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Tiki Central Forums Collecting Tiki Flea Market Follies
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Flea Market Follies
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 23, 2003
Posts: 825
From: KS/MO
Posted: 2004-02-25 12:57 am   Permalink

I'm wondering how many of you have tales of comedy and/or frustration in simply communicating with flea market dealers about tiki.

I arrived at a flea market Sunday just as a dealer known for religious statuary was packing away what looked like an unusual amount of non-religious figural mugs.
me: "got any tiki mugs?"
dealer: "what are those?"
me: "decorative mugs, usually without handles, tall and cylindrical, often used at Polynesian-themed bars and restaurants back when they were popular"
dealer: "what do they look like?"
me: "some have hula girls and such; most look like a pagan idol turned into a mug"
dealer: (turns away dismissively as I say "pagan") "we don't take to none of that"

Two weekends ago I saw Trader Vic's
salt and pepper shakers priced at $65 because the dealer thought they were slave-trade "Black Americana" and would not be convinced otherwise (*Trader* Vic's, ya know). Fortunately, a few booths away I found a set of Luau shakers for $5.

Does anyone else have such misadventures or is this just a non-coastal thing.?

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 03, 2002
Posts: 1500
From: Huntington Beach, California
Posted: 2004-02-25 02:02 am   Permalink

Next time you go to that flea market, slip a Trader Vic's swizzle stick in your pocket. When you see that dealer, who will most likely still have those shakers for $65, ask him if he would trade his shakers your authentic "slave-trade" FLOGGING stick!

A few months ago, I was at a small antique shop that was closing down and was known for having grossly overpriced items (No, not "high priced". There is a difference). I had been there a few times, but never bought anything, but did stop in since they were having 50% off everything. On the shelf of one of the "locked" cases, there was a
Tiki Farm "I Dream of Tiki" mug for $79.99. The 50% off would make it about $40 plus tax. Still waaaay overpriced. I asked why the mug was so high priced. The owner responded that it was a vintage vase made back when "I Dream of Jeannie" came out. I laughed and told him that it was a mug made by a local company by the name of Tiki Farm. He didn't believe me and told me he remembered seeing that exact "vase" years ago. I told him to look at the bottom of "the vase" and to see where it says Tiki Farm and the year 2002 was written next to it. This guy was determined NOT to be wrong and he said that I was mistaken and that Tiki Farm was a company from years ago and that the 2002 on the bottom was the "Limited Edition" number. Feeling a bit challenged, I told him that I would make him a deal: We would call up Tiki Farm and verify whether or not that "the vase" was made in 2002. If I was right, he would give me the vase. If I was wrong, I would pay him his full (original) asking price of $79.99.

He then said he was too busy to play phone games and the price was the price. I wished him good luck in selling the piece and I left the store to let the "too busy" store owner get back to his show playing on the television on his desk.


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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 2720
From: Toronto,Canada
Posted: 2004-02-25 11:36 am   Permalink

I had a lady at the St. Lawrence Antique Market in Toronto try to tell me that the Fu Man Chu mug was an old chinese vase. She had it marked as 30.00. I got it fer 15, after telling her it was a tiki mug. She got miffed and walked away, but her husband was interested to know more about tiki mugs, so I finished telling him about it...

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Sweet Daddy Tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 20, 2003
Posts: 1099
From: Edmonton
Posted: 2004-02-25 1:06 pm   Permalink

There's an antique mall near my house that I must have driven by hundreds of times on my way home from work, always thinking I should drop in someday. Well, someday came yesterday . I had some time (since I'm jobless at the moment) and stopped in for a look. The way these narratives are supposed to run is that I found something spectacular like a tiki bob for a buck or witco fountain for 20. But no. This place was huge -- took me several hours to browse -- and all I found of a tiki nature was a commmon HIP ashtray for $15 (didn't buy it) and a pair of Treasurecraft S&P that I already have. Why is it that I find PolyPop stuff at the thrift stores fairly regularly but the antique malls and flea markets around here are almost totally devoid of tiki content? It's like the antique/collectible dealers here still haven't cottoned on to the value of this stuff. I don't know why I'm complaining -- I'd rather find this stuff at thrift stores anyway. Just commenting I guess.
-Sweet Daddy T.
Because crap doesn't buy itself.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 22, 2002
Posts: 1513
From: Houston, Texotica
Posted: 2004-02-25 3:23 pm   Permalink

I LOVE the "Limited Edition 2002" bit!

Reminds me of the eBay autographed photo of Barbara Feldon (you know - "Get Smart"). She'd written her name and then a 2-digit number. The seller wrote that she'd signed the photo "in 1999"!! (Yes, "99"!) (My friend did get it, and for a decent price.)

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11594
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2004-02-25 6:29 pm   Permalink

Tis fun when the dealers have caught on to the fact that a name restaurant provenance raises the value...

I liked the guy at the Rose Bowl that tried to convince me that his Witco fountain came from THE LUAU.

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Basement Kahuna
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 14, 2002
Posts: 3601
From: Jawja Province, Isle of North America
Posted: 2004-02-25 7:30 pm   Permalink

Personally I never, ever, ever say the word "tiki" out in the field. That is a buzz word that a dealer will remember and search query on e-bay and (boom!) all of a sudden they are onto the whole blessed thing and anything tiki either will get run there or become the jewel of the nile in that dealer's eyes from there on out. I'm not in this to educate anyone, especially not your average modern-day amatuerish or potentially paranoid (of giving up a penny on anything) dealer....I've been in the antiques and collectibles game in one form or another for 22 years, and anything I know about anything is info pretty hard fought and won. I give out as a rule the bare minimum information required to draw in my quarry. I benefit way more from them not knowing what tiki is; that's why it's stayed pretty good around here and the batting averages are still pretty high. Usually I'll just say "Hawaiian stuff" or "Hawaiian restaurant stuff" and it works pretty good, as most average joes kind of associate it all with Hawaii.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 02, 2003
Posts: 1140
From: Orlando Florida
Posted: 2004-02-25 8:10 pm   Permalink

I'm right there with Basement Kahuna. I always wear a tiki idol neckless and some time even take a tiki mug with me to the flea market, then I ask if they have any vases like this. Most people don't know what they are but they are starting to wise up a bit on the market. Never give anything away!
Original Art by
Scott "Flounder" Scheidly


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Tiki Centralite

Joined: Feb 12, 2004
Posts: 31
From: Hamilton, Canada!
Posted: 2004-02-25 8:51 pm   Permalink

I too am with BK, never say any catchwords at Fleas or even Yard Sales. I am up to my eyeballs in dealers every Saturday, I recognize them and their vehicles from a block away and ther patter is there bread and butter. However, more and more I hear other yard salers throwing around E-Bay, something else which is verboten. Anything which looks even vaguely like...anything, can"go for a bundle on E-Bay".
Hope this coming season brings better luck, there being rather a shortage of things Tiki in the still frickin frozen North.

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Unkle John
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 22, 2003
Posts: 1217
From: Middle-of-the-Ocean, TX
Posted: 2004-02-25 9:26 pm   Permalink

There is a small chain of junk stores in my area called "soul's harbor" that I haunt. I never ask these guys about tiki. Not because they are all rehab rejects, but they just don't know what a tiki is. As stated above, I just ask for them to pull Hi-why-an stuff for me. I go there every day (in the town i work in) so they cut me deals.... i'm talking nothing more than $5-$10 for a trunk full of stuff.
I've bought a few tiki items that come through, a bar, a dr. pepper machine (working for $50) and so on. I also collect bowling balls ($2) to put in my lawn (it's an artist thing), well there is this big butt blond and her old mother that is in there at the same time I am. Well she follows me around and tell's me "Thar ain't no bowl'in bawls.. ah've asked". I just stare at her and walk away. She likes to buy up every peice of junk she thinks she can re-sale (i'd hate to see her house)..so what do I do? I wait untill she is looking, pick up a piece of junk i have no intention of buying, look interested in it then put it down, walk away then come back then finnaly walk away. She then picks it up and if they leave before me, it looks like the hill-billys packing up and moving to Beverly... Hills that is.


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Phillip Roberts
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 09, 2003
Posts: 1660
From: OAHU/Seattle
Posted: 2004-02-25 11:38 pm   Permalink


On 2004-02-25 19:30, Basement Kahuna wrote:
Personally I never, ever, ever say the word "tiki" out in the field. Usually I'll just say "Hawaiian stuff" or "Hawaiian restaurant stuff"

[ This Message was edited by: filslash 2008-09-10 13:59 ]

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Johnny Dollar
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 01, 2003
Posts: 3070
From: Columbus, Ohiya
Posted: 2004-02-26 06:27 am   Permalink

a year agoi my wahine and i were driving around the more 'hood-like parts of baltimore and found a church-based (?) thrift store. there was a blond wood tiki about 12" high in the front window. we went in and asked the guy at the desk to see it. he was in the process of getting it out (it was an old display window, with some kind of locking mechanism on it) when his supervisor/mentor came out and said it wasn't for sale. tough break...

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 22, 2003
Posts: 439
From: Kansas City
Posted: 2004-02-26 11:20 am   Permalink

I'm afraid cyber-communications have made bargain junk shopping more of a challenge than ever. But even before that I never told dealers what I was looking for. That's for me to know and them to find out. Also it's better not to show any reaction when you find something really good.

Hey Unkle John, the next time the big butted woman is in the same thrift store, try this new twist on her. Find the most EXPENSIVE ugly worthless item in the store. Pick it up and let your face really light up.

Turn it over and over and smile just a little. Put it down just long enough to thumb through your billfold. Then look real disgusted, snap you fingers and stamp your foot at the same time, saying "Damn" (with two syllables). Then skulk out of the store and hide around the corner to see if she buys it.

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8FT Tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 30, 2003
Posts: 1406
From: Kansas City, MO
Posted: 2004-02-26 12:33 pm   Permalink

That's evil kc but I like it! Hey Unkle J, try droppin' a 16 pounder on her big fat toes....On accident of course. Then you can pick up your loot and scram.

And as for the dealers...unless you can trust them to bring something you might want to the next show or sale and leave it under the table out of sight until you get there, you will just be helping another collector or knowledgeable dealer who will happen to see their booth before you and you will lose out on stuff you asked about because the dealer set it out for all to see. Who hasn't asked about a type of item and had a dealer reply "Oh I just sold a bunch of those like 5 minutes ago for .25 cents." ?

[ This Message was edited by: 8FT Tiki on 2004-02-26 12:51 ]

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Feelin' Zombified
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 15, 2003
Posts: 1338
From: The Exotic Shores of Lake St. Clair
Posted: 2004-02-26 3:10 pm   Permalink


On 2004-02-26 12:33, 8FT Tiki wrote:
Who hasn't asked about a type of item and had a dealer reply "Oh I just sold a bunch of those like 5 minutes ago for .25 cents." ?

[ This Message was edited by: 8FT Tiki on 2004-02-26 12:51 ]

I found two Daga mugs at a flea market last month. The dealer then proceded to tell me that a week earlier she sold about 150 swizzles to some old guy. Humph!


Thank God The Tiki Bar Is Open
Thank God The Tiki Torch Still Shines...

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