Midcentury flea market finds with Atomic Ranch

The flea market is unlike any other shopping experience. Step out from behind the computer screen, take away the shine of corporate branding and organized aisles—all to put yourself into the exciting world of hunting and haggling. Flea markets are where crowds of excited customers search for one-of-a-kind items and great deals. It’s no Target run, but it is fun.

Some flea markets are put on once a month, typically during the weekend, and others occur annually or biannually and last for days. Your local flea market calendar is just an internet search away, but there are some events—like Brimfield or Round Top—that stretch for days and attract buyers from all over the country who plan months in advance for their pilgrimage to vintage paradise. No matter how long the event lasts, flea markets can be divided into two different varieties: those that are curated for a specific style and those that are an “anything goes” extravaganza.

Curated Markets

These markets are smaller and more selective of their sellers, so you can expect the prices to be higher because vendors tend to specialize in that given style. These vendors have researched their pieces, have experience in market trends and to have put time and money into refurbishing their wares. Chances of finding that perfect, beautiful piece of midcentury furniture here is high.  

However, these events are more competitive as vendors with similar sellers are all vying for your dollars. They also provide excellent variety within the set limits. Looking for a mod table, but want to compare your options? Go to a curated flea, like the Palm Springs Vintage Market, and you’ll be able to find what you like without having to filter through shabby chic dining sets.

Midcentury flea market finds with Atomic Ranch

Anything and Everything Markets

Many mid mod vendors also bring their items to larger, more traditional flea markets. At these markets you’ll rub elbows with other booths of all kinds, including junkers, hobby sellers, and high-end dealers. Plenty of vendors who don’t specialize in midcentury display their goods with a “pick of the day” mentality, but don’t pass them by. Many are bringing MCM wares because the style’s popularity practically guarantees a sale.

These vendors are likely to have better prices, but may not have a wealth of information for the item’s background. If you enjoy the thrill of the hunt and don’t mind having to do a little research, these are the markets for you.

Want more flea market goodness? Be sure to read Part 2 and check out our roundup of flea market events