Hanoi’s Antique Fair Sells Mementos of Yesteryear

Unlike other fairs, the antique market held in a small space on Hoang Hoa Tham Street, Hanoi seems to be less busy. The market with more than 30 stalls selling various antiques attracts a large number of antique enthusiasts.

The 400m2 fair is held every Saturday morning in the space of Lu Tra Quan (Lu tea shop), behind a small slope of Lane 456 Hoang Hoa Tham, Ba Dinh District – the place where members of the Hanoi Calligraphy Club often gather at weekends. The market has become a weekly destination for antique enthusiasts, collectors and older people who visit the fair simply to touch and look at old items that trigger memories of times gone by. Some young people also come to the market to indulge their hobbies or learn more about items used by previous generations.

Since it opened in June 2013, every Saturday morning a lot of customers arrive here to look, exchange, buy and sell old items that have been painstakingly collected. At the fair, one can find plenty of things from antiques to vintage items originating from different historical times. Some objects are over one hundred years old, while others are from the 1960’s and 1970’s, such as porcelain bowls, vases, oil lamps, watches, desk phones, irons, copper food trays, glasses, old money, old magazines, water containers, spoons and bowls.

The fair is located on a small lane on Hoang Hoa Tham Street. Photo: Cong Dat/VNP

According to Kieu Quoc Khanh, former head of the Hanoi Calligraphy Club
and the founder of the antique fair, it is the rendezvous for antique enthusiasts.

Different antiques such as bowls, vases, oil lamps, clocks, telephones,
irons, trays, glasses, old coins, pictures, or books are sold at the market.

There are a lot of old ceramics sold at the fair.

Examining an antique.

Old cameras, usable or not, attract much attention from people.

A picky collector examines an item using a loupe.

Old petrol lighters.

A wind-up watch made by the Former Soviet Union fascinates customers.

An old wind-up clock made by the Former Soviet Union.

Most visitors to the antique fair have thorough knowlege about antiques.

Old things, thought to be lost to the past, such as water jars, watches, eyeglasses, old photographs, ceramics from feudal times, American oil lamps, cameras, and paper money of different periods, have taken on a new life at this fair.

People flock to the fair, curiously considering and asking for the prices, then thoughtfully looking at them. They bargain, but there is no loud shouting or quarrelling. The salesmen always answer enthusiastically, explaining the origin, age and quality of each item. The clients ask for a price then leave, but the sellers do not seem to be sad.

Initially, the fair was a place only for those who like collecting antiques in Hanoi, but it now has attracted a lot of people from different provinces, such as Thanh Hoa, Hai Phong, Nam Dinh and Ninh Binh.

At each fair, the sellers hold an auction to raise funds to help needy and disabled children and poor families.
Although established for two years, the market is becoming increasingly well-known nationwide.

There are coins of different agesat the market.

An ancient bronze tray with images of 12 animal designations.

Combs made from bomb casing.

An ancient ceramic plate with ivory enamel and hand-drawn details.

Old water containers and wind-up clocks on display at the market.

An old record-player.

An ancient wall clock on display at the fair.

By Cong Dat