When it comes to collectibles, what often draws a person’s interest isn’t necessarily something of great financial value, but rather something that stirs a fond memory.
The 56th annual Manchester Antiques & Collectibles Show, held on March 23 and 24 at the Second Congregational Church on North Main Street, featured 38 dealers spread throughout the church’s upper and lower levels who offered vintage jewelry, glassware, artwork, linens, collectibles, and any number of memory-inducing surprises.
People of a certain age might remember hanging up one of those kitschy melted plastic Christmas or Easter decorations, known then as ‘glitter plaques’ made by the Kage Company on Elm Street in Manchester. One vendor had a box full of “new old stock,” featuring a baby chick hatching from an egg.
Each piece was stamped on the back with the Kage Company name and address and ‘Made in America With Pride.’ If one worked at Kage Company years ago, it would be like buying a memory.
Another vendor offered a vintage circus poster, featuring Big Otto the Hippopotamus at the Clyde Beatty Circus at Hampden Park, in Springfield. Still another, offered book illustrations rescued from damaged books from such classics as Alice in Wonderland and Winnie the Pooh.
“We usually have 35 to 40 dealers each year, a lot of them who come year after year, with 800 to 1,000 visitors,” said Alan Lamson, who, with Marjorie Martin, co-chaired the event. “This is a good weekend for it. If there’s snow or rain, people don’t always want to come out, but if it is too nice, people stay home and work in their yard. A gray and cold day like today is just right. This show helps fund our outreach activities and after 56 years doing it, if we didn’t have the show, we wouldn’t know what else to do in March.”
“I look forward to this and come every year,” said Lynn Cinciva, of Glastonbury, who was checking out some vintage jewelry with her mother. “I grew up collecting and my grandfather was a dealer and appraiser, so it’s in our blood.”
Annick Smith, a dealer from South Windsor, was advertising her table as her last show – as she is going out of business after 58 years.
“I never did auctions or tag sales. I bought estates outright,” said Smith, who with her grandfather’s help bought her first estate at the age of 11 and had her own antiques shop in West Hartford at 16. “I worked with banks, and lawyers and probate. Back then, it was a lot of fun and I did shows every weekend, but it’s harder now.”
Smith said there is much less interest in fine china and glassware these days.
“Times are changing. I work as a housekeeper in many homes. People don’t entertain anymore. They have tons of electronics. No china,” she said.
For Ellie Naas, of Ellie’s Little Place in Storrs, however, it’s all a matter of changing with the times. This was her first time as a dealer at the antiques show and she found it to be a successful endeavor, enough so that she had to go back to her shop for more items after Friday night’s sales.
“I do a lot of crafting with a focus on holidays and seasons, and I upcycle a lot of vintage material into my crafts. It fits well with the antiques I sell. I get to use my creativity – and that keeps me out of trouble,” she said.
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