All the children in my family learned the benefits of antiquing in New Jersey at a young age. My grandmother was the queen of the flea market, an expert haggler who thought it necessary to teach her grandkids to tricks of the trade. On Sundays, when we visited her favorite shops, I would learn to see the beauty in recycled denim jackets and vintage tinker toys. They became pieces of value, with lives of their own. Through the years, the antiques (and bargaining lessons) that my grandmother had gifted us, all those Sundays ago, have survived—a testament to their quality and her impact.
The Benefits to Antiquing
But the value of sifting through antiques goes beyond sentimentality. It also benefits the ecosystem, the economy, and you as an individual. Each year roughly 85 percent of textiles end up in landfills. (Your current furniture pieces will meet the same fate after 15 to 20 years.) This is due to the high demand for fast and affordable fashion. To limit waste and support local businesses, finding recycled treasures is a practical choice for both you and our environment. And, if nothing else, buying vintage allows you to be original and creative in clothing and tastes (furniture, books, and music).
Where to Go Antiquing in New Jersey
We’re fortunate to be near a plethora of fantastic shops, so take a look at this list of my favorite places to go antiquing in New Jersey.
Hamburg Antique Center
Established in 2004, Hamburg Antique Center is a family-owned and operated business located in Sussex County. The building has two floors and offers visitors several rooms of antiques to browse, from 40 individual dealers. The Hamburg Antique Center’s specialty is its wide variety of furniture. If you’re antiquing in New Jersey to find a new conversational piece for your home, this is a great place to go.
Inside the building are 1950’s kitchen tables and china cabinets. You can also find wooden trunks from the ’50s, perfect for storing cozy quilts, and antique radios. If your taste is more eccentric, there are surrealist bird sculptures and ceramic dalmatian cookie jars in the next room. The parachute from World War II was the ultimate treasure to my boyfriend and me, the last time we visited the Hamburg Antique Center. It never ceases to have something for everyone.
Another Man’s Treasure
Jersey City, NJ
In 2013, Refinery29 listed Another Man’s Treasure as one of the (many) reasons to move to New Jersey, highlighting its devotion to on-trend vintage clothing. Meika and Warren Franz update its contents weekly, including its stellar collection of vintage vinyl, provided by another Jersey City favorite, Iris Records. Since its opening in 2006, Another Man’s Treasure has built its reputation on its ability to offer exceptional vintage finds at affordable prices. It continues to do so today.
A Family Treasure
Each time you walk through the doors to A Family Treasure, it feels as if you’ve entered another time and place. Each vendor leaves visitors with a glimpse into the past. Small history lessons for those antiquing in New Jersey on a Sunday morning. In front of the store are vintage pieces of turquoise jewelry, and velvet hats looked to have been worn in the 1950s. Further down are comic books and vinyl records from the 1970s. At one point, a black leather biker jacket from 1980 adorned the back wall, but the room is now dedicated to vintage furniture. The glass cases by the register hold antique cameras, lenses, and music memorabilia. You could spend hours scouring all the knickknacks, needlepoints, and trinkets that line the walls inside A Family Treasure. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time.
Antique Center of Red Bank
Red Bank, NJ
The Antique Center of Red Bank, first established in 1964 in the heart of town, started in one building with 12 dealers. Today the Antique Center of Red Bank has over 100 dealers, housed between two adjacent buildings. It is now the largest antique district in New Jersey. The first building comprises two floors and carries a wide variety of rare collectibles spanning several decades. Tin lunchboxes, a fad in the ’60s, are decoratively displayed near the retro video games: Pong and Atari. They used to be all the rage—ask your parents.
But if these don’t strike your interest, the vendors on the second floor might. There’s a room dedicated to different artifacts of war: battledress, army fatigues, letters written by soldiers. Another room contains music memorabilia, with records stacked to the ceiling. The Antique Center of Red Bank prides itself on being the place where your search, no matter what you’re looking for, ends. And, from my own experience, it’s true.
Antique Emporium of Asbury Park
Asbury Park, NJ
The next time you’re in the area, antiquing in New Jersey or just strolling Cookman Avenue after a day on Asbury Beach, head to the Antique Emporium of Asbury Park. The Emporium provides the standard vintage finds: jewelry, art, clothing—but with a twist. There is always something off-the-wall here, hidden in plain sight. Amid the glass bottles of old-timey medicines are doll heads and Garfield aquariums. Each piece has a personality and a history. It becomes a game to find the most outrageous antique in the shop.