I love antiques. I guess you could really say I just love old things. Some of my old things aren’t necessarily antiques, they’re just old. Anyway, I love looking for old stuff but not at fancy antique stores. My favorite places to look are flea markets and little hole in the wall shops with so much junk it’s literally spilling out the front door. These are the places I love to visit because you can find great hidden gems for almost next to nothing.
Top 5 Flea Market Collectibles
When I say metal containers I’m referring to my three favorites; watering cans, oil cans and buckets. I love using them to house floral arrangements, corral magazines or just fill a space when I’m styling a vignette in one of my rooms. At this time I have around 15 watering cans. I collect them and two of my favorites came from my husband’s and my grandparents. Most are displayed above my kitchen cabinets and others hold season appropriate floral arrangements throughout the house.
I’ve seen watering cans priced anywhere from $15 to $60. A lot of the time cans with the sprinkler head still attached go for more than those missing that piece. I’ve even bought cans with dents because I love the unique design or plan on using it somewhere outside where I can hide the dented side.
Oil cans are great as space fillers when I need a rustic touch somewhere. I have one on my back deck which fits in nicely with a large handmade bird house, milk can and plant display.
Most oil cans I’ve seen are priced according to can condition and the can’s branding. I don’t collect cans based on what brand is advertised on it but many people do. I collect them for their shape, size and color. The can’s handle and spout are another thing I look at but they are not as important to me. The cans I go for are usually priced around $8 – $15 each.
Metal buckets are great for housing magazines, pet toys and in our case the scoops we use for our cat’s litter boxes. I also like them as planters for the porch. If you’d like to try them as planters outside or really for anything outside, I’d recommend picking up a clear plastic planter bottom to set under each bucket to keep rust off of whatever it may sit on. I ended up with two rust rings on my front porch when I moved mine.
Sometimes buckets surprise me because they can go for a lot more than I want to pay for them. The average price for a decent old bucket is between $8 and $15 but I’ve seen others for more and less.
Oh how I love crocks and that’s crocks with a k! They have so many uses and there are lots of sizes out there. I use them to display floral arrangements and greenery, hold pens and pencils and even corral shoes. They’re great for hiding junk out of sight and storing my parakeet’s food. Another thing crocks are good for is filling space in displays and holding small objects like fabric balls, candles or old garden tools. I’ve done that before and it was super cute!
Prices for crocks vary greatly. There are those that may be considered highly collectible and they could sell for $100 or more, others can be picked up for a couple of dollars.
Blue Spongeware Pottery
Guilty! Yes I’m guilty of being obsessed with this pottery and I am proud of it. I’m a huge fan of the color blue so I’m naturally drawn to the pattern on this gorgeous pottery. I have seen it in reddish-orange and green, though but I only collect the blue.
Of all my different pieces my two favorites are a mixing bowl I got from my mom after she passed away and a small pitcher. I use some of the larger pieces to hold flowers and greenery, hide junk, display other collectibles and others I simply use for display.
While I’m not extremely picky about which pieces I collect, I do prefer those that look older. I would never walk into Target and buy a spongeware cookie platter, not that it even exists, at least I don’t think it does. I prefer pieces that look used and worn and you can tell they’ve been around the block a few times. Prices generally run from $5 – $8 for small pieces to $50+ for larger or harder to find ones.
I have been collecting metal graters for over 15 years and have amassed a pretty nice collection. There are some really neat ones out there if you look hard enough. Be sure to look at flea market vendors who have old kitchen ware and scrounge through boxes at yard sales. My favorite graters are the most uniquely shaped ones like the cylindrical ones in the photos.
I like setting them out together usually displayed in an old wooden toolbox but have even used them to decorate a small decorative Christmas tree. I don’t think I’ve ever paid more than $10 for a grater.
Okay, I know this is another blue collectible but like I said, blue is one of my favorite colors. Besides, blue jars are not really blue blue but blueish blue, right? Well as I’ve stated about the other collectibles, these are something I love. From the gorgeous coloring to the varying sizes to the faithful zinc lids there is something so appealing about these jars.
I have a couple different shapes and sizes, most of them Ball jars varying in age. Some are empty on display but a few house wooden spoons or miniature pine cones. One of my favorites is a small jar with a two piece lid made of glass and metal.
If you are looking to collect blue jars don’t overlook clear glass jars. I have various clear jars that I like just as much as my blue ones. They work great for displaying small items throughout the year. For instance, in October I fill a large old clear jar with miniature skulls and it looks like something you’d find in a mad scientist’s lab. Old jars are easy to find and vary wildly in price.
Are You Ready To Start Collecting?
The best part about collecting things at flea markets and yard sales is the ability to haggle over the price. If you see something you love but don’t love the price, it never hurts to offer a lower amount. Don’t expect to get it for nothing though. The seller is there to make money but they’re almost always willing to take a lower offer in exchange for not having to keep the item. Do you have a favorite flea market collectible?