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Vintage Buyers Guide

From timeless pieces to on-trend items to invest in right now, we speak to our Thursday Antiques Market traders to get all of their best buying tips.

Film Posters

Each week you’ll find Nick Reed in his regular spot by the central Kitchens, with his colourful stall. With so much to chose from, where do shoppers start?

Nick has five simple tips:

1. Don’t necessarily look for recognisable/blockbuster film posters – they can be expensive so the more obscure can be cheaper & still visually great.

2. Don’t be afraid of foreign film posters, even if you can’t recognize the film the designs can be exciting – try the Eastern European Polish & Czech posters also Japanese + French ones have great graphics.

3. Don’t be put off by the odd crease or tear – occasionally you’ll find something in mint condition but you have to bear in mind some posters are 50/60 years old & will have been used for display in cinemas. If you find something in poor condition but you fall in love with it they can be repaired & linen-backed, a fairly expensive thing but the poster will last forever.

4. Try to use a professional framer – they’ll be able to advise about conservation.

5. Don’t just think film posters – there are great exhibition, music, concert & commercial ‘pop culture’ posters from the 60s & 70s.

Ornaments & Interiors

Many of our stallholders have an eclectic mix of all sorts of treasure, from jewellery to signs and ornaments.

While interior trends can have an impact,  Thursday regular Jeanette admits she often just brings along items that she likes the look of herself.

“I’ve always had pairs of Staffordshire figurines on the stall, I love them. Now they seem to be everywhere in the Market. I think I have started a trend! They are obviously a good buy at the moment”.


Found in the Market not just during our Thursday Antiques Market, but also every Saturday, Malby Maps.

Owner Andrew Mottram has some expert advice when it comes to buying “antique” maps.

“It is important firstly to understand what the word “Antique” means. Strictly speaking an “Antique” refers to anything that is 100 + years old. Therefore anything pre 1920 is classed as an Antique. Post 1920 you would refer to the map being a collectible or vintage map.
You will find that the Antique Maps that Malby Maps Ltd display at Old Spitalfields Market on a weekly basis range in date from the late 1700s through to mid 1900s.

We find most of their new clients start map collecting by purchasing a map to usually fill a wall space in their home or office. This could be a map of a geographical area that means something to them personally  (ie place of birth, location of their home or office, where they proposed, got married or honeymooned, where a family holiday or travelled, etc) or to their career or business.

As the knowledge of the client grows, they may then move onto collecting more maps. We usually advise clients to pick a subject matter, a cartographer or a date line that appeals to them both personally and also aesthetically.

Clients can then build their knowledge about the cartographers, cartography and also the craftsmen (engravers etc) involved in the production process of the map in question.


Lighting & Clocks

Usually found elegantly occupying the corner stall space opposite InSpitafields, Rag & Bone Bros have some of the Market’s most covetable clocks and lighting for sale.

So what should we be buying now?

“I would say to by any Bauhaus influenced, especially lighting, as that is the next big thing in terms of antiques. Also, anything designed by Christian Dell & the Kaiser lighting company. Curt Fisher & the Midgard lighting company & Marianne Brandt & the Kandem lighting company. Especially in the Kandem both table lamps & hanging pendants are very on-trend & prices are going up & up as they’re becoming so hard for us to source.

As for clocks big industrial clocks the bigger the better. Many people thought that industrial loft living is going out of style but it’s really in – in a massive way. We can’t get enough industrial Eastern European clocks the whole Soviet-era feel is very fashionable.”


The early morning set up of the Thursday Market doesn’t put some traders off from bringing the best of their bigger items for sale, including vintage furniture.

Doreen from Ideal Vintage Salvage always often has an array of eye-catching chairs and tables on display, ranging from mid-century to 60s & 70s.

“The stuff we have for sale here is just the tip of the iceberg, we have so much more that we can’t bring. I think the best advice is to build a relationship with the stallholders… tell them what it is you ideally want to buy. If we don’t already have it we can often quickly source it.

Some people who shop here on their lunch break get put off buying larger items, as they are worried about getting them home. But that shouldn’t really be an issue as we can help arrange that. It doesn’t put everyone off, we had one lady loved a set of four dining chairs so much she carried them home on the train!”.



The Antiques Market is home to not just some of the UK’s best antiques, but also enchanting pieces from all over the world.

Alongside Bamileke Feather Headdresses from Africa, the Quirky Pop stall is always guaranteed to have some of the Market’s most popular pieces, vintage Japanese Kokeshi dolls.

“We only stock the best of these… at times the Market can be flooded with them and when shopping elsewhere you also have to be sure that what you are buying is actually vintage. All I can say is you know the real thing when you feel it… you can often tell by the writing on it. People often think ours look so good they must be new, but they are not. They have just been sat safely in a Japanese house somewhere”.

Our Antiques Market is open from 8am – 6pm every Thursday.