by Zeynep Cermen
ISTANBUL, March 12 (Xinhua) -- Greeting the audience are a pile of newspapers dated back as far as the 1800s and some 300-400-year-old coffee cups, along with other countless ancient items including pitchers, bronze statues and handblown glass items.
A dealer in antiques told two ladies that the price of a pair of mother-of-pearl and silver-inlaid hammam shoes made in the Ottoman era is 900 Turkish liras (about 165 U.S. dollars).
"It is too much," replied one lady, who then asked about the prices of other items being on display at the Istanbul Naval Museum on the Bosphorus shore.
The so-called Antique and Nostalgia Festival, which started on March 9 and lasts until March 17, brings together 25 antique dealers.
"Antiquities are not a matter of money but rather a passion," Halil Gultekin, the owner of an antique shop, told Xinhua.
For the dealers joining the festival, one target is to eliminate the bias harbored by some Turks who regard antiques as items that are expensive and "not many people can afford to buy," said Gultekin.
"Here you can find pieces for a penny or over 35,000 dollars, but the joy of buying an antique is equal," he added.
Vinyl records and postcards are among the most affordable pieces at the festival.
The most expensive one is an Ottoman-era throne used by the Sultans and viziers, which dated back to the 1700s and is priced now at 37,000 dollars.
Antique enthusiasts can also find some unique artifacts that belong to the 18th and 19th centuries and were brought from France, Britain, Germany, Hungary and other European countries.
"We can easily reach the antiques in the European countries, especially in France, as there are too many auctions," Gultekin said, noting India and Azerbaijan have recently become new markets for Turkish antique dealers.
"In India, we can find good pieces with good craftsmanship," he added.
According to Bayram Gultekin, president of the Foundation of Antique Shop Owners and Secondhand Book Sellers, the festival's nostalgia section has roused growing excitement as well during the past years.
"People have a great interest in vintage pieces dated back to our recent past like the 1970s, 1980s and the 1990s," he said.
A female university student said she specifically visited the festival, held now for the fifth year, for vinyl records.
"I can see that there is a wide range of vinyl records this year with excellent prices," she said as she purchased three records of Turkish songs, each for 15 liras.