Found treasures at the Grange Hall
The weekly antique expositions will begin tomorrow at the Grange Hall in West Tisbury, with a bonus day on Saturday this week only. The 17 members of the Martha's Vineyard Antique Association (MVAA) will preside at booths, each one a miniature antique store.
Many of the objects offered for sale have Martha's Vineyard in their provenance. Some dealers, like Allen Hanson (Early Spring Antiques Shop), sell only antiques they have bought on the Vineyard.
Ron Gamba was the first dealer to show antiques at the Grange Hall, 12 years ago, and he continues to exhibit. He helped restore the interior of the old Agricultural Hall for the Preservation Trust, which owns the building, and he holds the lease from the Trust for the show and the permits from the town of West Tisbury.
Ron Bietman joined Mr. Gamba soon after, and six years ago other dealers joined the show and formed the MVAA. A variety of dealers is good for everyone, according to show organizer and coordinator Patty Kirwin, who believes that customers will come if there are more kinds of antiques to see and buy. "The show is a wonderful opportunity for me," she says. "In most days I may get five or six customers in my store [Able to Cane Antiques], but at the Grange show 300 or 400 people look at my booth."
No two booths are alike, not only because antique pieces are by their nature unique, but also because the dealers specialize in different genres. Some, like Mr. Gamba, display country furniture; others, paintings and folk art, textiles, antique books, maps, or estate jewelry. Even two dealers showing nautical antiques may have different kinds of stuff. One dealer may offer old charts, maps, and ship paintings, while across the hall another may display old marine tools, fishing gear, and ship fittings. Off-Island dealers also set up booths outdoors in the busy season.
Why and how to acquire antiques
Most dealers are also collectors, and so the dealers and the customers who file past their booths come to antiquing for the same kinds of reasons. Some love history, and each piece has a history. When you touch an old tool, in a way you contact the worker who once used it.
Other collectors admire fine workmanship and beautiful design. Some customers are shopping for vintage jewelry or clothing, or for just the right painting or table or chair for their homes. Interior designers hope to do the same for a client.