Well, it’s happened again. I wake up to find my Instagram feed filled with photos from vintage friends in New England, showing off the delights of the Brimfield markets. One of these days I will be there as well, making other people who are not so lucky very jealous. In the meantime, I had to be content this past week with the big annual market in Hillsville, Virginia.
Hillsville does not pretend to be an antiques market. It is a true flea, with everything for sale from great vintage items to downright junk. It started back in the 1970s as a VFW sponsored gun show, and there are still enough guns being carried around to make one feel either very safe, or very uneasy. I avoid the gun selling area.
Like many flea markets and antique shows, Hillsville has been shrinking. I first went there at least ten years ago, and since that time one of the fields has closed completely, and I noted the VFW area is also smaller. But the pleasant side is that it seems like there are just as many sellers who have the types of things I’m looking for. More vintage photos and fewer tube socks is a big win.
One of my goals when shopping a big market like this one is to try and learn something new, usually in the form of seeing something I’ve never encountered. There is so much old stuff out there that it always happens that I seen something new to me that I probably should have seen before. Such was the case with the print above. Dated 1903, I’m not sure what the Turkish Trophies actually were – a tobacco premium perhaps. One seller had four of them, all showing young women engaged in sports. I’d have bought them but the condition and the price did not match. But I did have to take a photo of the ping pong player.
I see a lot of Daniel Green slippers, as it was a major maker. But this pair of kid’s slippers embroidered with pups and kitties made me wish for a pair in my size.
On of the things I saw quite a bit of this time was children’s clothing. One seller had what looked to be an entire wardrobe of a little girl, who would have been about four or five years old, all from the late 1920s or very early 30s. All were in such wonderful condition that it made me wonder about the fate of the child who had worn them. These were her slippers.
Another seller had this nice assortment of men’s swimsuits from the 1930s and 1940s. Note the zipper at the bottom of the red tank. In the early 30s, bathing suit makers added this zipper in case the wearer got up the nerve to go topless.
Of course there were Scotties. I really should have brought this one home with me as I have its pink gingham twin.
This lovely illustration of a 1920s golfer decorated the cover of a book of healthy hints from a tonic company. It made me wonder if there is a whole range of these illustrated booklets.
One seller had five or six tables piled high with a mix of vintage and modern fabrics. Had I encountered this early in the day, I’d have plowed through the massive piles, but I had been on the hunt for hours, and so I had to pass on the fabrics. I couldn’t help but think that the seller would have been more successful had she made a better effort to properly display her wares.
Maybe it is just that I’m easily distracted, but when there is this much stuff, I can’t seem to see the forest for the tress, or actually, it is the other way round! I didn’t notice until I was looking at these photos that I actually own the basket bag near the center.
It was a button lover’s paradise.
These little booties were made of some sort of plastic coated paper.
I love seeing pillows made from pre-stamped and colored kits. This is one I’d never seen before, from the early 1930s.
So there you have what I passed up, so I know you are wondered what I actually bought. Photographs – lots and lots of photos of women in pants. I also found the best 1940s hat ever, which I’ll be showing off later. I also got a mid 1960s beach bag that may or may not have been a Coppertone suntan lotion item. A woman sold me her mother’s Catalina swimsuit from the 1930s. It’s always a treat to know who owned an item. And best of all, I found a late 1930s playsuit complete with matching skirt.