Treasure Hunt

By Mary Beth Schwartz

For 17 years, the Antiques Roadshow has been bringing television viewers antiques and collectibles appraisals from the country’s top dealers and auction houses. Attendees tell of major finds at yard sales or grandma’s attic. But the adventure does not have to end there. Antique lovers can visit Lehigh Valley’s specialty antique shops and auction galleries for unique treasures.

Before starting your treasure hunt, Antiques Appraiser Dr. Lori, PhD from the Discovery Channel’s Auction Kings offers some helpful tips.

For buyers:

ASK FOR IT. When shopping for art or antiques, do not be afraid to ask for a discount.

DO NOT GET EMOTIONAL. Once you show that you are in love with an antique, your negotiating power is gone.

BUY LOCAL. Making it known that you may visit a local shop again will help you get a better deal.

CASH AND CARRY. Always carry cash as offering the green stuff, instead of a credit card, may seal the deal.

CONDITION IS KEY. If that antique is in poor condition, value is not as high.

Dr. Lori also offers tips for antique sellers:

KNOW THE VALUE. Do not let an antique go until you know what it is worth.

DO NOT PLEAD DESPERATION. You cannot command top dollar if you sound desperate. A buyer will think that any amount of money will be acceptable.

WORK WITH THE BUYER. Negotiation is a two-way street. If you have a buyer with potential interest, try to work with them to make the sale.

SELL COLLECTIONS IN TACT. Buyers like to buy full sets and there is an increased value in having the entire set available for sale.

SELL BY THE CALENDAR. Sell particular collectibles in season. Baseball cards in the summer, baby collectibles at Mother’s Day, and snowy landscape paintings in the winter.

Before you get started, it is important to know the Lehigh Valley is known for antique cookie jars, toy auctions, Martin guitar collectibles, and Baum School landscape paintings. First stop is the Zionsville Antique Mall which features books, artwork, clocks, furniture, lighting, primitives, toys, dolls, pottery, glassware, vintage clothing, 1950s memorabilia, jewelry, and hard-to-find items, such as Civil War military pieces and Oriental artifacts. In business for 18 years, the family-owned business represents 150 antique dealers.

“We make a good day trip. If you are coming for the first time, bring a pen and tablet to take notes as you walk through and wear comfortable shoes,” advises Maritza Lopez, president, Zionsville Antique Mall. There is also a restaurant within the mall for those who need to refuel.

Zionsville Antique Mall will feature an anniversary sale on Black Friday, complete with entertainment, food, and a live radio broadcast. For the weekend, the entire store will be on sale. The first week of December brings a sleigh ride event with specials, prizes, and drawings.

If you would rather attend an auction, plan a visit to Hartzell’s Auction Gallery Inc. a family-owned-and-operated company in Bangor that has been holding auctions since 1943. “As fully licensed, registered, and bonded auctioneer and appraisers, we are qualified to assist you with antiques and collectibles, fine art, estate sales, and appraisals. We have sales every week. This fall we will have a firearms sale and catalogued antique sales,” says Auctioneer Raymond Hartzell.

According to Hartzell, if you are going to an auction for the first time, ask lots of questions. Their helpful staff is on site to guide you through the process. “When you go to an auction, you have the opportunity to find something that you would just not find in a department store. Something that also can be an investment. There is just so much history in this part of the country,” says Hartzell.

A specialty antique shop is another option for collectors. Iron Antiques in Northampton has more than 1,000 pressing irons on display. Owner David Irons has written three books on irons. In business for over 50 years, the shop also features primitives, country furniture, tramp art, quilts, ironware, tinware, pottery, and stoneware. “Buy what you like, go for the rarer item, and always look for condition. The Lehigh Valley is located in the heart of antiques. There is tremendous availability,” Irons says.

You also can find Iron Antiques at Norm Schaut’s ‘Antique City’ Fun Fair, Pennsylvania’s largest indoor antiques, art, and collectibles event. Featuring over 250 booths, the fair takes place April 13 and 14 at Lehigh University’s Rauch Fieldhouse in Bethlehem.

If you crave an indoor antiques center with an outdoor flea market, consider Allentown’s Weil Antique Center. Established in 2002, the business is located in a large converted warehouse. “We are a premiere antique center with over 150 dealers of antiques and collectibles. Visitors will see furniture, clocks, jewelry, linens, toys, quilts, memorabilia, books, pottery, primitives, and more. When you walk around the center, you get a sense of history. There are the antiques, but we also have murals on the walls and antiques displayed in the rafters. There is just so much to see,” says Owner Cindy Weil. In October, there is the multi-day event called WeiltoberFest. According to Weil, there also will be sales for Black Friday and Christmas.

Along with the previous antique shows mentioned, mark your calendar for these events. There are several shows at the Allentown Fairgrounds. October 6 and 7 is the Antique Book & Paper Show; October 20 and 21 is the Antique & Modern Arms Show; and November 3 is the Antique Toy Show. Allentown’s Merchants Square Mall features the Great Lehigh Valley Antique Toy and Collectible Show on December 8. And coming in early spring, the Heart of the Valley Antiques Show returns to Historic Bethlehem.

Follow @LehighValleyMarketplace on Instagram