Not being one to follow many traditions, I must say that the tradition of antique store drifting on Sunday afternoons has become a favorite of mine. One eyed doll head’s next to cloudy blue bottles, rusty tools, timeless records, and signs of all shapes and sizes hang across booth after booth after booth. The variety of collectables is endless in the Antique malls between Fort Collins and Loveland along highway 287.

Collecting old magazines is one of my guilty pleasures. I love their vintage smell and the awkwardly strange and severely outdated content inside. I found an ad once with the title When Nervous tension and fatigue bring on the “Housewife Headache.”

It can be a tad overwhelming if you're not use to such an array of tightly packed in things. Unfamiliarity can also be a deterring factor for some when it comes to the art of antique mall drifting.

 

 

In addition to old, dusty magazines, I also collect turquoise rings and other antique and vintage jewelry. The majority of the turquoise I have comes from two specific people who have the gift of knowing how to pick an item, and sell an item too.

It was a sunshiny sort of Saturday morning when I discovered the difference between what is vintage and what is antique. I was in Cheyenne visiting two of Northern Colorado and Wyoming’s top old west and antique vendors, Bob and Michelle Brown. Married and collecting together for over twenty years, the duo’s eclectic collection came from foraging small town garage sales, wagering auctions, and attending estate sales of the deceased- and is worth thousands.

Wrangler jeans, a cowboy hat, cowboy boots and adorned in an array of vintage turquoise jewelry, Bob is the star of a walking vintage series. “They say one hundred years old is considered antique, and vintage is fifty,” Bob said as we settled ourselves at their kitchen table. “If you can find something from the 1970-80s, it’s real big time since almost all of the antique 1920- 30’s has been sold and are in private collections. The other day we bought that Civil War horse saddle and that’s 1860. To find something like that’s real rare.” But antique goes back further than just one hundred years.

As I gazed into their floor-to-ceiling, tall, oak cases, the ornamental glow of jade sculptures next to thousand-year-old American Indian pottery pieces guided me through the rows of endless treasures. “We mined a lot of those ourselves,” Michelle said. “Those rocks are just as antique as the pottery next to it.”

Turquoise Squash Blossom, Ashley Haberman 2019

 

Turquoise rings, squash blossoms (see left), and pocket watches glisten behind glass cases, and are anything but the ordinary stuff at your local mall. “It stands out so much and people are attracted to it,” Bob said about the jewelry. “Your knowledge gets polished over the years and you get to know the styles and how it’s made- older stuff is heavier, more detailed, the sets are in real tight, and the colors are better.”