Flea Market Tips, a Treasure and a Video
Tips for Flea Market Shopping
Have you ever been to a flea market? They are a cross between a humongous garage sale, a bad discount store, and a treasure hunt. It’s the treasure hunt part that’s fun.
Not everything billing itself a “flea market” has much in the way of vintage glass. In the last couple years our local market has had more of the overstock import dollar store stuff and less of the good stuff. By good stuff I mean glass. Or china. Or vintage neat thingies that you don’t need but can’t live without.
There’s a knack to flea market shopping. I’m not a whiz by any means (Extreme Flea Marketing: The Movie anyone?) but I do OK as long as I stick to a few basic rules.
- Dress right.
- Bring packing materials and a sturdy shopping bag
- Bring something to clean off glass before you buy it.
Dress comfortably; don’t wear your best clothes; don’t wear white; don’t wear sandals. You’ll get dirty and so will your clothes.
Most dealers have newspaper to wrap purchases but they appreciate you bringing your own materials. Plus if you bring bubble wrap or clean newsprint you won’t get icky newspaper ink all over. I like to bring bubble bags and one of those fabric grocery store bags to carry my glass.
Dirt can hide wear or chips. Bring along a wet washcloth in a plastic baggy to wipe the dirt off before you purchase it. I can’t tell you how many plates all full of scratches I bought at our local flea market before figuring this one out!
What about prices? Ten years ago dealers at our local market asked a buck or so for most pieces of glass, more if it was colored, less if it didn’t look like anything. Today the prices are a lot higher, often well above eBay.
- If you find something it’s OK to act interested if you are. But set a price in your mind and walk away if the dealer wants more than you want to spend.
- It’s OK to bargain but be polite.
With some dealers it’s best to have a price in mind, then offer something a bit less. With others you’ll do better if they tell you how much they want. Lots of times they will say $10 but you can have it for $7. So don’t jump at their first offer immediately, take a moment.
One man at our local market has signs to disregard the price stickers which are from estate sales. He likes to take the marked price and want half – which is usually much too much. Last time Dave and I went this booth had a different person who was quite reasonable. In fact I got a pair of Fostoria Holly duo candle holders along with other gems. You can see one here, right after the video.
Flea markets aren’t the best way to get great glass – but they are fun. See you there!
Flea Market Video
Treasure! Fostoria Holly Candle Holder