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An Afternoon of Karachi-Style Antiquing

BBC Roadshow we've got history too.

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Mahvish Ahmed

 As you drive through the labyrinth of busy Saddar streets you will see facades of Karachi’s colonial past among the din of honking horns and human cacophony. Nestled in between the lanes of the city’s business centre, the Saddar bazaar lies waiting to be explored.  Ancient mosques, mouthwatering food and  shopping at bargain basement rates can all be found in here.

One of the many markets in the Saddar area is Cooperative Market which is a hub of tacky sherwanis and fluorescent muscle shirts, but is also home to amazing antiques and handicrafts.

Look beyond the kachra and you will not return disappointed. I have discovered that shopkeepers hide their most precious antiques behind the counter so pays off to chat over a few sips of chai. Vintage clocks, pre-partition chess sets, a sailor’s compass – there is no telling what you may discover in this wonderland of history.

Here’s a round-up of some of the best things to buy for yourself or as gifts. These  prices are pre-bargain prices so don’t forget to haggle.

Antique Jewelry: Each statement piece is stunning and unique.

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Price range: Rs.250 – Rs.900

Shop: Taj Handicraft, shop # 216, Cooperative Market (known as Ramzan ki dukaan)

Antique Copper Purse: This gorgeous traditional bag is on our wish list.

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Price: Rs.25,000

Shop: Taj Handicraft, shop # 216, Cooperative Market

Studded Jewelry Box: The perfect place for romantic keepsakes, notes and mementos.

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Price: Rs.2500

Shop: Taj Handicraft, shop # 216, Cooperative Market

Mother of Pearl and Brass Dibya: A perfect giveaways for saunf sipari at milaads.

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Price: Rs.250

Shop: Taj Handicraft, shop # 216, Cooperative Market

We loved these miniature art prints available in various sizes.

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Price: Rs.1500 for the picture above. Price varies with the size.

Shop: Taj Handicraft, shop # 216, Cooperative Market

Hip Flask: This vintage flask dates back to pre-partition India – a perfect present.

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Price: Rs.2500

Shop: Taj Handicraft, shop # 216, Cooperative Market

Wooden Desk Calendar: The retro vibe of this piece, with it gold leaf pattern, makes it a must buy.

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Price: Rs.750

Shop: Taj Handicraft, shop # 216, Cooperative Market

Calling all hipsters! This is the homey revival kahva set you need to get.

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Price: Rs.1500

Shop: Taj Handicraft, shop # 216, Cooperative Market

Tiny Brass Spice Mill: Bring a little character to your kitchen with pretty this knick-knack.

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Price: Rs. 1600

Shop: Yusra enterprises, Shop # 211, Cooperative Market

Quirky boot ashtray: Trying to kick the habit? Maybe these boots will help.

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Price: Rs. 1200

Shop: Yusra enterprises, Shop # 211, Cooperative Market

Sheesham Jewelry Box:  This Chinioti style chest will make you feel like a princess.

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Price: Rs.4,500

Shop: Ruby Handicrafts, Shop #1, Cooperative Market

Chinioti Wooden Tray: An ethnic tray made of real sheesham is a classic for every home.

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Price: Rs. 900

Shop: Ruby Handicrafts, Shop #1, Cooperative Market

This antique wooden clock with hand lettered numbers will add a touch of charm to an empty corner.

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Price: Rs.1200

Shop: Anwaruddin Antique Shop, shop #G49, China Shopping Mall

Fancy afternoon over a game of chess? This 40-year old chess board was a bargain.

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Price: Rs.3000

Shop: Anwaruddin Antique Shop, shop #G49, China Shopping Mall

This super cool antique Polaroid camera could make a great feature piece for a side table.

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Price: Rs.4,000

Shop: Anwaruddin Antique Shop, shop #G49, China Shopping Mall