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Published February 25th 2017
Would a flat screen TV be out of place here? (by Camberwell Antique Centre)
As franchises fight for our shopping dollar, you can still venture on a treasure hunt for timeless homewares, art and ephemera. While there are bargains with a history at flea markets, op shops and eBay, our local antique stores feature the finest items. In Melbourne, begin your antique search at one of these top 6 antique stores.
Camberwell hosts one of our oldest antique centres, as shelves strain with every conceivable type of the sentimental memento, heirloom, art and object, evoking a sensation felt during either a personal of national event. Antiques can be touchstones to relive those memories, either vicariously or directly.
In the store, the variety ranges from Victorian furniture, Royal Doulton ceramics, Georgian silverware and oriental figurines to footy cards, retro jewellery, perfume bottles and cigarette tins.
Recent highlights include a rare 1908 American flag with only 46 stars, stitched before New Mexico, Arizona, Alaska and Hawaii became official states and a tea caddy resembling a Georgian mansion. If the lucky buyers actually own a Georgian mansion, will they enter a Twilight Zone where the tea caddy contained a Georgian mansion, which contained a tea caddy, repeating to infinity in a paradox?
They also have free appraisals for antiques you'd like to sell and recommend the Aussie Howard range for keeping your precious wood, metal and upholstery polished, oiled and cleaned.
For almost 30 years, Jack Shahine has been obsessed about antique furniture. He does have the odd painting, porcelain and silverware creation but the range of Victorian, Georgian and Edwardian chairs, tables, wardrobes, desks, chests and lounges dominates the tightly packed store.
Looking closely, you'll also find Art Deco, Chinese designed pieces and a fascinating selection of pocket watches, perfect for your 'Murder on the Orient' party game.
Definitely not to be confused with Snooky from Jersey Shore, Snook and Co. has a much more refined taste, more interested in 18th and 19th century furniture than 21st century selfies.
Although they stock furniture, Snook's specialty is the mechanical, with a horological (the science of measuring time) workshop and showroom catering for lovers of clocks, barometers, telescopes, microscopes, sextants and music boxes. The enchanting window displays, as though plucked from ye olde England, are bound to draw you inside.
Snook and Company is open Tues, Thur and Fri 10am - 4pm, Wed 12pm - 4pm and Sat 10am - 2pm, closing Sunday and opening by appointment on Monday.
An antique cash register. Warning - it doesn't accept Pay Wave (by Jack's Antique Furniture)
Melbourne is well served with antique stores stocking British and Australian pieces so Miguel's offers an exciting contrast with a focus on French items, ranging from the Louis XIV to Napoleon III periods and in Art Nouveau and Art Deco styles.
The store stocks the alphabet of antiques, from A for armchairs and armoires/wardrobes, C for coffers/strongboxes, commodes/drawers and consoles/hall tables to T for tapestries and W for wine glasses.
On an addictive search for antiques in Melbourne, Miguel's is my favourite. The workmanship and artistry of the pieces, blending parquetry in the rosewood, teak and mahogany with marble stonemasonry and brass and silver sculpture instantly draws me back to my fondest memories of France and fuels my imagination with thoughts of French culture and history.
Antique shops typically feature handmade pieces of wood, stone, glass and metal, with the occasional addition of gold and silver. Ace Antiques is a unique find on your antique treasure hunt, hosting the biggest bastion of Bakelite in Australia.
Although DAB and smartphone apps transmit crystal-clear digital broadcasting of your favourite tunes, add character to your radio broadcast when you heard through an Astor Mickey Grande, a Black Skyraider 1947 or an Empire State radio. The classic range is also loaned to local media studios, featuring in Australian period film and television.
You can also grab items destined to go straight to the pool room, with toys and enamel signs from petrol pumps, train stations and street corners in stock.
An Italian antique mirror frame, circa 1865 for $4,500 (by Giltwood)
If you loved the Romper Room segment where Anne named young viewers through a mirror or you want to ask the Queen's magic mirror from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs if you're the fairest of them all, you'll love Gildwood.
The store specialises in mirrors of all shapes and sizes, shrewdly grabbed from Parisian antique fairs and flea markets, the global hub for the best pieces from Europe.
While the authentic item is a fantastic home warming gift or opulent sign of success in the workplace, they also produce reproductions, ideal if you're short of cash and too superstitious to risk 7 years of bad luck in a daring heist. Giltwood can also retouch the gold leaf on your favourite gilded mirror.
Love it, every time I go in there are new things and I've found a few bargains. They have a large range from Mid Century Retro to 19th century and even older. Lots of vintage mirrors, light fittings, furniture, Australiana and bric a brac. It's a survivor and has been there for decades!
646 Mt Alexander Rd, Moonee Ponds VIC 3039
ph: 9370 1855, Open 7 days, 10:00 am to 5:30 pm
Ratty and Moles Riverbank Antiques in Warrandyte. A treasure trove to explore with seventeen dealers under one roof displaying a wide range of items from fine china, beautiful linen to small pieces of furniture. Open from 11 a.m Tuesday to Sunday. Well worth a visit