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Uncover a Buried Treasure

Industry insiders share their tips for scoring the best finds at three local flea markets.


by Kristen Haney

Choose your time

“The early bird and sleepy worm are both worthy strategies,” says Charlie Ansanelli, cofounder of Ansanelli Productions, which runs Oakland’s Jack of All Trades Market. Arrive early, and you’ll have more to choose from, but sellers make more deals at the end of the day. Either way, don’t miss The Window Lady’s hand-stitched wares and DIY alley, where you can try perfuming and crocheting. Second Saturday of the month, jackofalltradesoakland.com.

Go for the Win-Win

When it comes to bartering at flea markets, “the goal should be a win-win deal,” says Ansanelli, whose company also organizes Treasure Island Flea. “Our vendors are very passionate about their products; they either [create] or collect them.” Look for items ranging from vintage tea sets to miniature succulents. Bonus: Both Treasure Island and Jack of All Trades are family and pet friendly. Last full weekend of the month, treasureislandflea.com.

Abandon the List

“Bring a list, but you may not find what’s on it,” says Sandra Michaan, cofounder and vice president of the Alameda Point Antiques Faire. “You may find something better.” The Alameda event is a true antiques fair: Most items are at least 20 years old, or have been upcycled or repurposed with vintage materials. Don’t miss the beer stein vendor, who sells the vessels for anywhere from $10 to a staggering $10,000. First Sunday of the month, alamedapointantiquesfaire.com.

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