Many college students may not consider antique shopping a hobby. But with some introduction, young people may discover that antique shopping is enjoyable. Students interested in history will realize that antique shops are filled with bits and pieces of the past.
Students interested in design will be inspired by the craftsmanship of pieces from another time. Furthermore, antiques are a great way to bring warmth to a small dormitory or studio.
A subway ride from Temple University will bring you to Philadelphia’s Antique Row on Pine Street, between Ninth and Broad. Antique Row is filled with stores such as Lunacy Antiques, located at 1018 Pine St. These stores carry various collectibles. Lunacy itself has moderately priced furniture along with vases, books and vintage suitcases.
“Antique Row is world renowned,” said Kathy Cushing, owner of Lunacy Antiques. “People from Europe come to Philadelphia alone for this shopping district… the first antique shopping district in the country. Hundreds of years ago merchants would come from New York and Boston to get items to sell in their stores.”
“The shops of Antique Row are filled with great connections,” said Shara Howard, college student and antique dealer at G.B. Schafer Antiques. “To me, antique shopping is a hobby and a profession.”
G.B. Schafer Antiques, located at 1019 Pine St., is filled with three rooms of furniture, books, art and dishes. Of worthy note is their Art Deco jewelry and a collection of 1920’s handbags that would make perfect gifts.
Most of the antique furniture on Antique Row is expensive, but the craftsmanship is unlike anything that can be seen today. Although few students can afford a $1,500 dresser, it’s worth going just to see the designs.
The items featured in these antique shops are bits of history. M. Finkel and Daughter, located at 936 Pine St., is known for its collection of samplers dating back to 1680. The store also carries furniture and items from the Civil War era. The owner of M. Finkel and Daughter, like most of the vendors on Antique Row, loves to talk about the history of the shop’s pieces.
Antique shopping is not just for big spenders either. There are stores selling smaller furniture items, vases and dishes at affordable prices. Blendo, at 1002 Pine St., is filled with just that, as well as unique contemporary items.
Antiques can also be found in thrift shops. Uhuru, at 1220 Spruce St., is a used furniture store that benefits the African People’s Education and Defense Fund. The store sells items from as early as the 1930s. Dressers, wardrobes, vases, mirrors and other furniture can be found for $100 or less.
There are also flea markets and thrift shops throughout the city that harbor antiques. However, going to a place such as Antique Row will help shoppers learn to distinguish between a real antique and an item that’s just old.
And don’t forget that antiques have real monetary value. “In a recent issue of Fortune Magazine, antiques were named the number one way to invest your money ahead of bonds and real estate,” said Cushing of Lunacy Antiques. “As you learn to invest your money wisely, antiques may be the way to go.”
Amber Fairweather can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org