“The Joy of Junk” by Mary Randolph Carter

I have been a long time fan of Mary Randolph Carter….”Carter” as she is known to her friends. A junker for life, a passionate and independent woman, ageless, timeless–you just can’t help but love her. And I absolutely LOVE this book!!

[photos below from the book are by Carter Berg]

As she says in the introduction, “Why this book?” She’s been junking for decades, and here she shares the love of it…the passion behind it…the spirit that takes you far and wide. And, she teaches us the “tricks of the trade”!

She explains more of why she does it and why she loves it…and yes, besides having amazing chapters of “junkers and collectors” she admires, she gives the reader information on how, why, where and the best tips and advice on antiquing.


I, too, have been antiquing for years, but not a pro like Carter! She nailed the talking points and if big markets and flea markets are your thing, this book is a must for you. She will teach you to do them like a pro.

Here are my favorite take-aways from the book:

1. If you see something you LOVE, and it’s a good deal, DON’T WALK AWAY…you might lose it. It just takes one experience like this to make you learn your lesson.

2. Haggling: always be respectful. You have much more a chance of getting a better price, by doing it kindly and nicely. Don’t say “Are you kidding me?” Start with, “is this the best you can do?”

3. The more you buy, the chance of better deals. Loyalty reaps rewards!

4. Don’t leave something behind you love….chances are you’ll never see it again.

5. It’s not about the piece, it’s about the journey and the stories. There are such diverse and interesting chapters on people, like Mike Wolfe of American Pickers to Corinne Warner and others. This book is filled with wonderful stories. Antiques and junk and vintage or whatever you call it, they come with stories that make them special and treasured.

6. The chapter on Bunny Williams and John Rosselli “So Happy Together!” They are iconic, legendary, and trailblazing. I loved Carter’s take on this wonderful couple. And the photography, DIVINE!

7. Energize your space…move antiques and collections around. Sometimes they need a fresh look.

8. If in doubt or if you question yourself on something–leave. It’s not a “keeper”.

9. Great chapters on antique fairs! From The Rose Bowl, to Brimfield and to Country Living Fairs and more!

10. A HOW TO collect with kids…loved this sweet chapter.

11. The Junkers Guide…the best glossary ever!!!!


If you love old, if you love antiques, if you love vintage, if you like patina, if like stories and history this book is a must for you. There are stories and tales in these objects, and the hunt is just part of the journey and so much fun. This is a book that makes you feel happy….and WE NEED TO FEEL HAPPY.

Thank you Carter for such a well-written and inspiring book.  And thank you son, Carter, for a photographic treasure of amazing people and antiques.

Treat yourself. Come buy “The Joy of Junk”.  Carter is coming to sign copies, but email us and we will hold a signed copy for you. This book would make a great gift!!