Browsing through the wares at a vintage shop, whether physical or virtual, can evoke an array of feelings: nostalgia for objects from childhood, melancholy for times long past, joy upon finding a vintage piece that seems as though it was meant just for you. There is nothing quite like finding that one special object amidst hundreds of commodities. But, what about the vintage shop owners themselves? Out of all the items in their stores, do they have favorites?
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To answer that question, we reached out to vintage store proprietors across the U.S. to learn more about their best scores of 2022. From a piece of 1950s artwork and quirky cocktail stirrers to re-vamped big cat tables and a book written by Keanu Reeves, their vintage treasures truly run the gamut — and are very fun to look at.
1. A Black High-Back Luna Chair by Odd Knutsen
"I was so excited when I saw it and it took me months to finally let it go. The Luna chair was designed by the Norwegian designer Odd Knutsen in 1970 and was manufactured by Hjellegjerde Møbler. Knutsen was very known for these sculptural designs that make it look and feel like you're floating in comfort." — Alex De Chari of Upperline Vintage in Oakland, California
2. A Vintage Christopher Wool-Signed Carnegie International Print
"I found this print in a massive pile of prints at a gallery liquidation sale in Pittsburgh. Christopher Wool is best known for his paintings of large, black, stenciled letters on white canvases, but he also works in many styles. Wool's work belongs in the Museum of Modern Art and the Tate collections.
As an illustrator, I am drawn to the energy in his line work, but I also love the history behind this piece. It was exhibited at the Carnegie International in 1998. Established in 1896, the Carnegie International is the longest-running North American exhibition of international art. The International presents an overview of how artists respond to the critical questions of our time." — Ryan Yee of Mon Modern in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
3. A Danish Teak Desk
"Last year was a slow year for me because I had a baby and I've been busy adjusting to being a mom of two little ones. I still managed to source a few cool items. The one I'm most proud of is a Danish teak desk I sold recently. Everything in the above photo is secondhand. That's what makes me proud of it — that you can have nice items and furniture and be stylish without spending big bucks ... The chair and desk were bought from a husband and wife who buy out auctions and sell on Facebook Marketplace. I reupholstered the chair myself. The frame and lamp were bought at my local Goodwill." — Katy Garay of Monarch Vintage in Los Angeles, California
4. Pink Panther Tables
"I love them both so much that I decided to name them, and my followers on Instagram refer to them by name as well. Polly and Pamela. They were originally black in color, but I gave them a pink glam glow up to make them fit my more '80s bubblegum interiors better. These panthers are so hard to find, and when they do pop up they tend to get scooped super quickly, so the fact that I was able to secure two (one for myself, one to sell) is amazing." — Jonny Carmack of Vintage Show Pony in Danbury, Connecticut
5. A Book Written by Keanu Reeves
"I usually almost never check out the bookshelves at thrift stores. On this particular day, I stepped inside my local thrift store and was immediately attracted to the title of a $4.99 book that was sitting on the shelf. It stood there with this sleek, clean gray hardcover titled Ode To Happiness. I grabbed it, as the title made me smile, pulled out the paperback that was inside of its sleeve, and read the short, deep-yet-silly poetic book.
I had originally thought that it must've been a project from someone in school and almost left it, but thought it'd end up being a great coffee table book. When I took it home, I soon realized that the author was none other than the actor Keanu Reeves. I did some research on the book and found out that Reeves had written it as a joke to friends and published only 4,000 copies in 2011. The book now goes for up to $3,000 on resale platforms like eBay. I admire the fact that every aspect of this book was a collaboration between artists. The book was carefully created with the intention for it to look and feel a certain way in your hands while you read it. This has been one of my absolute epic gem finds that I scored while thrifting and I love telling visitors about it." — Omar Galicia of Opulence Pdx in Portland, Oregon
6. A Brutalist Lamp by Luciano Mecheon
"2022 was the year I found my favorite lamp. I was searching for the perfect piece to complete my sunroom that was sculptural and brutalist in nature. What I ended up finding surpassed anything I could have dreamed up. This cross between a floor and table lamp is by Mexican artist Luciano Mecheon. I've only been able to find one similar piece in a deep dive, but it doesn't have the same character as mine. I feel so lucky to have this piece in my forever collection!" — Abby Campbell of Abigail Bell Vintage in Miami, Florida
7. A Custom Vintage Terrazzo Dining Table
"My favorite find from 2022 would definitely have to be this custom vintage terrazzo dining table, which we shipped out to a client in New York. It's always so interesting to me when we find these treasures in the middle of nowhere like Ohio or Illinois and they end up in a gorgeous, perfectly curated, dreamy space." — Bree Sparks of Paloma Vintage Goods in Nashville, Tennessee
8. Agathe Sorel's "Midi" Aquatint Art
"This is the piece that, as a staff member, I fell in love with. It was freshly framed, I believe, by Pixie's framers, and the colors and technique just drew me in. It is complementary to the style of my apartment, so I had to make room for it and it now has the place of honor of being the first thing you see once inside. The artist is Agathe Sorel. It is titled 'Midi' and is 3/50, signed by her in 1959." — Kate Urbank of Miss Pixie's in Washington, D.C.
9. A Hollywood Regency Counter-Weight Lamp
"I pulled it out of an old house in Pasadena. They are tough to find and this one had been hanging in the corner of this living room since probably the early '60s. The estate sale company said, 'If you can figure out how to get it down, it's yours.' I had it down in minutes. I work quick." — Danny Marshak of The Vintage Vanguard in Los Angeles, California
10. Vintage Handmade Glass Vegetable Swizzle Sticks
"One of our favorite finds of 2022 are these vintage handmade glass vegetable swizzle sticks. We first found a set in the wild (what we call sourcing in person, finding them by chance) and we freaked out. They were the coolest thing we had seen in a while. With a little research, we found out that the swizzle sticks were originally made by Boston Warehouse, which has been known to have some pretty funky, quirky swizzle sticks." — Shannon Wissler and Shay Bond of Ella Jane Vintage in Lancaster, Pennsylvania
11. A Pink Alabaster Jewelry Box
"I'd have to say that my favorite find of the year was this pink alabaster jewelry box, most likely from the 1950s. The vibrancy, marbling, and gold brass touches were superb! I discovered it in an online auction, and despite the horrible photos taken by the previous owner, I opted to take a chance. Truly glad I did, even though I ended up selling it." — Deirdra Monét of Soleil Monét in California
12. Found Photos From the '20s Through '50s
"The history you find in these photographs. The stories that feel like they need to be told. The beauty of the old film format. I love everything about it. I always wish I could find the people in the photos or their families and give them the images." — Matt Ellison, director of marketing for EstateSales.NET
13. An Antique French Writing Desk
"I acquired this French writing desk from a gal via Facebook Marketplace, who purchased it from an antique store in Washington and had the hopes and dreams of refinishing it, but its sheer size and weight wouldn't fit in her house doors. (My luck!) I first fell in love with the scalloped silhouette, but the unfinished nature of the wood gave it so much more character. I imagined it being used for its intended nature, as a desk, with a postmodern chair and accessories, but it's even amazing as a one-of-a-kind bathroom vanity!" — Aarika Michel of Reunion by Eclectic Prodigy in Portland, Oregon
14. A Curtis Jere Brass Lightning Bolt Wall Sculpture
"I have so many favorite finds from last year, but one of my absolute favorites was a rare Curtis Jere brass lightning bolt wall sculpture from the '80s. I wish I had kept it for my personal collection." — Rusty Baker of Life of Leisure in Columbus, Ohio
15. A Midcentury Teak Tension Pole Lamp
"I have always been a fan of warm and cozy pieces, and as soon as I saw this mid-mod lamp, I knew it would be the perfect addition to this nook." — Tayler Campbell, social media strategist at EstateSales.NET