This past Saturday, my 2 antiquing girlfriends and I hopped in the car for the jaunt up I-95 to the Fredericksburg Big Flea. The Expo Building itself is waaaaaay back inside the most twisty and turny mass of shopping development you have ever seen but at least it is right off the highway so you really can’t get lost getting there. And if you are feeling hungry there must be 50 chain restaurants to stop at in about a quarter-mile area. Not my cup of tea at all. But that’s beside the point.
We did this show last year and had a lovely time so we had been looking forward to what this year would bring. It was a beautifully warm day and after the past weeks of extreme cold I must have been feeling pretty giddy to get out because I never ever thought to take any pictures of the show for you. What an eejit.
I will say that I think the name of the show is a bit misleading. I tend of think of flea markets as bargain-land but not so, at least not here. Still we had a good time.
Immediately upon entering the show, we went right and there was a booth with gorgeous antiques. With crazy high prices. He did, however, have the most beautiful Venetian mirror I think I have ever seen. It was drop-dead gorgeous; a little distressed (but only slightly) and that, of course, makes it so much more appealing to me. No price tag visible. Never a good sign.
The dealer apparently saw me gawping and came up to me. He explained that it was a Venetian mirror (yes, I figured that) and that if one were to insure it, the replacement value would be around $15,000. Ok, no surprise there. So what are you asking for it, I say. He’s willing to let it go for $3500 which is what he says he paid for it at an auction plus the buyer’s premium. A fire sale.
Honestly, that was probably a fair price. If I thought I was in any danger of winning the lottery that baby would have been in the back of my car in about 15 seconds. I’m still pining for it.
So, we start working our way around the show – it is quite large – and quickly get separated. It’s crowded and we tend to go at different paces anyway, each of us has different things that appeal to us. I got sidetracked by a cool small Victorian metal sculpture of an animal (a dog? wolf?) but the dealer’s best price is not quite good enough to make me get my wallet out.
I’m not seeing much in the way of Christmas yet either so I keep going. Finally, I spy a couple of tiny trees in the bottom of a box. The dealer gave me a nice price on them. Now we’re cooking.
But as it turns out it was quite a long time later before I made any more purchases. What I saw in the way of Christmas was way more expensive than I can afford to pay. And I mean, WAY more.
There was a booth with a gazillion of old ornament boxes all filled with goodies plus other treasures as well. I got all excited. But even after offering to make a bulk purchase (like a couple of hundred bucks worth), she was not able to offer a discount that I felt would work for me. Sadly, I had to pass it all by.
And that continued to be the story until I found this charming fellow.
Yes, he is pretty distressed and he has a hole in his shoulder but I know I can still do something wonderful with him. He was just too adorable to pass by. Who could resist that expression?
Eventually, I came to another booth with quite a bit of ornaments but again they were out of my reach. She did, however, have a nice selection of the jumbo Poland ornaments and they always make me stop in my tracks. Fortunately for me, we were able to come to an agreement and I purchased a nice selection of large balls – both Polish and German. These were by no means the bargain of a lifetime but I think they ended up being a pretty fair price for what they are.
I also got these three West German ornaments from the same lady. These are highly collectible and I am looking forward showing them off in something I make. The gold foil angels float around in their little world inside the glass.
This lady, who was as nice as can be, also had some cool pieces that she had made using pieces from old glass garlands. I bought several of them from her thinking that they would look awesome on a wreath.
At the end of the day, we were pretty pooped from walking for hours on a concrete floor but we each had scored some things that we were quite happy with. We had bumped into folks we knew and had a perfectly pleasant time.
I’m taking a bit of a left turn now but did you all get caught up on Downton Abbey last night? I’m going to assume that if you are following this blog we probably have some things in common and Downton is likely one of them.
++++ Spoiler alert! If you are not up to date, don’t read further! ++++
The preview for next’s week’s episode freaked me out. Honestly, I woke up this morning worrying about the Dowager Countess! Did you see that?!?!?! If they kill Maggie Smith off, Julian Fellowes better start watching his back cuz someone is likely to put a fatwa on him. And what about poor Edith? Can’t she ever catch a break? Poor thing. I hate to think that her man fooled her (and me) and is going to turn out to be a charlatan of the first order. Geez.
What do you think?