I'm crazy about all sorts of antique and vintage things. I have a particular weakness for candle holders, old books and kitchen items. They don't have to be rare or especially collectible, either. I'm not too wrapped up in the monetary value of the things I buy. I just have to like them.
To be honest, it's just as much about finding the treasures as it is about owning them. While I'll gladly browse through an upscale antique store, I don't enjoy it nearly as much as picking through a messy junk shop. The high end stores are always clean, well lit and organized. If you ask about a particular item, they usually know whether they have it or not. Where's the sport in that? For me, it's like shooting fish in a barrel. My favorite places always look like someone stood at the front door and threw the merchandise in. Things may be coated in years worth of dust or stored in water stained cardboard boxes. If there are piles on the floor, all the better. It's the thrill of the hunt in a place like that. My own version of a safari, if you will.
We used to have an antique store (junk store may be more appropriate) like that in town. It was a huge place that was filled to the brim with everything imaginable. You could find delicate hand painted china at the bottom of a bin of vintage plumbing supplies. Nothing had price tags and everything was negotiable. If you were really brave, you could venture into the back room which was about a thousand square feet and lit with only one or two 75 watt bulbs. Everything back there was lumped into piles, awaiting whatever sorting method they employed, before being moved to the equally unorganized front rooms of the store. There was always a lot of just plain junk, but every now and then, you'd find something really great. Talk about an adrenaline rush! The store went out of business a few years ago and I still miss it.
Yesterday, my husband and I had some errands to run, so we stopped by one of our favorite "treasure hunting" stores. It's not super messy and unorganized, but it's got some great stuff. We rarely leave the store empty handed, and yesterday was no exception.
We had been talking about inscriptions in old books while we browsed around. I told him that, if I'm unsure whether I want a book, finding a personal inscription inside usually seals the deal for me. I adore the charming, old script they used and I love reading the messages.
Near the front of the store, there was a display of assorted items from other countries. There were some Asian knick-knacks, some dishes from Mexico and a few things from Germany. In the same display was my treasure du jour, a book called The Little French Girl (published in the United States, I guess it was there because it had "French" in the title). I was attracted to it because it looked old and I loved the gold stamping on the cover. As soon as I opened it, I knew I was going to buy it. It is inscribed "To Miss Hahn From her Parent Teacher Assoc." and dated Dec. 25, 1924.
It's not a rare book and it wasn't expensive, but I love it! I don't even know what it's about. I'll probably read it when I'm done with the book I'm currently reading. I'm sure that every time I pick it up, I'll look at that inscription.
No one handed me the hypothetical thousand dollars to go shopping yesterday, but, like I said in the beginning, I'd have my spending spree in flea markets and antique/vintage/junk shops. How about you? Where would you shop and what would you buy?