Brussels flea market was definitely one of the places we wanted to see as fast as we could. Having in mind, that we live 30 km from the place and we’ve already been to Amsterdam’s flea market, we had to get there fast.
The best and biggest flea market in Brussels is the Marolles. As its history goes back to 1853, it’s also one of the oldest ones. It works every single day whole year from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., and on weekends from 6 p.m. to 3 p.m. We went there on Sunday at around 10 o’clock and spent there about 3 hours.
Of course, it’s probably a little too late to go there four hours after the market has started. Still, we found a lot of interesting stuff and also were able to buy a few items.
The main task in Brussels flea market
My main task was to found accessories and tools for my newly acquired hobby of photography. As it’s pretty expensive to buy all the new tools, I decided, that flea market will definitely have something to offer.
We also were looking for something to improve the interior of our new home in Belgium.
So, finally, these were the items we were looking for:
- Vintage Olympus cameras;
- Vintage Olympus Zuiko lenses1;
- Camera straps;
- Old posters; magazines, etc.
Well, to tell you the truth, in a case of old posters and magazines that I was hoping to frame, improve with a touch of my marker and put as a painting on the wall Amsterdam was a better place. Amsterdam was full of vintage posters, metal signs, magazines and other stuff. Too bad that at a time I was thinking that I will be able to find it everywhere. I especially regret for not buying a vintage different German car manuals. Those had a really classy touch. Though, Marolles had a lot of paper stuff that were too old for me and are meant for more acquired and sophisticated taste – like books, post-cards and etc.
Also, I was able to find vintage camera tripods. Still most of them were either too loose or seemed very fragile. Seeing how many people were interested in those, I guess, I was not the only smart-ass there. And because I was there four hours after the market has started, there was a good chance that all the higher quality tripods were gone.
Finding what I was looking for
That was the not-so-lucky part for me. But in a case of old electronics it really turned out to be the right place. There were loads of old Nikon, Fuji, Pentax, Canon and other vintage cameras and lenses. Still I was looking for Olympus cameras and lenses with OM mount2.
I actually had to go through all the market and just at the end I found what I was looking for.
First, I have to admit, that my experience with old cameras was rather poor or even non-existing. So, I was a good bait for anyone who would wanted to sell me any crap. Though, I had my camera in my hand and probably could’ve looked smarter than I was.
So. I finally got my eyes on a 1976 Olympus OM-10, which had a S. Zuiko 35-70mm F4 lens and also a Vivitar 135mm F2.8 (P/K mount) tied to it. That meant that you have to buy the whole package.
I was willing to buy only the camera and the Olympus lens. But as all the items were tied with a red ribbon, of course, there was no chance to get them separated. The first price was 60 Euros. I got it to 30 and was trying it to low it down to 20. As the seller refused I walked away, only to return back and buy everything for the 30 Euros, that we’ve agreed.
As I was leaving the market I couldn’t tell if either I won or lost the bargaining. 20 Euros would’ve made me feel pretty good about the deal. 30 Euros? Not so sure.
When I finally got home with my newly acquired items there were a lot of lessons that I’ve learnt, which probably were worth those 30 Euros. The most important one – learn more about the stuff you’re going to buy3.
The item that I was most happy to purchase – Olympus OM10 – wasn’t working at all. The mirror system was damaged and it was so easy to check this by only removing the lens and checking if the mirror moves when you’re taking the pics. I will try to have it fixed.
The item that I turned out to be most happy when I got home was the vintage Olympus camera strap. I actually, haven’t realized that I purchased it also just until I got home. It had Japan written on it, which was much better than Made In China sign that I had on my Olympus PEN E-P5 original strap.
Finally, about the lenses. I was also pretty satisfied with the Olympus lens as I found out it was selling for about 20 Euros on Ebay. But the real satisfaction came when I checked the price of the Vivitar lens, that I didn’t even want to buy. Turns out it was the biggest win of the day. The lens was in a perfect condition and had the full set with a special box and caps. It sells for around 80 Euros on Ebay.
Now as I am waiting for my lens adapters to check out my acquired items in the field I can say only one thing – I love flea markets. I believe it gives a similar thrill, that a gambler gets when he’s sitting at the poker table. But professional poker players have a saying that it’s not a gamble if you know what you’re doing.
Finally, here are a few pictures from the most famous Brussels flea market that I felt I need to share.