Flea Market Finds

Painted drawer knobs at a big flea market in Montmartre

Parisian flea markets have become quite the attraction, which means that, for example, an old wooden cork screw worth 1? now usually goes for 10. While I love to go to the big market at St. Ouen, the prices are so inflated (I bought an old perfume label for 5? – it’s a piece of paper!) that now I seldom buy a thing.

Place Maubert Flea Market
Place Maubert Flea Market on September 9th

Not so at the brocante on Place Maubert last Sunday. The sellers there were really trying to get their stuff to move. There were books, bags, and housewares for 50 cents or 3 for 1?, glasses for 10 cents, and one seller offered an all-you-can-carry price of 5?.

Tin Boxes

Yellow BagAfter buying a bunch of tins and a useful yellow bag (the whole bunch for 2? ), I found an old photography print of a Parisian street (La rue Cler) in the early 1900s. The print seller also had tons of old books and said I could take all I want for 5?. I filled my bag with anything that looked interesting: an homage to Marie and Pierre Curie when they won the Nobel in 1935, a propaganda-filled Vichy-era agenda (which merits at the very least its own blog post), and a little beat-up book about making your own toys. I also grabbed some pretty hard-cover books, including Renée by Etienne Marcel (for my sister-in-law, Renée), one by Balzac (Les Chouans, the word Chouans meaning French royalists) and another by Zola (L’Argent or Money).

Old Books

It wasn’t until Monday morning that I thought to check the publication dates. The Zola book was a nice surprise: the publication date, 1891, as well as the publication house are the originals. There is a stamp from a library inside, which may mean that the binding is not original (though it looks very old), but it is pretty exciting to have a first edition, in any case! I usually attribute only personal value to the objects I pick up at these things, but for once, I may actually have something valuable to others as well.

Zola l??Argent
1891 edition of L’Argent

The hunt is half the fun, though, and I’m happy to dig through the dust and come away with nothing. There’s just something magical about the possibility of finding a hidden treasure, whether it be a book of historical significance or just a pretty tin box to store sugar cubes!

3 thoughts on “Flea Market Finds

  1. ooh I love the books, great finds! I’ve been wanting some pretty books for our bookshelves, those are lovely 🙂

  2. Cray dude. I just saw some crafty doods using doorknobs for window treatments. They screwed in the door knob through the key hole in the faceplate for the doorknob. I thought of you. And then I see doorknobs on your blog.

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