Saturday, April 16, 2011

Vintage Hunting

I love hunting for vintage kitchenware. I like dusty little vintage shops, exciting rummage sales, fascinating thrift shops, mountainous piles of junk in a true junkyard, pretty little booths in antique market places, and vast garage sales where the owner just needs to get rid of stuff. I love the rainbow array of collectible hunting. Each has its unique challenge.

So here is my list of the downside and upside of each of these shopping experiences.

Garage Sales: The Downside... the person is only there for one day (probably) so you have to make up your mind quickly on whether you want a piece or not. The Upside... they want to get rid of the junk, and will make a deal! 

Dusty Little Vintage Shops: The Downside... I find it is hit or miss whether these are open on any given day. I think the proprietors are usually older and doing it because they love it, so if they are ill, busy, or gone to Florida for a few months, the shop just won't be open! The Upside... Those same proprietors are usually very knowledgeable and love to share their knowledge of unique vintage and antique collectibles. 

Rummage Sales: The Downside... you are usually in competition for the choice bits with dealers, who arrive early, pick quick, and are willing to buy huge amounts of stuff for their shop or online sales business. You have to move fast to beat them. The Upside... oh, the bargains! And helpful sales staff, often willing to make a deal if you are polite and cheery. They are generally volunteers who believe in the cause the rummage sale is supporting, whether it is the Rotary Club, or a church, or a charity.

Booths in Antique Markets: The Downside... the prices! These folks know the worth of their stuff, and can afford to let it sit for a while, knowing the right person will pay for that precious bit of Pyrex or china teacup. The Upside... the experience! I have seen the most beautiful things in these venues, and it is an education every time I wander through. I see stuff I won't see anywhere else, except on the internet!

The Real Deal Junkyard: The Downside... the sheer amount of crap you have to wade through to get something good! I have spent hour and hours in one huge barn of a junkplace, only to come out with two pieces of Pyrex and some cool old kitchen utensils. And be prepared to get dirty, because these places are dusty. Hope you're not allergic! The Upside... you can find some of the most unique and unusual things at a junkyard type sales barn, and get it dirt (and dirty) cheap.

The Thrift Shop: The Downside... you know what? I can't think of one! The Upside... new stock all the time, and the folks that run it price it to sell. I have found some of my best finds in thrift stores. Where else could I get some vintage Pyrex, a cool painting for the wall and some Liz Claiborne clothes, all at the same place? This is my idea of a fun afternoon!

So... all you collectors out there, whatever your passion is... I want to know about your best experience shopping for vintage finds. What did you get? Where did you get it? Do you enjoy the experience, and why??


  1. As a former dealer in an antiques arcade, I can't bear the thought of paying retail. Yard/garage sales are where I get most of my stuff these days. Nowadays, I can't buy everything I like. (I used to keep things a few weeks, and then put them in the booth.) But I still love the thrill of the hunt, even if it's just something like a soap dish (which I blogged about today).

    It's been a cold spring, so the yard sales are few and far between, but last week I bought a drop leaf table at a yard sale. The woman wanted $50. Then the support leg fell off. I offered $40 and she said, "Sold!" (Hey, a little glue and it'll be as good as new.)

  2. Hey, Lorna...

    I love rummage sales the best, then thrift stores. Got a big once-a-year sale coming up early in May. We (a bunch of girlfriends) strategize, then split up once we get into the building, a huge barn of a place about an acre in size. I have a list this year of must-haves: 6-cup teapot, Pyrex cream and sugar, small table, etc.

    After we're all done (it takes a few hours) we go somewhere for lunch and compare notes!

    This year we might drop back in on the sale after lunch to see how desperate the sellers are to get rid of stuff, (It's the last day ofa two-day sale) and how far they are willing to mark it down!

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