“We’ve all heard of antique dealers, but most of us know next to nothing about antique pickers. And yet these specialists are a crucial link on the chain that drags valuable relics out of obscurity and into our stores, museums and living rooms. In fact, if it weren’t for expert pickers like Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz, many antique stores would go out of business. Some historical artifacts would never have made their way into display cases. And an entire fleet of classic cars would still be up on blocks.
These self-described “modern archaeologists” are a far cry from dumpster divers. Ask any American picker, and you’ll probably learn there’s a science to their scrounging, a method to their memorabilia-seeking mission. Antique pickers like Mike and Frank travel the country, meeting collectors, hoarders, amateur historians and other individuals who all have unique stories to tell. Each and every treasure they uncover is a new history lesson, providing a glimpse at American life in the recent and distant past.
And then, of course, there’s the thrill of the hunt. Sometimes, it’s a race against time, with various pickers traveling from far and wide to check out–and compete for–a hot lead. Working for clients such as set designers, photographers, decorators and dealers, pickers go on wild goose chases for anything from motorcycles to military regalia to Ferris wheels.
So where do pickers track down their wares? Often, it’s way off the beaten path, in rural towns across the country, or right on the side of the road, especially on garbage pickup days. Sometimes they literally end up going from door to door, hoping to explore an abandoned barn or a basement packed to the gills with junk and gems.
Like antique dealers, pickers need a fabulous eye, especially when evaluating potential purchases that are covered in mildew, buried under dust or broken into fragments. It’s a risky business, too: after all, one person’s trash doesn’t always translate into another’s treasure. Or, as Mike and Frank put it, ‘You’re only as good as the last deal you made.’ ”
My mom has updated her booth recently! Sterling Silver Tradition has traded two dusty cases for a beautifully aged wood + glass case…swoonworthy.
Also, be sure to stop by throughout the week to see SST’s latest purchases fresh from Atlanta to you (via Scott’s Antique Market)
What did she bring home for me, you ask? Well…two very fabulous finds, if you don’t mind my braggin’.
…the first being my very own dough bowl!!! at long last, I have one to call mine! Can’t wait to serve up some steamin’ lowcountry boil…I can already smell the ole’ bay! MmMmMm! …can’t go wrong with a receipe like this! (via Garden & Gun Magazine)
The second surcie is equally as fun as it is functional, a pretty antique-French-blue fleur-de-lis which looks great on a bookshelf or even as a doorstop!
Now- I must add, just a few other finds I’ve been lucky enough to stumble over in the past month:
This chippy little wooden bucket with rusted bands is perfect for holding my current reading materials + later, just about anything else! (via Northbridge Antiques)
OK OK so, even though i haven’t been necessarily jotting a record of every trip i make, don’t think that i haven’t been busy piddlin’. i honestly have been to every decent antique mall this side of The Cooper, as well as the other side-a The Ashley. although– i haven’t been downtown one bit–i digress.
let’s see; where to start. since the last post, mom + i had to go back to walterboro one day because for one, she wanted to see about making a deal for THE most gorgeous sterling silver tea set i have ever seen, although, it was to no avail. seems, the people in an unnamed antique shop are above that kind of dealing. also, i had to retrieve my perfectly antiqued boat oar, complete with old antique blue paint that seemed to haunt me since i laid eyes on it…sorry for the tiny pic, still learning my camera settings.
on the way back into town we successfully made it to Farmhouse Antiques which was both delightfully all i wanted it to be + yet, a slight disappointment + surprisingly overpriced! although the pieces they had to offer were wonderfully original + perfectly aged…they were asking entirely too much. definately stop by the next time you are on hwy 17 though, as it really is guaranteed to take ya back.
in the past month i have been fortunate to spend time piddlin @ the following: Palmetto Moon Antiques | Antiques Market | Page’s Thieves Market | Southern Accents | Northbridge Antiques | Charleston Antiques | A.B. McConnell’s Old Things | + a sketchy warehouse sale (that was all mama’s doin) | + lastly Antiques @ South Windermere…like i said, the gamut.
i have certainly been busy digging for some serious finds…however it seems I have yet to come across a truly wonderful find here lately. this can only mean one thing...it’s time for a trip to METROLINA!! (already planned for april 3) + next…mom is updating her booth at Southern Accents with a new vintage case this weekend!