Antiques lie in the eye of the beholder. You may be surprised to find your childhood toys labeled “collectible,” or the clothing of your teen years dubbed “retro.”
But, no matter what your age, you’ll find treasure troves of items that meet your definition of “vintage” in Arizona’s premier antiques enclaves.
Old Towne Glendale & Catlin Court, Glendale
Two adjacent historic districts in the former farming hub of Glendale are chock-a-block with antiques shops.
In Old Towne Glendale, Glendale’s original retail section, the shops tend to occupy turn-of-the-century brick storefronts, while the adjacent Catlin Court, the town’s first residential subdivision, is known for its 1920s and 1930s Craftsman bungalows.
At The Storm Past & Present, in Glendale’s first (1909) bank, the only constant is change. You might find anything from tables dating back to the 1800s to M&M displays from the 1980s.
Matilda’s Vintage Closet, on the other hand, focuses on clothing, jewelry and accessories from the 1930s to the 1950s, especially cocktail and formal apparel. Even the bathrobes – sorry, dressing gowns – are classy.
Some 140 different vendors occupy 20,000 square feet on two levels at A Mad Hatter’s Antiques & Collectibles. So you’ll find items in every style and from every era – including the contemporary one – to fit your home, person or gift list.
Melrose District, Phoenix
Central Phoenix’s Melrose District, the stretch of Seventh Avenue between Indian School and Camelback roads, was first settled after World War II. That era’s furnishings and clothing are highlighted in the many secondhand shops that have cropped up in this increasingly trendy neighborhood.
Most of the merchandise at Retro Ranch, for example, dates from the 1950s to the 1970s – everything from classic dinette sets to vinyl 45s. Don’t miss the Arizona-centric items, including cocktail shakers decorated with cowboys and postcards of pristine desert scenes.
At Modern on Melrose, mid-century modern furniture and accouterments mingle with vintage industrial salvage (think neon signs and oversized commercial letters).
Seeking something more romantic? At Rust and Roses you’ll encounter iron lanterns, peacock feathers, perfume bottles, chandeliers, Doric columns, roof pediments and the list goes on… Vintage gardening tools, home decor and furnishings are a particular strength.
Globe-Miami Antiques Troves
The discovery of silver and copper near the Pinal Mountains in the second half of the 19th century gave rise to two bustling mining towns: Globe and, four miles to the west, Miami.
Occupying a 1905 warehouse built to house the Old Dominion Mine’s drilling equipment, Globe’s expansive Pickle Barrel Trading Post carries everything from 1940s Cree moccasins to antique typewriters and Pendleton blankets. The rustic yard art is fun to browse, too.
Also in Globe, the more traditional Past Times Antiques specializes in furniture, glassware, jewelry, pottery and, according to the owner, “some fun junk.” The beautifully restored building was a boarding house in 1885.
Fans of pop-culture memorabilia – gas station pumps, arcade games, Coke machines and the like – will find heaven in Soda Pop’s Antiques, just one of the cluster of antiques shops in downtown Miami.
Cortez Street, Prescott
Arizona’s first (1864) territorial capital, with more than 800 buildings on the National Register of Historic Buildings, Prescott is a magnet for those seeking remembrances of things past.
Most of the antiques shops are concentrated on and around north Cortez Street, just off Courthouse Square.
Merchandise Mart Antique Mall gathers more than 90 vendors in a vast, century-old mining supply store. Western collectibles such as cowboy boots, fringed shirts and wagon-wheel furniture are especially well represented.
Top-quality Native American and Southwestern wares, including antique jewelry and Arizona memorabilia, are beautifully arrayed and displayed in Ogg’s Hogan. Owner Jeff Ogg studied anthropology at Northern Arizona University and the University of Arizona, and has served on the board of Prescott’s three major museums.
Those with specialized interests might want to check out Prescott’s Bayberry’s Antiques & Dolls, with more than 25 years of experience in acquiring vintage dolls; and Lost in Sports, where the figurines are bobble heads and the selection of baseball cards is immense.