Antiquing is more than simply going and buying old stuff. Antiques are saturated in history and human experience. They may have monetary value for their rarity or quality, but they have a value that goes beyond the literal dollar: they connect us to people and cultures that are no longer with us.
The pleasure you get from antiques like this vintage mortar and pestle come from the history of the object — not the price you pay.
When you hold an old cane or frame a sepia-tinted photograph you are not only touching a tangible object, you are inheriting the legacy of the people whose lives were wrapped up in those objects.
The pleasure you can get from holding something like a 17th century bronze mortar and pestle come not from knowing how much you may have paid for them — but from experiencing their weight, texture and color, which are all coated in a patina of lives and memories. It’s easy to get drawn into the history of an object, as you ponder which medicinal concoctions might have been ground methodically inside the metallic bowl. Who were the people that had these objects before?
Given that antiques are little treasures, there is great fun in setting out to hunt for them. There are literally thousands of antique shops and hundreds of antique malls in the Carolinas. It is beyond the scope of the article to list them all here, but we have collected a selection of some of the best. Not only will you get to look for your own personal baubles, you will meet new people in new places and perhaps become even better acquainted with the delights of the small towns and urban cultural centers that dot our southern landscape.
Antique malls are places that house booths for individual vendors. Sleepy Poet Stuff and Fifteen Ten are examples in Charlotte. Each display is collected, assembled, designed and presented by the person who is paying a lease to the mall itself. The vendors rent their space, but the mall often requires a percentage of each transaction in order to handle all the purchases. In exchange for paying this fee the mall collects sales tax, issues receipts and acts as a contact for the vendor. Normally you will not interact with the vendors. The mall includes a fee within its commission on each sale for managing the property and providing customer service. Check out www.go-star.com/antiquing/states.htm for locations throughout the Southeastern United States.
• Asheville — Lexington Park Antiques, 65 West Walnut St., Asheville, NC 28801, 828-253-3070; Fireside Antiques and Interiors at Biltmore, 30 & 32 All Souls Crescent, Asheville, NC 28803, 828-274-5977; Antique Tobacco Barn, 75 Swannanoa Rd., Asheville, NC 28805, 828-252-7291; Whistle Stop Antique Mall, 1281 Georgia Rd., Franklin, NC 28734, 828-349-0576.
• Charlotte — Sleepy Poet Stuff, 121 Freeland Ln., Charlotte, NC 28217, 704-529-6369; Fifteen Ten, 1510 Central Ave., Charlotte, NC 28205, 704-342-9005; Old Pineville Antique Mall, 329 Main St., Pineville, NC 28134, 704-889-7502; Antique Alley, 1325 Matthews-Mint Hill Rd., Matthews, NC, 704-847-3003.
• Greensboro/Winston Salem/High Point (Triad) — Market Place Antique Mall, 2105 Peters Creek Pkwy., Winston Salem, NC 27127, 336-725-5829; Greensboro Antique Mall, 2401 Randleman Rd., Greensboro, NC 27406, 336-274-1818; Settle Street Station Antiques & Collectibles, 112 Settle St., Reidsville, NC 27320, 336-616-1133; Thomasville Antique Emporium, 12 Commerce St., Thomasville, NC 27360, 336-472-6500.
• Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill (Triangle) — Carolina Antique Mall (Cameron Village), 2050 Clarke Ave., Raleigh, NC 27605, 919-833-8227; Hillsborough Antique Mall, 387 JA Max Dr., Hillsborough, NC 27278, 919-732-8882; Alamance Antique Mall, 2602 Eric Ln. #1, Burlington, NC 27215, 336-227-5434.
• Aiken/Augusta — Swan Antique Mall, 132 Trafalgar St. NW, Aiken, SC 29801, 803-643-9922; Aiken Antiques and Auction, 112 Laurens St. NW, Aiken, SC 29801, 803-648-6700; Downtown Antique Mall, 1243 Broad St., Augusta, GA 30901, 706-722-3571.
• Charleston — Antique Mall & Roumillat’s, 2241 Savannah Hwy., Charleston, SC 29414, 843-766-8899; Charleston Antique Mall, 4 Avondale Ave., Charleston, SC 29407, 843-769-6119; King Street Antique Mall, 495 King St., Charleston, SC 29403, 843-723-2211.
• Columbia — Antique Mall-Columbia, 602 Huger St., Columbia, SC 29201, 803-765-1584; Spring Valley Antique Mall, 8724 Two Notch Rd., Columbia, SC 29223, 803-865-4101; Ole Towne Antique Mall, Inc., 2956 Broad River Rd., Columbia, SC 29210, 803-772-9335.
• Greenville — Danny’s Antique Mall, 8 Chateham Way, Taylors, SC 29687, 864-848-7316; Buncombe Antiques Mall, 5000 Wade Hampton Blvd., Taylors, SC 29687, 864-268-4498; Mountain View Hotel Antiques, 108 West Main St., Easley, SC 29640, 864-306-1069.