Flea market havens

Visit these shopping happenings for great bargains

want mint Barbie dolls still in the packaging, which can cost $1,000 or more, a flea market is not the place to shop,” Schroy contends. Alternatively, “If you don’t mind one that has been played with, you can find them at flea markets for $5.”

  • Thoroughly inspect items before you purchase them and avoid badly damaged goods. “Think out the piece,” Schroy advises. “If it’s a chair, examine the places that should be worn, the legs, the seat, etc.” Look at the hardware. Are the screws or nails too new for that 19th century dresser?
  • Use all your senses. Touch the piece, smell it, look at it, listen to the ping if it’s glass. “I recently bought a fake piece of glass,” admits Schroy. “It matched a piece I had, and it was marked. But it was also dusty. If I had taken the time to clean it off, I would have felt it and realized it was new, not old.” New glass has a greasy, slippery feel.
  • Bring the right tools. Write down measurements and colors. Take a tape measure and a magnifying glass, advises Rinker. Bring along fresh batteries to test radios and toys. Also, bring small denominations of cash.
  • Most of all, says Craft, “have fun and buy what you like.”

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