Chor Bazaar

You can’t be a fan of junk without a visit to Mumbai’s Chor Bazaar. We are always up for sifting through old stuff looking for a good bargain. Here’s some treasures from Friday’s rummage.

It goes by many names in our collective homes: junk, kipple, punakkal (a.k.a dust collectors) and my favourite, knick-knack-paddy-whacks! The DH and I are junk magnets. Over the years we have developed this ability when confronted with a mound of junk, to squint the eyes, scan yet register every object and dispense with the unnecessary – the pokeman dolls, the cheap chinese plastic, the replicas, the overly rusted…It’s a bit like the way The Terminator gets a full bio-feedback of everything he sees.


On Friday afternoons, Mutton Street in Bhendi Bazaar turns in to Chor Bazaar. Lat long 18.960676, 72.829739. If you are facing Cafe Nizari, head West on Sardar Vallabhai Patel Road and take the third right for mutton street.

Screenshot from 2015-08-22 11:39:06IMG_20150821_163931_1

Our collective haul with prices:

IMG_20150821_200738 Remember those Bakelite telephones from when we were kids…in full working condition (we tested it in the shop) for Rs1000. Selling on for Rs.3000

The DH had to buy more counting tools (for his museum of counting machines). A Japanese Mituyoko vernier calipers and a micro-meter screw gauge for Rs.1000. Combined Ebay price Rs.6000

The glass cake stand (Rs700, down from 1000) will go perfectly with the glass dome we bought in Istanbul.

The ceramic draw knobs we have plenty from Kerala, but its good to restock the collection. Rs20 per knob.

A black candle stand to the right of the teapot goes nicely with our collection of salvaged candlestands that pay homage to this painting by the DH’s dad, I remember so well from my childhood.

IMG_20150822_100039IMG_20150822_100055_1An old teapot (Rs.200, we did need one) and the Life series of books (Rs.50 each) from this nice man who also had some beautiful serving platters.

IMG_20150821_163233_1These little plates are made by Rosenthal Studio Linie in Germany, which is an artists collective. Paid R.400 for 6 plates – they are selling on Etsy, 4 plates for $42 (Rs2600). The artist is Raymond Peynet of France who is famous for his drawings of ‘the lovers’ (see link)


My internet research tells me that Rosenthal worked with Peynet and they in turn supplied porcelain to Lufthansa (logo below in blue) in the 1950s.  Evidence of his ‘lovers’ on ashtrays etc for Lufthansa are online and a recent exhibition in London had these items selling for quite a pretty penny. But his most famous work are ‘the lovers’.

A trip to Chor Bazaar can be quite educational…


This old biscuit tin we got for Rs.200 (down from 400). Another seller (a collector of old tins) spotted this is in my bag and was desperate to know the price – he was impressed with the condition and the price. I love this picture of old Bombay – complete with tram lines at VT station.


And i love it even more now that I know it sold last month for $65 (Rs 4300) on ebay, not including the shipping!

Screenshot from 2015-08-22 10:07:49The Life Series books are something the DH has had as a child. The book on Mathematics was his father’s coveted treasure. We now own 2 copies of the book. These books were printed in 1980 and beautifully written and illustrated.

IMG_20150822_103522_1This old bottle with working stopper will now now be converted in to the soya sauce jar…

IMG_20150822_103558_1So that was an afternoon of junk collecting. We’ve been pouring over our treasures all morning, with far more love and awe than we do when we buy new stuff. Once thoroughly washed and vigorously boiled it’s magical to sit and think about who may have drunk tea from this teapot or eaten the biscuits out of this tin. We’ve been to many a junk market from Vellore to Istanbul. A trip to a junk market has so far, never failed us. We’ve definitely got the bug.  And I am so lucky I found a man who is as crazy for junk as I am. Every item that fills our home has a story of where we found it, what the day was like and out spill a bag of memories…While each item is a new memory for us, it’s just one more notch in the history of that little thing, that one day when we are dead and gone, will become a new memory for someone else.


About nonsense girl

Galley slave, qualitative researcher working in development, married my best friend, writing about my life, my family, my dog, TV, Indian culture, astronomy and my garden.
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5 Responses to Chor Bazaar

  1. Alka Ganesh says:

    Yes I have had JB Mangharam’s biscuits form just such a tin as you have. Never knew at the time that it would be worth buying an empty tin!

  2. daxx says:

    Hiiii I did visit chor bazar. My goodness thats…a treasure in itself. Had a great time. Thanks for all your advice Afzal

    Date: Sat, 22 Aug 2015 06:30:20 +0000 To:

  3. It’s time for a recipe to go with the cake stand nonsensegirl!! Reminds me of an old john Denver song – buy, buy says the sign in the shop window. Why, why? Says the junk in the yard

  4. wow! that’s great to know you’ve eaten Mangharam’s biscuits…any good? The plates must be from first class….although airlines were much classie rback in the day

  5. ganesh gopalakrishnan says:

    i must say interesting punnakal. i do rememeber the JB mangaharam biscuit tin. we had then at home. the plates look great. will Nitya buy the lufthansa oldie.

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