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Uncover hidden treasures: Mastering antiquing with 8 expert tips

Expert strategies for successful antique hunting.

Whether you’re there to buy or browse, there’s nothing better than spending the weekend meandering around an antique shop.

Hand-in-hand with a partner or flying solo, let your imagination run wild as you create origin stories to accompany those vintage pieces you simply cannot leave without. 

If you’re new to the hunt, there are some tips and tricks to help you make the most of each outing. Perhaps you’re looking for that perfect antique bureau to finally fill the empty space in your living room. Or you’re hoping to add to your collection of vintage type writers and Tiffany lamps.

Maybe you just want to see what all the fuss is about…No matter your antiquing goals, here are a few tips and strategies to ensure success. And just so you know, leaving empty handed is ok too, it comes with the territory. 


Make a list

Antique shops or markets can feel overwhelming to a beginner, especially if there are multiple vendors. For first timers, having a few key items written down or on your notes app can help keep your focus. 

Do your research 

Unfortunately, there can be a few unscrupulous sellers out there. Make sure you do your homework so you’re not getting gouged. Google and eBay are great tools. And thanks to the magic of smartphones, you can research on the spot. Also, check for nicks, tears, and scratches, and make sure hinges and levers are functioning properly. 

Wear your negotiating hat 

Some people are born hagglers. For others it may take years to develop a poker face. Don’t be shy about throwing out a lowball offer. Worst case scenario, they say no. Best case, they counter and the dance begins. Still hesitant? If there’s an antique enthusiast in your network, ask to tag along and observe how the regulars do it.


Cash is king

Some places may not have debit or credit machines, the WiFi may be down and ATM machines can have a hefty service charge. Also, some sellers may offer a better price for “cash deals”. 

Be skeptical

Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions and especially ask to see proof of authenticity. Though something may look “antiquey” and unique, it could be mass produced and available at your local department store. 

Get dirty

If you’re serious about this hobby, inspect every inch. This means you might need to get on your hands and knees to thoroughly inspect an item. Flip pieces over, crawl underneath tables, and open all drawers to find marks of authenticity.



Now antiquing with a cocktail in hand does sound like a blast (or potential for a big case of buyers’ remorse) but this acronym refers to Bring Your Own Bags and Bubble Wrap. This way you can avoid multiple trips back and forth to the car, or keep glass and porcelain pieces safe during your travels. 

Be patient and have fun

Try not to be disappointed if some trips have you leaving empty handed. The key to antiquing is going often. If something brings you joy, authenticity and one-of-a-kindness be damned. If it fits in your budget and you love love love it, go ahead and treat yourself. 

Provincial hotspots 

Ready to shop? Finding a new location can be just as thrilling as the pieces you bring home. Here are just a few destinations to get you started. Happy hunting. 

  1. St. Jacobs
  2. Antique Alley
  3. The Freelton Antique Mall
  4. Aberfoyle
  5. Thunder Bay
  6. Algoma County