Click Here To Purchase Killer Stuff and Tons of Money: Seeking History and Hidden Gems in Flea-Market America

Author: Maureen Stanton

Publisher: The Penguin Press

ISBN: 978-1-59420-293-3

Count me in that segment of American society that likes to think that a dusty relic from the attic might be worth big bucks or that a flea market find will fund a college education. Maureen Stanton appeals to that dream in Killer Stuff and Tons of Money by following the pseudonymous Curt Avery through the process of dealing in such dreams. She also gives readers a glimpse behind the scenes of “Antiques Roadshow” as well as side trips with others who make a business of finding and reselling wares.

Many authors attempt to make the bridge between the nonfiction aspect of their topic to the creative side without much success. But Stanton has accomplished the link quite well. She chronicles her shadowing of Avery in an anecdotal way and sprinkles in historic and trivial information that is entertaining and educational. I enjoy reading books where I learn something, even if it is an offbeat tidbit. So I was interested to read about the history of the Ouija board, something I remembered from my high school days. Stanton recounts that the first one was made in 1890, and the word Ouija itself is supposed to be a portmanteau (or what might be referred to as a mashup) of the word “yes” in French (oui )and German (ja). Finding a very old Ouija board for sale at one of the shows spurred Stanton to do the research on it. She does this for many other items that pique her curiosity, with the background stories woven in, keeping the book engaging.

I also am delighted when a book mentions a place that I’ve visited, because when I revisit that place in my memory, I immediately relate to the book. Killer Stuff covers the rigors and routine of the life of the antique/flea market vendor Avery as he makes the rounds of shows, primarily in the northeastern states. Brimfield is touted as the granddaddy of the Northeast shows. I’ve been to Brimfield, but had no idea the kind of work it involves for the dealers to set up there. Nor did I realize how dealers buy and trade with one another, adjusting prices when they transfer merchandise from another seller’s booth to their own. I also had not previously appreciated the “status” of the Brimfield show as one of the really premier venues. After reading about its elite ranking, I felt I could now boast about my visits to Brimfield. I almost wished I still lived within driving distance so that I could revisit the show with my new insight. I’ll probably have to settle for searching for that elusive million dollar treasure in other locales, but at least I’ll have a sharper eye when I am on the hunt thanks to Stanton’s advice.

Click Here To Purchase Killer Stuff and Tons of Money: Seeking History and Hidden Gems in Flea-Market America