Howard Street Antiques Row of Baltimore

Howard Street in Baltimore at one time was known as one of the mid-Atlantic's hottest antiques markets. I went out today to survey the scene. It was a place where women wore white gloves in the streets. As the dealers there tell it today, there was the installation of the rail line in the street in 1992 that really hit them hard, and it never truly recovered. At that time, nearly 42 dealers led a bustling trade that spilled out onto the sidewalks. Today there are 7 or 8 active dealers. As I passed by the Imperial Half Bushel was packing things up for good at 831 N. Howard. It was a storied antiques store with a penchant for local Baltimore silver and many other items. They rebuffed me when I tried to enter the shop. Baltimore has things in common with Philadelphia and New Orleans. Economically polarized and not much leadership from politicians, a failing educational system, a flagging tax base. This has been much commented on by Washington area antiques dealers, who grow a bit misty eyed speaking of Howard St. Still, perhaps there is a beacon of hope or two yet on Howard Street. The City of Baltimore should be finding ways to bring back a new class of merchants to Howard Street. Baltimore is a place steeped in history. Its antiques business deserve the chance to shine.

Studio at 859
Beautiful Light in Studio at 859
Angela at Studio 859
Angela is a new kind of antiques dealer. She's fun, welcoming, down-to-earth. Her shop is eclectic and the collection she curates and sells reflects the changing eyes of today's buyers. Large scale colorful paintings and mid-century modern fiberglass chairs against an exposed brick wall, gorgeous hardwood floors, and light streaming in from a bright and clean storefront window. Angela is a delight to talk to and I lucked into a conversation with her and her husband. They are among the nicest dealers I've met in a while. They offered me a seat and shared about the history of Howard Street and quickly opened up. It felt like talking to family. Like you'd made friends from strangers. If you hit no other antiques shop in Baltimore, put Studio at 859 on your list of must visits. This shop is open Saturdays 12-4 and weekdays by chance or appointment. Call ahead. 410.925.8286. This is the future of the Baltimore antiques scene. The street needs about ten or twenty more dealers just like Studio at 859.

Dubey's Art & Antiques
Wood Buddha at Dubey's
Mid-Century Room at Dubey's

Dubey's is a well-established shop and the most robust shop that I saw in terms of inventory. They were in the midst of moving from one building to a neighboring one this May in 2019. I have to say, things weren't looking their best, but despite that, there were many very very nice items shining through and the new building is large (3 storeys) and cheerfully painted. They seem to be open most days 11-5 except Tuesdays. Standout items included a good collection of Qing Dynasty rank badges, a very interesting large ivory pulley / pull of some sort, a colonial era English sterling silver balluster form cann, and a surprisingly well-done mid-century room. A large weathered wood buddha was simply superb. Overall, they seem at their best with Chinese and some of those items are best in class. Very friendly and offered to help, but largely left me to my own devices. Loved the shop and I urge you to visit!

NYC made slag glass lamp at $1600
There was Earl Weber's shop at 867 N. Howard. Mr. Weber was there to let me in and showed me some of his terrific lamps. Of note were his fabulous slag glass and bronze lamps. I spotted a to-die-for bronze Tiffany lamp base and several green glass lamps from a Brooklyn maker who Mr. Weber explained had been a protege of Tiffany. These lamps were absolutely stunning and seemed to be very competitively priced.

The last shop I visited was E.A. Mack. It's been rare that I've been made to feel less welcome than by Mr. Mack. Go get lunch instead.

I didn't find any treasures on Howard St, but I have found some wonderful things at
Typical Street Scenes in Baltimore (2019)

A Neighborhood Residence
Closed shop on Howard


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