For years now I’ve wanted to visit the Brimfield Antique Show. Known as the largest outdoor antiques show in the world, Brimfield attracts antique hunters from around the globe. Located in Western Massachusetts, the show practically takes over the town of Brimfield. With over 6,000 dealers, you could spend the entire day hunting and still not see it all. It’s legendary.
And yesterday was my day to tackle it. Did it live up to the hype? You betcha. So much so that I’m writing a couple of posts about it.
Today I’ll share with you what I found interesting and what I purchased. Tomorrow I’ll be posting a visitors guide to Brimfield. While there are lots of tips out there, none of them covers everything you need to know about the show. And trust me, this show takes some preparation and thought.
But more on that tomorrow. Let’s see what Brimfield is all about…
The show is divided up into a bunch of sub-shows. Not all shows are open every day of the six day event. While there are always tons of vendors to visit along the roadside, different fields are open on different days. On the day I visited, May’s was open for business. With over 600 vendors, May’s is one of the more popular shows to visit.
What makes the May’s show unique is that the vendors cannot set up until the show opens. So when the doors open and people flood in (or stampede like they did yesterday), the vendors quickly put out their merchandise. This sort of levels the playing field as no one knows what’s going to be placed on the tables. The first half hour is sort of mayhem while people try to figure out what dealer has what vintage goodies to offer.
People who are serious collectors wear t-shirts that describe what they are looking for. This makes it really easy for a dealer to peddle their wares to the right buyer.
Those that didn’t have t-shirts ran up and down aisles shouting out “CAST IRON” “ANY MILITARY” “GLASS, WHO’S GOT GLASS”. It was quite the ruckus. And you could totally tell the newbies like myself. We were the ones frozen in our tracks like deer in headlights as we tried to figure out which way was what.
Really, it was a spectacle. Even though I knew what I was interested in (mid-century kitchen), I couldn’t help but check out some of the other fantastical offerings like this vintage stuffed leopard. Because how often do you see something like that? And as focused as I tried to be, I kept getting sidetracked by all the oddities.
Once I got my bearings straight, I started making some headway. Does anyone remember my hunt for vintage flatware last year? I think this is where it was hiding. All of it.
And can you believe this tent filled with Fiestaware? So much color. I don’t collect it, but it sure is pretty to look at. I have no idea how this guy got all of this glass safely to Brimfield. Can you imagine the work it would take to safely package this? It gives me a headache just thinking about it.
How about this display of jadeite? I would love to collect jadeite. The only thing stopping me is the price tag. It is SO spendy. $30 for a plate or bowl? That’s too rich for my blood, but it sure is lovely to look at. I’m not thinking that I will ever stumble across jadeite at a thrift shop or garage sale.
I was very surprised that I didn’t come across much Pyrex at Brimfield. I really thought the place would be overflowing with Pyrex dealers. There was some, but for the most part it was ridiculously overpriced. I expected some inflation, but not extortion. I did score a couple of pieces which I’ll share with you in a bit.
Oh how I wanted to take this Sunbeam mixer home. Just look at the bowls stacked up next to it. So pretty. It was marked $85, but I was certain that the dealer would knock off $20 if I asked. The problem was that I wasn’t sure how to restore it. There were some rust spots and I’m not a fix-it kind of girl. I’m sure that you aren’t surprised by that.
Here’s something else I wanted to take home but had no good reason to. This funky 60’s dinette set. It charmed my socks off. I would build a room around this set if I was a gazillionaire. So much fun. Can’t you see my Pyrex on this table? Thank God I don’t own a truck or this would be in my basement.
See these Dutch milk glass spice jars? I’ve always wanted them, but DANG are they expensive. This set was marked at $80. I’m too cheap to spend that kind of money, but I have a story to share about these later on…
The antique nautical also caught my eye. Completely impractical because I have nowhere to put it. If I thought my Pyrex took up too much space, can you imagine my home if I started collecting gargantuan green glass floats?
A hot trend that I’m noticing lately are thermos dealers. If you go to a yard sale and see an old time thermos, snatch it up. Those things are selling like hotcakes. Campy fun is in.
I totally don’t get the hands, but I was tempted to buy several. I flirted with the idea of placing one in the hamper when it’s full as a signal to the kids to give mom a hand by taking it down to the laundry room. Or maybe I could stick one on their mattress to remind them to make their beds. All kinds of great uses which would most likely lead to nightmares which would land one or four kids in my bed at night.
So what did I buy and for how much? That’s the best part of the story…
I did end up with the Dutch milk glass spice jars but I didn’t spend $80. Actually, I found a dealer who was primarily selling furniture. She only had a few pieces of glass as that was not her specialty. These six spice jars were sitting on top of a table she was selling and seemed to be there for decoration. The tag on the side of one jar said $8, so I figured that each jar was $8 which made sense.
But when I asked her for her best price for the entire set, she said $6. As in $6 for all six jars. That is a crazy good deal. Sure, there are two spice jars missing as the set originally came with eight and the rack is missing, but for $6 I will happily live with it. Aren’t they sweet?
This blue pyrex bowl doesn’t look like much and it isn’t in perfect condition, but I only paid $6 for it. I have this bowl set called Primary, but was missing this tiniest bowl which I was having problems finding. It’s not minty perfect, but it completes my set which makes me happy.
The dealer that sold me the little bowl also sold me this blue fridgie for $6. A complete bargain compared to other dealers’ prices. That little blue bowl was $18 and up everywhere else.
This precious milk glass pitcher was 50% off. I happily gave the dealer a $5 bill and walked away dreaming about how I was going to use this in future food photography pictures.
And these ruffle plates that I picked up for $2 each will most likely be posing with that little milk glass pitcher. I love mid-century glass. Makes me want to bake an apple pie or some cookies. It brings out the domestic in me.
When I saw this old maple rolling pin I had to have it. This thing is solid. I can only imagine the beautiful pie crusts it rolled out in its day. While it is quite large and chunky, it feels right in my hands. Like it was made for me. It was priced at $18, but I got it for $12. You can’t buy a crappy rolling pin for $12 these days.
My last find was this mod glass pitcher. It looks like it has red dots in this picture but they are actually pink. So retro and fun. It was marked $18 but the dealer gave it to me for $10. Just looking at it makes me smile.
Obviously I’m not into the big ticket antiques. Sure, there were dealers selling furniture and collectibles that were priced in the thousands, but that’s not how I roll. I’m more of a spend $2 here and maybe $12 there kind of girl which is totally fine by me.
But if you want to spend money, Brimfield is the place to do it. If you collect anything vintage, you will find it here. So if you are an antiques treasure hunter, put Brimfield on your bucket list. It’s as epic as they say it is.