I went to my first boot sale today. Not the kind you wear on your feet. In the UK people refer to the trunk of a car as the “boot”. A boot sale is basically a flea market where people sell no longer wanted items out of the trunks of their cars. The one I went to, under Omni Center in Edinburgh, takes place in an underground parking garage on Sundays.
they had good signage outside and inside the parking garage
My experience with flea markets is that vendors and the general public show up well before the posted start time of the sale to secure early bird finds, not so at this sale. The posted start time is 9am, I showed up about 8am and no one was even set up yet, people were standing next to their cars or standing in their spots with the suitcases still packed with goodies. I found a leaflet for people interested in selling that said set up would not begin until 8:30am so I left to get a coffee. When I returned at 8:20, people were still waiting to set up. At exactly 8:30am a whistle sounded and people leapt into action unpacking their suitcases and cars.
everyone waiting to unpack, car packed all the way the back window
lady racing to unpack, this guy really did have everything, INCLUDING the kitchen sink
I did some quick research on boot sales and found an article in The Telegraph from 2013, “Great British Institutions: the car boot sale”. It’s a fun article and interesting in that it says that despite being a British institution, it’s origins were in Canada.
There was a wide variety of items, a lot of mundane everyday items, used contemporary clothing and shoes, used children’s toys, some electronics, contemporary household knicks and knacks, but there was also some lovely vintage clothing, artwork, vintage ceramics and pottery, jewelry, vintage silver plate, someone was even selling plants.
ceramics and china
lots of knicks and knacks
artwork and jewelry
As much fun as the treasure hunting was, the people watching was great too.
watching people browse, also gives you an idea about the size of the garage
Prices on items ranged from 20p (.26 cents) to several pounds for many items. Nothing I asked about was over 30 pounds and that was for a tall Italian ceramic umbrella stand. My buys were a small pottery piece that I decided to keep my lemons in; pink, green and yellow are such a great color combination, for 1 pound ($1.30), and 2 strings of vintage cultured pearls with pretty rhinestone clasps that I bought from an elderly couple for 8 pounds each ($10.50 per string). The pearls are in rough shape and could use re-stringing, but are still charming.
There are plenty more boot sales in Edinburgh and I think I may try one on a Saturday next time. This one was really fun!!