The Southerner's Handbook

How to Find the Good Stuff

Elevate your antiquing to the next level

Photo: Sully Sullivan

Sure, scouring flea markets and junk shops is fun. But to elevate your antiquing to the next level, follow these tips from Virginia-based antiques dealer and collector Sumpter Priddy III. “Now is a great time to buy,” he says, “because the prices are so depressed.” Be an informed buyer: “Identify a medium—silver, textiles, furniture—that you’re interested in intellectually and connected to emotionally. And then read about it. You can’t justify paying a premium for something you know absolutely nothing about.” Vet your dealer: “Find someone who is just as interested in your medium as you are, and don’t ever buy a piece that the dealer won’t give you a written description of.” Go to shows: “It’s important to put your hands on the objects you’re interested in.” In the South, Priddy recommends the Washington Winter Show (January), the Palm Beach Show (February), the Baltimore Summer Antiques Show (August), and the Theta Charity Antiques Show in Dallas (November).