Brimfield Antique Show | The Ultimate Antique Treasure Hunt
VIDEO: Brimfield Antique Show
The Brimfield Antique Show dates for 2013 are: May 14-19, July 9-14, and September 3-8. brimfieldshow.com
Mist curls off the foothills of the Berkshires, rising like hope. Calm and peaceful, it’s the ultimate in serenity, a world of winding roads curving through lush green fields and blooming apple orchards.
Deep in its midst, surrounded by the remnants of old farms and quiet ponds, a hush descends. Nature holds its breath. And then, 9 a.m. the whistle blows at the edge of a stubbly old field, and all hell breaks loose. Antiques dealers fly out from every direction, yanking treasures from the backs of pickup trucks and the tops of cars.
Flinging open the doors to vans on their last legs or fancy lettered vehicles that shelter upscale merchandise, they hear, “How much for the harpoon?” “Got any gold watches?” “What’s your best price?” Civil War swords, typewriters, rare instruments, legless chairs, topless mannequins, bits of Buddhas, shabby chic, Sheraton…all tumble out. It’s a dizzying assortment, an unimaginable collection of everything on earth.
Frenzy grips the field. Buy it or lose it, as sellers toss goods onto the ground, onto folding tables, into the arms of eager buyers. There’s no time for chitchat, and oh, by the way, welcome to the Brimfield Antique Show, a three-ring circus of a fair that descends on this quiet Massachusetts town three times a year. During that handful of allotted days in May, July, and September, the population of little Brimfield swells from 3,500 to a mind-blowing 130,000, each person intent on the object(s) of his or her desire.
“That came out of a cool estate in Buffalo!” a lanky dude says about an iron wall sculpture that starts off at $450, but quickly drops to $350 as the buyer walks away. In the booth next door, the words “World War II” emerge from a string of Yiddish, the harpoon sells for $160, and everyone runs a hand over the ancient, battered, but gorgeous mirror frame–until they hear it’s $4,000.
Brimfield is the rock star of antiques markets. Martha Stewart marks it on her calendar, and customers come from the four corners to ogle and buy. Roughly 6,000 dealers pack more than 20 fields along both sides of Route 20 in south-central Massachusetts for nearly a mile, making this show the ultimate flirt when it comes to temptation: Happiness at every price. Or half price. Or make me an offer.
A siren wails in the distance. “Someone must have had a heart attack about the prices,” says a dark-haired woman with an Oriental rug rolled up under her arm. She makes a beeline for a beautiful textiles booth. “How much?” she asks, fingering a delicate, silky scarf.