GAME ON

Be wary of the trea­sures you give away, as you may spend your fu­ture try­ing to track them down again.

Flea Market Décor - - Contents - BY MIKE AN­TONUCCI

THE IM­PULSE BUY. THE MUST-HAVE DIS­COV­ERY. The new ob­ses­sion. These are the flea mar­ket en­chant­ments that di­vert us from our care­fully pre­pared want lists. And we’re usu­ally glad of it. The un­ex­pected find can feel like a lot­tery win.

But I’ve made a res­o­lu­tion for

2019 (yes, al­ready). My flea-mar­ket ex­cur­sions will cover more ter­ri­tory and fo­cus on one theme: my per­sonal list of man­tique holy grails. Of course, the hol­i­day sea­son is upon us, so any­body who has me on a gift list is wel­come to pre­empt my quest. Be warned, though, my heart’s de­sires run to­ward the pricey.

Grail num­ber one: a vin­tage comic book spin­ner rack. The pas­sion in­volved here is 100 per­cent baby boomer nos­tal­gia. In my mind’s eye, I keep turn­ing and turn­ing a chock-full rack of 10-cent me­mories. That means its old-timey au­then­tic­ity is go­ing to be more im­por­tant than con­di­tion. If it spins, I’d be fine with some rust and a bro­ken weld or two amid the wire slots. The best ones I’ve seen of­fered on­line still have tin-litho­graph “COMICS” signs on top and start at (ouch!) $700.

Grail num­ber two: a sports card vend­ing ma­chine. More boomer yearn­ing? I would dare to de­scribe it dif­fer­ently, as, ahem, in­dus­trial art. I had one for a cou­ple of years; it was an aged metal­lic red and still ca­pa­ble of dis­pens­ing cards at three for a nickel. I didn’t ap­pre­ci­ate what I had, how­ever, and didn’t want to lug it across coun­try when I moved. Now I’m in reac­qui­si­tion mode, prefer­ably for one with orig­i­nal dis­play cards that would date it—i dream—to the late ’50s.

Grail num­ber three: Once again, what I want is sim­ply what I want back. My elec­tric gui­tar from teenager­hood was a hol­low body Har­mony in an in­tense red. It ended up man­gled by air­line bag­gage han­dlers, and I don’t feel I can re­live the ’60s with­out an­other. Un­for­tu­nately, I’m not alone. If there are droves of guys chas­ing Fen­der Stra­to­cast­ers, there are at least packs of afi­ciona­dos pur­su­ing my Har­mony. Thing is, I’d set­tle for one in less than good work­ing or­der. Merely show­ing it off in a selfie might be as much of a ’60s trib­ute as I should pru­dently at­tempt.

Re­al­is­ti­cally, I may have more than a oneyear mis­sion in front of me. But the down­side is ac­tu­ally an aw­fully sweet up­side: I might have to go to dozens of flea mar­kets I’ve never been to be­fore.

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