Mercedes Cabeza de Vaca



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Martin Schatzmann

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The charm that only passion can originate.

It’s a museum for some, a living room for others. The Mercedes Cabeza de Vaca store has an unmistakable atmosphere. What has attracted the most attention and earned Mercedes the nickname ‘the doll lady’ are those spectacular porcelain toys from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, which illustrate more than any other objects everything that has changed over the last 150 years. When Mercedes opened the business in 1980, dolls were at the center of the store and furniture, lamps, and other decorative objects from the Elizabethan/Victorian, modernist, and art deco styles served as a backdrop for them.

Today, Mercedes Cabeza de Vaca has changed: in addition to dolls, the store includes antiques and collectibles from other eras, industrial design furniture, or even “upcycling” style lamps, thus creating a journey through the history of the last 150 years.

Over time, Mercedes Cabeza de Vaca has evolved and now also offers antiques and collectibles from other eras, upcycling lamps, and industrial design furniture.




Business description:

In a legendary area of second-hand dealers and antique dealers at the heart of Madrid’s Rastro, you’ll find the Mercedes Cabeza de Vaca store, which has its own history. Open for over 40 years, it radiates a charm that only passion can bring. Even before opening her own business, Mercedes regularly came to the Rastro as a collector, buyer, and lover of curiosities and objects from other eras that could only be found in this unique market.

A passion for rare objects, old curiosities, and precious woods.

Mercedes Cabeza de Vaca

The same passion for rare objects, old curiosities, and precious woods drew Martin, an Austrian philologist, to the Rastro where he met Mercedes more than 25 years ago. From fellow enthusiast to friend, as well as collaborator and restorer in the store. Today, he not only manages the store but also takes care of bringing the objects of yesteryear into cyberspace with social networks and the online store, thus linking the past with the future. Mercedes continues to come to the Rastro as an advisor, because she remains the heart of the store and for all the old customers and friends who come asking for her.

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