By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
One person's junk is another's treasure
Placeholder Image
I have visited several antique stores and flea markets in the Richmond Hill area. And, I have visited community dumps. Going to these places are things we all do from time to time. From my perspective, each is a counterpart of the other, and they are a money-making business, regardless of their differences.
Items classified as an antique or a flea market item can be found just about anywhere. Those with a keen eye can find them in any yard sale, estate sale or community dump. The search for these artifacts is almost like prospecting for gold.
Every time I walk into an antique store or a flea market, I have a yearning to reflect back to the past, and to put my hands on things of years gone by. It’s like visiting a hands-on museum. Other than just simply making money, why is there so much interest? Why do we desire to reflect back to the past?
It seems to have developed in the past 30 or 40 years. I can remember when the terms “antiques” and “flea markets” were never heard. My theory is that when the Great Depression ended our society became alarmed that we were losing the past. It is convincing that it’s an intrinsic part of us all to revisit the past.
Going into a flea market or an antique store, seeing booths and booths of items of yesteryear for sale and watching people buying these items, in my view, are indeed a mystery. The cashier at the checkout counter takes their money and wraps their items. It’s like being in a department store in the ‘40s and ‘50s.
When I was a kid, growing up in a mill town, there was what we all called a “trash pile.” People went there looking for things they could use around the house. I went looking for parts to my bicycle.
Things I see in many flea markets today were things, then, that people just threw away. Now, today, these very things have a value placed on them – and at a considerable price. I have to conclude that our society just refuses to let go of the past.
If I were going to get into the business, serious consideration would be given to sanitary landfills or community dumps. Studying antiques, of course, would be first and foremost. Like a jeweler, one must be very keen on knowing the real from the fake. Antiques are no different. Not knowing much about antiques, I would be a prime target for those who indulge in dishonesty.
Recently, when I was at a dump unloading some refuge, I saw a complete cedar wardrobe almost at the bottom of the bin. I nearly wept at what people throw away. Had I had the proper means, I would have pulled it out, cleaned it, repaired it and would have made at least 300 bucks? The buyer would have been happy to boot.
Last summer, when I was at a dump unloading leaves and grass clippings, a truck pulled up beside me. A chauffeur got out and unloaded a complete set of a wrought iron table and six chairs. The lady stayed in the truck. Then they drove away. I quickly loaded her discards into my truck, took it home, cleaned it and it is now on my deck. The table and chairs were probably fabricated in the ‘50s and are considered a classic antique worth about $500 or $600 bucks.
 I guess we can conclude that this whole matter is just a part of our society. Things that are considered trash for some are things of value for others. I wonder who, or what, sets the value on these things we call antiques and flea market items?
Sign up for our E-Newsletters