Sometimes we don't just want the regular old altar tools. We don't want to pop online to a Wiccan or Pagan shop and order a wand, or a chalice, or whatever else we need. Sometimes we want something special, something with history. The problem is most modern Pagans don't have boxes from Grandma full of old tools. This is where antiques become useful, but unless you know where to go, finding suitable antiques can prove problematic.
For those who love antiques, searching out the perfect item and getting a good deal can be an exciting and exhilarating moment. However, for those who don’t know where to find antiques, or perhaps don’t understand what an antique is, this search can end is disappointment and sometimes even heartbreak. Before you can begin your search for antiques, you have to know where to go and you’ll certainly need a basic understanding of the term “antique.”
Probably the most persistent myth regarding antiques is the theory that if it is old, it must be rare and valuable. An item that is old isn’t necessarily an “antique.” It’s old. Most of the old items floating around are not really that valuable and they may not even be rare. If it`s neither valuable nor rare, then it cannot be appropriately termed an “antique.”
So, in order to be classified as an antique, the item you’re considering must be of a certain age and must be worth something to someone. Most dealers will not label an item as “antique” until it is at least 45 years of age, so consider that before you head out to shop for antiques. Also take into account the rarity and value of a given item. To some extent, these two things are related. However, a rare item isn’t necessarily valuable. Understanding antiques and their prospective values is somewhat of an art, so if you’re unsure, do your research first and consult an expert.
Once you’ve acquired some basic knowledge, it’s time to start looking for antiques. However, you can’t just head out without some idea of what you’re looking for. There are many antique shops and dealers who specialize in certain items. You don’t end up in a pottery shop when shopping for Victorian furniture. Before you begin your search, you should have some basic idea of the items each shop deals in. This can be done by simply calling ahead.
That said, antique shops are not necessarily the best place to acquire antiques. It may sound counter-intuitive, but in a shop you`re paying a higher price for items the dealer doesn`t want anyway. There are other options that may help you cut costs and offer a better selection.
Estate sales are the perfect place to find interesting antiques, especially if you're looking for glassware (you might find a nice chalice). Estate sales are typically held after a death, divorce, or even large scale move. These sales may have items that are decades or even centuries old for sale at a decent price. Keep in mind, however, that professional dealers also frequent these sales to acquire items for their own collections and to display in their shops. You`ll be competing with these people for the items of your choice, so go prepared.
Flea markets are fun and enjoyable to visit and you might just find what you’re looking for. Often, vendors at flea markets have their items priced lower to attract most customers. You may be able to acquire that unique staff or chlaice for a fraction of what you might pay for it in an antique shop. But make sure you examine the items carefully. Some vendors use flea markets to get rid of damaged merchandise without fully informing the customer.
If you’re looking for antiques at prices you simply can’t beat, rummage around in local yard sales. Yard sales are usually held by people who have no desire to examine their own goods thoroughly and haven’t consulted a professional. You will often find people selling antique glassware, paintings, and even furniture for next to nothing, so take a trip around your area in the spring and summer for the best selection.
Don`t ignore the possibility of finding a valuable antique at your local thrift shop. There are many tales of people finding items worth thousands of dollars for just a few pennies. This is especially true of glassware and other delicate items. You`ll sometimes even find antique books on the shelves of a thrift shop (a good friend of mine found some interesting texts any Pagan would be interested in). However, this is not an easy search, as there will be many items that are not even worth a look. Do some research on the items you`re hunting for so you can quickly identify the real thing. Of course, items as thrift stores tend to be priced cheap, so you probably won’t lose much money even if you make a mistake.
If you’re willing to take a risk, invest some time, and truly search for antiques, you can probably acquire much of what you’re searching for at relatively cheap prices. Search yard and garage sales, estate sales, thrift stores, and even your mother’s attic for items that are old, rare, and valuable. Keep in mind, however, that if these resources yield no results, you can always check your local antique shop or dealer. If they don’t have something, they may be able to find it for you. If you’re willing to pay the price.
Welcome to the Order of the Sacred Star! This Pagan/Wiccan group, based in Winnipeg, Canada, is committed to teaching the Craft to all those who wish to learn. Our goal is to provide a complete and fulfulling learning experience. Our public classes are offered through the Winnipeg Pagan Teaching Circle.