While most twenty somethings spend their Saturdays in August tanning outside (preferably at a weekend house or by a rooftop pool), Dean and I did the furthest thing possible from that. Fully clothed and determined to beat the heat, we left DC and drove an hour north up to Baltimore for the 35th Baltimore Summer Antiques Show.
This was my third year going so I could only imagine how Dean felt as we entered what’s billed as the world’s largest antique show. Over the course of about four hours, we made our way through the vast space, seeing everything from sterling silver vermouth syringes and old Vanity Fair prints to vast cabinets of Birkins and vintage watches.
Notable booths included the Branded Luxury Unlimited booth, which was where I think I saw Dean have an out-of-body experience as we gawked at the wall of vintage Vuitton and Goyard trunks. Pretty sure he’s trying to figure out how to fit one of those into his dorm.
We also ended up spending quite a bit of time at the Radcliffe booth. Unlike a lot of exhibitors who have traveled from around the world, Radcliffe is based in Baltimore and had an amazing selection of watches and vintage Hermès bags. We had too much fun at this booth to bother taking any photos, especially after we started trying on watches that cost more than my take-home pay for an entire month (or three months in the case of one Patek)!
But the showstopper every year is the M.S. Rau Antiques booth. These people are like the Neiman Marcus Christmas catalogue of antique dealers. Andy Warhol’s sterling silver Tiffany flatware? Check. A $40,000 Lalique car mascot from the 30s? Check. Oh, and this Meissen tea and coffee service from 1820 below? It can be yours for a cool $148,500.
Being a fan of vintage posters, I went looking for an early birthday present for myself, but sadly the Chicago Center for the Print booth where I had gotten my dream poster last year didn’t have anything in my price point that really caught my eye this year.
That’s the thing about antique shows: you might not necessarily leave with something, but it’s still fun to go, try your hand at negotiating for a better price with the vendors and try on a watch that you can only dream about owning because as Dean so eloquently said to me as we left, “We’ve got to work toward something.”