Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Thrill of The Hunt: Bargain Shopping in Flea Markets Looking For "The Big One"

Collectibles on My Dining Room table

Right now, my dining room table is covered in kitchen collectibles which need to be priced for my shop. The shelves in my garage are filled with stuff that I just recently bought that are too dusty to make it into my house yet. Besides it is too freakin' cold to stand in the garage and go through the bags and boxes of junk (collectibles) that I just acquired.'

Did I Actually Buy This?

When I do get a chance to sort through the piles in the garage, I usually have two responses..."Wow....I forgot I bought this" or "I can't believe I actually bought this". With so much "back up stuff', why on earth do I want to go out and buy more today?

After "The Big One"
The answer is very simple....I am a 'hunter" and I am after "the big one" (the surprise gem that everyone else passed over" and that is offered for pocket change or a few bucks or at a very good deal! What satisfaction we feel when we believe we have snookered a helpless seller! Enough to keep the thin skinned among us up all night?

Clueless S
hoppers Before We Came Along

This logic assumes that the five people who owned "the big one" before we found it, didn't know that they had "the big one". Further, this reasoning also suggests that the forty two people who handled this object before we got there, had no clue what they were looking at a treasure. Only we know what is going on in the antique and collectibles world, ( we are thinking) . We know a deal when we see it.

The Bargain are correct in your thinking...what I am talking about is "THE BARGAIN". hunters are after bargains! Generations of shoppers thrive on this concept of "the bargain". Look at the success of stores such as Loehmanns, which is a chain of off price department stores in the United States known for their "Back Room" where women can find designer clothes for less than popular retailers.

Remember Loehmann's

Loehmann's was opened in 1921 in Brooklyn, New York in a former automobile showroom by Frieda Loehmann, who was a former department store buyer. Her formula was to buy seasonal overstocks from top New York designers and sell them at bargain prices.

Discount Shopping Stores

Today many of us are familiar with stores similar stores like Loehmanns such as Marshalls, T.J. Maxx, Filene's Basement and others. On line, this bargain concept is carried on by sites such as WWW. or But ask anyone who is familiar with Loehmanns back in the day, and you will learn that Loehmanns was in a class of its own. The kinds of evening gowns and women's suits that showed up at Loehmanns didn't show up anywhere else at those prices.

Climbing The Flea Market Steps

But what about our business of antiques and collectibles? What are the Loehmann's in our trade? Can you really find a bargain anymore? In a few hours I will leave my semi-toasty warm home and venture out to the nearby flea market. I will climb three flights of steps to the upper level of this building and begin hunting for today's treasure(s). As I go in and out of each and every booth I will find myself thinking once again "you gotta be kidding.......he's asking top dollar for this a flea market or an antique show?"

Haggling is An Art

But then just as I am ready to leave the market in despair, I will pause as I find something interesting that I want. Next I will haggle the guy or gal on the price and if successful I will feel like I just found "the big one". That is until I return home and stuff the bag with all the others on the shelf and wonder in a few weeks when I'm ready to unpack some bags "what in the world was I thinking when I bought this thing?".

If You Love Flea Markets: Go To
C. Dianne Zweig is the author of Hot Kitchen & Home Collectibles of the 30s, 40s, 50s and Hot Cottage Collectibles for Vintage Style Homes. She is also the Editor of an actively growing internet based resource community for people who buy, sell or collect antiques, collectibles and art. You can find Dianne’s fabulous retro and vintage kitchen, home and cottage collectibles at The Collinsville Antiques Company of New Hartford, CT, a 22,000 feet antique emporium with an in-house retro cafĂ©.

To read more articles by C. Dianne Zweig click on this link:
C. Dianne Zweig’s Blog Kitsch ‘n Stuff

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Dianne is a member of:
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  1. Ah, I know what you mean. Been buying and selling at the flea markets since 1965. Great deals have been bought and lotsa "why" stuff also.

    See ya, Country Joe

  2. These pictures are great. What kind of camera are you using?

  3. Oh, I know exactly what you mean! I love shopping secondhand for everything and actually have come to dislike "new" stores - they are no fun at all!

    It looks like you got some amazing things! Finding even one or two items is such a thrill, isn't it? When I found a couple of odd retro cookbooks the other week I woke up in the middle of the night, thinking of them, and was so happy! :)

    Thanks again so much for visiting Kitchen Retro!

  4. Lidian so glad you came to visit me.....I'm trying to get the word out about my blog.....Dianne

  5. I don't think I can remember properly how to shop in a "new" shop anymore!

    I love hunting for that amazing "bargain"

  6. Great post Dianne and I could not have said it better myself. "the thrill of the hunt" can't be beat! I found one of those unbelievable buys when I was in NYC at a flea market. All four people with me just shook their heads and could not understand why I was so excited. That $20.00 buy sold for $400.00 on my website one week later to a very happy buyer. Ha...who got the last laugh. My husband still shakes his head at the things I bring home but he loved that fantastic Christmas gift I gave him with the money I made on my "oddball" buys. :) So happy you dropped by my blog. Happy New Year and happy hunting. xo Lynn

  7. Great post! I go to a lot of estate sales and I always say there's a treasure in every house and it's up to me to find it. Sometimes I do, and sometimes I don't. :-)