Antique show in El Cajon is a treasure for buyers and collectors alike

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Antiquing is not just a casual pastime for the folks who frequent the San Diego Collectors and Antique Show. Every second Wednesday of the month at the Ronald Reagan Center in El Cajon, committed buyers and collectors join up to admire and buy each other’s treasures.

The antique show is the longest-running one in San Diego, one that both serious and amateur collectors do not want to miss.

Antiquing is not just a casual pastime for the folks who frequent the San Diego Collectors and Antique Show. Every second Wednesday of the month at the Ronald Reagan Center in El Cajon, committed buyers and collectors join up to admire and buy each other’s treasures.

The antique show is the longest-running one in San Diego, one that both serious and amateur collectors do not want to miss.

Larry Stone, organizer of the antique show since last October, said that the venue has come a long way since it began in the 90s. The venue had its beginnings in Kearny Mesa, then Mission Valley at the Scottish Rite Center. It moved to the Ronald Reagan Center five years ago and has been going even stronger since.

“We have had full dealership attendance, with 25 vendors. The crowd has been so good that we open at noon now,” said Stone, who specializes in military antiques.

A core group of vendors has stayed with the antique show since its days in Mission Valley. One of those vendors is Wilma Cadice, who sold her first items in the show 25 years ago, just to see what would happen.

“I’d bought up a bunch of things at flea markets, and I surprised myself by selling everything I brought with me to the antique show. So I was hooked,” she said.

Cadice has continued in her treasure hunting. For a number of years, she has had a booth in the Park Estate Antique Mall in La Mesa. But the antique show in El Cajon is one of her favorite places to sell.

“It’s like a family here. All of us vendors get to talk and see what each other has,” said Cadice, who was wrapping up a set of glass antique cellars for a customer.

Scott and Patty Brown are regular buyers at the San Diego Collectors and Antique Show.

“I always end up with bags full of things when I leave,” said Scott, who opened his bag to show a fancy desk set, a sandwich tray and a Czech perfume bottle. “We know everyone here and we always end up spending money here. It’s good for our friends’ economy.”

Sandie Cloud, a charter member of the antique show, said she always had regular customers.

“I make sure that I have certain things for certain people in mind, like Scott and Patty,” Cloud said. “It’s all about networking, the backbone of this business.”

Attending the show is, if nothing else, a grand history lesson. It is an unparalleled chance to riffle through signed first editions of books, old TV Parade magazines, historical documents and photos. Even common kitchen items like Pyrex dishes and utensils have stories to tell.

“We are already in a new century. Our kids and grand-kids won’t even know what these things are unless we keep them and tell stories,” said Cloud, who particularly enjoys collecting “primitives,” early American household items from the 18th, 19th, and early 20th such as butter churns and rocking chairs.

For those new to collecting, or just dropping in, as did Deborah Cornog-Stenmoe, the show has just as much appeal. Cornog-Stenmoe gazed at vintage jewelry and porcelain dolls. It was her very first visit to the antique show.

“My mother told me about this place. I love to look at all the retro and vintage things. I used to get jewelry when I was a little girl and give it to my grandmother, and I played with dolls like these,” she said.

At 3 p.m. on the dot, Cloud and Stone got up towards the front of the venue and worked together doing a live auction of donated items. The bounty ranged from a set of ceramic bowls to a 1940s wooden doll stroller. Cloud said that every dollar they made from the auction goes to advertising for the antique show. 

The San Diego Antiques and Collectibles Show runs the second Wednesday of each month, from 12 to 4 p.m. at the Ronald Reagan Center. For more information, call Larry Stone at 619-368-2055.

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