Whether you are visiting specifically for destination shops, or browsing for hidden treasure, these four very unique antique shops are worth checking out.By Christina Gaudino | Photography by Michael Karchmer
Traveling has been owners Bob and Danielle Jeanloz’s passion for many years, which is actually how their love of maps developed.
The shop—a restored farmhouse from the 1700s—carries maps from all over the world. Of all the maps we went through that day, my favorite had to be the Typus Universalis. It is a handcrafted map of the world in 1530, including 12 winds and sea monsters in the southern oceans. The colors have remained so clear, the paper so crisp; it’s a piece of history. If the ocean is your passion check out their impressive selection of nautical maps. One of the more beautiful ones is a chart of the Mediterranean Sea by John William Norie (1772–1843), who was most famous for his Epitome of Practical Navigation (1805) which became a standard work on navigation and went through many editions.
However, if you are looking for local maps, check out a Walling map of the Cape and Islands from 1858. It goes for $7,500. Maps of Antiquity also carries prints of places, because they are good companions to the maps. During the nineteenth century several periodicals such as Harper’s Weekly and Ballou’s Drawing Room Companion, regularly published wonderful views of cities and towns.
Although well worth every penny, originals might be out of some of price ranges, so if you’re like me, and you don’t have a few thousand to spend, look for a recreation. Maps of Antiquity offers unbelievable, affordable reproductions like a Walker creation of the Town of Chatham from 1880. Or a high-quality reproduction of a bird’s-eye view map of Barnstable County showing key towns and lighthouses, printed in warm summer colors, originally produced by the Federal Engineering Company.
It is more like a museum with price tags: You step straight from the harmony of Main Street onto an ancient nautical ship. The architecture of the shop’s space, built years ago by Chatham-based Polhemus Savery DaSilva, is as unique as the carefully placed antiques inside. Owner Richard Kahn creates an adventure for his customers and proudly explains each piece of history to me.
Kahn has one of the largest collections of scrimshaw in the country. Take for instance, an 1850 whale’s tooth, delicately engraved with black and red ink, picturing an American eagle. The tooth comes with a custom-made tiger maple display stand, and sells for $4,500.
One of Kahn’s favorites is an 18th century wooden ship model, made of wood and actual bone. This carefully detailed depiction of a Roman Warrior, including an ivory stern and figurehead, is one-of-a-kind.
Kahn carries a large selection of antique firearms as well, including a four-barreled British flintlock pistol. Made by Joseph Hunt in 1775, this pistol is beautifully detailed with foliage on either side of the trigger guard and is engraved with “London.”
Just past the firearms is an impressive collection of Presidential items. The condition of the Abraham Lincoln-signed military commission papers from April 1, 1862, is impeccable. Same goes for a rare George Washington inaugural button from the 1789 Presidential inaugural, inscribed with “Long Live the President.” In the past, the button was auctioned for up to $10,000.
The name is ironic. “Salvage” means junk, but the time-traveling treasures here are anything but. Antique anchors and mermaid statues spew out of the doors onto the seashell-covered parking lot. The thought of inexpensive hidden treasure will stop you in your tracks.
Owner Carol Sherman is a fun-loving, easygoing collector. The place brings in everyone from the die-hard connoisseur to the everyday tourist just looking for an affordable souvenir.
As we walk about the shop, Sherman describes each piece with this beaming energy. She also works in interior design and uses windows from ships, or portholes, for decorating showers or hot tubs. Sherman uses props like old photos, books, car manuals, and oilcans, or milk bottles to recreate a sense of family in summer rental houses. For instance, you might like this Toledo scale for inside your bathroom. The spring-less scale, only going up to 75 lbs., was used to weigh rags in the 1800s.
There is a mysterious, excitement that goes with collecting. Each piece has a story behind its own existence as well as how the shop owner came upon it. There is a reason they’ve kept it, and a reason it’s right for you.
This delicate, yet crowded dollhouse-style shop is filled with relatable pastimes. Owner Diane Bronsdon holds her collectibles close to her heart, as she recreates memories of her own grandmother.
I carefully walk from room to room checking out each unique item. One room reminds me of a kitchen filled with antique china and silver ware. I notice an oak ice box still in perfect working condition, which Bronsdon tells me is from the 1920s and was brought to her by a local Chatham man.
Bronsdon shares her space with other designers and collectors all of who have their own specialty. Lorraine Spenle has created every little girl’s dream dollhouse bedroom. The Victorian and Edwardian style room, titled “Pin Tucks and Old Lace,” boasts French country nightdresses, Christening dresses, and Serviette tea towels.
Antique doll dealer and restoration specialist Judy Wheeler brings porcelain and hand-crafted china or bisque dolls, which are characterized by their realistic, skin-like matte finish and peaked in popularity between 1860 and 1900, to the establishment.
What catches my eye is a 1950s Chatham girl’s poodle skirt, and a handmade cherry wood bench festooned with stenciled roses.