What to Buy at New York’s Flea Market: Best Places to Find Interesting Things

2:12 pm  |  20.06.2021

In mid-May, the season of flea markets – unique outlets where you can buy absolutely any product – from rusty nails at a cent apiece to works of art worth millions of dollars. Relatively recently, the national flea market industry has generated $30 billion in revenue. Nearly two and a half million sellers served 150 million buyers.


Many immigrants believe that in flea markets mainly «old junk» is sold. This is a very big misconception.

Statistically, America’s richest people visit flea markets far more often than designer stores. Many celebrities even make up their faces so that no one spoils their fascinating flea shopping. They take great pleasure in the variety of products in the showcases, which often resemble shelves of museum exhibits.

If you want to make a profitable purchase in the flea market, follow exclusive advice. It’s possible that with our help, you can buy for a few dollars a thing that has a real value of millions. Flea Markets is a lottery. Some throw money away, some become rich.

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Rule 1: Сome to the opening. Most of the most popular flea markets open at 5:00 in the morning, and within three hours 12% of all products are sold. Rule: Only in the morning do you have the opportunity to buy things below market value.

Remember that most of the assortment is things that have been in basements and closets for decades. They were owned by the parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and other ancestors of the sellers. The price is often set spontaneously because of the wide variety of products. Beautiful and lovely things are more expensive. Lost appearance and broken – cheaper.

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When flea markets close, people who are more interested in price than quality usually come. So if you’re chasing some cheap crap, come back this afternoon. Traders will give you used cans, plates, mugs, and forks marked Made in China almost for free.

Rule 2: Do not lose sight of printed matter. One day in Manhattan, a lucky guy bought an old 1923 Time magazine from a flea market. His cover featured Albert Cummins, the governor of Iowa, a senator, and a two-time presidential candidate. The buyer paid $1 for the magazine and $15 for the frame, and then hung it on the wall of the house. Since then, the magazine bought between the cases has been the main exhibit of the house.

Old newspapers, magazines, postcards, letters, and photos are the «main raisin» of any flea market. The older the product, the more majestic it will look on your wall. It is the simplest and most effective way to demonstrate good taste and decorate the apartment in a conservative way.

Rule 3: Pay attention to heavy products. Cast iron, copper, bronze – these are the metals that Americans have been making for their lives for centuries. Candlesticks, irons, dishes, horseshoes, tools, and other things that were once necessary at home are of great value today. Behind the rust and mud can hide a year, the manufacturer’s name, and the inscription Made in the USA.


So, last year, a Virginia resident bought an old sword at a junkyard for $150. He brought it home, cleaned it well, and saw the emblem of the confederate army, the initials of the owner, and the year of production – 1861. The saber jumped immediately to $200,000.

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This happens regularly. Flea market traders cannot physically examine the origin history of each item. Anyway, if you want to build a house or a room in the spirit of the Civil War, it’s pretty easy to do. In flea markets, millions of unique products dating back centuries and more are waiting for owners.

Rule 4: Find a use for glass cans. One of the few products that have almost disappeared from production is the thick, strong and large glass jars. If you are a big fan of homemade pickles, jam, and… homemade alcoholic beverages, buy them at the flea market.

A few years ago, a guy bought a giant 20-gallon glass bottle to make a tincture. After the purchase, the owner of the product happily shared his impressions on social media. The 1923 bottle holds all blows and internal pressure.

By comparison, a similar product produced in the 21st century would not cost $50, but at least $600. It is also recommended to buy old pharmacy jars for the storage of vinegar, sauce, and other food substances. They look stylish and are an excellent alternative to plastic.

Rule 5: Avoid new products. In recent years, more and more Chinese products have appeared in flea markets. It’s T-shirts, perfume, jewelry, key chains, souvenirs, and stuff. Since counterfeit wrestlers in flea markets rarely appear, the «cheap junk» often leaves at high prices. Therefore, it is by no means advisable to buy new products in packages and labels. Then you’ll be disappointed in both price and quality, and you won’t get your money back.

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Rule 6: DVD and discs – anti-boredom. Flea markets are flooded with super-cheap movies and records with little-known jazz artists. Many will wonder: why are they needed in the digital age – «iPads», «iPods», Netflix and Hulu?

The answer is simple: old format media help save on the Internet in country houses and camping. One of the housewives of Ohio, for example, was delighted when she bought a set of DVDs with the series «Santa Barbara» on the flea market. Now she’s going to rethink Hollywood classics on a portable player at a campsite. But it’s going to take her a few years. The number of episodes in «Santa Barbara» is 2137.

A Montana resident told an Internet blog that the purchase of an old gramophone and a dozen records saved his marriage from divorce. When we heard the crackling sound of the record, we immediately remembered the 1960s, our happy youth, he said. – It was so sudden and romantic».

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Rule 7: If you like it, buy it. Every day, thousands of Americans return home from flea markets, and then they start thinking about a commodity they haven’t bought because of its high value. After a sleepless night, they return to the flea market and discover that the item has been sold. People are frustrated and begin to blame themselves for indecision, stupidity, and greed.
Remember that old and antique things have a tendency to attract new owners. If you feel connected to a product, buy it immediately. At the very least, give it to someone. Flea markets are not supermarkets or online stores. You only get one chance here.


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