Being a dealer at the Denver Brass Armadillo and an avid collector, I recently had the opportunity to visit Tucson, Arizona. Naturally I wanted to check out a few of the antique shops there. Making the rounds of several shops, it was only natural to notice the subtle, and not so subtle, differences between the Denver Brass Armadillo and the shops in Tucson. While none of the Tucson shops are as large as the Brass, several shops are centrally located to one another and that helps cut down on driving from one to the next as well as finding parking. However, parking is an issue as there are very, very limited spaces available. Many of the shops appear to be sole owner/dealer shops or shops with a very limited number of dealers. I visited four so called “antique malls” of which the largest had approximately 30,000 square feet and a reported 200 dealers. The others were quite a bit smaller. None approached the size of the Denver Brass Armadillo.
While the Tucson shops have ample inventory of glassware, dishes, jewelry, Native American and Western memorabilia, and other smaller collectibles and antiques, the supply and selection of antique furniture was very limited with almost no Victorian or Early American pieces. Most furniture was Southwest design or mid-Twentieth Century style. The limited furniture antiques may be explained by the fact most of the shops have only limited floor space and there just isn’t space for furniture.
All of the shops have some locked display cases similar to the Brass, but gaining access to a case is not as convenient as the Brass’s individually locked cases. To inspect and closely examine an item in a case in the Tucson shops, it is necessary to go to the front counter and request a staff member to unlock the case. This is very inconvenient and time consuming, not only for the shopper, but also for the shop’s staff. On several occasions I had to wait 5 or more minutes before someone could locate a key to the case and come and unlock a specific case.
Looking for antique dolls? There is a doll museum at Christine’s Antiques which houses hundreds of dolls. It’s quite impressive with dolls of all designs, ages, compositions, size, and value. If you are a doll collector, or just have an interest in dolls, it is worth a trip to Christine’s Antiques on Speedway Boulevard in Tucson.
If you have the opportunity to visit Tucson, be sure to check out the antiques. You will definitely meet some really nice and friendly folks!!!