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I’m a very strong supporter of osCommerce. It is a freeware open-source project that started in the 90’s so the code is older and still table-based although it has been updated many times and is stable right out of the box. It may not be the newest or best or have the coolest new features but it has a very strong user-supported community in which to get your questions answered as you learn to use it. Also it has an enormous number of user-created contributions so you can add whatever functionality you desire.

It is php-based and most people use mySQL for the database. There are some security and SEO contributions that really need to be added to make it usable but that can be done with a minimum of effort, skill or knowledge. Changing the design is very important and that may take a little more work. The more you know about css, php, sql and apache directives the easier it will be and the more you can accomplish. Because of it’s strong user community, it is also a great project to use to develop those skills.

osCommerce has also branched off into other incarnations: cre-loaded and zen-cart. I haven’t looked at either of these. I suspect they have changed significantly (presumably for the better) but I also suspect that the user community isn’t as strong yet for either of these.

Hope that helps.