The Brimfield Antique & Collectible Shows run three times a year — May, July and September — and, even though I’ve been attending the shows once or twice a year for the past thirteen years, I still consider myself an amateur buyer. I’ve been coached on shopping-attending-bargaining strategies by two friends that I consider experts — Sean Delaney of Delaney’s Antique Clocks (featured on television’s Antiques Roadshow, Delaney’s has the largest collection of American tall-case clocks in the country), and Tracy Foley of Water & Main — and while every show brings on a different experience, this show was altogether surprisingly quiet and sparse.
On a Friday of Brimfield-week, one expects bumper-to-bumper traffic along the seven-mile stretch of Route 20 from Sturbridge to the Brimfield fields. Today, that was not the case. There was absolutely zero traffic both in and out. Today, dealers were closing up tents and packing up to leave at 11am! Some of the vendors we saw back in May, did not return for this show, and the JJ Promotions field which only opens up on Fridays, was two-thirds full.
Twenty-plus-year veteran, Tracy Foley, attended the show every day this week, and reported back that she was in awe of the lack of attendance on both sides – dealers and buyers. So, as we tried to theorize and rationalize in our minds, I recalled the article I had read a couple of weeks ago in the Boston Globe Magazine, “Brimfield Antiques Market on the Decline.” The article speculates the declining market — a classic case of supply and demand — where lack of undiscovered treasures, and an influx of younger twenty to thirty-something buyers, who are interested in pop-culture with more urbane and eclectic wants, clash with century-old “true” antiques. The change in demand for vintage vs. antique along with accessibility and pricing knowledge from online auctions and the internet, will make for interesting shows in the future.
We hope the “declining market” will transition into a re-invention of the Brimfield shopping experience and not its demise. In the past I’ve blogged about the trends I see at the shows (see all of my past Brimfield posts, here), but today all I’ve got are a few pictures that I captured on my iPhone.
Vintage Kodachrome canvases caught my eye, but were out of my price range for the day.
Circle patterns — alas, my blog format and design.
Perforated industrial crates in multiples.
Chairs, chairs and more chairs. We never tire of them and love to see sets – like the purple pair of bergères (at top of post).