Monday, March 4, 2013

Shopping the Big Flea in Chantilly Virginia

The Big Flea at the Expo Center in Chantilly, Virginia is held every other month- I try to go as often as possible. It is a great place to buy, as well as check out trends and prices. The January Flea is considered the best as most dealers come with fresh merchandise, but March is good too. Per my usual routine, I went with a former museum colleague and we spent the entire day shopping and visiting with old and new friends. This weekend the Flea was super crowded and people seemed to be buying. Dealers told me they were selling well.

Jim Barker, an appliance dealer who always has truly wonderful old electric appliances, film reels, glass storage containers, oil cans, and interesting bottles, gave me an adorable little electric plug in the shape of a dog. I have long admired these early electrical plugs and Jim found one that he was willing to part with. Jim's booth is always crowded as customers know he will gladly share his knowledge.

 For more about collecting these visit this post on my Facebook page here.

I loved these little hanging glass bud vases. Do Re Me! Unusual and sweet. This one was once painted white. Even though we are expecting a big snowstorm mid week, Spring is right around the corner. I can't wait for the warm weather. 

There were lots of bunnies since Easter is the next big holiday. This big bronze bunny was a show-stopper.

Candy containers in the shape of bunnies

One of the frustrating things about the Big Flea is that some dealers don't bring business cards, have no web site or shop so you just have to catch them at the show or you are out of luck. The dealer selling this lovely railroad china had a wonderful selection of all types of china used by different railway lines. His menus were interesting. He is more of a collector than dealer, but has a great eye and good prices. Wish there was a way to contact him.

I became interested in hands after someone asked me to look for a reflexology or astrological ceramic hand. I have three little hands for sale here, but found these 2 interesting as well. They make nice jewelry holders for your dressing table.

This set of 4 pressed glass curtain tie pins or backs were so pretty. I am attracted to tie pins since they are a small and relatively inexpensive detail that makes a big impact in an interior. I use them for doorknobs and hooks, too.

These beautiful hand painted miniature sewing baskets are highly collectible and rare. They were featured items for sale in the booth of the Frank and Mary Ann Brandt from Cleveland. Mary Ann is a mentor and friend and I have purchased many things from her. She has a keen eye for folk art and primitive. These gorgeous baskets were being offered for a very reasonable $125 each. The condition was excellent. If you are interested in purchasing the baskets you can reach the Brandts at If I still worked at the museum I would have definitely purchased these for the collection.

I met a lovely couple, David and Mary Lee Snuffer. They just happen to be good friends of the Brandts-good people always hang with other good people. The Snuffers were offering a nice selection of 20th century modern. They have a shop, Mahla & Co. Antiques in Pittsburgh. This lucite chair, one of a pair, could be easily taken apart for shipping, and was to die for! I need to take a trip to Pittsburgh. 

The Snuffers also were offering this Italian bar cart for a little over $200. A good deal. Excuse my photography-I use my Iphone and I can't keep my hands from shaking when I see something I really like.

Are you familiar with One King's Lane? I love that site, especially the Vintage and Market Finds section. I shop there frequently and have noticed that Italian glass grape clusters are big sellers. They appear to sell out quickly. Well, as I strolled down the aisle at the Big Flea a booth with several grape clusters caught my eye and I immediately thought of One King's Lane. The dealer, Robin Prior of The Gilded Manor just happens to be a successful dealer on One King's Lane and is probably the one offering all those fabulous grape clusters. I talked with Robin for a long time and loved her attitude, enthusiasm and eye. She was featuring a giant mahogany campaign bar-a one-of-a-kind piece that just stopped you in your tracks. 
Here are my favorite items from her booth. Look for her on OKL.

This tray of enameled egg charms was astounding. 

Figurative vanity brushes

Someone said, "If I was looking for a collection of these vanity brushes I would never find them, I am not so here is a complete selection!" Really nice condition on all of them.

 Leopard print hat and muff

 Nipper, the RCA Victor dog. 

The next Big Flea is May 4-5. See you there. 

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