Tollhouse Shops features antiques for cheap

A silver-plated serving set is one of the unique pieces for sale at the shop. Photos by James Kinneen

By James Kinneen
Hometown Weekly Reporter

Wellesley has its own antique store, selling a variety of priced-down home décor pieces, fine china and paintings.

But unlike other stores, this one’s proceeds go to a worthy town cause, and every piece for sale has a local connection.

Inside of the Wellesley Historical Society building from 11-3 on Wednesday and 10-12 on Saturday, members of the community can shop at The Tollhouse Shop, a room inside the Historical Society (located on 229 Washington Street) where volunteers price and sell antique items that have been donated to them by the community.

“The Tollhouse Shop has been instrumental in serving the Historical Society for a long period of time,” explained Amanda Fisher, the society’s executive director. “It’s been tremendous with residents within the community and outside the area contributing items. In turn, whatever the profits we make are go towards the organization, since the society doesn’t receive town funding. All of the revenue is really beneficial to ensuring our bottom line, our operations, and our abilities to sustain and produce educational programming and events that benefit our community, as well as to continue our mission as essentially a town archive.”

A piece of artwork and various dishes for sale at the Tollhouse Shop.  Photos by James Kinneen

A piece of artwork and various dishes for sale at the Tollhouse Shop. Photos by James Kinneen

While some may fear an organization that runs on people donating their goods may not have anything of worth, there is some really interesting stuff being sold for far less than its worth. From a unique old lighter to some colonial paintings, Fisher explained that certain quality items go out of style with newer generations, or people realize they just don’t have the space to keep the items.

“Often, people realize they just don’t have the space for it or the need for it, and there are instances where the next generation doesn’t want, for instance, a fine china set. So, there’s definitely an eclectic array of stories and narratives behind these objects. They don’t have to have historical significance - they just have to fit within the space. One time, someone tried to bring us a bicycle, which is really kind, but unfortunately, we have some spatial restrictions.”

The items’ prices are determined by volunteers using internet research, though for some of the more unique items, they consult local antique dealers. Fisher explained that apartment hunters are among the shop’s most consistent customers, as they’re looking for unique decorative pieces at discount prices.

“All of the prices are substantially reduced. All of the items themselves have a really high value, but more or less, it’s a tremendous bargain.”

If you’re looking for an interesting piece of flair or a useful set of china, the Tollhouse Shop has you covered.

And not only will the piece be cheaper than it should be, but it will have an interesting Wellesley story behind it, as well.

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