Skip to main content

Antiquing and Vintage Shopping Today

The world of antiques, antique shops and various antiquing venues has changed rapidly in the last decade or so.  Long gone are the days when I could hop in my car and drive to my former hometown to visit the shops I patroned on a regular basis, when I first started collecting for our home.  All of the antique shops along Kings Highway are no longer there, and the same goes for so many of the shops on "Antique Row" in Center City, Philadelphia. 

Recently, I took a small trip into the city with a dear friend of mine from Washington, and we began a discussion about antiques, antiquing and everything vintage.  I lamented the fact that so many antique shops were now out of business along a stretch of road that was famous for them.  The shop owners that were so passionate about their hordes of fine china, glassware, silverware, linens, furniture and garden ornaments, have packed up and moved out.

Tureens from my antique ironstone collection.
The economy, shrinking 401ks, reality television, changes in the lifestyle magazine world, and the ever-growing popularity of those mega stores selling ultra-cheap, imported wares, have all had a hand in what the antiques world faces today.

With more and more vendors finding it easier and better for their bottom line to 'set up shop' online, brick and mortar antique/vintage stores are slowly becoming things of the past.  I do shop online via eBay, Etsy and Rubylane for some of the things that I like, but there is something about being able to see, feel, judge and make a purchasing decision in person, on the spur of the moment.  There is always peace of mind from buying something vintage or antique in person, because one doesn't have to worry about potential shipping mishaps, which do happen (it's maddening!) from time to time.

I understand wanting to own new pieces of furniture that don't require delicate treatment, or having a brand new set of inexpensive dinnerware, glassware and silverware that can get put in the dishwasher. It's absolutely convenient.  However, I find that there is an ineffable beauty in owning antiques and using vintage items throughout one's home, which can't be mimicked with something new. 

Even though I have contemporary housewares that get used often, there is nothing like using something antique or vintage on a dining table or having beautiful, old objects in various rooms throughout the house.  I get more pleasure out of setting a beautiful table with vintage or antique items that have a history, than I would if I were to use items from the "world markets".  I know I'm not alone when I say that I collect antique and vintage items because it makes me happy.  It's what I've grown to like and admire.  

The value that we attach to our vintage pieces and antique treasures, whether they're picked up at a shop or passed down to us through the generations, is quite subjective.  An old object may or may not have much market value, but the sentimental importance that we affix to said object, can be priceless.   

If I happen to be visiting a town or city outside of my area, I make it a habit of mapping out where the antique shops, consignment shops and Goodwill stores are located.  I also like to know if there are any scheduled flea markets and antique fairs in the area, because those can attract a large amount of vendors.  In fact, I'll be going to some in the next couple of weeks!

When shopping for or selling antiques and vintage items, it's imperative to know and understand the differences between the two.  Inside the trade, experts state that any object which is over 100 years old is considered an "antique".  The term "vintage" refers to items that are between 50-100 years old.  It's not uncommon, though, to see these terms used loosely by vendors, especially if they're unaware of what they have.  It is your job, as a collector, to know what's what.  

Have you ever attended the world's largest yard sale that is over 600 miles long?  It will be taking place in less than a month, and I know of a couple of people who may travel down this route for their vintage shopping.  From the photos I've seen in the past, it is quite the adventure picking through what is out there.  Click here for more information. 

Are you still antiquing these days?  Do you make an effort to visit flea markets and antique shows like I do?  What about tag sales, estate sales and yard sales? Shopping for old items is something that I will never tire of.  I hope that many of you continue to admire and collect the vintage and the antique for years to come.


  1. Thank you, thank you David! As the owner of a shop that sells everything from new, artisan made pieces to 18th century antiques I just love and appreciate this post :) I have a 4000 sq ft space in CT and also rent space to just 9 very talented merchants who scour the world for wonder vintage and antique treasures. In September another shop and I host Repurpose Happiness Vintage and Maker market in Chester, CT., all for the love of antique and handmade!
    Thank you again for this wonderful post!

    1. You're welcome Jayne!!! I've been meaning to write this post for a long time, so I'm glad it's out there now. I wish you continued success in your fantastic business!! Xo

  2. I love the hunt for treasures, whether that means an antique shop, Goodwill or garage sale. I do buy things from eBay, Etsy, and other sites, but nothing takes the place of in-person shopping. You never know what unexpected treasure is waiting around the next corner!

    Your ironstone is lovely, by the way.

    1. Hear, hear! You're exactly right Christine. Nothing beats being able to shop in person for anything vintage or antique. It's the thrill of the hunt for us collectors.

      Happy shopping!

  3. I am so fortunate to live where there are plenty of antique shops. Now, OKC does not have the antiques that a place like Atlanta or Boston does, but it is rare for even the small towns not to have a place to treasure hunt. My passion is antique linens and dishes. I love books, but to say I only have antique books would be mistaken as I read everything. But, I am always on the lookout for antique classic literature, gardening books, and poetry.

    1. Wow, Lori, that's great! I've never been to Oklahoma City, but now that I know antiquing is alive and well there, maybe I should.

      Enjoy shopping for your vintage treasures!


Post a Comment

Thank You for Posting!

Popular posts from this blog

Antique Salt Cellars

There was a time when salt cellars played an important role on the dining table for the host or hostess.  As a result of it being such an expensive commodity several hundred years ago, salt was seen as a luxury and it was the well to do that made salt cellars quite fashionable & a status symbol for the home.  A single salt cellar usually sat at the head of the table and was passed around throughout the meal.  The closer one sat to the salt cellar, the more important one was deemed by the head of the household.  Smaller cellars that were more accessible and with an open top became a part of Victorian table settings.  Fast forward to the 20th century when salt was no longer a luxury and when anti caking agents were added to make salt free-flowing, and one begins to see salt cellars fall out of fashion.  Luckily for the collector and for those of us who like to set a table with Good Things , this can prove to be a boon. Salt cellars for the table come in silver, porcelain, cut glass

How to Paint a Chair

If you have ever felt the need to spruce up a set of chairs or give them a new look, why not try a little bit of paint?  Our tastes in decor and color will probably alter throughout our lives, and at some point, we may find ourselves wanting to change the look of our furniture without having to spend a lot of money.  That's where a few handy tips, some tools from the hardware store, and good-quality paint come in handy.   I know I'm not alone in paying visits to local antique shops, antique fairs and flea markets, and falling in love with pieces of furniture that would be perfect if they were just a different color.  You don't have to walk away from a good purchase simply because it's the wrong color.   My dear friend, Jeffrey, is forever enhancing his home with collectibles from flea markets and tag sales.  However, certain items aren't always up to Jeffrey's tastes when he brings them home.  He is the type of person who won't hesitate to chang

Vintage Wilton Wedding Cakes

Wedding cakes have certainly evolved over the decades just as tastes and styles have in our American way of life.  There was a time when elaborate & very formal towering feats of sweetness were the standard for every bride & groom.  Growing up in a household where I witnessed several wedding cakes take shape from start to finish, I can tell you  that every single one of these was a true labor of love.  For mom, Wilton was the go-to supplier in every aspect of cake baking, including the wedding cakes which flew out of our house every single year for friends & family.   Vintage Wedding Cake Toppers It’s fun going back and looking at Wilton’s methods and styles for wedding cakes during the 1960s and 1970s.  Back then, the shapely cakes were not simply stacked and covered in perfect fondant the way they are these days, but were iced and decorated with real buttercream, along with a multitude of accessories.  There was even a working fountain available that could b