Return to Pickens Flea market

Pickens Flea Market (25 of 50)

It’s Spring Break, and that means it’s the one time of the year that I can head over to the Pickens Flea Market. This year my brother Stephen and I were going to make the Wednesday trek. We decided to get an early start, so we headed over with the intent to arrive by 8:00 am.

As it turns out, we got there VERY early. While there were lots of vendors already in place, some were just getting set up. Also, it was much cooler than normal. Regardless, we started browsing the stalls.

Pickens Flea Market (13 of 50)

As usual, I came equipped. I had my audio recorders, my smaller Pansonic Lumix camera, and my GoPro camera. Stephen brought his big Nikon. I was going for subtle, but Stephen did otherwise. That actually played to his advantage. I’ll explain in a bit.

I’ve always said that Pickens Flea Market is qualitatively different from the Anderson Jockey Lot. On a “shadiness” scale, Augusta Road Flea Market is at the bottom, Anderson Jockey Lot is is a bit above that, and Pickens is closer to the top (less shady.) On the whole these folks didn’t seem to mind cameras. They weren’t doing anything wrong or shady, they were just there to make sell their goods, so they weren’t as camera shy. A flea market provides some fantastic photographic opportunities, and I saw several folks with DSLRs there.

Pickens Flea Market (7 of 55)
Pickens Flea Market (9 of 50)

Which brings me back to my brother. Stephen is a much more of a people person than I am. He would strike up conversations, then ask if he could take their picture. I’m sure he’s got many more people shots than I have.

As usual, I was looking for old hymnals. I wasn’t as successful this time, but I did find a German-made Hohner harmonica. One guy had a vintage 1956 Gibson banjo. If I’d had a spare $1200, I might have bought it.

Instrument Salesman
Banjo Seller

Speaking of banjos, the Musician’s Circle was up and running. Stephen starting talking to the bass player and found out from his girlfriend that the group also has a regular gig on Monday nights. We stayed and listened a bit. I did manage to get some audio…

…and, of course, some photos…

Pickens Flea Market (21 of 55)
Pickens Flea Market (24 of 55)
Serious Harmonica
Pickens Flea Market (16 of 55)

Stephen and I found lots of treasures, some of them quite unexpected. We came across several old photographs. Many of these were very old family photos with the names of the individuals on written on the back. I was tempted to buy them, scan them, put them online, and see if someone interested in genealogy would want that information. I resisted, but Steve did get one photo of a massive barbecue…

Extreme Barbecue

There was also a box of old postcards. More interesting than the photos on the front were the messages that were on the back.

Pickens Flea Market (12 of 55)
Pickens Flea Market (13 of 55)

We bought two of them. One from 1953 started like this…

…having a grand time on Father’s money. By the time he gets mad about, we’ll be enroute…”

…and one from 1944 like this…

Well, Lloyd was operated on for appendicitis yesterday at 3 o’clock…”

The stories were well worth the 50 cents we spent on the cards.

As with last year’s trip during Spring Break the crowds were really picking up. However, there is just a narrow window of opportunity. Many of the vendors start wrapping things up by 11:30, or noon at the latest.

Pickens Flea Market (29 of 55)

We had seen loads of stuff that we would love to buy. There were some beautiful knives at really reasonable prices. As Steve said, “I would really love to buy that knife, but I don’t need another one, even at that price.” It would be very easy to get carried away.

Even so, we made a few purchases. I was even able to find another crate of bottles from Shivar Springs. Here’s the total tally of what we bought, most of this from $1 to $5…

  • 1 German-made Hohner Harmonic
  • 1 set of tongs
  • 1 glass washbasin
  • 2 postcards
  • 1 3D Stereoscope card
  • 1 old music book (with handwritten notes inside)
  • 2 old gospel hymnals
  • 1 double-barreled water cannon
  • 1 complete crate of Shivar Springs bottles (12 green bottles)
  • 2 pepper plants
  • 2 tangerines
  • 2 cups of coffee

Tom's Bottles

Stephen and I loaded up our purchases and headed back to Pickens to find some lunch. We were surprised at how badly traffic was backing up going into town.

Flea Market Traffic

We found lunch in Pickens, then stopped at a location we had found on the way into town. The Stockade Antiques is on the old Pickens Stockade, the jail for the town. The owners have left it in a rustic state, but sell their wares from the old cells.

Stockade Antiques
Stockade Antiques
Serious Rest Room Door
Stockade Antiques
Stockade Antiques

It was another great day at the flea market. Unless I can get another Wednesday off, I guess I’ll have to wait until next spring break to visit again. Here are all of the photos that I took on the trip…

…and here are Stephen’s photos…

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