The Americana market, which has faced serious questions, faced a crucial test in early August. The six shows that make up Antiques Week in New Hampshire—now the most important cluster of American antiques shows—provided a reading of the pulse of the market. If New Hampshire Antiques Week encountered the problems that have beset other shows, what would that indicate about the market?
The week served as a firewall, and not only did it hold, it may provide additional sparks. There are lessons to be learned from New Hampshire Antiques Week’s success.
• Clusters of shows work. The old argument about dealers getting a smaller slice of the pie doesn’t seem to apply. Dealers, and more importantly collectors, are willing to travel long distances, incur significant expenses, and invest August vacation time to feed their avocation as long as there is plenty to choose from. New Hampshire is a perfect illustration of this.
• Fresh stuff is catnip. The New Hampshire Antiques Dealers Association show continues to draw huge crowds, aided by dealers exhibiting pieces that have not been seen before. Dealers put stuff away for the year, just to debut it in Manchester. NHADA dealers are encouraged by the association to bring things from their own collections, stuff that has been in their own homes. It’s a formula that works.
• Consider the customer and make it easy to attend all the events. Each show had its own opening day alone, except for Wednesday when two—Antiques In Manchester and MidWeek, now a one-day-only affair—welcomed visitors. The two openings were three hours apart—too close, some complained, but much better than it had been in years past.
• Relaxed works. One of the most refreshing aspects of Antiques Week in New Hampshire is how relaxed and easygoing it is. The events present important material, but summer rules and summer wardrobes dominate. It can be serious, but it’s also fun.
• Make sure to hit all the price levels. “Something for everyone” is a clichéd term, but here it was true.
New Hampshire Antiques Week show promoters and dealers should take a well-deserved bow.
Originally published in the September 2019 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2019 Maine Antique Digest