The NHADA is pleased to feature Gary Briggs as Dealer of the Month for May 2019. Gary bought his first antique at age 7 (at 25 cent bamboo stand) and he’s been hooked ever since. Gary’s mom, Pat Briggs, was a collector throughout Gary’s youth and like most collectors, when the house got full she opened a shop which she still maintains today after 45 years. Gary credits a number of people who mentored his interest in antiques and the business. Besides his mom, Gary was a frequent customer of Jean Tudhope’s shop when he was in college at the University of Vermont (“she dealt in just about everything I loved!’). Auctioneer George Clement was also an influence as Gary attended all of Clement’s auctions in his teens and 20s where he and his mom actively bought. Gary was lucky to be a guest and customer (with his mom) on many occasions at venerable Vermont dealer Harold Penniman’s home. “Harold would open a drawer in an early chest and it would be jam packed full of historical Staffordshire”. Gary credits Harold to this day for his passion of loading drawers of furniture in his house with treasures to someday be unearthed. Gary’s high school history teacher, Paul Chouinard, was an avid collector and dealer and included field trips to Shelburne Museum which left a lasting impression on Gary. Gary also credits Maine Antique Digest for spiriting his passion on a monthly basis.
Gary maintains an open shop, across the street from his mom’s in Lunenburg, Vermont in the state’s Northeast Kingdom region. Gary was the manager of the Sugar Hill Antique show for a number of years and currently exhibits annually at the Woodsville Antique Show and the Vermont Antique Dealer’s Association Show at Stratton Mountain. He also has space at Thos. Bartlett Antiques in Chichester, NH. His and his mom’s shops are open whenever their home, which is most of the time. Gary is also the co-owner of Aunt Sadie’s Candles, one of the country’s leading manufacturers of scented candles. In his words, “candles pay the bills and support my antique passion!”
When asked what he deals in, Gary often responds “I deal in stupid antiques!” He is a collector of folk signage, miniature and full-size paddles, St. Johnsbury, Vermont blue decorated stonewared, Old Man of the Mountain memorabilia, the works of outsider Canadian folk artist Ewald Rentz and dog-themed antiques. Past collections included one of the country’s best vintage table cloth assemblages which he sold in a 125-lot Ebay sale 3 years ago which was reported on in Antiques and the Arts Weekly. The sale of his collection of St. Johnsbury stoneware amassed in his teens footed the bill for his college education at the University of Vermont. When we emailed Gary for this feature he had just completed a 2-day sale of a massive antique tool collection that he and his mom had recently purchased. Gary is a member of both the Vermont and New Hampshire Antique Dealers Association. In Gary’s words, “I often feel way out of the league of some of the country’s most amazing dealers who belong to VADA and NHADA, but I’m happy they let me tag along!”. Gary maintains (in his words “badly”) a Facebook page for his shop Twin Oak Antiques and can be reached at email@example.com or by calling 802-892-5267.