Nantucket’s antique shops are filled to the brim with unique finds— most with direct roots to the history of the island.Whether it’s a preserved painting or a meaningful nautical collector’s item, many of these rare antiques aren’t pieces you can pass up and purchase later, as they are quickly claimed and showcased by vintage connoisseurs. Why remember your trip with just a T-shirt when you could leave with a one-of-a-kind treasure?
Take home a piece of true island culture from one of the best antique shops on Nantucket.
Sylvia Antiques is a family-owned, two-shop operation, selling coveted collectibles and vintage treasures since 1927. With multiple physical locations and online listings, as well as a sister store called Four Winds Craft Guild, the Sylvia family knows how to spot a quality antique.
Some items that have come through their doors include a rare early Federal mahogany candle stand, made by local Herman Ellis in the 1800s, or a 1920s zinc horse head hitching post with an aged copper ring. The antique shop features ever-changing fine art, Nantucket baskets, furniture and local nautical items— encouraging collectors from all over to sell or consign vintage possessions.
Unlike some other shops on the island, their 15 Main Street location is open year-round. Additionally, their 4,000 foot showroom on Ray’s Court opens their doors off-season by appointment for the devoted collector.
The Antiques Depot was featured in the New York Times, The Denver Post and Fodor's Travel for its eclectic variety of rare and unusual items— like their 17th, 18th and 19th century furniture and art and accessories, with an emphasis on Maritime, China Trade and Nantucket antiques.
Although it is now located behind the Nantucket Whaling Museum after many years on Easy Street, its new shared quarters with Nantucket House Antiques and Interior Design is spacious enough for both collectors and offers access to twice the historic treasure to peruse.
From marine favorites, like this antique ship officer’s brass spyglass or unique ship’s steering wheel refurbished dining table, to their decoys, the Antiques Depot remains one of the oldest and highly followed antique shops on the island.
For over 35 years, Nina Hellman Marine Antiques has been collecting fine antique scrimshaw, ship models, nautical books and instruments, paintings and more. The shop is tucked island center, away from downtown, making it an attraction not all visitors see during their travels— and the perfect spot for a dedicated treasure hunter.
Nina Hellman and her husband maintain this year-round operated shop with a deep love for the island’s history. In fact, Nina is an author and often a guest curator for the scrimshaw exhibit at the South Street Seaport Museum, while her husband, Bob, is an authority on historic American whaling.
Come admire the artistic wonder of their antique scrimshaw collection, see cravings in walrus tusks and various whale bone swifts, or take home a vintage maritime novel or manuscript. From lightship baskets to maps, their collection of nautical memorabilia is as extensive as it is interesting and historical.
Island Antique Warehouse is known for being the largest warehouse full of Nantucket-acquired home furnishings on the island, consistently offering thousands of items for versed and novice collectors alike.
From classic maritime antiques to historic decorative ornaments, explore their online gallery for a taste of their always changing inventory. In addition to purchasing home furnishings for resale from individuals, the shop also buys Nantucket estates, finding treasured art and antiques to restock their inventory. Their memorabilia is constantly evolving, with their collectors visiting three to four houses a day to acquire new finds, so be sure to stop by during peak season to see the newest stock.
It makes sense that their 5 Miacomet Avenue location boasts an iconic safari land rover at the end of their shop’s driveway, as they also collect these vintage vehicles. Although this location is only open seasonally from May through Labor Day, they host hundreds of auctions year-round. Give them a call to attend one: 508.325.5852.
Few things beat the thrill and satisfaction of finding and snagging an original, historic prize at a prime price. Explore other notable local antique shops such as Tonkin of Nantucket, ACKtiques, Nantiquet, Janice Aldridge and Lynda Willauer Antiques and plan your hunt.
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