This past Good Friday, April 6th, it was my pleasure to participate in the 39th annual Bowmanville Antiques and Folk Art show; the long standing pinnacle of Canadian antique shows for early, collector-quality furniture, accessories, and folk art. It is held every Good Friday and following Saturday at the G.B. Rickard Recreation Complex in Bowmanville, Ontario. It is a vetted show of 28 invited top dealers and represents the best of what’s out there.
It is always interesting and worthwhile but to be honest for a dealer it is also always a bit of a wind up. You work on your booth for weeks, seeking out and saving only the best items to present to the elite of the Canadian collectors who wait eagerly for the six o’clock opening so that they can rush in and nab that special something before a rival gets a chance. Within two hours of the opening this crowd has either bought enough of your offerings that you are happy, or they have passed you by, and you are aware that you will be there until 9 that evening, and then from ten until four on the Saturday with a greatly diminished chance of anything moving. I have been doing the show for over 20 years and twas always thus, but lately with the stalled economy it has become more of a risk. This year because I sold 11 of 24 drawings from the scrap book of a turn of the century young Niagara Peninsula woman, and a few other items I was alright, but I repacked my big ticket items at the end of the show and I noticed that it was the same for most of my colleagues. I looked back over my books and although always profitable, the last year I had a gang buster show was 2009. Fits right in with the general economy doesn’t it, and although Bill Dobson is a terrific guy and promotes and runs the show well, it does not seem to attract many new collectors. Some feel that having it at every year at Easter which often coincides with Pass Over is an obstacle. I think that a more important factor is that in recent years many large collections are being offered for auction around the same time of year. This year on May 19th Tim Potter is offering the important collection of Rod and Aggie Brook, and when you go to his site (http://www.timpotter.com/auctions/051912.html) and see the quality of what’s being offered you can see why some people were waiting.
It’s a rapidly changing, big ol’ digital world out there, and we live in hope that through exposure and promotion more people will be brought to recognize the authentic and will begin to seek out the beauty of the handmade antique item. Bowmanville is an institution, and you would be hard pressed to find a better show to increase your knowledge and see beautiful things. Please come out and support it next year, which will be the 40th year.
I am happy to note that this year eight Collectivator dealers participated. They are Barry Ezrin, Croydon House, Land and Ross, Martin Osler, Pollikers, Portobello Road, Shadfly, and Shaun Markey. I include pictures here. Thanks to Ben Lennox for some of the photos, and my sincere apology to Marty Osler whose booth photo did not turn out. I hope to get a shot from a friend and add it. In the meantime, I am including a nice shot of the back of Marty’s head which shows off his trendy new short cropped hair. Looking good Marty.