Our Salvage Team took a trip to Round, Top Texas, for antiques buying week and this is their story. In their words. With their pictures.
The Round Top Antiques Fair takes place along 15 or so miles of road. Vendors group together in empty fields and in and around general stores, dance halls, and barns.
The fair is in this tiny town in the middle of nowhere. There are only 17 stop signs in town—most of them here.
You can find almost anything here. From doll heads . . .
. . . to cowboy boots.
This is our home base field—it’s called Northgate field, and it’s run by Donna and Danny. It’s an up-and-coming field that’s thrilled to have us. Most of the time its lovely and sunny and too hot for us Portlanders.
But occasionally it looks like this. No twister that day.
But it did rain real hard for awhile.
There are lots of colorful characters to cheer you up after the rain. This guy makes a mean brisket and can almost always be found performing in front of his BBQ joint.
People can get pretty competitive. But there’s lots of joking around, too.
Still, it definitely feels like the wild west. You’ve got to be careful.
And you definitely need this.
The thing to do is to be there right when the dealer is ready to unload their truck.
Of course, some dealers will only let you in their truck if you help unload. Pretty smart.
After we buy stuff we haul it back to our trailer and pack it up, stack it up, get it tagged, and secure.
That takes a lot of time and a lot of sweat.
After that it’s lunchtime
This leads to a condition we like to call BBQ face.
Picnics on the moving blanket. The days are very long. We get up at 6:00 or 7:00 in the morning and work until 7:00 or 8:00 or even later. We’ll have first lunch, second lunch, and then a late dinner.
Then back out to hunt for more stuff.
Going down some forgotten byways, looking for the hidden honey holes.
Finding some treasures.
And some that we really love.
This is a really great mirror. It swivels.
Here’s some extremely old stuff. Bicycle.
DRUGS. We had our eye on this one but it was really large and we were worried we’d run out of room on the trailer. So on the last day we got everything packed real tight so we’d still have a little room. Then we ran over there and said “We’ll Take It!” and shoved it in.
This is from an incredible sign dealer from early 20th century. His signs are immaculate.
Here’s one we did get: Fiberglass ice cream cone sign. A real beaut.
THIS. Most people won’t really care too much, but we were freaking out. It’s an extremely rare Fairies lamp from the turn of the century with a two armed configuration.
Another really great sign we got. Porcelain enamel.
Crown lights – from an old Best Western. Already restored and functioning.
It’s rough out there.
Meeting some new friends. This is a guy named Ed, who started the Marburger Farm Antique Show 25 years ago. We got to arrange a chance to look at his stuff. Bought a couple items right out of his kitchen.
Ed’s cat, Sparky.
This is not taxidermy. This is our pal George with his dog Mimi. Or Ivy. She’s showing how she bids at the auction.
A lot of dealers stay open after dinner.
You eat and then walk around.
Cute little vignettes. It’s pretty nice there at night.
Our transfer truck.
Time to load in. It barely fit. We got about 18,000 pounds worth of salvage in 16 days. Shorty, our driver, was worried the truck was going to be over the max weight of 35,000 pounds. He weighed in at Austin at 32,000.
Here he is looking worried.
After we got him some coffee he cheered up.
You’ll be able to find the amazing pieces we found at Round Top online and in our stores. Happy treasure hunting!
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