The search is the fun

This area is an antique hunter’s paradise. You never know what you are going to find. A few years back, a visitor staying at the Auberge Knowlton found a knockoff Cartier watch in a local shop and picked it up for $20. When he got home, he found it was the real thing and worth $1,100.

That kind of thing is rare. But there are many antique and second-hand shops in the area, and even professional antique pickers come here to see what they can find.

A non-scientific survey of some antique dealers uncovered what it is hot and what is not in the world of local antiques. Many years ago, everyone wanted Quebec pine furniture from armoires to blanket boxes. That market’s dead, as is the whole market of what is called “brown furniture.”

“There are exceptions,” said one local dealer. “But it has to be 18th or 19th century Quebec furniture with the original paint.”

Oddly, mid-20th-century furniture is hot. If it looks like something Montreal actress Jessica Paré would have sat on in the Mad Men TV series, it will sell.

Inuit art still sells, but it has to be vintage, that is something that was made decades ago. Silver also sells, but it has to have a hallmark (a stamp that says it is Sterling), although decorative and useful silver plate is popular.

Porcelain used to be in vogue, not anymore unless it is unique. You need a sharp eye to know the difference. Antique linens and vintage clothing are in demand. Old advertising signage from the 1920s sells and even things like licence plates. Militaria, old medals or prints, sell well.

With the rise of China, many Chinese sculptures, vases and other decorative art can be valuable, but again you have to know what to look for.

The good news in this area is a lot of choice because many dealers have been here for years. “We have the whole gamut here in Knowlton,” says one dealer. “You can find anything. To me, the search is the fun.”