Unique Finds at Local Pawn Shops

Need some power tools, a guitar, a TV or a paintball gun? What about a $15,000 mummy?

If you’re in the marketplace for something uncommon and perhaps useful, then San Bernardino’s antique stores and pawn shops may be the place for you.

One of the most enduring, has been open since 1950. The shop holds mainstays like precious jewelry, knives and cameras, but also finds such as an MTV tunes award, vintage prosthetic limbs, safari gear and even taxidermy creatures – including a purported chupacabra.

Dave’s owner Larry Baron, son of its president, said the myriad comes from the are lacking of hard and fast rules about what is or isn’t valuable to buyers. He’s been working the counter since he was a kid, and there is always something that surprises him. Someone once brought in a 20-carat diamond, for example, though he didn’t have the millions in cash needed to buy it, he said.

San Bernardino is also home to some pawn shop chains, including First Cash and Cash America Pawn with more than 10 locations each.

An assistant manager of a Cash America Pawn at 700 N. Piedras, said the pawn company isn’t really like the popular TV show Pawn Stars – though this doesn’t mean he doesn’t get the occasional unexpected item. A customer once brought in an massive mounted moose head. It sold the same day it was put out for sale.

If pawn shops aren’t your style, San Bernardino also has many packed-full antique stores.

Mesa Street Antique Mall, 6545 N. Mesa, which has been open for 25 years, has a little bit of everything. But owner Nancy Walker said the store is known for its antique furniture and collectibles such as vintage glassware and straight razors.

The expansive Whoopie Bowl on the far Westside at 9010 N. Desert, is packed with the wares of more than 40 dealers. As co-owners Terry and Al Knoch said, anything goes when it comes to the merchandise they sell, but they do try to keep the quality high.

“A great portion of everything we have is unusual,” Al Knoch said. “Younger people have probably never seen some of this stuff before.”

For some truly unique and bizarre items, curio-seekers should look no further than San Bernardino Oddities inside Tooth and Veil at the corner of Mesa and Montana streets.

The store boasts a collection of macabre items such as skulls and strange art. Owner Sarah Gutierrez said her husband has been making jewelry out of antique silverware for more than 30 years, which are sold at the store.