People who love to trade in antiques are a very special breed. They live for the “find,” like the couple who buy the rickety old wooden chair at a garage sale for 15 bucks—then, before driving off to the next poor soul’s house, can’t resist telling the clueless sellers that it’s antebellum.
Few are that snarky, of course. They’re a community not unlike the experts on Pickers or Pawn Stars. They see through the rust, grime and flaking paint to see what’s beneath. They recognize character. And, value.
Plenty of antiquers buy and sell in ILLINOISouth, the 20-county corridor that stretches from St. Louis east to the Indiana border like a belt that holds up a paunch facing west.
Some are big, some are small, some are malls. Some trade in true antiques… that is, items that have been around a century or more… some in “collectibles.” Most have a little of some, a little of the other. For many, antique just means that they don’t make ’em like they used to, or you had something similar at home growing up, or you collect fine French china. (And don’t mind the little “flea bite” on that glazed white pitcher from around 1920. Turn the chipped side to the wall and nobody will notice.)
Some collectors love to display well-used farm implements, inside and out. There’s plenty of that around here, from Fairview Heights to Olney.
One thing to remember: Wherever it is, no antique store is ever the same place twice! So come early, come often.
St. Clair Antique Mall, Fairview Heights: 618-628-1650
One of the region’s several antique malls is only 15 minutes from downtown St. Louis. Two hundred dealers offer a dizzying array of goodies, so make a day of it. If there was a specialty here, it would be primitives, crock ware, glassware and furniture. Just across I-64 is one of the region’s major retail malls and dozens of big-box stores, where you can take a break to shop for some new stuff.
Windows on Broadway, Highland: 618-651-4401
There are nearly 100 windows on this building, thus the name. Want some old magazines or 45 RPM singles? Check. A butter churn or bowling pins? You got it. But the 2,100-square-foot atrium graced by all those windows? Probably not. It’s more than an antique store; it’s a destination for intimate special events with a kitchen and bar.
The Antique Mall of Perry County, Nashville: 618-336-5300
Seventy-plus vendors have it all, from quality antiques to vintage collectibles…
all on one floor, in 12,000 square feet of space.
Vintage Collections Antique Mall, Mt. Carmel: 618-262-2513
Some collectors want things that are vintage or “retro,” regardless of whether they’re truly antique. You’ll find those here, too. Various genres are available, from primitives to costume jewelry. Dealers are always welcome.
Prairie Albion Antique Mall, Albion: 618-302-2146
Are you a “repurposer”? This place is chock full of stuff you’ll want to work with. There are stoneware crocks, primitives and pottery, and blue “canning” jars. Or, select one-of-a-kind decorations for a banquet or country wedding!
Fabulous Finds by Jerri Allen, Olney: 618-919-0532
This unique emporium offers French Country, shabby chic, primitives, upcycled and repurposed treasures. You crazy kids might even find items that you could fashion into “steampunk”… simply from picking through what other shoppers passed off as “just junk”… here or at any other of stores we featured.
This information originally appeared in the Fall Tourism Times Newsletter. Click here and sign up to receive three issues every year at no cost!