A hand-hammered copper pot here, a mortar-and-pestle set there. "One day you turn around and you realize you are a collector," said Wheaton resident Jim Hoff, shortly after buying a $70 copper pot at the Fall Fox Valley Antiques Show Saturday.
Hoff and wife Maureen Murphy were at the show at the Kane County Fairgrounds in St. Charles looking for items to help fill a new addition to their home. It was their first visit to the annual show, now in its 39th year.
Murphy is intrigued by copper pieces because of a "ratty old kettle" she spied in a cabinet alongside her mother's Lladro figurines. She recalled asking her mother why she had it and learned its story.
Murphy's great-great grandparents were living in Chicago at the time of the big fire in 1871 and knew their house was going to burn down. Before running to safety in Lake Michigan, they buried a copper teakettle in the yard. It was scorched, but it survived.
Antiques dealer Jim Bennett found the pot Jim Hoff would buy at an estate sale near Peru, Ill. He estimated it was made in the late 19th century.
Items offered for sale by the 55 dealers at the show included the usual furniture, jewelry, art and dishware. You could spend $12 to get a copy of "Up Front With Bill Mauldin," by the Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper cartoonist who chronicled life among soldiers during World War II.
A pair of leather-and-metal hinged leg braces were available. And for $4,475, you could take home a sampler embroidered by Christian Sinclair, likely in the late 1700s.
The show continues from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday in the main exhibition building at the fairgrounds, west of Randall Road and north of Route 38 in St. Charles. It is run by the Chicago Suburban Antiques Dealers Association.
Admission is $8, with proceeds going to the DuPage County Historical Museum Foundation.