In with the old
A guide to antiquing in Reno
For some reason, winter just feels like the right time to go antiquing. Maybe it’s a nesting instinct. It could be that searching for sentimental little things to fill the house with is a more appealing prospect than joining the winter sports enthusiasts in your life as they venture into the vast, icy wilderness.
Whatever the reason, if you’re looking for something specific or nothing in particular, this guide should serve as a good starting place. Antiques & Treasures
151 N. Sierra St., 327-4131Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Some antique stores gain a part of their appeal by way of finding a home inside iconic buildings. That’s definitely the case with Antiques & Treasures. According to owner Sharon Nickson Cox, the building that houses her store was built in 1929 by the Barengo Family and originally intended to be a hotel until a man named Mr. Chew “made Mr. Barengo an offer he couldn’t refuse to open it as a National Dollar Store.” The store remained until 1977, after which it became Parker’s Western Wear Store until 2000. The antique mall opened on Nov. 1, 2005. Today, there are more than 30 individual dealers within the store’s 17,000-square-foot space.
Antiques & Treasures offers a large selection of books, including many regional histories and some impressive first editions. There’s a selection of furniture and décor from around the world; the Chinese cork carvings that turn up there are fine examples. The assortment of militaria for sale is also extensive, and weapons buffs will appreciate items like Spanish rapiers and flintlock pistols.
A serious draw for this antique mall is its selection of jewelry, which ranges from fine to vintage costume pieces. According to Collector’s Weekly, “The term ’costume jewelry’ was coined in the 1920s, but jewelry … made out of non-precious materials [has] been worn since ancient times … [and] often incorporates workmanship and materials on par with, or better than, fine jewelry.” Antiques & Treasures is a good place for Art Deco pendants, Retro bakelite and Art Modern pieces like holiday pins.Virginia Street Antique Mall
1251 S. Virginia St., 324-4141Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
According to owner Lisa Youell Jeanney, the Virginia Street Antique Mall is the oldest in Nevada. The 17,600-square-foot space has been open since 1993 and is home to 70 dealers. Before it was an antique mall, the building was home to Gruener’s Furniture and, before that, the Washoe Market.
The store carries a nice selection of furniture, old photos, vintage clothing, casino-related items and regional historical pieces. It’s also common to see folk art and sometimes trench art pieces there.
The long, walkable window display at the mall is an experience in itself. The black and white tiled flooring sets the stage for a variety of ’50s nostalgia items—old Coke machines, bar stools, advertising materials—arranged in a mock malt shop space.Somewhere in Time
1313 S. Virginia St., 323-1515Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Among the things you’ll find at Somewhere in Time is an impressive selection of mid-19th to early-20th century pressed glass—also called pattern glass. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, “The first commercial glass-pressing machine was developed in 1825.” The invention allowed glassmakers to create “intricate forms with elaborate designs” and led to mass production, which made glassware affordable for everyday use.
Pressed glass pieces that predate about 1920 are often coveted for their tendency to turn purple when exposed to sunlight. According to the Society for Historical Archaeology, “Colorless glass is usually attained by using the purest sand source possible and by adding ’decolorizing agents’ … to offset the residual iron impurities,” which yield a greenish tint. One common historical decolorizer was manganese dioxide, which upon exposure to sunlight turns “a light pink or lavender to moderately dark amethyst or purple.” According to the society’s website, “The switch from manganese dioxide to other decolorants” resulted from a cut-off of imports when German submarines began hunting merchant vessels of the Allies during World War I.
But I digress, because there is a lot more to find at Somewhere in Time than just pressed glass. The store carries a huge selection of bar-related items, from alcohol signage to steins and beer tap handles and old beer cans. It also boasts an impressive selection of sports memorabilia.Junkee Clothing Exchange
960 S. Virginia St., 322-5865Open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Junkee Clothing Exchange is a mainstay of the Midtown District. The 15,000-square-foot store is located in the old Shoshone Coca-Cola Bottling Company building. According to the Reno Historical website, the bottling operation ran until 1970. Junkee opened its doors in June 2008.
The store is bisected by a wall—with antiques on one side and clothing on the other. The antique offerings include all of the expected staples. The number of vintage cameras and hard-shell suitcases that turn up is impressive. But one thing that really sets Junkee apart is its assortment of upcycled items—things like candy jars attached to cake plate bases and old bottles wrapped in beaded wire.The Freckled Frog
45 Foothill Road, 453-1777Open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The Freckled Frog is a bit different from most antique stores in Reno. This small shop in the South Creek shopping center has more of a curated feel, offering a mix of boutique-style items like candles, jewelry, seasonal décor and bath products, as well as high-end antiques. It’s a good place to look for 19th and early-20th century pieces like cruet sets and cake plates. While not antiques per se, the Freckled Frog also offers glassware from La Rochere, a French company that’s been in operation for more than 500 years.
According to its website, the Freckled Frog specializes in select antiques from countries like France, England and Belgium. It’s definitely a destination for those seeking antique furnishings—especially large statement pieces like armoires, tables and hutches.