7 Vintage Items to Look for at Markets


Are you looking for items to add to your vintage collections? In this post, I am sharing 7 vintage items to look for at markets this summer.

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Let me tell you, we are so happy summer has finally arrived in the Northeast. Summer is my favorite time of year because I don’t have to shovel snow, wear a parka, or preheat my car. One of my favorite activities during the summer is to go to vintage markets. We have several that are within driving distance of our home including Brimfield and Madison-Bouckville. When attending these shows, we tend to get up early, grab a cup of coffee to go and try to be among the first people at the shows.

Generally, I find that the prices for items at these outdoor markets tend to be better than those in antique stores. So, in this post, I plan to share 7 vintage items I look for at these markets.

7 Vintage Items to Look for at Markets

7 Vintage Items to Look for at Markets

When attending these markets, I am almost always looking for furniture. However, not everyone wants to load an antique dresser into the back of their car. So, I am sharing vintage items that are generally easier to carry and transport.

Before going into a market, I bring a sturdy reusable bag that is filled with newspaper or tissue paper. When I buy items, I can wrap them up and put them in my bag.

Brass Candlesticks

Brass has been making a big comeback. It is showing up everywhere! Case in point, you can see oodles of vintage brass in Leanne Ford’s Farmhouse. In general, brass hardware such as pulls, faucets, and shower heads are in demand. Similarly, brass candlesticks are popular. Whenever I am at a market, I am looking for anything brass, particularly candlesticks.

Good news! Candlesticks are fairly easy to carry and they aren’t that fragile.


Ironstone usually falls into the category of “antique” and not “vintage” because it is generally at least 100 years old. However, the difference between vintage and antique items can sometimes be like splitting hairs and often depends upon the eye of the beholder.

My preference is all white ironstone that has an English back stamp that says something like Johnson Brothers or Alfred Meakin. As of late, I have been loving small pieces of ironstone including tureens, gravy boats, soap holders, relish dishes and toothbrush holders.

It’s always fun to collect ironstone and re-organize your collection to reflect the season. Having your tissue paper and/or newspaper ready for wrapping the ironstone helps to ensure safe transport.

European Bread Boards

European bread boards tend to be expensive. So, if I can find some at an outdoor market for a fair price, its a small victory. Brimfield antique flea market generally has a few vendors who specializing in selling European wares and they generally have some bread boards or cutting boards.

European bread boards

Just a quick note, I have been seeing many reproduction European bread boards popping up in various locations. To help ensure authenticity – the bread board you buy should be thick, heavy and show signs of use.

Architectural Salvage

If you have been following this blog for more than a week, then you know that architectural salvage is one of my favorite vintage items to find and collect. This includes old doors, windows, corbels, hardware, spindles, mantels and more. Generally, I find that outdoor markets offer the best prices for architectural salvage. So, if you see something you like and its reasonably priced – definitely buy it. It may not be there if you decide to come back to purchase it later in the day.

I can’t tell you how many times I decided to “think about” buying a piece of architectural salvage only to have it be sold to someone else a few moments later.

Here is a post on how to re-use architectural salvage balusters.

One quick note, depending upon the size or quantities of the item(s) you buy – after paying – ask the dealer if you can return at the end of the day to pick up your item(s). This way, you won’t have to lug those large pieces around the market.

Small Stools

I have never regretted buying a small stool. They are endlessly useful and practical. I use them in my booth as risers and they always seem to sell. I particularly love old wooden stools that are sturdy and have ornate cutout designs on the legs. Also, reupholstering a stool is one of the easiest and most satisfying projects. Here are step by step instructions on how to reupholster an old stool.

Before purchasing a stool, make sure it is sturdy and also check to see if any repairs have been made previously.

Old Frames

It’s so nice to see antique frames having a resurgence in popularity. The ornate frames are so beautiful and they have so much character. I love using them as is and often don’t put a painting or print on the inside.

Just a word of caution, old frames are usually damaged in some manner. Particularly if they have an ornate design made of plaster. I don’t mind the occasional chip or ding because it shows character and authenticity. However, some folks want an old frame in excellent condition. So, be sure to look carefully at the frame before purchasing it.


Paintings are another item I am always looking for. This is particularly true if they are landscapes or portraits. I’m also fond of paintings of animals. My preference is for paintings that are truly old. You can generally tell the age by looking closely at the canvas or board and frame. If a painting is signed – then all the better.

Again, I try to carefully wrap any paintings in tissue paper to protect them during transport. When purchasing a painting take the time to look carefully at the condition. Also, ask the dealer if they know anything about artist or the painting.

Similar Vintage Items

For those of you who can’t attend markets but still love collecting vintage items, I linked some similar vintage finds below.


Regardless as to where you go vintage treasure hunting this summer, I wish you the best of luck and happy hunting. Also, be sure to keep some extra boxes, news print and a blanket or two in your car.

If you enjoyed this post, then you may like this post with helpful tips and tricks for shopping at antique and vintage markets.

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  1. I loved this post, Anna! I am on the lookout for many of the same things you are! We have been so busy traveling, I have not had time to go thrifting but hopefully, that will change soon! Thanks for all the great tips!

  2. I would totally shop with you sweet friend, this is such a great list! I love that you’re so close to 2 major markets – that is super exciting. We’re headed to an event in July and I’ll definitely be taking these tips with me. They’re really helpful! Hugs, CoCo

  3. Oh Anna! What great info and eye candy. I share the love for all these items as well. I love going to markets. I’m lucky that we have many and frequent ones in Northern California. I have not gone lately but you put me in the mood. XO- MaryJo

    1. Oh gosh – California has some amazing vintage markets! If you do go, I hope you will share your finds with us!

  4. This is a great list to keep handy on my next thrifting outing. I love the ornate frames. I have actually never thought about not putting a painting or print inside. I am totally going to try this.

    1. Hi Tamara – Thanks for stopping by and for the kind comment. Have fun finding antique frames!

  5. I was hoping to make it to Brimfield in September! Hading out to these types of markets is one of my favorite pastimes. Thanks for sharing your tips—you have a great eye for digging up treasures!

    1. Hi Melanie! You will LOVE Brimfield in the fall. I am hoping to visit the show this July. It will be hot and humid but still worth it!

  6. Hello Anna! I wanted to let you know, we’ll be sharing this lovely post tomorrow on the Fabulous Friday Link Party! I hope you can join us there! Happy Day!

  7. Great post, Anna! Love the tips you share about the items, too! (Great cutting board tip!) Also, I wondered where you got the red/white dishes from in the cutting board photo. What is the design name? They are so pretty!

    Thanks for sharing at Tuesday Turn About! I’ll be featuring your post at this week’s party! Pinned!

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