Today

Today is Flea Market Friday and we want to hear about your favorite Flea Market Finds. We use this term loosley, but there is a real definition and history behind the Flea Market. Tell us about your favorite Flea Market Finds.

Flea market vending is distinguished from street vending in that the market itself, and not any other public attraction, brings in buyers. Many flea markets have food vendors who sell snacks and drinks to the patrons, Some flea market vendors have been targeted by law enforcement efforts to halt the sale of bootleg movies and music or knockoff brand clothing, accessories, or fragrances.

Different names for different regions:

  • Australia = Trash and Treasure Markets
  • Philippine = Talipapa
  • India = Gurjari or shrukawadi bazzar
  • England = Car boot sales or jumble sale
  • France and Quebec = Marché aux puces

Origin

It started as Monday Trade Days in Canton, Texas in 1873 where people would go to buy horses; later, they brought their own goods to sell or trade. The modern flea market was supposedly the brainchild of Russell Carrell, an east-coast antique show organizer. Working as an auctioneer in Connecticut, Carrell thought to run an antique show like an outdoor auction, only forgoing the tent, because fire hazards were too expensive to insure. Carrell’s 1956 Hartford open-air antiques market was claimed to be the first modern incarnation of the flea market, although the true flea market does not consist of professional antique dealers, but rather of people looking to make some extra money on the side.

The traditional and most publicized story is in the article “What Is A Flea Market?” by Albert LaFarge in the 1998 winter edition of Today’s Flea Market magazine. In his article LaFarge says, “There is a general agreement that the term “Flea Market” is a literal translation of the French marché aux puces, an outdoor bazaar in Paris, France, named after those pesky little parasites of the order Siphonaptera (or “wingless bloodsucker”) that infested the upholstery of old furniture brought out for sale.”