This is a glorious place.
The first Sunday of every month, Alameda Antiques dares you to try to make it all the way through before the close promptly at 3pm.
What follows is our full, unadulterated take from this last (November) Fair, as a good example of what can be found. Last month we took home a Victorian(esque) couch and chairs set and an Edison record player, but that was a little out of the ordinary (I wouldn’t say it was out of the ordinary to find them, but we certainly don’t take home large items like that every month).
In some semblance of order:
- Matching picnic baskets, because we always need “just one more” for Gatsby. ($15 total)
- A dozen scarves + a few colorful hankies for pocket squares and a few cravats. ($18/$1ea)
- 3 silly old hats that I got for free(!) for being the first person all day to ask about them. So I have more hats now.
- Lace appliques that Monica is going to use for some dress thing. ($20/$.50ea)
- GIANT AMAZING TASSEL (who doesn’t love tassels?) that matches our beautiful curtains. ($10)
- Glass musical instrument Christmas tree ornaments + working egg-beater ornament. ($8)
- 9 assorted colored lightbulbs (fun in our Victorian standing floor lamps, also previously from AA). ($15)
- 1st Edition Where the Sidewalk Ends, home of the best poem ever, The Crocodile Toothache. ($8)
- Easy Steps in Sewing for Big and Little Girls, includes patterns! 1913 ($25)
- A final book I can’t tell you about, as it’s a future Christmas present. Note the snappy dresser ;)
- Haggle, haggle, haggle! If you can’t accept the price, note the booth number and come back at the end of the day. Sellers really don’t want to take that stuff home. (our couch and chairs started the day at a few hundred more than we bought them for)
- My “haggle rule of thumb” is to start at just over 50%. If it’s priced at $50, I’ll start haggling at $30. Most sellers will take offense at asking for half price, and if you start haggling at your goal (let’s say $40), you’ll often only haggle them to meet in the middle (in this case, $45). Shockingly, they often accept my first haggle price!
- Bring cash! Haggling without cash is against the rules of haggling. Smaller bills also helps you not look like a dick for handing them larger bills than you’ve haggled for. (thanks for the reminder on this one Rich!)
- Ask about delivery. They carted it onto the island somehow, they’re often fine with carting it off. (please offer a tip upon delivery!)
- Related, do not use the delivery truck guys out front – so expensive!
- If a booth is priced really high, just walk away. There are no deals there, but if you waste time gawking at unaffordable trinkets, you’ll miss cheap trinkets somewhere else. I cannot express how widely booth prices vary.
- My biggest tip is to be on the lookout for things you want at booths that are full of stuff you don’t want. My best deals have always come from sellers that just don’t really know what they have, as opposed to sellers that specialize in what you’re looking for.
- Dress well! The compliments at AA are glorious and plentiful! (and it helps get better deals!)
- Comfortable shoes and a hat. You’ll be walking 5 miles.
- The best coffee is the second coffee truck on the right (tropical theme, not yellow theme)
- Good luck, and say hello if you see me!