Antiques Market Hunting

One of the things I love doing at the week-end is waking up early in the morning, tell my wife I won't take very long and drive to one of the antique/vintage markets they set up somewhere around the city of Florence to hunt interesting objects. When you go to such places there are a lot of combining factors that will give you a very specific thrill.

The M29 clutch: original Italian camo and italian cowhide leather (click on the image to see more)

The people you meet there: vendors with great stories to tell (about their lives and about what they sell, great stories, but not always true), fellow hunters you feel you have to beat in finding the best catch, the one fella that will go around showing off his “great bargain” only to find out a few hours later that it's actually  a piece of junk he overpaid.
Just like everyone going to these markets I have my favorite objects: pens, flasks, knives, old prints, vintage leather bags, ashtrays and more. The ones I’ll always find myself buying, although there’s no real reason for me to posses more of them.

Our Frogskin Wallet, made with original 1943 fabric, from ponchos used by the US Marines during the Pacific War (click on the image to see more)

The main reason to go to such a place, early in the morning is to try getting a great deal and prove yourself you have an eye for the good stuff. If you know people that are serious regulars at such places, you’ll know they’ve steadily grown a strong sense of repulsion towards buying anything other than groceries or underwear at an actual shop. Why getting a brand new item, instead of looking for one at the market, where you might find the exact one you've dreamt of, maybe after seeing it in an old movie or print? It takes you back in time, it makes you feel like you're holding a piece of history in your hand. 

These are the places where most of my knowledge about vintage military clothing and fabrics comes from.  You discover, you discuss, you learn. Up until you reach the point in which you recognize valuable pieces from a distance. Just a quick glance is enough to grasp your attention, you think it's there, you want it to be there and you want the seller to be unaware of what he's got lying in front of him. A mix of factors that once combined create incomparable emotions.

The greatest problem at the end of the morning is always the same one, to find an answer to your wife’s question: “where are you going to put it, there’s no space for all of this old junk you take home every time!”. Junk… please girl, you don’t know what you’re talking about.

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