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Story by Terri Polick
Are you looking for an antique doll for someone special, a piece of fine Victorian furniture for your home, or a vintage toy truck for a man who has the heart of a little boy? No matter what your looking for this Christmas, you’ll find it in Southern Maryland’s antique country. Antique stores tucked away in scenic Charles, Calvert, and St. Mary’s Counties give busy Christmas shoppers a place to find a unique gift for everyone on their list.
Maxine Spence from Remembrances Antique and Collectibles in Hughesville says antique buyers that come to Southern Maryland have a lot of different items on their wish list. Hot shopping items include high quality antique furniture, pottery, kitchenware, dolls and other toys, antique jewelry, and regional collectibles including antique oyster tongs, crab pots, oyster plates and forks, and tools associated with tobacco farming. “I find that a lot of my customers come to Southern Maryland to shop because the prices are more down to earth than they are in other parts of the state and in Virginia. The rent for space in rural area antique stores is more reasonable so dealers can pass on their savings to their customers.” A vast array of collectibles and fine antiques are easily found at reasonable prices in all Southern Maryland antique stores.
With a sagging economy and uncertainty in the stock market, some Christmas shoppers may be interested in not only buying something beautiful but something that will appreciate over time as well. Donna Wayson, a dealer at Southern Maryland Antique Mall in Huntingtown who specializes in antique jewelry says that antiques can be a good investment as well as a wonderful Christmas gift if the buyer does a little research ahead of time. She points out that there are certain things to look for when buying any type of antique. When looking for an investment piece, it is extremely important to look at the workmanship, materials, the overall condition of the item, as well as its rarity in the marketplace. In the case of antique jewelry, check to see if the piece is hollow or solid, what type of clasp or hinges were used, and what the metal content is. Wayson says, “I tell people to familiarize themselves with the type of jewelry they want to buy before they go shopping by reading books and magazine articles and by talking to knowledgeable collectors and dealers.” Wayson says that by taking this step, folks protect themselves from spending more than what an item is worth. As an example, Wayson says, “Design reproductions made in the 1920s look similar to pieces originally made in the 1850s. Buyers need to be aware of these things so they know the right questions to ask when they shop.” She also advises shoppers to ask about a dealer’s return policy. She adds, “Most dealers are honest. Their business depends on having a good reputation but if they make a mistake in representing an item, a customer needs to know that they can return the item for a full refund.”
When shopping for antiques it is important that you remember—it is not how much you spend that counts, it is the quality you get for what you spend. Many people who don’t consider themselves antique collectors find antique furniture a better buy than modern household furnishings. Often, quality antique furniture costs the same as inferior mass-produced items. Harvey Cusham of Barnes Refinishing and Antiques located in the Southern Maryland Antique Mall says that there are many advantages to buying antique furniture. “Antique furniture is made better than newly manufactured furniture. New furniture is machine produced using particle board, paper, and pressboard. If a table leg breaks, it can’t be repaired. Antique furniture is different. It has lasted a long time. It’s more solid and it won’t fall apart.” Commenting that antique furniture is handmade from solid wood that has seasoned over time, bringing out its rich hue and wood grain, he adds that antique furniture is also a good investment. “If you spend $1000 on an antique piece and decide to sell it later, nine out of ten times you’re going to get a thousand dollars-plus when you sell. If you buy a new $1000 piece, you’ll never get your money back.”
When looking at antique furniture, Harvey tells people not to be embarrassed to get on their hands and knees to really check a piece out. “It’s okay to ask a dealer how old a piece is, where it came from and to look under the piece to check for repairs. Ask the dealer to pull a piece from the wall to look at the construction of it. Many older pieces throughout the years have been repaired.” He says that a reputable dealer will point repairs out but it’s good to check for those things yourself. He added that antique furniture makes a great Christmas gift and said, “When buying antique furniture, it’s best to buy from a dealer with a good reputation. That way you know you’re getting what you paid for.”
When shopping for Christmas, remember, there are collectibles and antiques for every budget. Whether you’re looking for a five dollar Pez dispenser or a two thousand dollar vintage medium green Fiesta disk pitcher this Christmas, you’ll find something for everyone in Southern Maryland’s antique country.
Antique Stores of Southern Maryland
Are you looking for the perfect place to shop for antiques? Southern Maryland offers many opportunities in each county. The following list of local antique stores can help you get started.
A-1 Antiques & Collectibles
20 rooms, specializing in early bedroom, dining room and living room (parlor) sets and U.S. coins. Open Thurs. thru Sun.: 11AM - 5PM
Antique & Collectors Cove
Antiques, collectibles and furniture. Open Fri. thru Sun.: 10AM - 5PM
Antiques on the Square
Multi-dealer shop with fine furniture, silver, prints, books, dolls, toys and a large selection of glass, china and art pottery. Open 10AM - 5PM daily Sun.: 11AM - 4PM, closed Wed.
Apple Basket Country Store
A unique general store (circa 1800s). Over 6,000 square feet of antiques, fine jewelry, custom florals and unique selection of gifts and collectible dolls. Open Mon. thru Sat.: 10AM - 6PM, Sun.: 11AM - 6PM
Bay Avenue Antiques
Mirrors, clocks, fancy shelves, Victorian oils, fine prints and frames. Open Thurs. thru Sun.: 10AM - 5PM & holiday Mondays
Chesapeake Antique Center
Victorian and depression glassware, collectibles, toys, animal figures, furniture, prints and more. Open Fri., Sat., Sun.: 11AM - 5PM
Antiques, gifts and collectibles. Vintage clothing and accessories. Better women’s and children’s consignments. Caswell-Massey, Aspen Bay & Primal Elements. Open daily: 10AM - 5PM, Sat.: 10AM - 4PM, Sun.: Noon - 4PM
Flower shop specializing in antiques, decorative accessories and unique lighting. Open daily: 9AM - 5:30PM, Sat.: 9AM - 4PM
Dodson’s on Mill Creek
English and nautical antiques. “Large selection of wardrobes.” Open Mon. thru Sat.: 9AM - 7PM, Sundays: 11AM - 5PM
Grandmother’s Store Antiques Center
Browse through an old country store featuring nine rooms of antiques, collectibles and books. Open daily 10AM - 5PM
Antiques, gifts and large selection of collectibles. Open daily 10AM - 5PM with extended summer hours and limited winter hours.
The Greenweigh Piecemaker Antiques
Furniture, glass, quilts, toys, China, crafts and more. Open Mon. thru Sat.: 10AM - 5PM, Sun.: Noon - 5PM
Highway 301 Antiques Stop
Open Fri. thru Tues.: 10AM - 5PM
Hughesville Bargain Barns
Over 70 shops in each barn: antiques, collectibles, books, coins, jewelry, linens and more. Open Sat.: 9AM - 5PM, Sun.: Noon - 5PM
Island Trader Antiques
American country furniture, lamps and shades, old advertising, trunks, linens and more. Open daily 11AM - 5PM, closed on Wed.
Joyce’s Antiques & Gifts
Selection of antique furniture, china, glass, tools, bottles, gifts and collectibles. Open Thurs. thru Sun.: 10AM - 5PM
The Maryland Antiques Center
Showcasing the collections of over 30 dealers. Large selection of furniture, art, China, glassware, books, jewelry, nautical items and collectibles. The English Tea Room inside. Open Daily: 10AM - 5PM
Memory Lane Antiques & Collectibles
Antiques, glass, china, furniture and collectibles. Open Sat.: 9AM - 5PM, Sun.: Noon - 5PM
Nice & Fleazy Antique Center
Primitives, pottery, vintage books and collectibles. Open Tues. thru Sun., 10AM - 5PM and holiday Mondays
English period and country furniture, glassware, interior design and appraisals. Open Sat. & Sun.: 9AM - 3PM
Old Keepsake Antiques/Tick Tock Clock Shop
Clocks, glassware and lamps. Clock repairs and restoration. Open Fri. thru Sun.: 10AM - 5PM Other days by chance
Our Heritage House
Open Tues. thru Sun.: 10AM - 5PM
Pennywise Antiques & Gifts
By appointment only.
Furniture, primitives, Victorian, oak & mahogany. No reproductions. Open Wed. thru Fri.: 10AM - 4PM, Sat.: 10AM - 5PM, Sun.: Noon - 5PM
River Road Antiques
Glassware, China, furniture, primitives, pottery and tools. Open daily 10AM - 5PM
Southern Maryland Antique Center
A multi-shop market place featuring an exceptional selection of quality antiques. Crystal, oak, linens furniture, cut glass and more. Open Thurs. thru Sat.: 10AM - 5PM, Sun.: 11AM - 5PM, holiday Mondays 10AM - 5PM and open everyday during December.
Stones Throw Antiques
Furniture, glass, quilts, oil lamps and Southern Maryland history books. Open Sat. & Sun.: 1PM - 6PM & other times by appointment.
Time & Again Antiques
Furniture, candles, primitives, quilts and more. Open Mon. & Thurs. thru Sat.: 10AM - 5PM, Sun.: Noon - 5PM
Traditions of Loveville, Inc.
Fine antique furniture and contemporary hard-to-find home decor. Exclusive showroom from “The Michael’s Company” Mission Oak furniture. Open Mon. thru Sat.: 10AM - 6PM, Sun.: 10AM - 5PM
Old and new collectibles, antique furniture, hand-painted glassware, garden bistros, birdhouses and home accessories. Open Sat.: Noon - 6PM and Sun.: 1 - 6PM
Village Antiques & More
Offering a wide selection of furniture (refinished and “as found”), glass, china, pottery, and vintage collectibles from Washington, DC estates and others. Open Sat. and Sun.
Whistle Stop Antiques
Furniture, militaria, depression glass, jewelry and much more. Open Mon. & Thurs. thru Sat.: 10AM - 5PM, Sun.: Noon - 5PM
Formal and period furniture, silver, fine porcelain, clocks, mirrors, lighting and fine accessories. Open Thurs. thru Sun.: 10AM - 5PM & Holiday Mondays
Please note that every effort was given to make this as complete a list as possible, however, some antique stores in the region may have been inadvertently omitted.
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