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Missouri’s Hidden Treasures

April 19, 2012

If you pay attention to the Missouri Division of Tourism’s Facebook page and, you know we think Missouri is a great place to find Hidden Treasures.

We’re not the only ones who see it that way.

Mike Cook, owner of Mikes Unique Collectible and Antique Flea Market in Springfield, says Missouri has become the go-to resource for antique lovers and treasure hunters around the country, especially during the last two to three years.

“We are the destination for antique and treasure hunters for the whole United States,” Cook says.

Cook believes shows such as History Channel’s “American Pickers” have helped people realize items they take for granted as worthless have actual value – especially to someone else.

“The shows are showing people they may have treasures at home they don’t know about,” adds Cook. “It’s a treasure hunt; it’s a quest. It gives people something to do.”

One of the best things about antique shopping in Missouri is value, Cook says, adding prices for antiques in Missouri are much lower than in other states. He’s seen instances of antique dealers, from bordering Oklahoma to as far as Idaho, come to Missouri to buy merchandise, only to mark it up and re-sell it at their stores.

But in Missouri, antique dealers know how to show their customers a good deal, which is important.

“People aren’t buying as much as they used to,” Cook says, “and when they do buy, they want to get the best deal they can get.”

Cook, who worked construction for 30 years before going into the antique business with “no experience,” says he’s even been caught unaware of an item’s value more than a few times.

“I’ve sold items where (the customer) has said, ‘Do you know what this is?’ and I’ll say, ‘No.’ Then they enlighten me and … well, we’ve sold some really high-dollar stuff for next to nothing,” he says.

Missouri is home to countless antique stores such as Mikes, and shops are located in every region of the state, meaning there truly is treasure everywhere. Check out to find antique shops (and a few other retail locations) in your area, or the area in which you’ll be traveling.

Even if antiques aren’t your thing, you’re sure to find a Hidden Treasure of some kind, from a museum to a retail shop to an incredible natural wonder, in Missouri.

To learn more about Missouri’s Hidden Treasures, see the special insert in the May/June issue of Midwest Living magazine (or view a PDF copy here). Don’t forget to sign up for our Missouri Hidden Treasures contest; you could win a fantastic Missouri getaway. There’s also a $500 gift card from SIMON malls up for grabs.

To learn more about antique shopping in Missouri, go to; keyword search “shopping malls/antique shops.”

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