Picking with Reyne – Vol 2 – By Reyne Haines

May 7th, 2010 by

As summer nears, we find more outdoor flea markets and antique markets opening with more dealers and larger crowds.  Surely there is a bargain out there to be found!

Before you set the alarm the night before, what are some “tools” of the trade you need to make sure to have with you on your picking journeys?

Below is my list, and I’d love to hear some of yours!

  1. A good night’s rest.  All serious buyers know the early bird finds the Declaration of Independence hidden in a frame behind the cheap painting.  If you arrive later in the day, all you will find to buy is a grilled burger and a Coke.
  2. Comfortable shoes.  Now, I am the first one to wear heels at the airport, walking around New York City, and to the grocery store, but I draw the line with flea markets and antique shows.   If the show is any good, you’ll be walking for miles; and if you are an early bird you will be running once the gates open!
  3. Cash – The offer to pay in cash can often get you a better deal than paying with a credit card or check.   In fact, there are many dealers that don’t take other forms of payment.
  4. Your cell phone!  Most phones have internet browser capabilities should you need to do some quick research.
  5. A pocket size measuring tape.  If you are trying to determine if something has been cut down, or if you want to call a client and sell an item on site, you’ll need to know what the measurements are.
  6. A loupe.  This handy little pocket magnifying glass helps you read hallmarks, tiny script signatures, and also helps us find chips & cracks and repairs which can often be hard to spot at first glance.  There is nothing worse than getting home with your bag full of goodies only to later determine there was a hairline crack you missed!
  7. A portable black light – Restoration can be easily missed, especially in the early morning hours.  Black lights give you the ability to spot restoration to paintings, pottery, glass, and more.

I would love to hear some of your picking tips – respond to the blog here!

Flea Markets – Antique Markets for the month of May:

Urban Market – Houston, Texas  May 15-16th

Brooklyn Flea – Brooklyn, NY – Every Saturday and Sunday

16 Responses to “Picking with Reyne – Vol 2 – By Reyne Haines”

  1. Carolyn Cobayley Says:

    This is great information…for beginners and the seasoned. You hit all the important high notes. I would have to add some pocket wet wipes. I hate to think of some of the times I’ve handled something and I could not wait to get to the nearest water source. I always keep a couple in my pocket. SUNSCREEN….I don’t care if it is cloudy at Alameda….you can still burn. Budget..many times flea markets have ATM’s on site. Know how much you can spend before you get to the venue.

    Thank you!!

  2. Reyne Haines Says:

    Carolyn- How could I forget wet wipes and sunscreen (along with sunglasses if you have light colored eyes like me!)

    Thank you so much for chiming in!


  3. Marko Says:

    Reyne! Really good advice! In addition… of course happy mind! A lot of fun to make a trade when the seller / buyer is a happy mind. And perhaps a little smile to get the price down ;-)

    Second addition…Negotiate the price ! This is one of the basic idea when you do the trade at flea markets.Selling price is rarely the price of what you hear first.

    third addition..take the time when you go to shopping a flea market. Forget the rush…. Näytä lisää
    It’s nice to spend a day at flea markets. Watch, talk and sit down. The world around you….It is the flea market world :-)

    fourth addition…Unfortunately ! Flea markets have a lot of people.When have a lot of people then also be thieves.Remember to beware of thieves and cheats. I do not mean that everyone would be thief. But prudence is a good !

  4. Reyne Haines Says:

    Marko – I like the happy mind part. A good attitude definitely goes further than a bad one!

    The world of collecting is about the art of negotiation isn’t it. You can’t go into a retail store (at least here in the US) and ask for a better price. Everyone loves a bargain!

    Thanks for adding these great points! I look forward to hearing from others.

    Carolyn – Marko – have you found anything at the flea markets lately?


  5. Marko Says:

    Reyne…Thanks for your answer :-)

    The world is big but the flea market culture is the same around the world. I live in Finland and you in the USA. The distance is long but I think that I could make a trade with the same rules in Finland than in the USA…..we pay only in a different currency but it is not a problem to do business :-)

    Flea market / antique world is an interesting. It’s nice to meet people which is interested in the same things as myself.
    You can get good advice and help in objects identifying. You have to remember only the smile as you get help :-)

    Reyne..You have probably familiar with the feeling when you find something really good stuff.
    It is an indescribable feeling!! I’ve known several times this feeling.Then my face is like the sun = smile :-)
    These days good stuff is hard to find. It is just lost somewhere.Maybe people know better the goods. They do not want to sell their goods at flea markets. Each jar is in their view antiques.

    So, if you are selling at flea markets, product pricing is important. If you really want loose of the goods so do not priced too high. Each Tupperware cup is not antiques! So remember it when you priced products.

    Oh no! I talk quite something else!! Your question was have I found something at flea markets? Your question is easily answered….I have found really much!! dozens..hundreds..thousands of products !! I’m old stuff addict :-)

    Sorry if my language is bad….but we collectors have a common language. It is an unspoken language which only understands the real old goods friends .

    Here all this time…..and remember to smile :-)

  6. Reyne Haines Says:

    Marko – I like to hear that you are an old stuff addict.
    Old stuff is made so much better than machine made stuff today.

    I love hearing that people still find things out in the field.

    It seems the better things are harder to find. Maybe because there
    are more people collecting these days?

    What is your most memorable find?


  7. Jackie Sharbrough Says:

    I love this article! I’m all about the comfortable shoes part. And I’ve never even thought of bringing a magnifying glass or black light.
    So looking forward to meeting you this weekend at The Urban Market!
    Thank you for everything!
    Jackie Sharbrough

  8. Marko Says:


    I have many memorable find. This product is one of them. I live in a town whose name is Salo.
    Here in Salo had been factory, which was called “Salon kaakelitehdas” ( Salo tile factory )
    Factory produced tiles in 1902-1923.
    This relief is made of red clay.Its size is 18″ x 14″.

    Finland became independent in 1917. Relief is the theme of independence ( heraldic lion, statute book, bible and National legendary figure “Väinämöinen”) .Väinämöinen is a national hero. He is the protagonist of book what called “Kalevala”.

    This product is also a propaganda product.Intended to show Russia that Finland is an independent state.

    Style of direction is Art Nouveau ( In Finland, the style is called “Jugend” )

    This is a unique product and its value to be $1000-1500.

    I found this from a local flea market and I paid for it….????…hahaa :-)…I can not tell, because it was too cheap !!

    Here is a link where you can see relief.


  9. Marko Says:


    Oh yeah … I forgot to tell you.On Sunday I go to a large antique event in Helsinki.
    If only the weather is good. I go to buy and sell.

    I thought that I could take photos and show you what is the Finnish antique / flea market culture.

    I have also heard that you collect watches….is this the right information?
    I can look if I can find watch treasures :-)


  10. Reyne Haines Says:

    Jackie – We are looking forward to seeing what’s for sale at The Urban Market.
    Comfortable shoes, video camera and all!


  11. Reyne Haines Says:

    Marko – Thank you for sharing the photo of the Jugendstil piece.
    It is lovely.

    YES – we’d all love to see what a Finland flea market looks like.
    I’ll be taping at The Urban Market this weekend for Antiques.com
    Watch for the upcoming video!

    You heard right, I am a watch enthusiast. I have a new book out on collecting
    wristwatches, thanks to F&W Publications. They are a great group of people
    to work with.


  12. Marko Says:

    Ok Reyne!

    We will do the barter. You show me a video and I`ll show photos.

    Unfotunately, whwn I saw the weather report, it seems that it rains on sunday.

    But I think of positives, it is only water and the sun dries the water.

    Hope it is good to live in :-) we return to this issue later.

    Hey U! Where can I find this an interesting book?


  13. Reyne Haines Says:


    You can buy my book on the bookstore at antiques.com

    You will see the video “Collecting 101″ uploaded to Antiques.com soon.
    I’ll send you a notification.

    Now, don’t forget to upload images of the markets in Finland!


  14. Antique Picking Says:

    This is good stuff. I’ve watched that show American Pickers and wonder what you think of those guys? Is it the real deal or just entertainment?

  15. American Pickers Says:

    I’ve wondered about that, too. The American Pickers guys seem to walk by a lot of cool stuff.

  16. Reyne Haines Says:

    The guys from American Pickers are the real deal. They are certainly doing things
    the old school way by knocking on doors and chasing down antiques that have
    long been forgotten by their owners.

    It is not entertainment!

    Long before eBay, the Internet and Antique Malls, knocking on doors like they do was how people actually bought antiques.

    Kudos to them for their efforts! They do a great job of promoting the collecting world
    and getting more people interested in picking!


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