The Antiquer EDC
There’s some things you’ll need to help you along the way. Consider it your antiquer EDC, every day carry. Here’s a list of some tools and other things that I have found to be very helpful, along with your knowledge and experience.
Jeweler’s loupe. These are inexpensive, very handy for reading hallmarks, and inspecting other small things that you cant see very well if you’re, like me, blind as a bat. The one I have is 20x magnification, but 16x magnification is sufficient for 99% of what you’ll encounter in this biz. I got mine off Amazon, and I went back through my order history to see how much I paid, but the specific one I bought is currently unavailable. Never fear, there are many to choose from, and some as cheap as $5. I recommend a pocket one, or one you can put on a chain. Portability will be the song of our people for this blog.
Flashlight. Sometimes you need to see in dark places or the underside of tables. The flashlight I use is far overkill for my needs, but I already had it. Mine is a Surefire, and it’ll set you back $120. The batteries are also proprietary, so that adds to the cost. You won’t need anything like that. What you do need is something small, and if you can get one with a pocket clip, and that uses good ol’ double or triple A’s, that’s the good stuff. There are many options, but keep it small. You are not going to have a good time if you are having to sack around a full size Maglite. Trust me.
Measuring tape. How big is it is an important question. Especially if you sell online, but that’s for another day. What you will need to know is if you have enough room to get it back home. And through the door. You don’t have to go fancy here, either you like the stiff yellow pull out kind like the one in your dad’s tool box, or you use a fabric measuring tape like mine. You can get the dad model at your local hardware store, (Use the mom and pop one, don’t go to the corporate one. We’ll talk about that later too.) and your local fabric store for the tape style one.
Notebook and pen. I feel like this one is forgotten. Until someone says “Let me give you my number, if you come across one, call me!” Don’t be that guy. He’s an amateur. You’re a professional. I use a field notes, you can get them blank, lined, or dot grid. I like the lined. I also use a leather cover, I sell a cover on the shop (wildernesstrading.co) that fits a field notes journals. I am not in the leather game anymore, so supples are limited. Click that link before they’re all gone forever. They also make great gifts in case you’re reading this before someones birthday. I’m getting off track. Its one of those things that doesn’t seem necessary until you need one and don’t have it. Don’t go crazy here, I know those big ones with the pretty patterns and print are really cute. Go for something that can, say it with me: fits in your pocket.
Gloves. There’s a good deal of digging, rooting, and carrying. You want to protect your hands, and your nails if you’re a nail junkie like me. I know that the $4.00 pack of knit jersey gloves is very tempting, but lets go for something leather. I’m sorry vegans, but those pvc ones aren’t going to have the lasting power of real leather work gloves, and any knitted fabric will let sharp pointy rusty things get through to your precious hand meat. We’re going for function here, so while you’re at the hardware store getting a tape measure, pick up a pair of gloves too.
Cell phone with data plan for internet access and a camera. It’s my opinion, that the internet is the single greatest accomplishment of humankind. We made the world smaller. We have the world’s knowledge at our fingertips, and that is going to be so helpful. Don’t know what something is? Google it! How do I tell if this painting is original or repro? Google it! Whats a fair price for this item? Google it! In doubt? Google it! The camera will be helpful if you see something nice, but not really into it and you want to research it. Snap a quick picture and you’ll remember what it was you wanted to look up on the intertubes. On the other hand…you could also write it down in your handy-dandy notepad using your handy-dandy pen.
Bag to carry it all. Unless you want to walk around everywhere looking like batman with a utility belt, a bag might be in order. This one is optional, but its very handy. There are several different routes you can take here. Based on my experience something you don’t have to hold in your hand, and durable is a safe bet. In other words don’t show up with a grocery bag. A regular old purse will suffice if you like carrying one of those awful things. I don’t. Reason being every time you bend down to look at something it either rolls down your back onto the back of your head or slides to one side. A crossbody bag might fix most of those issues but the straps will keep getting in the way and constricting the girls. If you’re a dude, you wont have that last issue. A small backpack seems the logical choice. For most folks who don’t have bony shoulders, this will be perfect for you. It’ll stay in place for the most part, and it leaves your hands free to sift to your hearts content. A backpack also has lots of room for the treasures you’ll find. If you’re in the market for something a little less mainstream, fanny packs are starting to make a comeback. I remember my mom had one, and she still has it. She wore it to every single class trip I went on that she chaperoned. I had one too, it was black and had Darkwing Duck on it. Let’s get dangerous! I couldn’t resist. What I have found to be the best $30 investment that I’ve ever made is in a drop leg bag. It works the same way a drop leg holster for a gun does. It straps around your waist, put it through your belt loops to prevent shifting, and snaps around your leg. The one I have came from Amazon, its called the “Shubb Canvas Tactical Drop Leg Bag.” I will suggest getting one that has a loop you can hook your keys on. Whichever one you choose, buy something quality. Not sure what you like? Try a few options and see which one you like best.
Comfortable shoes. You’re going to be doing a lot of walking. A lot of walking. Maybe even some standing if theres a line at the hot dog stand. Some of the best food I’ve had came from the antique fair. I’m looking at you Red Top Gourmet Hot Dogs! You want something you wont mind standing and walking in for a time is what I’m getting at. You will need to make several passes before you call it a day. But we’ll discuss techniques in a later post. I have two pairs that I use, a pair for warm weather, and a pair for cold weather. Warm weather I wear a pair of Chaco sandals. Before you say anything, think about it, wet sandals will dry faster than wet tennis shoes. For cold weather I wear a pair of steel toe Timberland work boots. The steel toe is mostly unnecessary, but it’s what the boot store had that wold fit my fat feet.These are only comfortable AFTER the break-in period. So don’t buy a brand new pair of boots the day before the antique fair. You will regret it. Do keep bandaids in your bag just in case a blister should rear its ugly head.
Tetanus shot. Last, but certainly not least, you need this. You are going to be rooting around a lot of really old things that are rusty, crusty, and roachy. This vaccine lasts for 10 years after you get it, and it’s paid for by most insurance plans. In most states, you don’t even have to go to the Dr’s office to get it, just walk into your local pharmacy or health department. Just write down the date in your notepad so you know when you need to get a booster. And yes, I got one too. I know vaccines are a touchy subject for some, so I will just encourage you to do your own research and make your own determination.