Jan and John Maggs Antiques

Newsletters - 2009

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January, 2009

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Mid-afternoon on December 20 - so quiet in Pumpkin Hollow that the deer think it's night

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Since last month's newsletter . . . .

An unusually harsh December made our pre-holiday shopping event virtually irrelevant. Although the first of our three projected weekends gave us cause for optimism -- a few shoppers came, and we had the feeling that momentum would grow as the holidays approached -- on the Thursday night preceding weekend number two, freezing rain started to fall as we went to bed, and on Friday morning we woke to forty degree temperatures inside our house. We were without electrical power and would be for the next three and a half days.

In retrospect, we consider ourselves fortunate. Although the outage seemed endless at the time, our little generator, purchased for our aborted Ashfield building project, saved our house from damage by the near-zero temperatures that forced many out of their homes and into emergency shelters that were quickly established in many area communities. While we were back on line on Monday afternoon, many friends further west and north of Conway were without power for as long as two weeks. During the emergency, of course, our shop was empty, as everyone was naturally more concerned with survival than with shopping. On the following weekend, our final opportunity to do some significant pre-holiday business, another heavy snowstorm again kept people close to their homes.

Despite these difficulties, we're grateful to be able to report an essentially healthy, though somewhat anemic, December. Our bottom line for 2008 was slightly lower than last year's, but the steps we'd taken through the year to streamline our operations, gave us a "good" year. (Let's all remember: "good" is the new "great.") Still, the antiques business is far from immune to the current economic crisis, and we're re-examining every aspect of our business. This Winter, we're open by appointment only, and so far, the shop has been as busy as when we opened for regular hours on weekends. We've also made some decisions about shows, the most significant so far has been our decision to drop Fall Rhinebeck, which had not been profitable for us and has prevented us from attending the two huge British fairs in October, Swinderby and Newark.

Unlike many, we stay at or near home during the Winter months, and our shop is open by appointment. We are always happy to turn on the heat and open our doors to customers. Please call ahead. (413-369-4256)

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New Year's Eve

As is our custom in recent years, we welcomed 2009 at home, with a dinner for two, which we prepared together. This year's meal was a simple series of small bites, blending personal favorites and recent discoveries. To see what we ate, click here.

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Pippin's Page

Pippin's Christmas gift from Santa. Click here.

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The Back Page

For this month's Back Page, click here.

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February, 2009

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Since last month's newsletter . . . .

. . . .  two shows: the first very disappointing, the second adequate, but far below expectations.

Huge crowds attended the Greater Boston Antiques Festival on Saturday, perhaps anticipating the big snowstorm that descended on coastal New England on Saturday evening and caused highway mayhem all day Sunday. After our excellent show last year, we had hoped for a more profitable weekend, but we - as well as most of our like-minded colleagues - finished the show with little to show for the long weekend. There was one small consolation; as we wheeled furniture through the snowdrifts, no thought was required to pack the van exactly as we had done four days earlier.

 Two weeks later, the Tolland (CT) show once again brought out shoppers by the hundreds. Although the gate was strong, sales were soft for most dealers. Scudder Smith, editor of Antiques and the Arts Weekly, called us after the show to find out how we had done. When we told him that we had had a fair show, but nothing like the Tollands of recent years, he replied, "That's what everyone says. Can you send me to anybody who had a good show?" A shopper who had thought seriously about one of the finest pieces in our Tolland booth called on Thursday and bought the piece, adding significantly to our show totals.

Sales in the shop have been slow, but steady, and we feel that the relationships we've built with customers over the past twenty years are the difference. We're grateful to all.

In between shows, we've been spending a lot of time in our workshop, tweaking pieces for later sale and making minor repairs for ourselves and an occasional "regular." We've also found time for a few small house projects, although we have nothing major in store until Spring, when we'll put a new cedar shingle roof on our garage. We're enjoying our home, despite the bitter cold that has dominated this winter.

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A beautiful Queen Anne mirror needs a little TLC.

Click HERE for a note on the care and feeding of antiques.

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Pippin's Page

Click HERE for this month's picture.

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The Back Page

For this month's Back Page, click here.

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March, 2009

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Sap buckets -- sure signs of approaching Spring!

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Since last month's newsletter . . . .

Despite the fact that we suspended regular shop hours during the Winter months and, except for a handful of shows, sold only through our website, by phone or appointment, our shop sales for the first two months of 2009 were only 5% below 2008 - a minor miracle in today's economy - and leaving the heat off in the shop has saved us much more in heating oil cost. We exhibited at two shows in February, our last of this Winter. Our gross receipts for both Paul Davis's  Concord and Barn Star's Guilford show were slightly under 50% of last year, but neither was as disastrous as many had feared, and we feel that our business is holding its own. We're especially grateful to those who overcame the doom and gloom to do something nice for themselves and, vicariously, for us as well.

In last month's newsletter we noted that Marvin Getman's Greater Boston Antiques Festival left us "with little to show for the long weekend." Within minutes of the publication of the newsletter, we received this communication from Marvin. "Thank you for your honest report. Is there anything you would suggest I could do to help make the show a profitable one for you?" Once again, Marvin has demonstrated a rare degree of candor and a genuine willingness to work on behalf of dealers, underscoring his professionalism and openness. On this basis, and on the belief that by next year we may all be feeling a little better about the economy, we've decided to give the show another try.

We're very excited about our upcoming buying trip to England. Because our buying has been very conservative and reserved during the past few months, we'll shop with a healthy bank account and the most favorable exchange rate in decades. We wired funds to our London bank in January, on the day that the exchange rate reached its lowest in 32 years(!), and we know that our English dealer friends will be very pleased to see us. We expect to return with a wealth of new material, which we'll display at our Spring post-England Gala, on April 25 and 26.

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Tale of the Trade

Dealers are dropping shows. Promoters are cancelling undersubscribed shows.

What if dealers and promoters could work together for their common good?

Opinion: Let's give show dealers a break!

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Pippin's Page

Click HERE for this month's picture.

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The Back Page

Jan's dramatic arrangement of tulips at the Guilford show got more attention than either the 17th century Dutch table upon which they sat or the Hague School painting that hung behind them.

Click HERE to see what the fuss was about.

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April, 2009

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April 5, 2009 - Kensington Gardens in London - Is Spring finally on its way to Conway?

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Since last month's newsletter . . . .

On March 24 we flew to London for two very rewarding and enjoyable weeks in the English countryside. As usual, we visited our favorite shops and attended several antiques fairs, including the mega-fairs at Swinderby and Newark. We had thought that the strong dollar might encourage more Americans to visit and buy; in fact, we saw only a few, and the absence of so many regulars worked to our great advantage. As a result of our trip, we'll have more than two hundred new acquisitions in the shop for our Post-England Gala on the 25th and 26th.

Not only did we buy well at fairs, markets, and many shops, we also enjoyed two strokes of pure serendipity. The first resulted from an eBay search, which led us to a shop within ten miles of our normal route from the Cotswolds to Newark, where we bought the eBay piece, as well as two very interesting additional pieces. And we now have one new destination. The second involves a chance visit to a shop, which led to a meeting with an old friend (See this month’s Tale of the Trade, below).

Our decision to open by appointment only during the past Winter appears to have been a good one. We cut our fuel consumption by nearly half and stayed closer to home, thereby reserving funds for our buying trip to England. Consequently, we shopped with solid financial resources and were able to purchase some outstanding objects. The strength of the dollar against the pound also allowed us to buy things that would have been beyond our reach six months ago.

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This Month's Features

We've just returned from our annual Spring trip to England. Click here if you'd like to see a few of the many pictures we brought home.

In September 2005 we launched The Back Page, a monthly photographic offering ranging from the serious to the ridiculous. This month we publish a pictorial index of them all. To revisit old favorites or some you may have missed, click here.

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Tale of the Trade

How a thin wallet, a missed exit, and a free parking space may have led us to an old acquaintance in downtown Newark:  An Improbable Reunion.

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Pippin's Page

Click here for Pippin's serenade to Spring.

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The Back Page

"Love the streets you walk in" - London's answer to the dog poop problem.

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May, 2009

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Since last month's newsletter . . . .

Our April Post-England Gala was one of our best on record (see this month's Tale of the Trade, below). Buyers came from several states, while others, who read about our gala in last month's newsletter, participated in the weekend by e-mail and phone. We're profoundly grateful to all, and hope that many who were unable to come will plan to visit in November, after our Fall trip (or sooner, of course).

Our March newsletter included an editorial "Let's give show dealers a break!", which expressed concern about rising show rents in a time of shrinking revenues. Shortly after the newsletter went online, we received an e-mail from our friend John Fiske, co-principal of Fiske and Freeman Antiques and Editor-in-chief of the enjoyable and stimulating "New England Antiques Journal" [NEAJ], asking permission to reprint our article in the magazine's column "Talking Points." We're flattered and grateful to John, and we hope that our ideas might stimulate more discussion about the relationship between dealers and promoters. [Read the original piece in our newsletter by clicking here or in the May 2009 NEAJ, and visit the NEAJ's outstanding website by clicking here.]

Spring Brimfield is next week. If you're thinking about going for the first time, you might find our "Savvy Buyer's Guide to Brimfield" a helpful source. Click here to read the thoughts of a couple of Brimfield veterans.

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This Month's Feature - Memorable pieces that found new homes

For our readers who didn't get to last month's Post-England Gala, we've assembled pictures of some of the best pieces that sold during the weekend. Click here for a look.

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Tale of the Trade

This month's Tale happened close to home - in fact, it happened at home. Our Spring Gala was a great success, and we'd love to tell you how exciting it was for us to have a shop filled with enthusiastic shoppers. With that major event behind us, we've had time to pause and ponder some of the changes we're noticing in the shows at which we exhibit, and some of the thoughts we're having about our future in business -- what's working, what's not, and how we might respond. We hope that you'll click here for a report on the State of the Maggses.

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Pippin's Page

A few photos taken on a chilly Spring evening, in front of a glowing fire in our keeping room fireplace. Click here.

We've completed our pictorial index of Pippin's Page, from its inception in March 2007 to the present issue. If you're a fan, click here.

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The Back Page

The $102 chair returns.

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June 2009 

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Dear Newsletter Subscriber,
 
This month we are publishing our Newsletter in a new format. Many of our colleagues have extolled the virtues of the service offered by ConstantContact, and we've been experimenting for about a month to learn how best to adapt our traditional Newsletter to this more inviting and accessible design.
 
All of the things you've come to expect in our monthly newsletter are still here: feature stories, tales of the trade, new inventory, Pippin, and the Back Page. You'll find them in pretty much the same place, though we've spruced them up with pictures. Links to other pages on our website, which have been scattered all over the place, are now easily found in our Quick Links boxes, just below. In addition to its improved appearance, we believe that this new format will make it easier for you to find the things that interest you most.
 
As we inaugurate this new newsletter format, we're also beginning a concerted effort to add content to the inventory sections of our website. Our goal is to list a far greater proportion of our stock online, so that more is available to our Internet shoppers.
 
To that end, we also hope to send a second mailing each month that will update our stock listings. Our monthly newsletter - the one with stories, opinion, and fun - will continue as usual. We hope you'll spend a few minutes with us today.

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Since last month's newsletter . . . .

It's been more than a year since we last sold at Brimfield, but this Spring we considered taking a space at Dealer's Choice, a four-hour show on opening day. Since the May show has always been the best attended, we hoped that several "old friends" might appeal to buyers from other parts of the country, if we offered them for about half of what we paid. We waited until good weather seemed imminent, then called to inquire about space. Unfortunately, by the time we called, all spaces had been sold, so we decided to attend as buyers only.   We found shopping quite frustrating. The crowds were large, and we spent the day being bumped and stomped by pedestrians and being run over by many of the plethora of flimsy carts that proliferate and make shopping Brimfield more painful every year. (Or are we just getting old?) After covering about half of Brimfield's twenty-odd separate fields, we had written only two checks, although we'd seen several other pieces that would have been attractive additions to our inventory, had they been far less costly. Frustrated and exhausted, we returned to Conway, deciding to forego the remainder of the week.   While reports from Brimfield would suggest that the recession is still suppressing business, our perception from our shop is far more optimistic. Last month's Newsletter generated several good sales, and we've had a healthy number of buyers in the shop, as well. The Rhinebeck floor plan was different in several ways, due in part to the presence of more than 30 new dealers. We've spoken with a few of the former Rhinebeck dealers whose spaces have been taken by these newcomers, and they tell the same story: expenses are high, while receipts have fallen steadily over the past few years. We enjoy the ambience of the show and the beauty of the Valley, so we're happy to say that our sales were strong enough to enable us to return in July and next Spring. But many dealers had disappointing shows, and we expect to see more changes next year. (See this month's Tale of the Trade, below, for more Rhinebeck news.)

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This Month's Feature


Tudor House 

Several years ago, at Brimfield, we found this large scale model of a Tudor house. Although we sold it soon afterward, we still return often to the pictures we took and delight in the extraordinary detail of its interior and the whimsy of its design. This month, we're happy to share a few of these pictures with our readers. Click here for more.

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 Tale of the Trade

Evolving with a Changing Rhinebeck 

We were very excited when, more than a decade ago, we received a call from Jimi Barton, offering us a booth at the Rhinebeck show, one of the finest antiques venues in the Northeast. For years we'd heard about Rhinebeck, what a great show it was, and how many dealers were on the waiting list for a space. Now we would get to find out for ourselves. More . . . .

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Pippin's Page

This month, an empty case of fine ale makes Pippin as happy as the contents will make his parents.

Click here for Pippin's Page

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The Back Page

Click here for this month's salute to serendipity. 

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July 2009

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Dear Newsletter Subscriber,
 
After more than five years of publication, last month we adopted this new format for our monthly e-newsletter. The overwhelmingly positive response has encouraged us to make modifications to our website that make it more compatible with the newsletter and (we believe) more pleasing to the eye. We've redesigned every gallery, changing colors and pictures to make the pages more attractive and less confusing. You'll still find thumbnails to click for more information on particular pieces, and we hope you'll enjoy the new look. If we've aroused your curiosity, you might like to visit your favorite gallery by clicking on it in the Quick Links box below.
 
Have a good time! 
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Since last month's newsletter . . . .

It's been pretty quiet in the shop, although our online sales have been fairly good. Thanks to two short buying trips in New England and contacts with several of our European sources, we've added some very interesting jewelry, smalls, and paintings to our inventory, some of which you can see in this newsletter. Furniture acquisitions are slower. We also bought a great Connecticut kettle stand at the Darien show and found an extraordinary bench-made table on a recent buying trip to Maine, both of which are listed in this newsletter. Pickers call with period furniture, but they're having as much difficulty as we are finding the sorts of things we look for at prices we feel comfortable paying. We're really looking forward to July Brimfield, which has often been a great source of fresh furniture.   The Darien show was successful, though not spectacular. As usual, a few dealers reported fair to good shows, and there were a few abject disappointments. Our weekend was brightened considerably by a visit to the newly reopened American Wing of The Met. The enormous crowds we had feared must have been at the Frank Lloyd Wright show at the nearby Guggenheim, as we were able to explore the several period rooms and their outstanding furnishings very comfortably. We encourage all who are interested in American furniture and furnishings, especially of the 17th and 18th centuries, to add the Met to your must-do list. We've used some of our shop time to tweak our website. We hope you'll take a few minutes to have a look.
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This Month's Feature

A few favorites from our past

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This wonderful Elizabethan press cupboard was one of our first Newsletter sales. We listed it in March 2004, in our second newsletter, then drove it to a show in Guilford, CT. After setting up our booth, we went to our hotel and checked our voice mail, which contained an inquiry about the piece. After a couple of phone calls, the sale was finalized, and the cupboard spent the weekend in our booth in Guilford, distracting many shoppers from the things that were still available. Such is life.
 
One of the great things about this business is that we've had the opportunity to enjoy the company of not only this exceptional piece, but also hundreds of other wonderful objects from the past. For this month's newsletter we've assembled over one hundred of our favorites from the past twenty years. They will become a permanent part of our website and we'll add to them as time goes on. You can see them by clicking on the picture. Perhaps you'll find one or two of your favorites here as well.
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Tale of the Trade
 
Two short stories this month: one true, the other, well. . . . See if you can tell which is which by clicking here.
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Pippin's Page

Although Spring seems to have passed us by this year, we've removed our storm windows and have been dodging raindrops to spend as much time outdoors as possible. Pippin doesn't enjoy the luxury of free rein, so he spends his days on our (should we say 'his'?) porch or in front of an open window. This sometimes provides interesting photo-ops, as this month's Pippin's Page demonstrates. Click here.


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 The Back Page

For John, Spring began with a long-overdue project: new cedar shake roofs for our garage and adjoining areas. To tell the truth, we're not unhappy about how it turned out - and infinitely grateful that it's over.  Click here if you'd like a peek at the project.

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August 2009

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In this Month's Newsletter
 
This month you'll read about two recent shows that have raised our spirits and hear positive news about activity in our shop and on our website. As you scroll down the page, you'll also find a pictorial history of the early barn attached to the rear of our house that is our screened porch in summertime, as well as a story about two pieces we recently acquired and the interesting circumstances by which they found their way to us. As usual, you'll find a monthly installment of Pippin's Page and The Back Page and, of course, newly listed stock.
 
But our biggest news this month is our "What Sales Tax Increase?" Sale on August 15 and 16. To continue our traditional "Tax-Free Weekend Sale" in a year in which we've been hit with the cancellation of the state's Tax-free Weekend and a 25% increase in the sales tax, we've devised an alternate strategy which we hope will save customers money and help us raise cash for our October buying trip to England. Full details will be found below.
 
We hope you'll take a few minutes to explore.
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Since last month's newsletter . . . .

Last weekend we were in Little Compton, RI for our third show in as many weekends. Thanks to Saturday's beautiful weather, the tents were full all day, and many dealers - ourselves included - reported good sales. Rhinebeck, too, seemed well-attended, and we felt that our sales were above average for the summer show. An interesting sidelight: since the number of exhibitors at the summer show was lower than in recent years, we'd feared a lackluster show. In fact, the diversity of the show, with many first-time exhibitors, gave it a fresh look, albeit one with a significantly smaller high end. On the weekend before Rhinebeck, the Dorset show, once a bright star among summer outdoor markets, was a dud. Many dealers, including us, reported weak sales, as the energy that once set this show apart seemed to be nowhere in evidence.   Our shop also enjoyed a very good month, largely due to Internet sales, encouraging us to continue to invest significant amounts of time and energy in our newsletter. We appreciate that so many of you find a few moments to read your favorite parts. Thanks.

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ANNOUNCING

our first annual(?)  "What Sales Tax Increase?" Sale

(Replacing our "Tax-free Weekend Sale")

Last August we held a sale to coincide with Massachusetts' Tax-free Weekend, and it was so successful that it made the pages of a major antiques trade journal. We had planned to repeat it this year, until the Massachusetts legislature raised the sales tax from 5% to 6.25% and, of course, dismissed any thought of a tax-free anything!   We feel that an August sale is so important to our business at home in Conway that we've devised a customer-friendly alternative to the tax-free weekend. On August 15 and 16, we're having a first annual What Sales Tax Increase? sale. For details on this unique (and legal) event, click here.

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The Evolution of an Early Barn

The red building in this print from John Barber's Historical Sketches of Massachusetts appears to be the small, post-and-beam barn that is now attached to the rear of our house. It was probably moved to its present location in the 19th century, when it housed a workshop, storage, and a privy. more

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 Tale of the Trade

It's a Small World

This trestle table and a William and Mary style sofa shed light on the small world of buying and selling antiques. Click here for the story.

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Pippin's Page

How comfortable is our young Bengal with our new Asian furniture?

Click here to find out.

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The Back Page

Only at Brimfield! Click here for a revealing photo taken at The Meadows last month.

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September 2009

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Dear Newsletter Subscriber,
 
Our September newsletter offerings are now online -- all of the usual monthly features, new listings of antiques in our shop, and lots of images, including a feature story we might have titled "Invaders from Beneath the Earth's Crust". We hope that you'll take a few minutes to browse your favorite parts.

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Since last month's newsletter . . . .

We've had a very enjoyable August, catching up on house projects and finding a nice balance between traveling, entertaining, and tending to business at home and away. Sales were above decent, and it's interesting to note that most of our furniture sales have happened in our shop, rather than at shows.   We consider our "What Sales Tax Increase?" a grand success. With discounts of 26% and more, we didn't turn much of a profit, but we fed our bank account in preparation for our upcoming buying trip to England. Parenthetically, we noted with a touch of smugness that Home Depot and Pottery Barn both followed our lead, discounting sales at their Massachusetts stores to compensate for the absence of the annual tax holiday this year. (Our discounts were much better, though.)   The Vermont ADA show had its bright moments, and we were fortunate to be among the successful dealers. But shows are still iffy (we read last week that the promoters of Atlantique City have cancelled the March 2010 show, citing "the uncertainty surrounding the current economic environment"), so we'll continue to attempt to keep our shop and website active and interesting.  Perhaps because we're able to maintain a low overhead, we feel very optimistic about the future of our business. We're looking forward to our trip to England at the end of the month and even more to our return and our November gala on November 14 and 15.

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This Month's Feature

 

Like many of you, the summer has been a losing battle against weeds. Rather than grouse (it's not been such a good year for grouse, we're told), we've tried to turn it into a thing of beauty. Perhaps we have. Click here to draw your own conclusion.

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 Tale of the Trade

Early one afternoon last week we received a call from our friend Geoffrey. He was elated, having just purchased a piece at the Maine Antiques Dealers' Show, and was anxious to tell us this story. More

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Pippin's Page

Every time we publish a picture of our little snow leopard, we wonder where the next one will come from. Yet, Pippin keeps coming through for us. Click here if you're interested in the latest.  

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The Back Page

Mother Nature's latest prank on the denizens of Pumpkin Hollow. Click here.

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October 2009

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Dear Newsletter Subscriber,
 
We've just returned from an exciting three-week buying trip and vacation in England. We had a wonderful time, and this morning some our most recent finds arrived in Conway.
 
This month's newsletter includes a brief diary of our trip, with about twenty of the several hundred photographs we took. We also have a report on the childish bickering that has gone on for years between the promoters of England's two largest antiques fairs, and we bet that it won't be the same as you read in the trade papers!
 
As we'll be working hard during the next three weeks to get these and dozens of other new acquisitions ready for our opening on November 14 and 15, we'll not list new inventory this month. Instead, we offer images, news, and an idea or two. We hope that's enough.
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This Month's Feature


  To read a few excerpts from our England journal and see some of our favorite places, click on the picture of Snowshill church. 

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 Tale of the Trade  

For as long as we've been going to England, the promoters of the Newark mega-fair and the organizers of Arthur Swallow's fair at nearby Swinderby have waged an intermittent turf war. This year, a series of events changed the ground rules and left many buyers and sellers bewildered and nearly led to the unravelling of the whole fabric. For this tale of testosterone-soaked egos, click HERE.

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Pippin's Page

Click HERE for this month's picture of our little snow leopard.

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The Back Page

On the shuttle to Heathrow on Saturday morning, a sign inside the bus caught our fancy.

Perhaps, it was just because we were ready to go home that it seemed so funny; perhaps not.

Click HERE to judge for yourself. 

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November 2009

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Since last month's newsletter . . . .

 

we've unpacked, cleaned, polished, waxed, repaired, tightened, tweaked, and photographed nearly two hundred fresh antiques. We've labored together in our workshop and have brought paintings, metalware, and jewelry to the experts who restore them for us when needed. By November 14th we expect to have all of our new things on display in our showrooms. We're very excited about how everything is falling into place, and we hope that many of our regular customers and new ones as well will come and share in our excitement on the 14th and 15th. Look for our ads this week and next in Antiques and the Arts Weekly.

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This Month's Feature

 

We were very gratified by reader response to last month's pictorial diary of our trip. This month we focus on the rugged northern coast of Cornwall. Starting in our vacation cottage in St. Agnes, we invite you to see through our camera's eye a little of the magnificence of this spectacular region of England.  Just click the picture above.

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 Tale of the Trade
Our October Newsletter inspired several readers to respond with stories of their own. We'd like to publish two.
The first comes from an English dealer with whom we do shows in this country. He sends a dire account of an event that allegedly resulted from the hostilities between the promoters of the Lincolnshire and Swinderby fairs.
Read more...
The second comes from a Conway friend, whose cousin and his travelling companions shared one of our our recent adventures. Click here to learn how he inadvertently ended up in last month's newsletter.
Last month we promised a story on Early Buying. We still plan to vent our anger on this topic, but we've been short of time, and the two letters above have taken some of the pressure away. Perhaps over the Winter months we'll find the time.

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Pippin's Page

Click here for this month's picture.

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The Back Page

It is probably safe to generalize about England's ubiquitous fish and chips shops; most towns of significant size have at least one. Since Cornwall is noted for its fresh seafood, we were not surprised to find two shops in St. Agnes.

We have no idea which is the better, but this one surely has the most fetching name! See it here.

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December 2009

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Since last month's newsletter . . . .

 November was an amazingly busy month. Our Fall Opening, the Wethersfield Historical Society show, and our shop and Internet sales all exceeded our most optimistic hopes. On the weekend of the 14th and 15th our showrooms were filled with collectors and dealers from our opening at 10:00 on Saturday until late Sunday afternoon. Defying that mantra of the antiques business, "Brown furniture isn't selling," more than a dozen large pieces sold during the weekend. No doubt this was partly the result of the sheer number of rare pieces of English furniture we had assembled -- two court cupboards, a small corner cupboard, four joined stools, early chairs, and a spectacular carved and paneled settle. Our gallery of Chinese furniture -- a first for us -- had nearly been emptied by Sunday evening. Sales of jewelry and smalls were strong, as well, and by the end of the weekend we'd sold nearly one hundred objects. At Wethersfield a week later, a few dealers and collectors who had been in Conway for the opening remarked that they were surprised that we had anything left to bring to the show.   But there was, in fact, plenty of fresh stock for Wethersfield, and our booth was busy throughout the Friday preview and Saturday show. As always, the show looked great and was well-supported by the community. Several of our friends also reported good shows.   On November 18 we published our mid-month Update, listing more than three dozen fresh antiques that were still in the shop following our Fall Opening.

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This Month's Feature

 

Continuing the chronicle of our recent visit to Cornwall, you're invited to travel with us to St. Michael's Mount on the southern coast and Tintagel, on the northern. For us, as for many visitors, these are two of the most evocative spots on the peninsula.  Click here to see why.

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Tale of the Trade

Since most of our readers are unable to attend our biannual Openings, when our showrooms are filled with fresh stock, we thought that some might like to have a look. To see pictures of the shop on the eve of last month's Gala Opening, click here.  

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Pippin's Page
Click here for this month's picture.

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The Back Page

We recently received an e-mail from Marvin Getman, producer of New England Antiques Shows. Marvin is known as one of the most aggressive advertisers in the business and is regarded highly by dealers, who appreciate his efforts to think outside the box, creating novel venues for the trade and effectively promoting them, sometimes in quite imaginative ways. Marvin's e-mail, which included a "news report" written by a columnist named Frank Lee Fibbing, not only expresses an optimism we all should share, but it also epitomizes the spirit Marvin brings to his work. If you're not on his mailing list, click here to read the report. 

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