12 Antique Market Tips and Top Spots for Antiquing

Antique market season has officially begun!

Last week I headed out to Aberfoyle Antique Market with friends (kids in tow) to get our first fix of the season. It was a fun afternoon. I didn't buy very much but it's interesting to visit and see what trends are happening and also for some much needed post-winter inspiration.

Things I noticed... lots of demi-johns, brass, oversized letters, globes and mid-century furniture. Interesting. All on trend but they were last year too. Sometimes it takes a while for the dealers to find supply... I'm always on the hunt for pretty glass. In fact, I have an entire Pinterest category dedicated to it. Last year I was looking for another demi-john to add to my collection and was hard-pressed to fin them at the markets. This year they were everywhere! 

I go to antique markets frequently and when I travel they are on my must-see list of area attractions. Are you like that too? I dream of traveling the world, strolling through markets for beautiful treasures to bring home. Kind of like J. Peterman on Seinfeld but minus the hat and hopefully less awkward ;)

A few items I wanted to bring home, but weren't in my budget.

 This metal cabinet. Right? 
Just needs some elbow grease to clean it up.

Brass ship lanterns. So, so gorgeous. But at $350 + sadly they stayed on this table. The man in the background is sneaking away so he doesn't have to see my tears.

These crates. There just wasn't room in the car. Look at that laundry starch crate! Gorgeous.

Antiquing Tips, hints & advice...

First... when I go to the markets I talk to the vendors. I like their kind. Sometimes a little quirky but often history buffs and full of information and stories about antiquing. Listen to them. They will give you hints about where to go and find good stuff. They are (usually) good people, just trying to make a living. So be respectful of them and their stuff. You are more likely to get a better deal and learn a little too.  Over the years, at times, I've witnessed people being a little rude, demanding a better price and even sometimes calling their stuff junk. That's not nice. Why?
I know you guys wouldn't be like that


1.  Cash is king. Bring cash. Small bills too, for smaller purchases.

2.  Get there early or arrive late? Depends. If you are looking for furniture or specific items than early is better. But don't expect better deals. The day has just begun! If you are looking for bargains than (often) later is better. Vendors often don't want to pack up and haul unsold merchandise home, so sometimes they will cut you a deal.

3.  Be friendly!

4.  Look under the tables, in boxes, look up! Ask vendors if they have more merchandise packed away.

5.  Bring shopping bags and paper to wrap your items. It keeps them safe from breaking while you shop.

6.  Research. If you are looking for certain items it's helpful to research what you are looking for online before you arrive at a a market so you can get a sense of price points and are better equipped to negotiate.

7.  Try to contain your enthusiasm for something you want. It's exciting when you find something you've been hunting for but, if the vendor knows you really want it they may be less inclined to budge on price.

8.  Always negotiate! I almost always ask if the vendor can do better on the price. I know that sometimes asking for a better price can be intimidating. One way to phrase it is "Would you be willing to consider $20 for this piece?" For example, if an item is $30, ask if they are comfortable with $20. There is usually wiggle room. It's a market, and you shouldn't be shy about asking for a better price. Sometimes they will say no, but it's worth a try.

9.  Bring a tape measure! Make sure it will a) fit in your vehicle b) fit in your house

10.  If you are buying furniture, get to know your woods, so you can certain about what you are buying, what can be repaired and how to look for damage.

11.  Try to imagine new uses for items. Upcycling, re-purposing is a fun way to incorporate old items into your home and give it new life.

12.  If you absolutely love it (and you can afford it) buy it! No regrets :)



Daytripping in Southwestern Ontario
Antiques in Canada


 Flea Market Insiders (USA)
Sunday Driver   (USA)
Huffington Post Guide 
Antique The USA

By no means is this a comprehensive list, but just a list of some of the markets I frequent plus other resources. Please share any favorite spots in the comments whether it's in Canada or the USA!

Happy antiquing!


  1. ramblingrenovatorsMay 14, 2015 at 10:03 PM

    Awesome tips and a very helpful list Debra! I'm always looking for new stops for day trips. One day I vow to make it to Brimfield. It seems like the ultimate antique fair.

  2. Jordana @WhiteCabanaMay 15, 2015 at 1:33 PM

    Great list, Debra! I have yet to go to Aberfoyle, but it's high on my to do list this year. I like Christie, but it can also be very overwhelming. I went to the Elora show a few weeks ago and it was a great size. Loads of people. Vendors had a good variety of merchandise.

  3. Thanks Jordana! What?! You must go to Aberfoyle. It's so close to you! I've never been to the Elora show. I'll have to check it out next time. I agree, Christie can be very overwhelming. Have a great weekend!

  4. Thanks Jennifer! I agree on Brimfield. I think it requires a truck and generous budget to make it worth the drive ;) Have a great weekend.


Thanks so much for your comments!