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There are several rooms of antiques at Wishbone Reserve, an antique store in Hampden.
There are several rooms of antiques at Wishbone Reserve, an antique store in Hampden. (Barbara Haddock Taylor / Baltimore Sun)

One swelteringly hot afternoon, a man came by hoping to sell Philip Dubey a knife. It was a cake knife, the kind you’d have at a wedding, Dubey said, examining it.

In his shop, Antique Row Stalls, visitors can find more than 10,000 square feet of antiques ranging from 18th century punch bowls made in China to colonial-era maps of the Chesapeake Bay.

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Dubey passed on the knife; he likes to know where items come from. “We had a pair of plates that belonged to Dolly Madison,” he said. “So we ate ham sandwiches on them. You have to take this with a grain of salt.”

The area’s popularity as a hub for secondhand goods dates back to the mid-19th century, when Baltimore craftsmen and furniture makers made their trade there, Dubey said. They soon started buying used furniture, to refurbish and sell to new customers. By the 20th century, Antique Row, the 800 block of N. Howard Street, had become a major shopping destination for collectors and everyday enthusiasts.

Today, the row is a shadow of its former self: of the dozens that once crowded the block, only a few antique shops, including Dubey’s remain.

Business owners point to the availability of online auctions, as well as changing consumer habits. “Millennials don’t collect antiques,” Dubey said.

It’s an industry-wide lament; but one that Craig Flinner of Milbrook Antiques disputes. His Hampden shop specializes in historic prints, including maps of Baltimore and brightly-colored vintage ads for dog food, hats and performances.

“We literally sell to people under 30 every day,” Flinner said. While demand for certain items, like china, glassware and brown furniture from the 1930s may not be what it used to, Flinner said, other pieces like prints and mid-century modern furniture remain hot sellers.

Many young shoppers come to the Wishbone Reserve because they are “tired of the West Elm look,” said co-owner Julie Lilienfeld. Outside the quirky Falls Road vintage store, a used boat has been converted into an herb garden. Customers can add some pizzazz to their walls with items like an enormous mask made of macaw feathers. “It’s all about the mix,” Lilienfeld said.

Wishbone Reserve

The shop features a vibrant and carefully curated mix of mid-century modern furniture with accents ranging from a collection of portraits to an enormous model train set. Want to make your home look like this? The shop offers interior design, too. “We’re trying to make it more popular to conserve and to circulate what we already have made," says co-owner Julie Lilienfeld.

3811 Falls Road, Hampden. 443-961-3376. wishbonereserve.com

The distinctive 20,000-square-foot warehouse at Second Chance Inc.
The distinctive 20,000-square-foot warehouse at Second Chance Inc. (Karl Merton Ferron, Baltimore Sun)

Second Chance

“Random” doesn’t begin to do justice to the assortment of goods one can find at Second Chance, a ginormous warehouse whose awning is visible from Interstate 95. The words "WHAT IS AND WHAT CAN BE” are painted outside in bold orange letters, a mural by artist Steve Powers. Inside, everything from 19th-century wicker wheelchairs to a set of plush movie theater recliners, wooden floors from an old school gymnasium, a porcelain bathtub from the early 1900s, and lots and lots of radiators. The nonprofit trains and employs people who have had difficulty being hired, and most items come from donations and demolitions.

1700 Ridgely St., Pigtown. 410-385-1700. secondchanceinc.org

Antiques of all kinds dominate the large interior room of Housewerks.
Antiques of all kinds dominate the large interior room of Housewerks. (Photo by Beckie Burkhardt/Special to baltimoresun.com)

Housewerks

From its historic Pigtown headquarters, Housewerks sells materials collected from defunct hospitals, churches, factories and schools. Find everything from the stained glass windows of demolished churches to unused chamber pots from old hospitals. “You can’t not take a good photograph here,” says employee Charles Sutherland. The business, open only on the weekends, also hosts the Pigtown Flea Market.

1415 Bayard St., Pigtown. 410-685-8047. housewerkssalvage.com

Craig Flinner Gallery and Millbrook Antiques

There’s Prince fans, and then there are prints fans. The latter will find their Mecca in Baltimore at Millbrook Antiques, a shop that sells original prints, including maps and vintage posters, anywhere from $5 to into the thousands. “It’s all original. That’s the sword we live and die by,” said co-owner Ned Gans, who runs the shop with Craig Flinner, a frequent guest appraiser on “Antiques Roadshow.”

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859 West 36th St., Hampden. 410-235-7655. millbrookantiques.com

A 9-inch-high late 19th century French skeleton clock ($1,000) stands next to a pre-embargo 7-by-4-by-5½-inch tea caddy ($4,500) made of real tortoise shell from Antique Row Stalls.
A 9-inch-high late 19th century French skeleton clock ($1,000) stands next to a pre-embargo 7-by-4-by-5½-inch tea caddy ($4,500) made of real tortoise shell from Antique Row Stalls. (Sloane Brown, Baltimore Sun)

Antique Row Stalls

The three-story antique shop on Antique Row contains 11,000 square feet of goods, with a focus on Chinese export porcelain and pre-1825 American furniture. “We go from the ridiculous to the sublime,” says owner Philip Dubey. Here, find everything from a rare Chinese export punch bowl to a weather vane from an old Howard Johnson’s.

809 North Howard St., Mt. Vernon. 410-728-6363. antiquerowstalls.wordpress.com

20th Century Gallery on Antique Row. The shop carries work by a number of Maryland artists.
20th Century Gallery on Antique Row. The shop carries work by a number of Maryland artists. (Christina Tkacik/Baltimore Sun)

20th Century Gallery

While many customers like to shop online, this Antique Row shop caters to “people who want to see what they’re buying,” says owner Steven Stegner. “It’s fun to browse.” The retired engineer from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers sells vintage pottery and paintings from a number of Maryland artists.

825 N. Howard St., Mt. Vernon. 410-728-3800. 20thcenturygallery.com

Charlotte Elliott and The Bookstore Next Door sells "things that we like, basically," said owner Fred Hayes. Ancient Chinese and neolithic pottery is scattered throughout the shop; downstairs, his daughter runs a vintage clothing shop.
Charlotte Elliott and The Bookstore Next Door sells "things that we like, basically," said owner Fred Hayes. Ancient Chinese and neolithic pottery is scattered throughout the shop; downstairs, his daughter runs a vintage clothing shop. (Christina Tkacik/Baltimore Sun)

Charlotte Elliott and The Bookstore Next Door

Fred Hayes speaks in complete sentences, as if perhaps he has read each one of the thousands of books on his shelves at the antique shop and bookstore he runs. The store sells “things that we like, basically," Hayes said. "I collect Oceanic and African art as well as books. Like many collectors, in order to afford my habit I also sell.” Downstairs, his daughter runs a vintage clothing shop.

837 W 36th St., Hampden. 410-243-0990. charlotteelliottinc.com

The Hampden shop specializes in mid-century modern furniture.
The Hampden shop specializes in mid-century modern furniture. (Christina Tkacik)

Paradiso

The shop, frequently voted as among the best in Baltimore, sells an eclectic assortments of decor, furniture and gifts, but specializes in vintage mid-century modern furniture. Upstairs, an orange sectional sofa that looks like it was pilfered from the set of the Brady Bunch is yours for the buying.

1015 W. 36th St., Hampden. 410-243-1317. paradisohampden.com.

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