South of Cape Cod, just a short ferry ride away, you'll find the Island of Nantucket, a wonderfully storied place full of wonderfully storied antiquities.
This is a place that has changed very little since the 17th century, and itís easy to find an antique shop. Whether youíre looking for something local or from across the Atlantic, Nantucket has a number of antique shops (and auctions) that will make any beginner or seasoned collector smile.
Start your antique explorations at any of these local establishments.
The Antiques Depot (14 Easy Street)
As one of the islandís oldest and finest antique shops, itís a favorite destination whether youíre new to the hobby or a seasoned collector. At the Depot, youíll discover a refined collection of 17th, 18th and 19th century furniture, art and accessories including carpets, porcelains and decoys. With an emphasis on Maritime, China Trade and Nantucket antiques, thereís a mix of high quality and unusual items. For more information, call (508) 228-1287 or visit www.natucketantiquesdepot.com.
LíIle de France (8 India Street)
Vive la France! Since 1996, LíIle de France (Island of France) has brought a little bit of France to Nantucket with items imported directly. Here, youíll find wicker baskets created by Master Artisan Christian Pineau, old French advertising posters, bistro tables and brass sinks (created by Alain Lagorsse, winner of the prestigious MOF Ė best craftsman of France Ė award). The store also sells tableware, kitchen items, bags and Santon figures. If you canít find something in the store or catalogs, LíIle de France will find it for you! For more information, call (508) 228.3686 or visit www.frenchgeneralstore.com.
European Traditions Antiques (12 Straight Wharf)
Itís your connection to Ireland and the British Isles, thanks to owner Miriam Varian who came from Dublin. The store offers an array of cottage and formal furniture Ė from armoires and desks to dining room tables, kitchen cupboards and benches. The store also features home accessories such as artisan glass, fine porcelain and wool throws. For more information, call (508) 325-8976 or visit www.europeantraditionsantiques.com.
Rafael Osona Auctions (American Legion Hall, Washington Street)
Since 1980, the auction gallery is the place to go for fine antiques and heirlooms from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. Rafael Osona Auctions offers 15 auctions a year including specialized catalog sales. In fact, the auction house holds a number of world records in the decorative and arts field including the highest price paid at auction for a Ralph Cahoon oil painting, folk art sailorís woolie, maritime captainís walking stick and a pair of antique scrimshaw whale teeth. The auction house accepts absentee bids (forms are available online). For more information, call (508) 228-3942 or visit www.rafaelosonaauction.com.
Nina Hellman Antiques (48 Centre Street)
Specializing in marine antiques and Americana, Nina Hellman has been offering fine antique scrimshaw, ship models, whaling material, nautical books, instruments and lots more for over 35 years. The shop also features folk art and Nantucket-related items such as lightship baskets, silver, maps, prints, paintings and books. Complementing the antiques is work by award winning scrimshaw artist Charles A. Manghis and contemporary folk artist Elizabeth Mumford. For more information, call (508) 228-4677 or visit www.nauticalnantucket.com.