The Best Antique Shops in Edinburgh
ver the last few years antiquing has gone from an eccentric hobby for connoisseurs to a mainstream pastime enjoyed by old and young alike. Antique shops and fairs have sprung up around Scotland in the wake of the success of television shows like Cash in the Attic and Antiques Roadshow, eager to reap the rewards of increased demand for relics from yesteryear. Edinburgh has been at the forefront of the antiques boom and many of its oldest specialist stores have been around since long before television catapulted the hobby into the public eye. We’ve picked out five of the most intriguing and eclectic Edinburgh antique shops, each offering something a little different.
Now and Then – Vintage Toys, Games and Antiques
Specialising in antique toys, games and models, Now and Then is a wonderland for anyone prone to bouts of nostalgia for a lost childhood. The shops stocks everything from tin soldiers to dolls and teddies and also carries a selection or pre-First World War domestic and office equipment. Where Now and Then really stands out though, is the vast range of model railway sets that fill the cabinets lining its walls.
Mr Purves – Lamps and Light Fittings
A tiny shop with an assuming storefront tucked away on St Stephen St, Mr Purves has become synonymous with antique light fittings amongst those in the trade. Though stocking vintage lighting fixtures from many historical periods, the store is perhaps best known for its vast stock of oil lamps and associated paraphernalia, something of a rarity, even in the antiques world.
The Gramophone Emporium – Memories from the Dawn of Recorded Music
Secondhand and vintage music shops are ten-a-penny in Edinburgh but none can match the Gramophone Emporium’s commitment to celebrating the early days of recorded music. Spread over two different stores on St Stephen Street, the business stocks well over 20,000 original 78rpm gramophone discs dating to the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as well as gramophone parts, sheet music and a small selection of rare LPs. The 12 St Stephen Street branch specialises in classical, opera and orchestral music while the Number 21 branch is the place to go for jazz and swing.
The Thrie Estaits – Art in the New Town
One of three antique stores at the junction of Dundas Street and Great King Street in the New Town, The Thrie Estaits specialises in paintings, sculpture, plaques, plates, antique maps and other pieces of art, both fine and otherwise. The shop is crammed full of eclectic pieces and the staff are proud of some of the more unusual items buried away within, including works from the continent dating back several hundred years.
MacDonald Armouries – Sword and Shields
Less of an antiques dealer and more of a bona fide swordsmith, MacDonald Armouries offer high-quality reproductions of historic weapons for collectors and re-enactors. Designs range from Celtic La Tene-style swords dating back over 2,500 years to imposing Highland Claymores and recreations of famous movie and television weapons. As well as taking custom orders, Macdonald Armouries also restore antique weapons and produce a range of armour.