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Everything old is new again

August 23, 2013
By

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The crowds down at the Convention Center this weekend won’t be dressed as Pinkie Pie or Fluttershy, Dark Dragon Samurai or Sakizo. Move over, Bronycon and Otakon, it’s time for the Baltimore Summer Antiques Show, and the costuming is much more likely to be linen, seersucker, or silk. The largest indoor summer antiques show in the country, the show boasts over 500 separate dealers, including 90 antiquarian booksellers who will sell you a first edition, first printing of The Great Gatsby for the reasonable price of $125,000. The Convention Center is all gussied up with wall-to-wall white carpet and massive floral centerpieces, the food vendors are hawking $16 crab cake platters and Camden Yards-priced wine and cocktails, and the people watching is just as top-notch as earlier this month.

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The show costs $15, which gets you unlimited entry for the entire weekend. Be on the lookout, though, for magazines in the lobby—flip through to find a card for free entry for two. I booked my entry through a vendor’s website, and I didn’t see anybody actually pay a fee to get in, and you shouldn’t either. I immediately felt underdressed in my skirt/tank top/summer shoe get up, so if that feeling is the kind of thing that bothers you, take it up a notch. Each booth is like its own little universe—this one specializing in Tiffany lamps (no, really—Tiffany—and yes, you can buy just the shade, though I’m not the one who asked that), that one in jade statues from some long-ago Chinese dynasty. There are dealers from Baltimore and Columbia, of course, but also from Palm Beach, Palm Springs, and Paris. The crowd is from all over as well, and you’ll hear plenty of accents at this event where dealers go to find their next sale as well.

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Now, if you’re the type who visits Avenue Antiques in Hampden to pick up a quirky pin or figurine, you will be in for a big surprise. This is a show for big spenders. That golden wooden eagle figurine? Yeah, that’s off a very old ship, and it’ll set you back $90,000. Once you start looking at the prices, you’ll realize this is for an audience every bit as specialized as BronyCon. And just like BronyCon, it is most assuredly worth a visit, to see what all the fuss is about and to watch other folks hide their excitement as they attempt to bargain down from a price you can’t imagine to one that you imagine is pretty far out of your reach. And if you go all the way to the back wall, beyond all the booksellers and poster people, you’ll find a booth selling just postcards. At $1-$4 a pop for most cards, this place was a respite. Oh, and there’s an International Postcard Expo in York, PA at the end of November, if you’re interested. I have already put it on my calendar. The Baltimore Summer Antiques Show runs through Sunday at 6pm at the Baltimore Convention Center.