Florida - When it comes to stocking up on antiques and vintage items, there's certainly no shortage for today's dealer and collector when trying to source out good shopping locales - from yard sales to estate sales, flea-markets, and auctions - the country's awash with collectible venues of almost everything and anything imaginable. However, when you're looking for product consistency, and a truly wide selection of goods that can provide a relative degree of stability and choice when it comes to the shopping experience, then it's worth considering stepping-up to a few of the country's larger antique and vintage options.
The six choices presented here are based on a regional guide, and have consistently proved to be some of the best places to find and buy antiques, collectibles, and vintage items over the past twenty years. Some names may be familiar, while others many not, however, what they all have in common is a successful history of offering a superb selection of goods on a very consistent basis.
1. Brimfield Show, Massachusetts
Quite likely the nations largest antique and collectibles fair, it runs three times a year and lasts for six days at a go. It truly has something for everyone, and is certainly a fan favorite for dealers, collectors and shoppers alike. From architectural antiques to clocks and primitive furniture, one can literally find anything here that could be collected. Parking is in fields, and the show runs for miles, so be prepared to walk.
2. Scott Antiques Show, Atlanta
Often referred to as the "Greatest Show In The South," dealers, collectors, and shoppers tend to gather for this offering on the second weekend of every month, at the Atlanta Expo Center for the Scott Antique Market. With a huge covered venue, the show offers buyers one of the largest indoor monthly staples of fine antiques and decorative arts in the country. For those looking to haggle, the show also offers vendor-booths outside that reflect a more flea-market oriented theme.
3. Rose bowl Flea Market, Pasadena
While this venue may not immediately jump to mind when thinking of antiques and collectibles, it should. For almost half-a-century now, the Rose Bowl stadium has been converting itself into a California-styled bazaar on the second Sunday of each month. Filling the stadium with more than twenty-six-hundred individual vendors and sellers, the market comes complete with a wide and varying customer base - from collecting newbies, all the way up to wily veteran dealers, and gallery owners. Though not solely antique in nature, those vendors that do offer vintage decorative arts and accessories can all be found in one locale, thereby minimizing search and walking time. Truly, one can find everything under the sun here - from vintage to junk - and everything else in between..
4. Randolph Street Market, Chicago
Billed as the most eclectic indoor-outdoor (weather permitting) monthly flea market in the country, the Randolph Street Market can be found in downtown Chicago. Known for its pop-themed booths and collectibles, you'll also find vintage housewares, furniture, ephemera, clothing and food. Aside from just selling cool collectibles, you'll also find a number of decorative arts services, from appraisals, to furniture and porcelain repair.
5. West Palm Beach Antique Festival, Florida
There are a few large antique shows in South Florida, but the biggest and most widely known is still the West Palm Beach Antiques Festival. Held at the South Florida Fairgrounds each month, the festival has its largest showing of the year during February when snowbirds fly into town for the winter. Although vintage furniture can be found, this festival is more traditional in scope and caters its offerings to an older clientele. Jewelry is a big player here, along with smaller collectibles such as pottery and silver. Repair and replating services are also available. Locals say the best finds can be found in the summer's "off" months.
6. Aberfoyle Antique Market, Canada
Every Sunday, and open spring until fall, the Aberfoyle Antique Market is probably Canada's best known Sunday antiques and collectibles show. Running consecutively since 1961, it offers something for everyone from primitive Canadiana to early automotive signage and more. Less than an hours drive from Toronto, the market is favored by dealers and collectors alike, who come prepared to haggle it out with over a hundred-plus quality vendors. Locals report the best deals can be found in early spring and autumn, when the kids (and collector parents) have gone back to school.
- A.I.A. Staff Writers
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