So you want to find the perfect antique chair for the corner of your porch? Or you need a planter to set on the patio? Hit the markets!
These tips will get you started so your treasure-hunting expedition will be both fun and successful. Learn what to wear and what to bring as well as how to get the best deal you can without offending the seller.
Know what you are seeking before you go to a
show. Do research before shopping, so you know
what to expect in regard to price and item quality.
Start shopping early in the day, before crowds
Take time to look at everything for sale. Often
you'll find the real treasures hidden behind
Keep in mind antiques are not always cheap.
People are willing to pay a lot of money for high-quality
products. Don't insult the credibility of a
dealer by questioning the worth of an item. If you
have doubts about its value, ask about its history
to determine its worth.
What to Wear
Jacket. It may be chilly in the morning, so it's
wise to dress in layers.
Comfortable shoes. You'll be on your feet all
Hat and sunscreen.
Poncho. Many shows go on even in rain.
Sometimes you can get the best deals in poor
weather because the crowds thin.
Limited jewelry. Displays of wealth discourage
Money belt or hip pack to keep keys and cash
Backpack to keep your hands free.
What to Bring
A pair of gloves.
Tape measure. You don't want to get home to
find your purchase won't fit in the intended space.
Map of the area.
Camera. Take pictures of items that interest you.
Illustrated guidebooks, such as The Garage
Sale & Flea Market Annual, that list
manufacturers marks and prices.
Lunch and snacks. If you re a serious shopper
you want to shop over the lunch hour when
others take time to eat.
Water bottle. You don't want to become
dehydrated. (There's no time for a water break
when you are haggling over the price of a perfect
piece for your garden room.)
Cash (personal checks and credit cards usually
aren't accepted). For the best deals, nothing
Bag. You'll need somewhere to stash your
smaller newfound treasures.
Lingo and Etiquette
"Will you take $- for this?" is an acceptable
question at garage sales, but the amount must
"Is this your best price?" or " Is that a firm price?"
are better questions for an antiques dealer.
Neither buyer nor seller should be embarrassed,
and 75 percent of the time you can, in fact, get a
better buy. Purchasing multiple items may bring a
better price for the entire lot.
"Firm" on the price tag means the dealer must
receive that amount.
"But I saw one just like this one on the other
side of the market for half this price!" Then go
buy that one; don t expect the second dealer to
change his or her price.
"Is this actually old?" Whether you mean to or
not, you are questioning the dealer's integrity. If
you doubt the age of a piece, ask, "Can you tell
me about its history?"
" What is your source for this stuff?" Sources are
closely guarded secrets; at best, expect a vague answer to this unwise question.
"Gee, my grandmother had one just like it." Dealers hear the phrase so much, they ignore it.
"What a wonderful collection you have." Usually an exit line, this statement often comes from a tire kicker who has no intention of buying. Don't be suprised if you don't get a response from the dealer.
“How much is my [personal item] worth?” Collectors often bring a box of items along, looking for off-the-cuff valuations. Some dealers bite; others want to concentrate on selling rather than buying. Tread lightly.
“Can you hold it until the end of the day?” A dealer will be happy to hold an item if you want to pay for it right away; otherwise, it’s still for sale.
Check our list to discover what the most popular market finds are right now. If your heart is set on getting something on this list during your next outing, prepare for some serious competition from other market-goers. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes, too, because you might spend long hours deciding exactly which piece to take home.
Outdoor furniture, particularly seating
Cast-iron lawn sprinklers in animal and other shapes
Gardening hand tools
Bug sprayers and old hand-pump sprayers
Garden structures (gazebos and trellises)
Urns and planters
Kitsch, such as garden gnomes, angels, and pink flamingos
Traditional statues and sculptures
Birdbaths and birdcages
rench accessories (jardinieres, wine racks, baskets, barrels,
statues, metal flower sculptures, lanterns, and urns)
Natural elements (tree-root sculptures and rock
Painted floral mirrors
Asian and Chinese garden objects (lanterns, pagodas,
bridges, stepping-stones, statues, and bamboo water spills)
Iron and cast-stone pieces
Architectural salvage, such as old edging and fencing
Eliminate the guess work and see what your house will look like before you redecorate.