Shopping for something unique and special online can be an iffy affair. You can click all those little windows to view what might be the object of your desire from every angle. You can try calling the seller to ask questions. But unless you’re purchasing widgets, you just never know.
“There’s nothing like coming and seeing and touching it, and talking to the owner to find out the history, before making a commitment,” said Christine Palmer.
Those owners will be on hand at the 12th annual Clark County Antique & Collectible Show this weekend. But not quite as many as have filled up the main hall at the Clark County Event Center at the Fairgrounds in previous years, Palmer said, so the show has rented a smaller hall this year — and packed it tight with 250 of the best possible dealers.
“It’s a smaller footprint, but what’s different this year is, it’ll be a little higher end, a little higher quality,” said Palmer, whose Portland-based franchise, America’s Largest Antique & Collectible shows, sponsors this popular Clark County event annually — as well as a sister show in Puyallup.
“We are trending toward fine art and true antiques this year,” she said. “But I also want to stress that about a third or more of our dealers will still have the fun, funky stuff.”
If You Go
• What: 12th annual Clark County Antique & Collectible Show.
• When: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Jan. 21, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Jan. 22.
• Where: Clark County Event Center, 1702 N.E. Delfel Road, Ridgefield.
• Admission: $6 for the weekend, plus $6 for parking. Evaluations $7 per item.
• On the web: christinepalmer.net
Last year’s trend was just the reverse. Baby boomer favorites from relatively recent pop culture were all the rage: advertising signs and movie posters, original Lego kits and G.I. Joes, fashions and furniture from the “mod” 1960s. Stealing the show last year, you might say, was the selling-off of a whopping 235 blue and green triangular panels salvaged from the original 1950 OMSI planetarium — an eye-catching dodecahedron. It doesn’t get much more mod than that.
Fun, funky, “vintage” items will still be strongly represented this year, Palmer said: sports and Hollywood memorabilia, housewares and kitchen gadgets, comic books and toys. Toys in particular are always a favorite at the show, Palmer said.
But this year, she said, there’s been an unexpected rise in dealers bringing back real antiques and fine art. Estate jewelry, original paintings and prints, silver and china, rare books, carved American oak furniture and fine art glass will all glitter in the spotlight.
In either case, you should be able to score some sweet deals. Thanks to numerous factors, from worldwide recession to the dying off of the “Downton Abbey” generation and the preference of their children and grandchildren for baseball cards, Pez dispensers and Monkees lunchboxes over elegant furniture and fine flatware — the overall antiques market has become a lot more affordable than it used to be.
Some collectors go with prizes in mind. Others go just to walk the hallways of history and have fun making discoveries. Either way, admission to the show is just $6 for two whole days.
Check it out
Still others go to find out whether the historical treasures they already own really are treasures — or just trash.
For $7 apiece, experts from the International Society of Appraisers will examine and evaluate individual pieces, “Antiques Roadshow” style. They’ll even take a look at photographs if your piece is too big to bring in.