Treasure hunting in Germany

Whether you’re searching for a one-of-a-kind Christmas gift, a special set of wine glasses, or a unique piece of furniture for your new home, the many antiquing venues in the Stuttgart area have treasures worth browsing.

At the edge of the Weinachtsmarkt, at Karlsplatz in downtown Stuttgart, there is an enclosed and heated antiques and collectibles tent where 20 antique dealers from around Stuttgart display linens, jewelry, ornaments, table settings, toys, home furnishings and more. The tent will be open seven days a week, 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday and 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Sundays, through Dec. 23. For even more shopping options around the antique tent in Karlsplatz, on Saturdays antique dealers and individuals with things to sell set up dozens of tables and booths, as they have been doing for the past 25 years at Stuttgart’s weekly flea market.

Outside the city, Antiquitätenhaus Krug, just 5.5 kilometers south of Panzer Kaserne, occupies buildings at Wettgasse 12 in Schönaich that once housed a butcher shop, apartments and ballroom, and has four floors filled with antique furnishings, artwork, clocks, jewelry, fine china, crystal, Salzglasur pottery, farm and culinary paraphernalia, rare military memorabilia, and so much more.

“It may be the largest antique store in Stuttgart,” said Petra Dellenger, who owns Antiquitätenhaus Krug with her husband, U.S. Army Sgt. Maj. Patrick Dellenger, and operates it with her mother, Rosemarie Krug, who opened the store 45 years ago.

Dellenger, who is fluent in English, said prices on the antiques are negotiable, delivery service is available, and she offers flexible layaway arrangements. Dellenger said sales of used goods like antiques are not subject to VAT in Germany. So instead of purchasers paying VAT, sellers pay a tax based on the difference between the purchase price and the sale price of merchandise. Antiquitätenhaus Krug also restores and refurbishes furniture, including complete refinishing and reupholstering services.

With word-of-mouth and a well-established reputation in the region, Dellenger said people call and come to the store with antiques to sell on an almost daily basis, allowing her to bring new pieces to the showroom continually. A man once brought Dellenger a shoebox containing his parents’ German military insignia and medals, including a German cross, and on another occasion Dellenger was invited to buy anything she wanted in a fully furnished Stuttgart villa that a man had purchased only for the land. She bought everything.

“It’s like treasure hunting,” she said. “And I find the antiques and then my mother sells them.”

Antiquitätenhaus Krug originally occupied only the main floor of a building that once housed a butcher shop and deli. Krug’s landlords lived in apartments above the shop. The shop expanded from the storefront into the former Schönaich ballroom, which is connected to the main building by a hallway, and velvet curtains still frame the ballroom’s stage where antique furniture and racks of fur coats and clothing now stand.

“Everything in Schönaich happened in that ballroom,” Dellenger said, speaking of the time long before the antique store took over the space. “Weddings, funerals, balls, plays, all happened there. Even the American military community used it – they made it into a Hawaiian bar.”

Dellenger started out in the antique business in her mother’s shop when she was 11 or 12 years old, earning spending money by sanding old furniture to prepare it for refinishing. By 2009, Antiquitätenhaus Krug’s landlords had passed away and their heirs wanted to sell the property. Faced with the daunting prospect of moving all the antiques out of the buildings and finding a new location, as well as recognizing the likelihood of losing a piece of Schönaich history to developers, the Dellengers bought the property and, with Krug’s blessing, Antiquitätenhaus Krug in 2010. The shop then expanded upstairs, where the landlords had lived, and now occupies the entire space from the ground floor to the attic.

Further afield but worth a visit, is Antiquitäten am Markt, at Kronenstraße 1-5 in Tübingen. The shop opened in 1975 and the current owner, Norbert Scheel, took over operations in 1991. The antiques at this shop tend to be at the higher end, in terms of quality and price, and everything is beautifully displayed. Scheel’s showroom has the feel of a museum in some respects, with still-life arrangements of objects dating back to the 17th century. Adding to its historical charm, part of the shop’s nearly 5,400 square-foot showroom occupies a medieval vaulted cellar beneath Tübingen’s market square.

Antiquitäten am Markt is open Monday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

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Published 12/15/2016, Stuttgart Citizen print edition:

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