Sunday, August 12, 2012

Villach's Flea Market

Finally an update! I've been busy this last week and will be traveling more this next week so I will try to update when I can.

Sunday August 5th, 2012

Sunday morning I got up early to head to the flea market in Villach. Apparently it is held on the first and third sunday of every month (this possibly changes in the winter). My older austrian brother was around so he drove me into town and I walked over the Drau River, through the Hauptplatz, and eventually turned onto what looked like a parking lot with some stalls on it.

Some decorations from Kirchtag still up.

St. Jakob's church

Statue past Hauptplatz. I turned to the left and crossed a small park to get to the flea market.

The flea market wasn't as big as I thought it might be and had a mix of what looked like professional flea market vendors to people holding garage sales (?). I stopped by a couple of stalls who all initially thought I was Austrian and tried to speak German to me. One stall I stopped at had some medals that looked interesting. While I am not very familiar with medals they looked interesting and when I asked the price it seemed okay. I bought two medals and a pin (the vendor threw in the pin for a little cheaper then what she originally asked because I bought two medals). One of the medals the vendor said would be more interest of me as an American but she didn't have enough English to explain why. She told me the medals and pins I bought were all Austrian.

The flea market. There were a couple other rows to the right of these stalls.

The next stall I bought some items at had some old postcards (the type with family photos/portraits on them). I was surprised to see some of the postcards had writing on them. I picked out some that I liked and also noticed that the vendor even had austrian post from WWII with the nazi stamp on them. They looked interesting but since I can't read German I decided it probably wasn't worth it to pick them up. When I showed the postcards I wanted to the vendor he also tried to sell me some more expensive postcards that were some sort of print/watercolor (and I am assuming also older). Unfortunately for the vendor the photograph postcards spoke to me more.

I suppose one difficult thing about the flea market was trying to judge if the prices were fair and if I was buying what I think I was buying. Since I'm not a collector or historian I decided to go with the 'even if it turns out not to be old or what I thought it was I will still like it' mentality. This mentality seemed to work the best and I was happy with what I bought even if unsure about the prices. Price wise things seemed more 'okay' rather than super cheap. One point in my favor is that the flea market obviously didn't cater to Americans and mostly had German/Italian/Slovenian tourists and Austrians. Thus the probability of someone trying to rip me off seemed low.

Me and my austrian finds got picked up by my older austrian brother (I should admit that I also stopped at Alem Kebab on the way). Once I got back to the house I decided to do some research on the medals and try to figure out what exactly they were.

The first medal. The one that the vendor told me would be interesting to me as an American.

Apparently this medal is called the 'Pour le Merite' (Blue Max) and was Germany's highest awarded medal during WWI. It was originally started in 1667 by Frederick William I. The medal was stopped given out after Kaiser Wilhelm's abdication in 1918 (so strictly a medal of Prussia). Now before you get too excited, this medal is obviously a reproduction. Why do I know that? One reason is that according to the web these medals are famously difficult to get ahold of and can go for around 10,000 dollars. The second reason is that the metalwork on this medal is not that fine. Considering that a fine reproduction of this medal goes for 50+ euros (I didn't pay anywhere close that amount) I suppose the price I paid for this is okay. It can be a pretty pendant. :D I find it somewhat curious though the vendor called it Austrian considering the original medal is Prussian. Perhaps it is an Austrian reproduction? I can't find any information though on Austrian reproductions.

Medal number two.
From my research this medal is the Military Service Bronze medal that was started in 1963. It is given to everyone who has successfully completed basic military training. Considering that all Austrian males aged 18 are required to do 6 months of military service (as I mentioned before, males can do other types of service to replace that) the possibility this medal is genuine is quite high. But I don't know if I would stake my life on it (I'm somewhat suspicious of it being actual bronze). I saw this medal going for sale online for 20 euros which meant I actually got a pretty good deal.

A austrian (?) pin with an 'a'. Although I don't know why it has those colors since the austrian flag is just red and white...
I think after some research the colors of the pin are white-red-yellow because it represents divisions within Austria. For example, Carinthia's colors are yellow-red-white. While I would like to believe this is a Carinthian pin I must consider that these colors could be in reverse of the Carinthian flag. I found a few places in the Upper Austria region that have a white-red-yellow flag. Although they do tend to hang the flags sideways so I could still pretend that it is Carinthian. Maybe... I don't know since I couldn't find any photos of something like this on the internet. I should ask my austrian family.

Now for a glimpse at some of the postcards I bought. Some of them had dates but I'm too lazy right now to go look at them again.

I think this might be might favorite.

How could I say no to a Jack Russel terrier photo?

I'm rather amused by the HUGE ladle the cook has. And the bike in the middle of the photo?
The rest of the day was pretty quiet and my younger austrian siblings didn't come until later at night.

No comments:

Post a Comment