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Community News: Flea market offers vintage treasures

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Monica Dien
Staff Writer

A sea of treasure lined floors, filled tables and goods dangled from canopies at the Rose Bowl Flea Market last Sunday.

Shoppers flocked by the thousands to visit what has become known as “The Greatest Flea Market on Earth.”

Known for its array of timeless and antique items, the market houses everything from handmade art, vintage clothing and shoes, intricate jewelry, to whimsical furniture.

Endless rows of knick knacks multiplied by the dozens with each step into the Rose Bowl as 2,400 diverse vendors displayed their goods for all to see and buy.

One of the gems at the flea market sat under a shaded tent with Claremont art vendor Jan Veraries.

Veraries collects and sells original prints of artwork from Russia and France that range from the 1890s to 1930s.

“All the artwork here are all original prints; the originals are actually less that the printed copies,” Veraries said.

“Some of the lithographs we have are done with stone which is what they used in the earlier periods.”

Veraries acquired the collection from an art collector two years ago when he bought the entire collection.

He has been selling at the Rose Bowl ever since and has sold the art for anywhere from $10 to $1,600.

Before he sends off the artwork to a buyer, Veraries always puts his signature stamp of approval on it.

“Every time a painting sells I write all the interesting information about the painting, what materials were used, and information about the artist on the back,” Veraries said.

Among the other vendors were photographers Carrie Schaltz and Laura Avantes, whose display of eclectic photos caught the eyes of many passersby.

“So far we’ve got exciting and good responses from the buyers,” Avantes said. “It’s fun just sitting here and people watch and see their reactions to our work as they walk by.”

“This is our second time selling at the Rose Bowl because we usually sell everything online,” Avantes said.

In the antique section, a table covered with brown field cameras from the early 19th century brought in a crowd of photographers.

“My father has been selling at the Rose Bowl since 1973,” vendor Erik Hengstrum said.

“There is an assortment of cameras from friends and older people who don’t know how to access Ebay or Amazon, which is our main source of collecting.”

Hengstrum regularly sells at the flea market where his cameras range from $30 to $800.

Aside from cameras, the Hengstrums also collect vintage telephones and phonographs.

“We have one of the first models of the dial phone ever made that my father bought years ago and a working phonograph going for $900,” Hengstrum said.

In the back of the flea market where chiffon frocks and leather jackets hung, shopper Yuki Kojima searched through the clothing racks for last minute bargains.

“This is my sixth time coming here and I always find something different and vintage here,” Kojima said.

“It is nice to be different from others and it is a plus because everything is cheap,” she said.

Early afternoon brought the flea market to a close.

Vendors hurriedly packed what was left of their unsold goods into trucks where they will return next month as nostalgic old souls meet again and the treasure hunting will continue.

Monica Dien can be reached at

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