Have you seen the shows, Antique Roadshow, Antique History Detectives, or American Pickers? These are some of my favorite shows and, this year, I’ve been putting my nose to the ground and learning more about the antique trade. Twice this year, I’ve been an American Picker in Europe and I’ve had a blast. My wife and I have traveled to European flea markets and salvage yards to dig up some awesome stuff.
In 2009, we discovered the antique-minefield at Roundtop Texas and that led us to a professional antique shopper and our new friend, Tammy. Tammy takes buyers to Europe and helps them bring their purchases back to the States. She travels to the continent or England several times a year on antique buying trips. We first joined her group in January 2010 to Paris, France and Lincoln, UK.
The trips are hard work and not for the weak or pampered. Imagine…we begin our day in the dark, traveling to an antique fair or flea market . Hurrying along, so as not to miss the “one” great buy of the day. Trying to communicate with dealers that speak little English to haggle over prices, negotiating and then moving onto the next stall, and the next, trying to see everything from hundreds of tents. Rain or shine or mud (and lots of mud), we trudge through looking for the perfect piece.
When we find a treasure, and hand over the money, the next step is to tell the shipper, via radio communications, that we have a pick up. We tag the item, record it, take a photo, and then move on to the next dealer. Our shippers, Steve and Paul, swoop in with their truck and professional movers and they wrap the item and box it. We won’t see it again until it arrives in the states, approximately 6 weeks later. The antiques are placed into the shipping container. The full container is placed on a ship, which heads from the UK to the port in Houston Texas. The container is picked up at Houston and is taken to a holding facility until we can pick up our purchases.
And now, we’ve made our second trip to Europe, where we visited Belgium and England in August 2010. Stay tuned for the next blogs, where we’ll share what we’ve “picked”. Upcoming blogs: Part 1 – Belgium Part 2 – England