It's no secret we have a slight obsession with flea markets - and for good reason! Each one is a new opportunity to continue to grow our personal collections, feature unique antique pieces you may not know much about and finally, create a curated collection which we can share with you on Our Finds - to allow you to bring these pieces into your home for a second life!
Now, we get asked time and time again - How do you know what to buy at the flea market? Should you barter? How can I be sure that I am actually purchasing a collectable and not a reproduction? Is it okay to ask if something is authentic? Will they tell me the truth?
OR, our favourite line..
"I like the look of antique pieces, but I want it to be incorporated into my fresh and modern home - oh and I also don't have a million dollars to spend. Can I still collect?"
So let us solve all of your antiquing troubles and break it down for you step-by-step. The bottom line is that flea markets are full of passionate, knowledgable and what we find to be.. simply lovely people! Most vendors welcome questions when it comes to their treasures - including the background, the history, the authentication documents/certificates that come with the piece (if that applies to a higher priced item)..and yes, they are even open to a few bids that you may have in mind! Remember, it's important to be fair - nothing of value comes without a cost. For many antique vendors - this is a way to make a living so you want to keep in mind that both parties should be happy with the final price!
Now for what we think may be the most important piece of information when it comes to antiquing, collecting and home decor. There is always a difference between 'getting the look' or 'completing the design.' One is not better than the other and it's certainly not a matter of right or wrong. However, it is absolutely noteworthy. Like we mentioned above, the famous 'I don't have a million dollars to collect antiques or incorporate them into my daily space' is a common misconception people hold when it comes to antiques.
First things first, antiques come at a multitude of different price points. You would be surprised at how reasonable some start off at (..hint, hint, just flip to Our Finds to see those entry level pieces!)
Second important fact to know, is sometimes we are all guilty of loving the finer things in life! As in, you never knew how much an antique of that would cost but once you found out you were heartbroken knowing that could never be a reality for you.. Despite this rarely being the case, this is an opportunity to 'get the look' without the purchase price. Not all antiques are equal - a silver plated tea set from any country other than England can be purchased at fairly reasonable price point. A silver plated tea set from England would be considered a mid-range price point. While a 925 sterling silver tea set originating from England would be substantially more than the previous two options.
All three of these can 'give you the look' that you are going for - however, they all come in a range of values. Throw in a well-known factory that produces the sterling silver tea set, with a stamp and it dating back to the 17th/18th century and you've got yourself one of those 'a girl can only dream' pieces on your wish list!
In other words.. you could purchase an antique, hand made Persian rug that is 100% wool which showcases beautiful artistry or you could purchase a 'similar' rug that is machine made, with a poly-blend. In the pages of House and Home, both rugs could be styled to look impeccable - but would remain different on paper. We all go through different phases in our lives - and for some of us that is reflected in our design tastes. We want to be minimalist, we want everything to be clean and modern.. we want to collect treasures that are 100 years old, we want to go grandma's house and learn the stories behind all of the family heirlooms she's kept for all those years. As we evolve, our interior tastes change and we decide home much we can 'afford' to spend on our what makes us happy or adds value to our daily life. Whatever that amount is, wherever you 'choose' to spend it, we hope that it's on something you love. We hope it makes you feel something, we hope it makes you remember a fond childhood memory, we hope it makes you want to keep it, love it, cherish it for years to come - and collect it.. for someone else to love after you. Because after all, thats how this whole antique thing works. Now go on and master your next flea market!