Dale Mathis and Ricky Davis Sr. made an impromptu visit to the annual Historic Macon Flea Market on Saturday but quickly realized they weren’t prepared.
As they headed out carrying an electric hedge trimmer, various cooking vessels and other practical items, they said they were planning to come back later in the day with more cash.
It was their first visit to the flea market, which is in its 38th year.
“I didn’t know it was going to be like this,” said Davis, who snapped up the hedge trimmer for $7 and some cake pans for 50 cents each. “If I had known, I would have brought more money.”
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Held in the former Karsten-Denson Hardware Store at 536 Third St., the market raises money for Historic Macon’s preservation efforts. A big crowd was there Saturday morning, picking through a wide range of items that included paintings, an old piano, yard ornaments, furniture, housewares and various antiques.
The two most expensive items were a Widdicomb dining set and a large original painting from Cambodia. The asking price for each was $1,000.
The Cambodia painting depicted construction of Angkor Wat temple in the 12th century.
The Widdicomb set was available for the second year after not selling last year, when the asking price was $3,000.
Another item that was a holdover from last year was an old piano that had been at Wesleyan College, but it sold Saturday.
Emily Hopkins, special events and marketing coordinator for Historic Macon, said donations have been strong throughout the year.
“The big thing that’s different this year is just how much stuff we have,” she said. “A lot of volunteers have been working on this sale about as long as it has been going on for the past 38 years, and they said they’ve never seen so much stuff. We have so many more donations than we have had in the past.”
The event is in its second year at the former Karsten-Denson site, but is moving again next year. Hopkins said it will be in a warehouse on Oglethorpe Street. She said it won’t be much larger but will suit the needs of the market better.
Volunteers collect items year around except for a short time before the flea market when they are busy getting ready for it. But next week, collecting will start again.
“It’s a never-ending process of collecting, sorting and pricing,” Hopkins said.
Pricing is a key part of the antique section, where volunteer William Slocumb has worked for many years. Many of the items he sells are hard to price at first glance, so he does a lot of research.
He had a small blue pottery bowl for sale that didn’t look fancy. But with the markings on the bottom and some Internet research on his cellphone, he discovered it was from a Massachusetts maker called Marblehead and was worth about $250. He had it bargain priced at $125.
“It’s an unusual piece to find here in the South,” he said. “Thank goodness it was marked.”