3 of the Best Places To Go Antiquing in Iowa

Lori Erickson
| February 1, 2024 | 4 Minute Read
A rusted vintage car parked outside of a shop, surrounded by a brick driveway. A blue building is on the right.. Photos by Antique Archaeology

Shop for treasures in these eclectic Iowa antiques shops.

Antique Archaeology, LeClaire

This busy store in LeClaire is the home base of Mike Wolfe, star of the American Pickers television show on The History Channel. Wolfe grew up in nearby Bettendorf and has been traveling the back roads of America for decades hunting antiques and vintage collectibles.

Antique Archaeology (above) is housed in two buildings just south of downtown LeClaire, a stone’s throw from the Mississippi River. Inside are one-of-a-kind items, from stereoscope cards and 1940s advertising signs to antique motorcycles. If you’re a fan of the show, keep your eyes open for familiar items, because some of the antiques have been featured in past episodes. Before leaving, have your picture taken with the rusting 1949 Nash car that sits outside the shop.

Mid-century modern wood dining table and chairs in a store. The wall in the background features many pieces of art. Clara Quinn

Ulysses Modern, Iowa City

Mad Men fans—and anyone who appreciates the sleek aesthetics of mid-century modern design and furniture—flock to Ulysses Modern (above) in Iowa City. Run by Clara and Ryan Quinn, the store stocks furniture, clothing, vinyl records and decor items that primarily date from the 1950s and 60s. Other specialties include vintage watches and art, with many works created by artists connected to the University of Iowa.

The store’s constantly changing inventory is found by Ryan, who travels thousands of miles each month visiting estate sales, secondhand stores and antiques malls. He and Clara have a keen interest in the history behind the items in their store and the design trends that shaped mid-century modern style. Some customers come to buy a piece for their home, they say, and others to revel in nostalgia.

Overhead view of numerous display shelves in an antique mall. Courtesy of Brass Armadillo

Brass Armadillo Antique Mall, Des Moines

Larry Gottula and Dave Briddle founded this Des Moines store (above) in 1992, pioneering a new antiques mall concept that has been so successful that there are now Brass Armadillo Antique Mall locations in five more cities across the country.

With more than 450 dealers under one roof, the store has a huge range of goods, including furniture, decor, jewelry, clothing, toys, books, art and collectibles. The outlet has social gatherings that connect dealers and shoppers, and it also serves as an educational resource, with workshops and online guidance on topics such as how to repair water-damaged furniture.

If you’re looking for something in particular, you can send a personal shopping request to the store. The staff will keep it on file for three months and notify you if they find your item.

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