Best of 2000: Best Place To Find Funky Old Stuff

Uncle Richard's Antiques
2207 Fern Street, Golden Hill
(619) 563-1655

Tell him he isn't a people person and antique proprietor Richard Nichols would reluctantly agree. His German grandfather lost his leg in a train accident and clomped around on a wooden peg leg. Via ancestral osmosis, a no-nonsense attitude permeates the artifacts and antiques throughout the cramped quarters. An old Indian headdress, Mexican pottery circa 1940, mounted heads of game animals, a chrome Swami fortune-teller machine­cum­napkin dispenser, weighty Deco light fixtures, the immense upper half of a Holstein cow rendered in fiberglass. His taste has a masculine bent, items you could imagine lying around the study of H.G. Wells or Charles Darwin. People tell him this a lot, though 90 percent of his customers are women.

Nichols has been a collector since 1957, when he scoured the El Cajon swap meet at the Aero Drive-In. The rise of antique malls has squeezed out the flow of the fun objects he prefers, but he has a source these days, somewhere "out of the county." His prices aren't thrift store, but he's in no rush; he's confident you'll never see these things anywhere else.

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