The Great Escape: Antiquing in the Time of Covid-19

Friday morning was a gloriously beautiful spring day. After eight or nine weeks of being cooped up in the house, we were itching to escape and Israel had just eased up on the quarantining. For the past six weeks I had been positively salivating over the Instagram photos from Antikontainer in Alon haGalil – and I could wait no longer. So…. I called to see if they would be able to open the warehouse for us. And we were off!!!!!

Driving through the hills of the Galilee with the wildflowers all abloom and the sun shining was just what we needed. Finding this place, was another story. It’s a bit off the beaten path. Down dirt roads, past fields of grazing cattle, two wineries, past a dog kennel, past the goatherds, winding, winding over hill and valley. I had to call Dudu a couple times to make sure we were headed in the right direction – there were absolutely no signs and we were 200 meters from turning around completely! But there it was. Finally. A large warehouse. We masked and gloved and went in.

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Oh my goodness!!! We were in heaven!!! This place certainly did not disappoint!!! Importing containers from Europe (Sweden, Hungary, Eastern Europe) as well as collecting throughout Israel, the warehouse was stocked with all sorts of treasures!

Lots of primitives and old farm equipment from wagons to wheelbarrows, from rakes to carts – amazing decorative pieces for the garden- were the first things to catch my eye. One part of the large warehouse was stacked with old wooden blanket chests, some beautifully decorated, most Swedish. The prices were incredibly cheap…starting at about $45 USD a chest.

Next came buckets, bins, and bread bowls – lovely farmhouse tables, hutches and sideboards. I had always wanted a dough bowl, but could never find one in the States for the right price. Score!!!!! I got a beauty for about $28 USD!!!! One item ticked off my list. IMG_5596.jpeg

I was almost tempted by the shelves and shelves of old linens, most with traditional Swedish red and blue embroidery…. 10-50 shekels per piece…that’s about $3-$12. Not gonna lie, I just might go back for one or two. There were some lovely European porcelain sets of dishes, and serving ware that I passed up. All looked like they were in pristine condition, but I don’t have an antiques store anymore, so those were pass. I  did, however, nab a nice set of 6 crystal glasses that I can’t wait to use for cocktail hour later today. They were only $12 for the entire set!!!!!! That’s two bucks a piece!!!! Easily worth $50.

A few lovely old porcelain and enamel fireplaces/wood burning space heaters. And lots and lots of furniture…A Tel Aviv cafe would do well to stock up on their wide selection of white brasserie chairs for $15/each. I didn’t see the rocking chairs until we had already checked out – pity. And I really, really wanted the pair of hand-carved and painted children’s chairs to send to my granddaughter in California. Good thing John was there to remind me of the prohibitive shipping cost, but they were absolutely adorable!!!

The side yard was filled to the brim with galvanized tin wash buckets, feeding troughs, watering cans and the like. There was a large pile of those Hungarian baby bathtubs and stands (the ones Williams-Sonoma was selling for $380-$800 in 2014) perfect for planting herbs or filling with ice for drinks. If we had a swimming pool, I’d fill them with towels, they are just so versatile. I bought one in Haifa a few years ago for about $100, and love it for my herbs, but these were even cheaper (I might just have to get another one??). And the vintage metal washstands in all colors with matching enamel on steel bowls. So we bought a lovely one of those which we’ll scrape of rust and repaint and use as a drink stand on the patio (pictures to come).

Next was the room of enamelware. Oh my Lordie! milk pails, bowls, utensils, you-name-it. Awesome vintage produce scales in working order. And vintage blown glass. I’ve always wanted a demijohn, the big bulb-shaped glass flasks that were one used for storing rum and other alcohol. Today, the genuine antique ones are hard to find and cost a fortune. They make gorgeous lamps (I have absolutely no more room in my house for another lamp). Once again, the prices were UNREAL, so we got a bit too greedy and bought the largest one they had. Also a smaller one. Turned out to be way to large for the house, so they are now outside on the front porch…still, I feel it was a great purchase.

There was just so much to take in, and after not “feeding my addiction” for about three years, we bought several items (just think of how much we saved!!!) for just a small chunk of change. As with most antique and vintage stores, there were those one of a kind treasures – a camel saddle, an old typewriter ($40), a glockenspiel, mannequins, an old brass distillation contraption, farm items, and those weird oddities of all sorts.

But, I’m no longer in the business, and I have no room left in our house at all. Still, some things were just so so tantalizing – and the prices!!!! We just might have to go back. Hey, maybe they will hire me?!?!?IMG_5627.jpeg

One thought on “The Great Escape: Antiquing in the Time of Covid-19

  1. Hi Tamar my daughter Rebecca bought her unit for her washbasin(which she had custom made-handpainted) at that warehouse..amazing place. Hope you and John are well also Max and the girls +

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