest Jewell eagle weathervane that anyone had ever seen.”

Commenting on the contacts that are made during the week, Karen DiSaia of Oriental Rugs, Ltd., Old Lyme, Connecticut, said, “when a thousand miles from home, most people do not buy an Oriental rug, but conversations in New Hampshire set things up for us in the future. People call us before our fall shows in Minnesota or Charlotte or wherever to let us know their special needs. When we exhibit in regional shows, clients can also see how specific rugs look in their homes, because we are right there.”

Mid-week in Manchester
Fig. 2: This William Kennedy portrait of a child will be available at the Mid-Week show in David Wheatcroft’s booth. Photography courtesy of Bob Jackman.

“Mid-Week is definitely WOW!” exclaimed exhibitor David Wheatcroft of Westborough, Massachusetts. “It draws a great crowd, and I have met some very good clients there. One of my sales last year was a great Lancaster County fraktur. It was one of only three known examples by Eli Haverschtick. Mid-Week is one of only five shows that I do all year.”

Although the show takes place just over the city line in Bedford, promoter Frank Gaglio of Barn Star Productions chose the name Mid-Week in Manchester to tie in with the NHADA show. Since the introduction of the show eight years ago, attendance has steadily increased, drawing even more enthusiastic buyers to the weeklong events.

“Mid-Week is the only show I do,” noted David Schorsch of Woodbury, Connecticut. “With so much fresh, quality material there is a sense of discovery. Frank Gaglio keeps the booth price down, and that is reflected in dealer prices.”

Jackie Radwin of San Antonio, Texas, added, “the shoppers at Mid-Week are remarkably sophisticated. They know what they want, and the dealers try to provide for their wants. It is a pleasure to serve such sophisticated clients.”

Dealers attempt to satisfy the crowd by holding some choice items specifically for this show. Michael Malcé of Kelter-Malcé Antiques, New York City, reported, “this year we have held back some particularly fine pieces. One is a Pennsylvania blanket chest in wonderful paint with leaf decoration in red and gold on yellow.”

Lewis Keister of East Meets West Antiques, Woodbury, Connecticut, reflected, “I have been on the waiting list since Frank started the show, and this is the first year that I will exhibit. Other years I flew out from Los Angeles to shop the show. Last year I bought six quilts, four hooked rugs, some folk art, and one painting.”

Related Americana Events
Four other antiques shows share New Hampshire Antiques Week (see below). In addition, 350 dealers will exhibit at the Union Antiques Fair in Union, Maine, August 10–12. Every significant auction house from Nantucket to Bar Harbor has scheduled its
primary summer Americana auction between July 28 and August 12.

44th NHADA Show
Location: The Center of New Hampshire, 700 Elm Street, Manchester, NH
Dates: Thursday, August 9– Saturday, August 11
Hours: Thurs. & Friday 10 am–8 pm; Sat. 10 am–4 pm
Admissions: Thursday $10; Friday and Saturday $8 (includes reentry thereafter)
Directions: From 293 North, take Exit 5, right at bottom of ramp, parking garage top of hill

8th Mid-week Show
Location: The Wayfarer Inn, 121 South River Road, Bedford, NH
Dates: Wednesday, August 8– Thursday, August 9
Hours: Wednesday 9am–7pm; Thursday 11am–5pm
Admissions: $10 (includes reentry thereafter)
Directions: From South, take 293 North toward Manchester, at split take Route 101 West, then take Route 3 (Bedford) exit. At bottom of ramp, continue straight. In Macy’s parking lot, bear left.

Other Antiques Events
Tuesday, August 7
Americana Celebration Antiques Show
Deerfield Fairgrounds,
Rte. 43, Deerfield, NH
Early Buyers 8–10 am, General Admission 10 am–4 pm

Tuesday and Wednesday, August 7 and 8
Start of Manchester Antiques Show
JFK Coliseum (Ice Rink), 303 Beech Street, Manchester, NH
Tuesday 12–8 pm, Wednesday 10 am–6 pm

Tuesday and Wednesday, August 7 and 8
The Riverside Antiques Show
1059 Canal Street,
Manchester, NH
Tuesday 6–8:30 pm,
Wednesday 1–7 pm

Friday, August 10
The Bedford Pickers Market Antiques Show
Wayfarer Inn, 121 South River Road, Bedford, NH
Early Buyers 9–11 am, General Admission 11 am–4 pm

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