Early Morning at Wolff’s Flea Market, With Friends

Today was the very last day for Wolff’s Flea Market at the Allstate arena. Chris mentioned having an interest in going, and convinced Leslie to tag along. The night before, I got a call from Ben, also asking to tag along.

Liz and I stopped at a nearby Starbucks to load up on coffee and pastries. Then, swinging by Chris and Leslie’s place – we picked up everyone else. A few minutes later, we were on the road: bleary-eyed, and a little cold from the morning.

We got to Allstate arena around 6:30 AM. It was pretty dark out still, and pretty dang cold. I had about four layers on, and remembered to bring my gloves this time around.

Throughout the morning, I broke off and merged back in with Chris, Leslie and Ben. Liz had her own pace and her own path, and I didn’t see her again until we met up – two hours later, back at the car.

What could possibly be the world’s longest popcorn popper. But I think it’s an old school bed warmer.

I’m not sure what these are, or why they exist.

I totally had this guy when I was a kid. The action figure is totally solid, and neither the arms nor legs move. But it was supremely cool.

One feature involved looking through the back of the head, so you could see through his eyes. I think I also had a Superman figure that was very similar to this (that’s currently living with my niece and nephew, at my sister’s house).

There is no lack of clown-related items at the flea market.

I can think of no more antiquated item than a store-based radio/TV vacuum tube tester. Once upon a time…

It was pretty dark, so I couldn’t tell if there was an actual blade on this kid’s jig saw. I don’t think there was, as that would be incredibly un-safe. But a few hours later, I would end up seeing an air gun that shot out darts, marketed as a kid’s game.

This seemed fairly tempting to me. Who knows if it was actually worth $100 or not, but it seemed like an interesting gamble.

Nearby, a very interesting looking piece of equipment. Not sure what a scroll saw actually does.

The display of these old tools caught my eye, and I spoke with the vendor for a bit (complimenting him on his setup). These tools supposedly belonged to a neighbor of his, and the guy was trying to sell them all as a set. He said he didn’t care to “nickel and dime” for each tool individually, and was looking for $500 for the set. I wish I would have circled back, a few hours later, to see if he got anyone to take these off his hands.

I’m assuming we’re talking about the same John Ruskin here? I had no idea there was a cigar named after the man.

A small pile of Barbie and Ken dolls, in various states of undress. I’ll be the first to say it: yes, it looked like some kind of weird orgy of dolls.

Godzilla and King Kong, hanging out in a rare moment of non-conflict and mutual posing.

The middle piece caught my eye, and the vendor I spoke with told me it came out of a funeral home. I guess it was where one would put out cards or have a guest book.

Chris spotted a GBC Polaroid Photo ID camera, and surmised it was the kind you would use to create IDs or passports with.

Confirming that it’s indeed a camera (Polaroid). Not sure if the thing came with film or not. Strange that you can find stuff like this at the flea, and on e-bay.

Apparently, it really grinds pepper.

I’m not sure why this was sitting on a table. I had heard about this video, but thought it was something that was stolen and then copied/distributed over the Internet. There’s some kind of “legal” version? That was packaged and sold?

I love futuristic toys from the 1970’s. They’ve got this retro-sci-fi feel about them.

Sad clowns have feelings too.

I’ve never heard of Laser Challenge Pro before. Perhaps a casualty from the Lazer Tag and Photon wars of the 1980’s?

A serene Nativity scene. For the briefest of moments, I thought that the electrical cord was actually an umbilical cord.

Every time I see a gramophone at the flea, I fall in love with it.

A guy was selling tons of old photographs. I chatted with him briefly, and he offered to sell me a box for $40. I was very tempted, and I’m sure I could have talked him down… but decided to not buy any more random pictures. But I really, really wanted to…

Not sure, but I think this was custom made by the vendor. The price tag reads $2300 but it’s hard to tell if this is $23.00 or $2,300.

Another blast from the past – this is a synthesizer that my parents bought for me, ages ago. I remember being lured in by the drum pads, as that was the coolest thing in the world at the time.

On the way out, we spotted a board game called “Class Struggle.” Nobody decided to purchase the game, which is just as well. From what I heard, it’s not a very fun game – as one player tends to always keep all the money.

Sadly, today’s flea market seemed a little lacking. There seemed to be fewer vendors (by about half) than I’m used to seeing – at least, in the area near the exit ramp. I was bummed that Chris didn’t find any Nintendo-related items, as I’ve seen several the last few times I was here.

Still, I’m glad we got some friends to join us in our crazy, early-morning flea market explorations. Given both the darkness and the cold, I honestly can’t imagine attending an outdoor event much further into the year. It was winter-cold this AM, and my hands were freezing even with gloves on. After today, I think I’m done with early-morning flea markets until the weather warms back up again.

Up At 5AM, Searching For Treasure At Wolff’s Flea Market
Return To Wolff’s Flea Market
Wolff’s Flea Market: Random Images And Comic Books
Early Morning At Wolff’s Flea Market

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. I think your funeral home thing might be a font for holy water. Popcorn popper is indeed bed warmer. But man, you passed on the “Class Struggle” game, in these “Occupy Wall Street” days? That picture of the game cover alone should be widely tweeted. Great pics–love the doll orgy and the friendly group monster muscle posing.

    Maureen Reply

  2. Very fun adventure on a very early (and super crisp) morning. No luck this time out, but why does it seem so much cooler in pictures 12 hours later? Looking things over makes me want to get out to the St. Charles market next weekend!

    Chris Reply

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