The California Country Antiques Show is one of our favorite summertime events. In this post, you can join us as we shop some of the finest country collectibles we’ve ever seen, and where the abundance of folk art made us wish we were millionaires!
Whether it’s carved, painted, stitched, or tatted, if it’s folk art, we love it! Lucky for us, the vendors at this show like sharing what they know about their treasures as much as we like hearing about them.
Kitty spotted a pair of wooden birds in the first booth, so we wandered in to take a closer look. The dealer said they were whittled and hand-painted and one had even been carved into a whistle. We wanted to see if the whistle still worked, but the bird was $65 so we didn’t dare!
The next dealer had a primitive painting of a farm scene, a traditional Amish quilt, and a charming hooked rug of a horse-drawn carriage. Jennifer asked about the rug, and the dealer said it was probably early 20th century and most likely from Pennsylvania. We just loved the way the message “Come Again” seemed to be written with the whip. Kitty spent her money at the next booth on a pair of black cat stuffed animals. They were silhouettes with button-eyes, but oh so cute!
Another vendor we chatted with showed us several samplers featuring hand-stitched alphabets, rhyming verses, and house motifs. Jennifer told her we see samplers at the flea market all the time, but it’s hard to know what to pay for them. The vendor told us that some samplers are more collectible than others, but you can easily find them for under $100, especially if they are not skillfully sewn or have a lot of wear. Jennifer picked out one from 1918 that was priced at $65. We think this little work of art will be darling in her reading nook. Sew sweet!
Good Ole Toys
At the antiques show, nearly all the vendors had at least one charming old toy. Back in the day, games and toys were often handmade for the kids from leftover scraps of fabric or wood (this is pre-Toys ‘R Us!). That means there are all kinds of playthings out there just waited to be collected. At the show we ran across bears, bunnies, and cats that were just simple stuffed animals with button eyes and embroidered faces. Any one of them would be magical perched on a side chair in a living room. We saw hand-painted, checkered game boards that look like art hung on a wall. And all manner of whittled birds, boats, and horses.
These old toys have built-in whimsy and are so desirable they can go for hundreds of dollars, but keep your eye out and you might run across a bargain. And if you don’t, why not unleash your creative side and carve or sew a primitive treasure for your own inner child?
We see duck decoys just about every time we visit a flea market. It’s no wonder there are so many of them, since they were made (and still are) for hunters to place in ponds to attract real live ducks. Thankfully the hunters lose them or forget them and they wind up at the flea market! Old hand-carved wooden ones should show signs of wear and have that weather-worn patina that makes then instant folk art! The plastic pintails and mallards make great lawn ornaments and can be found for as little as five dollars. Just don’t place a Canada Goose decoy on your grassy lawn though. You could end up with a flock of real geese!!