6 Frugal Finds at Antique Co-ops!

We used to hit antique co-ops at least once per month in the past, sometimes just to browse and other times looking for something specific. It’s been quite a while since we’ve been to our local antique co-op, though, so we spent our afternoon there this past weekend. This place is huge, with hundreds of different vendors!

While browsing through the insane number of booths and cases, I found myself wondering why we quit going in the first place. In addition to being fun and fascinating, antique co-ops are actually a great place to score some amazing deals!

You need to have a little patience and a good eye for deals, but antique co-ops shouldn’t be ruled out when you’re on the hunt for some of these items…

1. Cookware


Antique co-ops are often full of all sorts of cookware and kitchen gadgets. Many of these items are also still in good shape and can last for several more years to come.

The best finds for your kitchen at antique co-ops is by far cast iron cookware. Antique cast iron pans will last years when taken care of properly, and cast iron that has already been put to work for years is often seasoned quite nicely. You can usually get a smokin’ deal on slightly rusted cast iron cookware,, as long as you don’t mind giving it a little TLC. However, it’s best to pass on cast iron that is pitted or cracked.

2. Furniture


Some furniture at antique co-ops can be pretty pricey. But, that isn’t always the case.

If you’re looking for a piece of furniture on a budget, don’t rule out the antique co-ops in your area. Sometimes you can score some amazing deals on high quality furniture. Look for real wood pieces that are still sturdy. In some cases, old furniture from antique co-ops can be repaired or painted.

3. Decor


The antique co-ops near me are full of all sorts of decor items. Think paintings, mirrors, knick knacks, statues, rugs, or just about anything else. The great part is that you can typically find these items for a fraction of the price of similar items from major retailers. Plus, they’ll have the added benefit of having a tad more character and a deeper history.

When looking for decor in antique co-ops, don’t be afraid to think outside of the box either. Some simple everyday items from days gone by can be upcycled to make some pretty great decor!

4. Jewelry


If you’re looking for jewelry with character and a little history, antique co-ops are the place to go! Whether you’re looking for a high quality piece or just some fun accessories, antique co-ops usually have it all.

Keep in mind, though, that not all vendors at craft co-ops are on the up and up. Before you plunk down a big chunk of change on a pricey piece, make sure you know what you’re looking for. Real gold and silver will usually have a stamp, for instance, and real diamonds don’t fog up easily when you breath on them and they have tiny imperfections that are visible under magnification.

5. Books


Every one of the antique co-ops I’ve visited has had loads of books. You can usually snatch up some fun and interesting reads for next to nothing!

Don’t think that antique co-ops are full of nothing but dusty and pricey first additions either. I’ve found lots of modern books in my searches.

6.Hand Tools

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Finally — tools! I picked up the three wood planes in the photo above for only $2 each! They need to be cleaned up a bit, but they were worth every penny. In fact, after taking a closer look at them when I got home, I found out that they’re most likely worth much more!

I’m not looking to flip these, though. Like any quality tools, they’re likely to last me for year to come. The rusted wood plane on the left is most likely from the 19th century, and there’s a good chance that my kids will still be able to use it when they’re adults, as long as it’s taken care of properly. Over the years, I’ve found that when it comes to certain hand tools, they really don’t make them like they used to!


What are your favorite find in antique co-ops?