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Bob Frassinetti
New member
Username: Frassinetti

Post Number: 8
Registered: 1-2005
Posted on Tuesday, February 21, 2006 - 7:53 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Antiquing in Buenos Aires

Rare and incredible objects, furniture, books, toys, artworks… all those antiques and collectibles you dream of can be found in Buenos Aires.

Once upon a time Buenos Aires was a very small port city with very little population surrounded by one of the world’s most fertile lands. Not too far away there were several other populations with very different traditions to the Spaniards who had populated this portside area. As the city grew and the river port society evolved many Europeans chose Argentina to be their home. They immigrated with all their possessions from every corner of the old continent. This flow from Europe to Argentina first began in mid 19th century, and has never stopped till now. At the same time, as the world evolved –wars, economical possibilities, inspiration, were many of the causes that help other people chose our country as their own.

All of these new immigrants that were coming from Europe (Western and Eastern), Middle East, Asia and Africa, as well as many other Latin American countries, brought with them all kinds of objects, from paintings to mirrors and combs, from decorative items to all kinds of furniture, and so on.

This brief history of immigration in Argentina might help those that don’t know our country to understand a bit about the eclectic variety of items that can be found in this beautiful city that is Buenos Aires (specially Buenos Aires because it has always been the main gate to our great and beautiful country). Many of them were brought in immigration ships, many others were sent to these families from their homelands, some others were imported, and some other ones were the result of business among relatives who lived in their homelands and these new immigrants that were building a life in our Pampas. Those, valuable family objects some times due to hard economic situations, or may be because there was no one to inherit them, have taken a path towards flea markets, auctions or antiques shops.

During the last few years there has been a huge turn in our economy, the peso (local currency) has lost much of its value in relation to the dollar and the Euro, this situation has impacted in many areas of our everyday life. On the dark side one of the biggest consequences of this economic shift has been an intense flow of goods towards all kinds of markets, in order to keep on with a certain lifestyle. Therefore many families have found themselves in a situation were they had to sell many of their family’s goods. On the bright side this new valuation of the peso has made of Argentina a more appealing place to visit for foreigners, since it’s much cheaper than many other big international metropolises though still shows all its splendor in its culture, art, fashion and good sense of living.

Our local flea markets, open fairs and antiques shops are open history books that show this turns in our lives.

Plus, these are excellent places to shop for those items all art lovers dream of, as well as an excellent opportunity for art dealers that wish to offer their regular clients high class items at reasonable prices.

One of the most beautiful open air markets in the city is in the historical neighborhood of San Telmo, that’s open all day during Sundays, from very early in the morning to late in the afternoon. Surrounded by countless antiques shops that open their doors to the public all week long, this fair is just beautiful, with very good quality items… Bargaining is always an interesting possibility when acquiring these type of objects, always a plus to get what you want at the price you want to.

In the outskirts of the city, the Solano fair is one outstanding market where if you have a sharp eye for antiques you can find absolutely amazing treasures. Since this fair is very much for locals you can find all from old clothes, semi used house goods, and whatever people had and needed to sell… Its always better to visit this outskirts out of the tourists path fair with a local, best if you know what you want but don’t have much time and your Spanish is not very good.

Back to the city, one excellent flea market is the Dorrego Market, in the heart of Palermo, very nearby a great restaurants area; this market has all kinds of items. Its just a matter of walking around and talking with the local people that are very kind and would gladly help you in your quest.

On the other end of the city, during the weekends there’s another kind of flea market in Peru Rd, next to the railway station named Los Antiquarios, on the railway line of the Tren de la Costa. Located in the beautiful residential area of San Isidro you will find this fair has all kinds of decorative items and furniture, one of its specialties are chandeliers at very reasonable prices… High class and good prices, one excellent combo!

These are the most representative fairs and markets in BA. There’s nothing you can’t get, you name it, they have it… And of course, these are excellent sights when touring through the city of tango, ‘cause there are many different street shows that weekly chose those locations to show their art: tango, puppeteers, street theatre, live music, plus all kinds of local street food to enjoy during your walk, there’s no way that can go wrong!

Hope I have been of some help, best wishes Bob Frassinetti, Buenos Aires, Argentina
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Laura Zurro
New member
Username: Sapphos

Post Number: 8
Registered: 2-2006
Posted on Tuesday, February 21, 2006 - 8:08 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Bob, I remember reading something a couple of weeks ago in the Buenos Aires Herald about Dorrego. The article mentioned it was being shut down for renovations, do you know anything about that?
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Board Administrator
Username: Admin

Post Number: 339
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Tuesday, February 21, 2006 - 12:37 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post


And what an excellent collection of photos on your site!
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Bob Frassinetti
New member
Username: Frassinetti

Post Number: 10
Registered: 1-2005
Posted on Tuesday, February 21, 2006 - 4:44 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Laura, you are right!

Here are soem of my thoughts on the Flea Market, Dorrego Market, has been for Antiques, & Furniture as well for so many unknown treasures: the dealers and antiquarians dream place.

One of the top markets to hunt antiques in the city of Buenos Aires has been shut down by the city’s government arguing the location didn’t meet the basic safety regulations. After a tragic fire in a nightclub two years ago, the city’s government has now realized that all city shops and warehouses have to meet basic regulations, and in stead of dealing with the problem before it’s too late, they have decided to work out some exemplifying measures. Those who have been working at the Dorrego market for years now, agree on the fact that the place needs to be improved and organized, but feel like the way the local authorities are dealing with the problem is not only excessively radical but that it could be addressed in a better and wiser way. Not only is a central problem the fact that the market will be closed down for the upcoming 10 months, and the shops have to relocate all throughout the city, in smaller places were they cannot fit all their objects, but also that the regular clientele who finds supplies for their shops in the market have to go buy elsewhere… The situation is turning worse by the minute, for it seems that a dialogue is getting tighter.

We hope the parts will finally come to an agreement, in which it’s privileged the fact that the Dorrego Market is a work place for over 195 families, plus all those art and antique dealers who depend on the countless antiques sold there. We all want for the Dorrego Market to become a safe and secure environment to work in, but without losing it’s traditional Market like features, such as the inside alleys, cluttered sweet shops and broad variety. It’s important to state that one of the dealers demands is that all shop locations are respected and that rent is not excessively raised; for safeties shouldn’t be a luxury only those who can afford it can access it.

Bob Frassinetti. Email me, if you want at:
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Steve Barrell
New member
Username: Steve_nc_eeuu

Post Number: 3
Registered: 6-2006
Posted on Tuesday, June 27, 2006 - 11:13 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Bob,

Thanks for the antique market info from last February. It's now nearly July. Can one assume that something has been organized between the abovementioned 195 families to maintain their commercial synergy? If so, what and where? And if not, can one assume that the majority of antique shops still exist in and around that area?

Does this apply for antiquarian bookshops as well, or os there another area for that?
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Bob Frassinetti
New member
Username: Frassinetti

Post Number: 21
Registered: 1-2005
Posted on Wednesday, June 28, 2006 - 11:21 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Steve,

Indeed your preocupation and concern about the destiny of the shops and the families is well founded, let me fill in a bit in the story.
After the last conflict in May, when the remaining shop owners who had stayed in protest to the situation were evicted, the market was closed. Some shop owners as I mentioned before were relocated in the nearby temporary smaller market place provided by the city government. The others, who hadn't taken upon this first option, have spreaded around, trying to find a place for them.
There's no precise new location for the remaining shops. We're hoping for the city govenrment to stick to their promise, and once the market is fitted to the regulations and safety mesures, they will return.
My assumption is in the same line of thought that you post, thinking that most shop owners have spread around the area, temporarily relocating.

This is the same for all shop owners, I don't have a precise insight on what's going on with the bookshop owners, but I can find out what are they up to if you need this info.

Hope I've been of help.

Cheers from BA, Bob Frassinetti
Art and Antique Dealer selling World Wide

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