Elkhorn Flea Market: Chasing Antiques
It was a quiet day crowd-wise at the flea market Sunday, but I enjoyed the best luck antiquing I’ve experienced in years. If you’ve been antiquing for a while, you start to get a good feel for the availability and prices of the things you’re interested in. The pieces you’re naturally drawn to, you continually check out. If you’re into pottery, wicker or quilts, for example, you can spot a Watts pottery piece or a child’s wicker rocker, 3 booths down, perched on a table, just calling your name. A glorified game of I spy for enthusiasts. You constantly scan and gravitate towards these things, checking prices, chatting with dealers and inspecting condition.
You also learn what things are a dime a dozen and which things are rare. I’ve learned this lesson the hard way a couple of times. If you fall in love with something and you’ve never seen it anywhere else (and you can afford it), buy it. Trust me, buy it. Dragging my feet, has bitten me on more than one occasion. Oh, so sad to come back to buy something after an hour of deliberation, only to find out… it’s gone. I’m still mourning the loss of a gorgeous pair of dark oval frames with the loveliest vintage black and white images you’ve ever seen years later.
So, after 17 years of chasing antiques, I’m pretty confident about my deal-dar. Sunday, it was on high-frequency mode all day long, reflecting back bargain after bargain. Seriously, I started wondering if there was some sort of alternate universe I tripped into. In the early 2,000’s, eBay and the internet crashed the prices on many antiques. The supply side of the economic scale shot way up, leaving some dealers in a lurch, but buyers were happy campers. Since then, many of the prices have remained fairly consistent. The recession brought on more frugal buyers, but also more stretched sellers.
But, you didn’t come here to talk about economics, so here are a couple of the treasures I found.
But, my pièce de résistance… a new (to us) wooden big boy bed for Jamison. I saw it from afar and I had to check it out. I was guessing it would be $80 or $100. No price on it. I began looking it over.
The dealer walked over to me and said, “$20 bucks.”
“Twenty bucks?” I repeated incredulously.
“Yep,” she said. “I was going to have my husband make a bench out of it, but it just never got done.”
Well, hot dog, I thought. Today is my lucky day. “I’ll take it!”
Jamison is not quite ready to move out of his toddler bed, but that will buy me some time to fix it up. I’m thinking about either refinishing it with a dark stain or painting it. My plan for his next bedroom is going to be an eclectic mix of nautical and other vintage modes of transportation – ships, planes, trains. Here is a picture of the head and foot board. The side rails have a curved design on either end, too.
Here is Jack’s bed. I found this one at the flea market a while back for, you guessed it, $20. Its condition was much worse and it wasn’t solid wood. Jason peeled off the damaged veneer and painted it this chocolate-brown color to mimic the color of wood. My husband is an amazing miracle worker. I’m so appreciative he aids me in my crazy makeover endeavors. I fully accept all eye-rolling and reminders about how the bed doesn’t really cost $20 when you figure in labor and supplies, because in the end, it is so worth it. I think he secretly loves me because of my crazy, not in spite of it.
So, what do you think? I’m leaning towards refinishing the new one. Do you agree? Paint or refinish?
Have you found any super amazing deals this summer rummaging or antiquing yet? I’d love to hear about your treasure hunting.
Good night, stars. Good night, air. Good night, friends everywhere.