Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Our Presidents' Day Weekend in Hyannis

 Carefree Life at the Antique Show…

Our booth at the Hyannis Show Feb. 18-19

            I think for my next career, I will become an antiques expert. 

            For the past 20 years, I have been the chief schlepper for my wife, who already is an authority on a lot of antiques, like silver, china, and a few other things.  As schlepper, I get to load the antiques onto a rented van, drive them to the site of the antique show, and unload them.  
            After that, Marty arranges the items, and then, at the appointed hour, in come the customers.  
            We just did an antiques show in Hyannis, on Cape CodHyannis used to be known as the stomping ground for the Kennedy clan, but from the clientele we saw at Barnstable High School Field House last week, they must be down in the Caribbean, or in Palm Beach
            When an antique show opens, there are a few little beady-eyed men who dart into the show, stopping at each booth long enough to sense whether there is anything there that meets their discriminating taste.  These are the pickers, who hope to pick up something worth $500 for $50.  After a few moments, all these eager little people are gone, off to greener pastures. 
Some pieces of antique silver

            At the same time, moving a bit slower, are the silver and gold hawks. These are the men who sweep each booth with hawk-like precision.  They are on the lookout for precious metals.  They can locate a beautifully tooled, elegant piece of early 19th century silver, and see only how much it will bring, melted down.  For anyone who appreciates the work of fine old silversmiths or goldsmiths---- delicate carving, stamping, engraving and chasing...  that probably took many days to do --- the idea of melting it down seems sinful. 
            These men usually carry a small scale to weigh any treasure they can get their hands on. 
            Soon, these hawks have flown on to their next feeding area, and that leaves the regular shoppers.
            First, there are the breezy, well-dressed women in their 40s and 50s, often accompanied by similarly well-groomed gentlemen in nicely pressed corduroy trousers and Nantucket sweater.   The women are looking at everything, but himself is clearly just along for the outing.  These ladies are looking for a little something for their Cape Cod summer home.  They are the best customers.
            Then there are the little old ladies, some in wheel chairs, some with canes or walkers.  They are interested in everything, but buy nothing.  They can often show you an item in your booth that they have, or had, but only paid one-tenth of what you are asking.
            Then, there are the rest of the shoppers—jolly people of all sorts of dress and age, tall and short, fat and skinny, some decently dressed and some looking like they just cleaned out their garage.  Some are interested in your things, but others are there because they’re not someplace else. 
            There were few of the breezy, affluent set at this show. 
One dealer had a marvelous collection of the works of Theodore Roosevelt, including signed letters, Roosevelt’s 16-volume set, “How the West Was Won”, other books and magazine articles that Teddy wrote, post cards, broadsheets, books about T.R. and more.  This being President’s Day Weekend, and here at the stomping grounds of one popular 20th century president, you might have thought this would be a good place to sell some of his expensive books.  But apparently few had ever heard of the remarkable Colonel Roosevelt, hero of San Juan Hill
All during the show Marty would talk with a customer about a fine piece of early Sheffield, or describe the firing and decorating process for an Imari bowl, discuss a fine Chinese ginger jar, or tell about the work of a Rockport artist whose work we had on display.
Then, after two days of this, bang!!  Four o’clock on Sunday, and out would come the packing boxes and the moving carts, and the scramble would start to get everything packed up and moved out.  In less than two hours, there would be just a few dealers still carefully wrapping their wares, while the janitors picked up tables and chairs and swept down the gym.
            After two hours it was now dark, and all our goods were piled in an Enterprise van, and off we went, to return to Rockport.  Or so we thought.
            As we were driving through Hyannis, though, another driver pulls alongside and yells to Marty, “No back lights, no brake lights!”
            I pulled over, and sure enough, from behind we looked like a stealth van, a dark eminence moving along the road.  We could both imagine the prospect of a large 18-wheeler behind us on the road to Boston, and us with no brake lights! 
            So, we found a nearby Holiday Inn, and checked in for the night. 
            The next morning, I called Enterprise and they located a new van for us at the Hyannis office. 
            We drove over, and in 30 minutes I had moved all our antiques from the old van to the new one, and we were on our way to Rockport, again. 
            At the age of 78, I am getting good at moving the stuff in and out of the van, faster and faster.   But I think I will ask my boss, Marty, to consider me for the job as assistant “expert” at some sort of antiques, and maybe we can hire some other poor soul to schlep our goods.

The Personal Navigator offers these books and papers:

Cuban Scouts Going on Outpost Duty
Rough Riders at Camp Wikoff
Cannons and Camera: Sea and Land Battles of the Spanish-American War in Cuba, Camp Life, and the Return of the Soldiers; First Edition Photographs and Narrative by Hemment, John C.1898. New York, NY: D. Appleton & Co. This book has been widely reproduced. In this book War Artist John C. Hemment has captured the War in Cuba in excellent, sharp photographs and accompanying text.   Introduction by W.I. Lincoln Adams. Hemment had earlier photographed the Battleship Maine extensively, and when he arrived in Cuba he found she had just been blown up. His description of the Spaniards and the Cubans is colorful and portrays the sharp enmity between Americans and Spaniards. Interesting and detailed photos of recovery of parts of Maine, life in American soldiers' camp,  off to the seat of war in Santiago by seagoing transport...  Life with General Shafter and his staff.  Description of photography and developing of film, etc. under combat conditions.  Firing on Morro Castle. Among the Cuban pickets.  About mules in the campaign. Siege of Santiago. The Charge at El Caney.  Our Bold Rough Riders.and Colonel Roosevelt. Return of the Rough Riders. With appendix and index.  . 282 pp. 13.5 x 20 cm. Red cloth on board with decoration on cover showing a sailor cleaning a naval gun; gilt lettering. Edges worn, binding weak, spine faded. Inscription dated 1898 on ffep. Fair. (5261) $42.00. History/Spanish-American War

Our Katie; or, The Grateful Orphan, A Story for Children , with three illustrations by Myers, Sarah A.  1859             New York, NY: Carlton & Porter, Sunday-School Union. Author writes of her childhood and poor Katie, whose mother died, then her father. Author's family took in Katie…Katie in Disgrace….Katie's Reward.  Morality tale. 90 pp. 10 x 15.2 cm.        Dark cloth on board with blindstamped design and gilt lettering on spine. On front free endpaper is "No. 41 Chesterfield Facty S.S. Jan. 1868" 2 cm piece missing from rear spine. Good. (8196) $40.00. Children's

Navy vs. William & Mary Football Game Program, September 24, 1955 1955 Annapolis, MD: United States Naval Academy. Program for football game at Thompson Field, Annapolis between Navy and William & Mary. Program cover shows Navy Midshipman smoking an Indian Peace Pipe (in the days before marijuana) and an Indian looking quizzically at a Boatswain's pipe.Many ads by Defense contractors. Photos of Navy and W&M players. Captain of Navy team was John L. Hopkins; W&M Co-Captains were Al Grieco and Bill Marfizo. RADM Walter F. Boone was USNA superintendent. VADM (Ret.) Alvin Duke Chandler was president of William & Mary.  Edward J. Erdelatz was head coach of Navy, John J. Freeman was head coach of W&M. Centerfold featured index of players by their jersey numbers, with large ad for Lucky Strike cigarettes. 76 pp. 21 x 28.3 cm. Football program, color cover, very good. (8215) $29.00. Education

India: Map of the Western Railway Showing Mileage of Stations from Bombay Central  ca. 1960 Bombay, India: Survey of India Offices. Map of Western Railway scale 1 inch = 40 miles, shows broad and narrow gauge lines, foreign railways from Mathura in NE to Okha Port and Runn of Kutch in W to Churchgate and Bombay Central in S.  On reverse is map of India showing Western Railway with other foreign lines, and annotation in ink of 25 locations, from Colombo and Kandy to Bombay.          map 44 x 62 cm. Paper map, annotations on India map side list 25 cities with numbers at their location on map.  Good. (8212) $16.00. Maps     

Sweden: Vägvisare Sundsvall och dess Omnejd-- Almänna Norrländska Industri-och Landtbruks-Utställningen I Sundsvall, 1882 [General  Northern Industrial and Agricultural Exhibition,  Sundsvall, Sweden, 1882]  1882 Stockholm, Sweden: P.A. Norstedt & Söner. Folded map and program for  Almänna Norrländska Industri-och Landtbruks-Utställningen I Sundsvall, 1882 [General  Northern Industrial and Agricultural Exhibition,  Sundsvall, Sweden, 1882]. Includes price for tickets to events, local points of interest, map of Exhibition grounds, City and area in Sweden including northern part of Gulf of Bothnia, also ads for hotels and other tourist services. In Swedish. 18 panels    9 c 17.2 cm.            Paper on cloth, lightly soiled, very good. (8211) $38.00. Maps/Travel       


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