Last weekend, my wife and I drove to Massachusetts to go to the Brimfield Antique Show. We heard about Brimfield for years, but finally decided to take the plunge and drive out there to see it for ourselves. With 6000 dealers attending, we were excited to see the show.
We drove to Connecticut the night before and woke up Friday morning at 5:00 am to drive up north to the show. We arrived into Brimfield around 7:30 am and the first thing we noticed was that it reminded us of a very large stop on the World’s Longest Yard Sale. Dealer tents were set up on both sides of the street which stretched down for nearly a mile. We came up to a gate where a few people were waiting until 8:00 am for it to open and noticed that there was a $5.00 entry fee to get inside. Given we had a half an hour wait, we walked across the street trying to see if any ther dealers were already open, but only a handful were.
About a half an hour later, we came back to the gate where a large group of people were now waiting. We thought to ourselves that this area must be the place to be, so we handed the attendants $5.00 and waited for the gates to open. As soon as they did, we saw people literally running in like it was a black Friday sale. Anita and I started laughing thinking what in the world could be inside the show area worth running for.
Once we got inside, we looked around to see what all the fuss was all about. There were plenty of dealers selling quality antiques, but they came with dealer prices. After about an hour of buying a few things inside, we went out to see what the other areas had to offer.
The majority of tools that I saw were being sold by collectors, so there was little opportunity to snag a good deal. I was hoping that since I was on the east coast, I would see a lot of good deals on old Stanley planes, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case.
I used to think that all the old tools were on the east coast since that is where Stanley plant was located, but I now think tool collectors have all the old tools, not the east coast. It’s just getting harder and harder to find them in the wild for a good price. Most of the planes on this table were $40-85 in price. Even the broken casting block plane was $30.00.
It’s impossible to see the whole show in one day, but after spending seven hours all over Brimfield we saw 80-90% of it. Unfortunately, these are all the tools I came home with. An old razee smooth plane, a Stanley No 4, a Ohio Tool Co No 4, a Wards Master No 7, a Sargent block plane, an egg beater drill, and a turn screw. Not terrible, but I’ve done better. Anita faired better than me as she ran out of money and had to borrow mine. It was still a lot of fun and is definitely worth it, if it is on your bucket list.
5 thoughts on “Brimfield Antique Show”
I’ve found these shows to be very hit or miss. Every now and again you may find a good or even great deal, but more often than not many of the tools I’ve come across have been over priced by a lot.
I agree Bill. I do much better at a flea market or an estate tool auction. But even then, it’s getting harder to find old tools.
I enjoyed my visit this year. I only managed to see half of it and my loot bag was near empty, the only thing that came home with me was a 6″ starrett ruler. The cooler weather and threats of rain on Friday made it way more enjoyable than last July. Did you meet the Stanly tool collectors in quaker acres?
I may have seen him as I saw a dealer selling a lot of Stanley tools including a No 1 for $995, but I’m not sure if he was in the quaker acres. We tried to see all of it as best as we could, but after walking around Brimfield for seven hours and 11 miles, we ran out of steam.
There was a guy in J +J Promotions field selling an Emmert Turtleback Patternmakers Vise for $400. That was probably the deal of the day, but I only had $300 in cash with me, plus I didn’t feel like pulling that thing in our wagon even I did want to buy it.
The weather was nice. A little too cold for my wife but it was fine for me. I’d rather have 60’s and clouds than 80’s with heat and humidity. I thoroughly enjoyed the show.
We’re heading to the Springfield Extravaganza Friday morning. I’ll see if I do better at this one even though there will only be 2000 dealers and not 6000.
Good luck, hope it it is a fun trip. I’m up in Montreal, a couple of good flea markets in the area with mostly good prices for tools, a little treasure once in a while. We’ll do Brimfield again in July as well as the elephants trunk on our yearly trip to Ct. Hats, sunscreen, water and lots of Aleve will be in the arsenal on those days.