From Gay Bob to vintage medical slides, antique shops offer strange conversation pieces

If your idea of getting some strange involves trolling vintage and antique shops for unusual items, then we've got you covered. We visited a few local shops to find stuff that screams odd, but very cool. Most are one-of-a-kind, so don't be surprised if someone else got there first. The hunt is always most of the fun. — Susan Thurston sthurston@tampabay.com

Gay Bob doll

After years of selling vintage clothing and antiques, not much surprises Sherry King, owner of Sherry's YesterDaze. But when a Gay Bob doll came into the Seminole Heights shop, she got super excited. Made in 1977, Bob was billed as the first openly gay doll. He has a pierced ear and is anatomically correct. Yes, that means he's got the goods underneath his jeans. King was particularly thrilled the doll came in great condition in its original box, made to look like he's coming out of a closet. He sells for $99.50. Also in the same display case is a $15 Hedda Get Bedda doll head from 1961. The fabric body is long gone, but the head has three faces — sick, sleeping and smiling — that you switch by turning a knob on the top of her nightcap. 5207 N Florida Ave., Tampa; (813) 2020; yesterdazevintage.com.

Autopsy Room sign

CSI fans would probably love to have this sign hanging in their living room. The message is morbidly sentimental: "It's whats (sic) inside a person that counts." David Schutt, who co-owns Gaslight Antiques with his wife, Vikki, bought it during one of his many antique-scouting missions. It dates to the 1800s and sells for $299. The store was founded in 1978 and encompasses three buildings packed with fine antique furnishings, a lot of them from England. Check out the framed picture of police constable Alfred Letts, who came across one of Jack the Ripper's victims while on foot patrol in 1888. 3616 Henderson Blvd., Tampa; (813) 870-0934; gaslightantiques.com.

Michelin Man bobblehead

Called the oldest antique village in Florida, Patty and Friends Antique Mall features 75 dealers in two remodeled houses packed from floor to ceiling with collectibles. Glassware, silver and jewelry are just the start. Look closely and you'll find a Michelin Man and dog bobblehead. It's not exactly antique, but it's strangely cute and no longer in production. And at $14, it's much cheaper than the ones on eBay. The mall also has bizarre books galore, including the official catalog of McDonald's Happy Meal toys and promotion pieces from 1975 to 1995. Remember the 1982 Dukes of Hazzard General Lee car? How about the 1975 honorary citizen certificate signed by Mayor McCheese? 1225 Ninth Street N, St. Petersburg; (727) 822-2106; pattyandfriends.com.

Dartboard

One can only imagine the wild bar games played on this 1936 dartboard in the years following the end of the Prohibition. It's amazing the board even survived. This dartboard — which has a revolving center to protect against wear and tear — sells for $129 at The Iron Pelican, St. Pete's newest antique shop. Daniel and Hillary McCoy opened the store Oct. 15 to create more space for their treasured finds. Items range from a coin-operated horoscope machine to a metal bumper of a 1972 Chevelle. The couple work other jobs — Daniel is a bartender at the Dallas Bull; Hillary is a dental hygienist — but in their spare time enjoy hunting estate and yard sales for vintage home decor. 2454 Central Ave., St. Petersburg; (727) 327-9922; facebook.com/theironpelicanantiques.

Medical slides

These aren't old slides of Grandma's trip to the Grand Canyon. These are slides of people's body parts and gynecological tests. Paper Street Market, which recently moved to a larger location on St. Pete's Central Avenue, sells medical slides from the 1960s, most likely acquired at estate sales of former doctors. Glass slides from the Arkansas State Health Department's Division of Tuberculosis Control ($5) show patients' diseased lungs and rib cage. Slides from ob-gyn offices ($2), below, come with the warning, "some illustrations are graphic." For the squeamish, trendy crowd, the shop sells vintage sign letters, globes, rosary beads and typewriter key necklaces. 915 Central Ave., St. Petersburg; (727) 894-7777; paperstreetantiques.com.

From Gay Bob to vintage medical slides, antique shops offer strange conversation pieces 10/27/11 [Last modified: Thursday, October 27, 2011 5:31am]

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