Antiquing in Lancaster, PA
Where to shop for antiques in Lancaster, PA.
Antiquing in Lancaster, PA Lancaster County is known to many for its variety of antiques that one can discover if you have the patience to do some digging. From free standing, independent shops, to galleries, to full antique malls, there are all sorts of places to find just what your heart desires. Below is a list of tips and tricks to help ensure you find what you are after.
When to Go
Shopping for antiques in Lancaster, PA is quite the adventure. It begins before the sun even begins to shine- the locals know that the best deals on the finest pieces are found early. So, you may want to grab a double espresso and head out as the sun is coming up. That way, you’ll have plenty of time to hit the all of the Lancaster’s antique shops, galleries, and malls.
If antique auctions are more your style, you can scout the lots early for items that will be going up for auction later in the day. Either way you will be sure to find plenty of one-of-a-kind items!
Many auctions are held in the spring when the ground is thawing… hence the name, Mud Sales. Generally mud sales are held from February to mid-April- be prepared to wear boots and layers. At these auctions you can expect to find hand-made quilts, furniture, housewares, and other antique items. However, not all auctions are held in the spring. Some mud sales occur through May, June, July and August (although these are not as common). Throughout the year there are antique auctions held at auction halls and private properties. These are often advertised online and in the newspapers, so if you are looking for specific items check these listings to see if they will be up for bidding.
Where To Go
Lancaster County is loaded with places to buy antiques- big, small, specialty, variety, you name is we probably have it. If you are looking to visit one of the premier year-round antiques destinations head to Adamstown, PA. Located in the northeastern part of the county, just off exit 286 of the PA Turnpike you will find what many consider the “Antiques Capital of the USA.” With over 3,000 antiques dealers in Adamstown your guaranteed to find a wide variety of fares. From vintage post cards, to hand-crafted Amish furniture and quilts, to fine artworks or Chippendale chairs, you are sure to find a treasure that tickles your fancy.
While Adamstown is considered the “Antiques Capital,” other small independent shops can be found around the County too in places like Lititz, Strasburg, Bird-in-Hand, Intercourse, or Columbia (they have over 10 big shops!). Check out Tollbooth Antique Marketplace for over 30,000 square feet filled with over 200 vendors. The Southern End of Lancaster County is home to unique shops that carry vintage consignment items. Visit Puttzin' or Blue Gate Pickens to find your next priceless antique. Check out our list of places to visit for other popular locations.
If it is a nice day we suggest heading to some of our outdoor antique markets like Green Dragon Market & Auction (on Fridays), Root’s Market (on Tuesdays), or Shupp’s Grove Antique Market (check their website for special events and dates). As well, keep an eye on events in the area for special auctions and sales.
How to Bid
Here are a few tips for how to get the price that you want (or closer to it)…
Before you go, do your homework and see what price your coveted item generally sold for in local markets. You can often find records online of previous sales. Try to find out what antique dealers typically pay for the item, so you are paying a fair price rather than a high mark-up.
Inspect the items you hope to bid on prior to bidding (see our earlier tip about arriving early). Take a few notes on the item and its condition including the number, so you remember when it comes up for auction. Most items from antique auctions follow a no return policy.
Know your budget, and try not to go over what you would like to spend by getting caught up in the hype of a bidding battle. Bid your maximum on items you know you will regret missing out on. Also, be sure to know what forms of payment are accepted before you bid.
How to Get Your Items Home
While most smaller items you will be able to put in your vehicle, furniture isn’t always the easiest to transport. Some sellers may ship the items to you for a fee, which can sometimes be negotiated into the final deal. However, you may want to ship something on your own. We suggest using Postal Connections for shipping. They work with all major carriers and have mailing supplies in their shop as well.
Why it’s Worth the Effort
Shopping for antiques is a great way to spend your time. Whether you are shopping with company or alone it allows you to see the beautiful scenery of the County and learn some of its heritage while you are exploring. Plus, you get to take home a piece of history, and add a bit of pizzazz to your house with a one-of-a-kind piece. As a bonus, you get to interact with many knowledgeable Lancaster locals. So give it a try- we say out with the new, and in with the old!