Portobello Road

I almost wrote 'Nervous Nellie' when the form asked my name,
as I registered as a buyer at an antique auction house
along with experienced antique dealers
What had I gotten myself into?

The nice man gave me my numbered card to raise during the auction
(could I exchange it for my favorite number 9, please?)
(elderly lady behind me smiles and says her mom always asked for a 3)

This was really the last frontier of buying cool vintage stuff for me
It showed my absolute dedication :)
 and I was sooooo nervous

Would I be able to understand their accent
as numbers flew out of their mouths?

Dare I remove a stray hair tickling my cheek
in fear of accidentally buying something?

Would my American accent 'out' me as a foreigner,
my shaky voice indicate my inexperience,
or would I accidentally double the price?

Here's how it worked:
I went a few days before the auction to view what was going to auction
I marked on my paper the items I was interested in (2 paintings)
The sheet indicated the opening bid
On that particular day, there were loads of furniture, artwork, and kitchen goodies
all at incredibly affordable prices/opening bids
Basically wholesale antiques!

Some of my recent purchases-
Groovy vintage printers tray by blogging friend, Vintage Sheet Addict
Authentic letter blocks from The Bothy

The day of the auction I found about 70 people in the room
The auctioneer was very easy to understand and spoke slowly (yay!)
They went through the items only by number, so I'm glad I went on preview day to view the goods
Typically only about 2 or 3 people were bidding on a particular item
The highest bidder paid for the item and took it home that day
(delivery available)

Because most of the bidders were dealers,
they would drop out from a bidding war early
as they didn't have the emotional tie to items
and needed to make a profit

I got my two paintings at half the price I would have paid at an antique fair
with no embarrassing mishaps
- plus a story to go with it and conquering the fear of auctions :)

Ardingly Antiques & Collection Fair

But if you must know, 
my happy happy place for vintiquing
held only twice a year

It is HUGE and jam-packed with vendors from all over Europe
It is open two days in a row, but only go the first day when it is full of vendors

Everything you could imagine is there
It is so freaky-good that I get giddy
each time I step foot among the treasures yet to be discovered

I have found London to be too expensive,
but nearby Surrey has some other great finds:

Hampton Court Village, East Molesey  
Dorking's West Street

I've found car boot and jumble sales have great deals 
but rarely provide good loot

The most bizarre thing I've seen in my foraging?
A container of human glass eyeballs from Victorian times(!)

My recent brocante obsession?
Kitchen scales and kitchen containers

Do you have any tips to share?
Your obsession?

- all photos by me -

More info: Ewbank Auctions
Related post: Buying Vintage In England