Art and Antiques in San Telmo
To get one of the 270 official stalls at the San Telmo Antiques Fair is a mythical prospect these days — there is a long waiting list, a rigorous approval process and someone pretty much has to die for a spot to become available. Many of the vendors at the San Telmo Fair have held onto their spots in the market since its 1971 inception.
So while the street fair is famed for the antiques, and there remain treasures from Buenos Aires’ golden days to be uncovered, the vendors here have discovered Ebay and it is unlikely you will find bargained-priced antiquities anymore. If prices are given in dollars or Euro’s, that’s your clue that the seller has done their research.
To do some virtual window-shopping of the antiques available, see the Feria de San Telmo website where you can see pictures of every vendor’s items.
Works of Art
Among the best deals to be had at the San Telmo Sunday fair are original artworks. Unknown but talented artists — especially those who refuse to specialize in the ubiquitous tango scenes — are sometimes so eager to get their work on your walls that they practically give it away. You can find these artists all over the area, including along Paseo San Lorenzo and Humberto Primo.
Be aware that to remove any piece of fine art purchased in Argentina the law requires that you get permission from the Culture Department or else you may find that you cannot get it through customs on your way home. Many travelers do not follow the requirements and get through customs just fine, but you will want to ask the artist about this and be aware that if you don’t follow the steps you may not be able to take the art out of the country.
Homemade crafts and hippie stuff
Artisan items sold by San Telmo street hawkers such as candles, jewelry, knitted items, incense and glassware shouldn’t be overlooked if you’re looking for a unique handmade gift. Since they don’t have ‘official’ stalls in the market, but instead place their wares on the sidewalks on the outskirts, their overhead is low and their prices tend to be more than reasonable.