Hunting for antiques on Martha’s Vineyard

Antiquing, a popular pastime, has been experiencing a resurgence recently, possibly due to the numerous TV shows dedicated to the hobby. The hunt for the perfect antique can be found in many Martha’s Vineyard shops.

To talk about antiques, I thought, who better to turn to then one of, if not the, oldest seasonal antique shop on the Island, Over South Antiques. Located on Basin Road in Menemsha and nestled between Pandora’s Box and Copperworks of Martha’s Vineyard, owner/operator Jane Slater has been opening up Monday through Saturday for the last 38 seasons. With so much history, you can imagine the special items you might find in her shop.

The Over South store was born due to the necessity of more space after gaining popularity during the 10 years Ms. Slater had operated at the local flea market prior to its inception. Ms. Slater, who turned 80 this past February, has not missed a summer season since she opened and apparently will not in the foreseeable future. “I don’t want to quit,” she says. “I am an Aquarian and we love antiques.”

When asked what she most enjoyed about antiquing, her quick answer might surprise you. “The people that I meet and the research. It is a quest, the search for a particular piece that I enjoy most. Finding things isn’t always easy and when I finally achieve my goal I love that item, for about 20 minutes. Then I am ready to sell the rare and unusual item while beginning my next search.”

Eager to share some antiquing tips for those jumping in for the first time, Ms. Slater cautions, “Read all the books you can about the subject. Turn over every plate or piece, as it is the only way you can learn. You must be able to feel it, then read it and finally do your research on what it is you are looking at.”

You can get in touch with Ms. Slater Monday through Saturday between 10 am and 5 pm by calling 508-645-3378.

While many stores carry a variety of unique antiques, items gleaned from Island estates, and a sprinkling of brand-new items to help round out their stock, some other shops strictly sell items 100 years and older. Keep in mind that if you are looking to build up a collection that will increase in value as the years pass, you might want to look at some collectibles as well. A collectible is an item that while older, has not reached the 100-year milestone, yet has a perceived value likely to increase as more time passes.

The best way to find antiques on the Island is to leave yourself plenty of time to drive around. First, you might want to stop at some of the larger, well-known antique dealers: Past & Presents in Edgartown, Pyewacket’s in Vineyard Haven, The Red Barn or Bea’s Fabric Shop & Antiques both in West Tisbury, Tuckernuck Antiques or New Moon Magick both in Oak Bluffs, just to name a few of the many wonderful shops that carry a much coveted antique selection. Make sure as you move around the Island, that you keep your eyes peeled, as there are many smaller shops distinguished by the antique sign out front, including in front of some homes. Happy hunting.