Top Picks for Antiquing Around the South
Before coming to Southern Living, I spent 11 years as an antiques dealer and more years than that as a collector. Consequently, I have sampled just about every shop from here to the edge of Dixie. What I hope to do here is provide you with the list I wish I would have had when I was starting out. If you’re in it to buy, then here you go. If you’re just out to learn a few things, then these are your classrooms and the bell has rung.
610 Chartres Street
New Orleans, LA 70130
As with food or wine, exposure to the best will train your palate. The same is true for antiques. Lucullus is, for me, the best place to learn what’s good. Their bent is French, from furniture to Champagne flutes. In fact, owner Patrick Dunne’s book, The Epicurean Collector, is a veritable textbook of all things historic and food-related. It’s always one of my first stops when I hit New Orleans.
2. Stevens Auction Company
Auctions are a great place for a good education or a good buy. Stevens is one of the last auctions that has not become a high-dollar battleground for dealers. I’ve been going for years and seldom come home with an empty back seat. Auction tip: If it’s raining, sleeting, snowing, thundering, lightning or dropping balls of fire from the sky, get in your car and go. Inclement weather weeds out the faint of heart and the deals only get better. Get on their mailing list ASAP.
3. Snow’s Antiques
1852 Waverley Mansion Rd
West Point, MS 39773
For good quality American Empire furniture, there is no better. Prices here have remained remarkably low, so there are deals to be had. (FYI: The chest in the magazine story came from there.) It’s a tiny shop packed with perfection and located on the grounds of Waverley Plantation Mansion, one of the most significant historic homes in Mississippi. This is a place where the dealer, Robert Snow, really takes time with you to help you understand what you’re looking at. For beginners, it’s like training wheels. For the pro, it’s just fantastic. Don’t deny yourself a visit.
4. Scott Antiques Market
This is an event for antique buyers. Held the second weekend of each month in Atlanta, this is an absolute cornucopia of things to buy or just investigate. There’ a vast selection spread out over two warehouses so wear comfortable shoes. I have always found at least one thing I couldn’t live without whenever I go. It’s worth a bit of a drive if you’re serious about finding good stuff at every conceivable price point.
5. Valerie Fursdon, Inc.
5000 Whitesburg Dr.
Huntsville, AL 35802
This is one of those great undiscovered shops…or it was to me until recently, so I’m claiming the discovery. It’s a good shop that imports a selection of European antiques, including Chinese and French porcelains, some continental furniture, and so much more. It’s the eclecticism that is the big bang here. The owner, Valerie Fursdon, studied at Christie’s in London and is great to talk with (owing partially to her delightful British accent). Check this shop out. The quality is much higher-end than the prices imply.
"A Shopper's Guide to Antique Chests" is from the February 2008 issue of Southern Living.