For vintage buffs, antique malls, flea markets, and thrift stores are like Disneyland. It’s a place where dreams of finding hidden gems come true. While it may seem overwhelming at first, with a little know-how you can score some serious treasures without breaking the bank. So follow along and learn how to master the hunt with my expert tips for scoring antiques at bargain prices at antique malls, thrift stores, and vintage festivals. Happy hunting!
Buyers and sellers are all looking for the same thing in the end and that is a “bargain”. The buyer is looking for a bargain item to add to their collection and the seller is looking for a bargain item that they can re-sell for a profit. Many people today still ask “Are there any bargains out there left to be had”? My answer is YES, you just need to know how to spot the bargain and have patience.
Shopping Antique Malls
Treasure Hunting – as I like to call it requires lots of careful hunting, seeking, and searching to locate that bargain item. Also, you have a lot of competition as you are not the only one out treasure hunting. With the popularity of online auction sites, antique & collectibles shops, more and more flea markets popping up regularly and shows like Antiques Roadshow, there are a lot of treasure hunters indeed. But, with that being said, all these venues for seeking treasure may actually make it easier to find a bargain…..that’s right, I said easier.
Aren’t these vintage 1930’s-1950’s vintage bridge and groom wedding figures and salt and pepper shakers so cute? Today’s trends are all about up-cycling, re-purposing, and re-using so I thought these adorable vintage bride and grooms pictured here fit just perfectly into this theme for a wedding. Many couples today plan their ‘Vintage Wedding’ and even ‘Flea Market Weddings’ as these are very trendy wedding themes today (there is even a new magazine called Flea Market Weddings) and with June upon us, wedding season is in full swing. So, for couples planning their ‘big day’ and want some vintage charm added to their event, I hope they consider placing these adorable vintage bride and groom shaker sets on their guest tables, or make them part of the wedding favor that your guests will leave with. You can find these vintage goodies on Etsy, Ebay, Rubylane and at flea markets sand collectibles shops and many can be had for $9.99-$25 but expect to pay upwards of $60+ for the German-made Goebel shakers. Cheer!
I had been hearing about a neat flea market on Treasure Islandsince arriving in the bay area 2 ½ years ago. We went today. Treasure Island is right across the bay from downtown San Francisco. The view is stunning! A flea market sets up on Treasure Island the last weekend of each month and there are usually 300+ vendors and lots of food trucks with a park area for kids and dog to play s and of course the San Francisco bay and the city views….lots of fresh sea air too!
We found parking pretty fast and started following the crowds. We paid the $3 admission fee. Lots of booths. Lots of jewelry booths (everything from origami styles to the made in China beads). Lots of hand-made soap and lotion booths, some food booths (mustards and honey). There were a few booths that had items for dogs that were clothing, leaches and collars, food and water bowls. Booths that had a mix of junk and vintage collectibles too. Booths selling one of a kind camera straps, belts and picture frames, some shabby chic too. I really liked a couple booths that were selling clothing as they had vintage trailers/vintage caravans and even vintage busses converted into showrooms! These vintage trailers really had a lot of charm!!
Dealers at most the booths were pretty grumpy. No one said ‘hello’ no one was happy to see you. A couple booths had some vintage Christmas items I was drawn to but the dealers were not interested in bargaining. One booth had a box of vintage pinecone miniature hand made ornaments with mica from the 1940s (so cute) and the price was $25 for the box so I offered $20 and the lady took it out of my hands and said ‘No”. I was hoping she would come back with $22 or something but no, she just pulled the item right out of my hands! I had a couple similar experiences at other booths. So, if you come to the Treasure Island flea market, be prepared for grumpy dealers that will not bargain with you. I am sure it depends on the day or the dealer, but, after multiple grumpy dealers and no bargaining, we were a little disappointed. I didn’t buy anything. My husband found a vintage Polaroid camera for his collection.
All in all, the day was sunny, breezy, and gorgeous at 64 degrees. Had a nice drive to Treasure Island and after 2 hours wondering the flea market we drove back to beautiful wine country. Hope your weekend is going great!!
The flea market or ‘Antiques Faire’ was awesome! It was our first time and the faire was located approx. 20 min south of San Francisco in the town of Alameda. The faire is next to the water and you can sea shipping docks and containers with a great view of the San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge. Weather was outstanding, warm nut not too hot and a light breeze blowing in off the bay. Shoppers and vendors everywhere. Lots and lots of people were buying furniture and vintage fruit crates. My husband is into collecting antique and vintage cameras and he found a couple really cool ones at great prices. Me, not so lucky as everything I was interested in was priced way too high though I did manage to score the cutes vintage spaghetti poodle lipstick holder dog. Its is good we packed packaging paper and bubble wrap in our backup as when you purchase from a vendor they do not usually provide a bag nor wrap you item. We did notice that in order to draw buyers into booths, vendors had their “eye catching” pieces placed ‘just so’ and they are priced so high that no way would anyone buy it but, it sure draws people into the booths. Also, vendors don’t always know everything about what it is they are selling and will embellish the item(s) details in the hopes of making a sale so do your own home work. Check for damage on items prior to buying as many times a price sticker will be placed over an area of damage so buyer-be-where. We walked so much and had a blast, can’t wait for the next faire!!
I can have all my favorite collectibles, vintage, retro, and kitschy items on my daily journal. Great notebook for keeping track of all my collectibles and great for taking along to the flea market to help me track all the items and goodies! Details Here.
Scribble important stuff – lyrics, recipes, addresses, and more. Our Wire-O bound, 160 page journal has your choice of papers and measures 5″ x 8″, a handy on-the-go size to fit in your backpack. Get creative and let the muse flow.
Back cover made of thin black flexible textured plastic, measures 16/1000″ thick
Front cover made of 12pt glossy paper, laminated for durability
Filled with your choice of 60lb bookweight (24 lb bond) paper — blank, dot grid, lined college-ruled, or a task journal.