AUGUSTA — As 2019 started, hundreds of area shoppers took a trip down memory lane at the New Year’s Day Antiques Show at the Augusta Armory.
Show organizer Jim Montell, of Gardiner, said he has organized more than 100 shows in his time.
“I’m beyond a hundred shows; in fact, I’m beyond sanity,” he said.
He said the New Year’s Day show is usually the best attended show, making it the most lucrative for sellers.
“It’s a day when virtually everyone is free and has money,” he said. “You can get yourself a gift; buy something you really need or buy something you really want.”
A bout of snow late Monday night into early Tuesday morning complicated commutes and caused five sellers to cancel. A slate of 29 sellers braved the conditions to set up their booths. Vintage cookware, paintings, toys and even World War I weaponry was available at the booths.
Tom Diplock, a hobby seller who sells at 202 Antiques and Flea Market in Winthrop (formerly known as Lakeside Antiques), said it’s getting hard to make a steady profit on antiques. He said older buyers are slowly dying, and interest has not been picked up by a younger crowd. He said young adults aren’t looking for older items, specifically furniture, opting to purchase mass-produced goods from box stores.
“The young folks don’t seem too interested in this stuff,” he said, motioning to a table stocked with antique golf clubs and a vintage action figure of wrestler George “The Animal” Steele, among other things.
Diplock, while pessimistic about the future of the industry, remained light-hearted about his hobby.
“I enjoy it a lot,” Diplock, who builds custom showers and flooring as day job, said. “I’m clearly not in it for the money because you’ll starve to death.”
“People ask me sometimes, ‘what’s it like being in this business?’” Diplock added. “Well, you buy something for $40, you drag it around for six months, then you sell it for $30.”
Diplock, who has collected antiques for 20 years, has done the New Year’s Day show for more than six years.
“This is the main show,” he said. “This is usually the best show.”
Charles Magnell, a Saratoga Springs, N.Y. resident with family in Brunswick, said the antique market has changed over the past few years. He said younger buyers are looking for smaller items to use as decoration.
“It’s a decoration market,” he said. “I’ve gotten away from old-fashioned antiques.”
He said sales were good on Tuesday, his first ever appearance at an Augusta event. Magnell usually sells his items — which he brands as “affordable collectibles” — in Brunswick at the Waterfront Flea Market in Cabot Mill.
Bill Berube and Rena Cater, of Fairfield, were hoping to find a few items to add to their respective collections. Berube said the couple was just browsing but apprehensive about purchases of more vintage food tins, because his collection is large enough already.
“They’re moving us out of our kitchen,” Berube said of the food tins. “We’re just looking to see if anything is here.”
Cater, a collector of Fire King Dishes and Mickey Mouse memorabilia, said her antiquing New Year’s Resolution was to trim back — or at least not add to — her Mickey Mouse collection.
“It’s going to have to be something very, very special for me to continue to buy,” she said. “We’re at a point where we should stop buying and start trying to sell to hopefully downsize in a few years when we retire.”
Sam Shepherd — 621-5666
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