If you think everything in Manhattan is overpriced, overhyped, trendy, useless, distracting and a disgusting display of conspicuous consumption, you are partially correct. However, there are three great flea markets in Manhattan that I regularly visit. The Antiques Garage, West 25th Street Market, and the Hells Kitchen Flea Market are open all year on weekends, 9:00 to 5:00. Last weekends haul—
13 pound die. Flea Market price: $10
First, a 13 pound die that was originally used to stamp medallions or belt buckles for the 1991 Daytona Bike Week. This is a great heavy weight, a nice compliment to the smaller dies I use for paper repair. All of these are hand carved out of steel and the vendor thought it was something in the “D” series. Drawback: I had to carry it home, a 3 mile walk. Bonus: If my conservation work dries up, I could do a second stamping of these (possibly) collectible belt buckles.
19th century photograph of a worker, but in what trade? Flea market price: $4
I also picked up this photograph. Some type of conveyer belt and height adjustment? Is it a stack a papers or thin wood in the foreground? Plywood manufacture?
A Charles Buck 4″ mini drawknife. Flea market price: $20
This will be perfect for shaping tool handles. Given its rust, I relunctly plunked down $20 because this knife will take two or three hours of work to get it into useable condition. However, after a little research at home, I found pristine collector example selling for $130. The Davistown Museum indicates while Charles Buck was part of the Buck Brothers, who still make edge tools today. Charles had a falling out with the other brothers and also made tools under his own name. Reportedly, his were of better quality than the others. Apparently tools marked with his name were made between 1872 and 1915.
Flea markets—another reason to come visit NYC.