The only magazine serving the collector of Mexican antiques

Current issue
Past issues
Fol-art Artesania
Bulletin Board
Related Links

Old horse carts, coffee morters and sugar molds are only a few of the items adventurous shoppers might stumble across while searching for antiques in Mexico's countryside.

High Speed Chase Leads to Antiques

by Susie Queue

When shopping for antiques in Mexico it help to be a bit more adventurous than the average Sunday afternoon buyer who hits the air-conditioned, carefully decorated antique malls of the U.S. For one thing, we don't have antiques malls here in Mexico. Antiques shops-- absolutely, there are plenty. But in Mexico, you can also find antiques for sale in some unlikely places.

One afternoon, while driving down Highway 80, outside of Lagos de Moreno, Jalisco, I was overtaken by an old, rattling top-heavy truck. It was loaded down with what we in the business properly refer to as "good junk." As the driver and his passenger roared past me, I managed to steal a pretty good look at their cargo-- immense colonial mesquite doors, some great looking primitive tables, a funky pie-safe.... I could just imagine all the other goodies that might be bumping and rolling around the truck's bed, which by this time was rapidly disappearing over the horizon.

Without a second thought, I jumped on the gas pedal. Hoping to catch that rolling mountain of chacharas, I flew past the cactus and maguey plants which grace the Jalisco countryside. But, as Murphy's Law would have it, the rumble of my engine was soon drowned out by the screaming of police sirens. Slowing to Mach One, I signaled my intent to pull off the highway.

The officer strolled over to my window and we exchanged pleasantries about the weather and my dog, Yonke. After a few minutes however, out can his ticket pad and conversation quickly turned to the amount of my speeding fine. As I was in a hurry to resume my pursuit, I accepted the violation without complaint.

I pulled back on the highway, eager to continue the chase, only to have my spirits dampened once again-- literally this time. The sky opened up, letting loose the enormous drops of a desert rainstorm. Yonke gave me a mournful glance, and I too was beginning to feel rather hopeless. Then, I saw them... tail-lights in the distance!

I began frantically flashing my headlights and leaning on the horn, weaving wildly back and forth on the highway. But he wasn't stopping! No, he was used to these types of highway antics. To him, I was just another typical Sunday driver on Mexico's byways. I was desperate to catch the driver's attention. Desperate, after miles of chase, for a better look at that "good junk" hidden in the back of his truck.

Then, as we neared a small pueblo, the truck began slowing, finally pulling off to the side of the road. My big break! Engine still running, wipers flapping madly, I burst out of the car and dashed towards the truck. The driver emerged.

Shaking hands in the rain, he introduced himself, "Soy Martin Torres, de Ocotlán, Jalisco. Mucho gusto."

With the colonial doors once again grabbing my attention, I innocently inquired (trying not to let on I'd been chasing him for the past 45 minutes), "¿Se venden las puertas?"

"¡Claro que si!" he exclaimed, and went on to tell me of the huge inventory of doors, horse carts, buggies and other items for sale at his ranch.

Pulling open the big gate on the back of his truck, we both climbed aboard. I began rummaging through the heap of stuff, pulling out items of interest while he yelled out prices. A three-foot high pair of bronze candleholders, a few Spanish colonial spurs, some hand-painted pots from the 1930's...

After a bit of haggling back and forth, we managed to reach a price agreeable to both. We transferred the items into my pick-up and I gave him a handful of soggy bills. The rain was finally letting up. Just as I was pulling away, Torres leaned out of his window to cheerfully shout, "adventurous shoppers are always welcome in my home!"

Mexican primitives have a uniquely warm patina which is achieved through years of use.