Friday, January 12, 2018

Friday Featurette: My First Liberation

Scouring garage sales, flea markets, and antique malls has long been a great way for collectors to find and add model horses (and animals) to their collections. True, the rise of the internet over the last 15 or so years has changed things---prices are higher and dealers are savvier about what they have---but there are still bargains and great models to be found. Many of the models in my collection were sourced this way, and I've had a number of neat finds over the years in out of the way places.

One of my favorite hunting grounds was the old Lakewood Antiques Market, a monthly extravaganza on the south side of Atlanta. My whole family used to frequent it every month beginning in the early 1990s. Four huge Spanish Mission style buildings, several smaller pole buildings, and every inch of open space between the buildings was covered in antiques, collectibles, vintage clothes, art, jewelry, and sometimes straight-up junk. It was heavenly. 

Lakewood flea market in its heyday (Photo from Lakewood history page)
My mom, sister, and I made our first visit there in spring of 1989 or 1990. We had looked through antique stores on occasion, but we were still pretty new to the vintage scene. We arrived early on a Saturday morning to get in as soon as it opened, and to say we were mind-boggled by the amount of stuff was a bit of an understatement. Once through the gates, you climbed a steep hill to get up to the main entrances to the buildings, but there were dealers with tables set up along the hill and there was even an entrance to the lower level of one of the buildings, also crammed full of dealers. In those days, we were on a mission just for model horses, so were able to run the gauntlet up the hill without becoming too distracted.

At the top of the hill was a table full of vintage 1970s Breyers. I'm pretty sure a ray of light from above illumined the table as we hurried over. I still remember it quite clearly because I'd never seen so many old Breyers outside of the catalog pictures before. There was an Adios, a Yellow Mount, a palomino Quarter Horse Yearling, some matte Family Arabs, a Lady Phase, an Old Timer, and more. I honed in a mahogany Proud Arabian Mare who became my first ever flea market purchase. She set me back a whole $12. I still have her.   

Such a pretty PAM, too!
We saw many more models that day and bought a few more, too, most for $10 or less. We went to Lakewood pretty much every month after that for years until it closed down. My parents started going on Friday mornings after dropping my sister and I at school to start the hunt early, and eventually, they even went on dealer set-up day on Thursdays. They were really dedicated to helping us build our collections, and I know they had fun looking, too. My mom in particular made a lot of friends and branched out into buying original art work there. And she used to always come home with grocery bags full of models because they could be found so cheap in those days. It was pretty amazing! We all miss it.

What was the very first model you found at a garage/estate sale, antique mall, or flea market? I'd love to hear your stories! Please feel free to comment below and include a picture if you want to!

Happy hunting!