Make us your home page

Guns, Indian artifacts and other treasures for sale at Belleair Bluffs shop

BELLEAIR BLUFFS — One has to carefully step over and around some of the priceless artifacts in Tom McKaughan's new antique shop. That's part of the charm.

It's a guy place. But it offers rare treasures.

Shoppers will find artifacts displaying the colorful artistry of American Indians, historic weaponry used by soldiers in past wars, and eye-popping chunks of turquoise polished and crafted into modern silver jewelry.

McKaughan, 60, who has master's degrees in history and archeology and is a semiretired U.S. Airways jet pilot, has been collecting all things American Indian for more than 30 years, as well as old guns, rare books, antiques and much more.

His interest in anything American Indian stems from the Sioux and Swedish background on his mother's side. He did some amateur archeological digging as a youth growing up in Sioux Falls, S.D., and worked 2 ½ years on a Cheyenne reservation helping to install pipes and a water tower for a water system.

He settled in Largo more than 20 years ago while flying for Piedmont Airlines, a subsidiary of U.S. Airways.

More recently, when his collections began to take over their house, he and his wife decided it was time to downsize and sell some of his things.

The shop is the result of that downsizing. "This is something I enjoy," McKaughan said. "I like meeting people and talking to them about what's in here."

His expansive inventory includes old Western saddles, some original art, Kachina dolls, dream catchers, cameras from the 1900s, a large number of antique rifles, Revolutionary War muskets and Indian trade muskets, a handsome manual Olympia typewriter, Colt revolvers, a big train set, a coiled rattlesnake, a Civil War era stomach pump and enema set, and a large framed Indian headdress.

Ed Collum, who has had an antique shop for 25 years just a few steps from McKaughan's business, said he welcomes another antique shop.

"Sure, there's some overlap, but that's great as far as I'm concerned," said Collum, whose specialty is the Civil War. "It's good for business."

Collum said he has visited McKaughan's shop and chatted with him. "He's very knowledgeable in his area," he said.

Al Bardi of Seminole, who collects antique weapons and is a longtime customer at Collum's, says he now has a second place to shop. He said he was surprised to find the high quality artifacts in McKaughan's shop.

"Normally, you have to go to the Southwest to find some antiques like this," he said.

"The shops have stirred an interest among collectors," Bardi added, "because now we have two interesting guys selling things very hard to find, very rare and very unusual."

Another Collum customer, Todd Weimer of Seminole, said he has visited McKaughan's shop and enjoyed the Indian artifacts and Civil War items. He said he has his eye on some Civil War guns in the shop.

"An ancestor was a Confederate in the cavalry, so I'm interested in anything to do with the Civil War, especially cavalry items," Weimer said.

One rifle of historic interest in McKaughan's collection is a model of an Army rifle used by Custer and his 7th Cavalry battalion at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. He's in the process of having the Springfield 1873 single-shot rifle forensically tested to determine if it was used in the battle.

"As it stands, the rifle is worth $20,000," Mc­Kaughan said. "If proved to be from the battlefield, its value can go as high as $400,000."

Items in the shop range from 25 cents for manufactured arrowheads to $40,000 for a buffalo robe.

The tall, narrow American Indian leather pipe bags decorated with beautiful bead and porcupine quill work, and sometimes horsehair, ribbons and fringe, range from $1,500 to $18,000. A leather belt with 10 large turquoise disks on silver is priced at $3,000. A gold necklace with a gold arrowhead and thunderbird in the center is $250, while a large turquoise pendant is $375.

McKaughan said he is still collecting, buying and going to auctions. "I'm trying to stop myself," he said, "but I can't."


Indian Rock's Antiques, 562 Indian Rocks Road, Unit D, Belleair Bluffs. (727) 581-9600. Open 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, noon to 5 p.m. Saturday. Closed Wednesday and Sunday.

Guns, Indian artifacts and other treasures for sale at Belleair Bluffs shop 05/31/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 1, 2011 8:29pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Legalized medical marijuana signed into law by Rick Scott

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott on Friday signed into law a broader medical marijuana system for the state, following through on a promise he made earlier this month.

    Gov. Rick Scott signed legislation on Friday that legalizes medical marijuana in Florida.
  2. Line of moms welcome Once Upon A Child to Carrollwood


    CARROLLWOOD — Strollers of all shapes and sizes are lined up in front of the store, and inside, there are racks of children's clothing in every color of the rainbow.

    At Once Upon A Child, you often as many baby strollers outside as you find baby furniture and accessories. It recently opened this location in Carrollwood. Photo by Danielle Hauser
  3. Pastries N Chaat brings North India cuisine to North Tampa


    TAMPA — Pastries N Chaat, a new restaurant offering Indian street food, opened this week near the University of South Florida.

    The menu at Pastries N Chaat includes a large variety of Biriyani, an entree owners say is beloved by millions. Photo courtesy of Pastries N Chaat.
  4. 'Garbage juice' seen as threat to drinking water in Florida Panhandle county


    To Waste Management, the nation's largest handler of garbage, the liquid that winds up at the bottom of a landfill is called "leachate," and it can safely be disposed of in a well that's 4,200 feet deep.

    Three samples that were displayed by Jackson County NAACP President Ronstance Pittman at a public meeting on Waste Management's deep well injection proposal. The sample on the left is full of leachate from the Jackson County landfill, the stuff that would be injected into the well. The sample on the right shows leachate after it's been treated at a wastewater treatment plant. The one in the middle is tap water.
  5. Honda denies covering up dangers of Takata air bags


    With just a third of the defective Takata air bag inflators replaced nationwide, the corporate blame game of who will take responsibility — and pay — for the issue has shifted into another gear.

    Honda is denying covering up dangers of Takata air bags. | [Scott McIntyre, New York Times]