My friend and thrifting partner-in-crime, Albert, outdid himself with this 7-foot-long stuffed and shellacked swordfish he found at the season opener of the Kane County Flea Market. Previously his wackiest purchase was a taxidermy goat head at an Indiana antiques store. While such tropical trophies are a more common find in California or Florida; in landlocked Illinois such a large fish would have traveled a long way to make it into the previous owner’s basement or ‘man cave’– wish we knew the provenance of Mr. Swordfish.
These photos were taken back in June but the next Kane County Flea Market will be this weekend, August 6th and 7th. The market is located on on the county fairgrounds in the city of St. Charles, about an hour drive from the city of Chicago. Expect to spend 3-4 hours exploring the sprawling flea, vendors are set up outside in fields and inside where cows/pigs/chickens are judged during the fair!
Scroll down to see Albert parading his jumbo-sized swordfish through the market and to see my finds!
Phew, it was quite a feat getting a 7-foot-long swordish into a compact car! Its ‘sword’ was almost hitting the windshield and the backseat was pushed down so its torso/tail could fit comfortably in the trunk. Where was I? Well, I was riding next to the swordfish on the traffic-packed ride back into the city. Definitely an experience to tell my grandkids some day.
The aesthetic at Kane County skews heavily to the country/rural chic rather than the Midcentury Modern/industrial that is prevalent in Chicago markets. Common finds include farming equipment, wire egg baskets, wooden fruit crates and a variety of ceramic and glass housewares. I’ve yet to see much vintage clothing there but do come across vintage hats, purses and loads of jewelry.
There were only a handful of booths containing Midcentury furniture and accessories but the prices were definitely fair and very few customers were checking out the wares. If there had +ahem+ been room in the car I’d likely would have snagged the above 1950s red table. I’m also digging the Mod-style bird cage… in the design world vintage bird cages have been all the rage but I have no idea what I’d do with one.
Sadly this yellow metal rotary phone had seen better days.
This booth was entirely 1940s-1970s furniture. I fell in love with the 2-tier coffee table though I’d probably want to refinish it in a darker wood stain. Imagine all the books I could fit on that circular shelf…
Surprisingly all my finds from the market were tiny, perhaps to make up for the giant swordfish. All my goodies fit into my straw market bag! My first purchase was the above sterling silver signet ring. The seller told me it was Victorian, I believe that it’s actually Art Deco and from the 1930s based on the stylized shoulders (sides of the ring). I’d been looking for a vintage signet ring for years but they were either tiny or engraved already. This one was only $10 and fits perfectly.
Quirky souvenir plastic pins, the lobster for Maine makes sense but why would Finland be represented by a banana?!? I believe these are from the 1960s or 70s.
A small metal picture frame on one side (with original insert of the Hollywood star Jean Rogers) with a mirror on the reverse. Jean was popular in the 1930s and ’40s so I’m assuming the frame is from the era.
My favorite vendor clears out estates and just lines his booth with cardboard boxes full of junk/treasures. Since there is so much digging involved, the prices are always low! There are usually lots of dishes and glassware but sometimes I find oddities like the medicine bottles above. The polident bottle is made of plastic and has a metal screwtop. I believe both bottles are from the 1930s.
I have a fondness for medals and badges of all sorts, the one on the left is a 1930s swimming medal and the keychain on the right is from a trade association.
Two remnants of glamorous travel– a TWA swizzle stick (1960s? 1970s?) and a souvenir railroad spike issued to a model train club.
The paint has worn away in spots on this large brooch but I was attracted to its unusual pink and white feathers, the rhinestones on its wings and its 3-D shape and the way the wings will flutter a little as a response to your body movements. I believe its belly is made out of bakelite as it’s not clear like lucite. Based on the style it seems to be from the 1940s.
Phew, can’t believe it took me so long to share these photos & finds with all of you. Please let me know if you have any information on the items pictured as jewelry can often be tricky to date.
Linking up to Flea Market Finds this week.