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3 min Read
Published September 7, 2014

10 Strangest Items At The Raleigh Flea Market

My wife and I visited the Raleigh Flea Market this weekend–which, by the way, is one of the top 10 flea markets in America according to CNN.

Our goal: to find the most unique, bizarre, and historical knick-knacks the place had to offer. And you’d be surprised at what all we found!

Just what every happy newlywed couple needs: Ye Old Liqueur Mead to help them get sloshed for their big night. Forget making the first evening of your lives together memorable. Instead, drink so much that you black out and forget you ever got married! “The Honeymoon Drink!” (patent pending).

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You’re out at dinner with your friends one night and it’s time to split the tab. You pull out your wallet and oops! Nothing but little cartoon moths come fluttering out. What to do? That’s where this little trinket comes in handy: the “You-Pay Coin!” Invite your friends in on a little game where you spin the coin and whoever the coin’s arrow lands on pays the whole tab! Clever, right? You’ve just wormed your way out of paying part of the bill! Just don’t lose your cool if somehow that little arrow happens to land on you…

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This one looked just like an ordinary teddybear when we found it, but when we picked it up to snuggle it, it meowed at us like your average housecat. It was quite strange, but the ladies at this particular booth were selling him and other interesting doodads to benefit cancer and lymphoma research, so he definitely holds a special place in our hearts.

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Tired of framing photographs of your boring old grandparents around the house and at the office? Well try setting up a photograph of someone else’s instead! We actually found an old box with a photograph of someone’s fancy-pants grandparents inside for sale. Who sells their peronalized heirlooms??

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We came upon this old-timey sports car which at first glance looked like a model, but at a closer look we realized was an intricate bottle of aftershave lotion. This would have interesting enough in and of itself, but there was actually a whole fleet of older automobile aftershave bottles, including buggies, and even a train! AVON, calling!

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This historical jewel was particularly amusing. This was for classy ladies who wore those fancy arm-length gloves wherever they went. But how are you to enjoy a cold, refreshing Coke on a hot day with your gloves on? The condensation will get your dainty gloves all wet and messy. That’s where this sleeve comes in, to go around the soda pop while you drink it. It’s just a slip of paper really, with the Coca-Cola logo on it, and they would actually be sold to everyday people in everyday markets and stores! Wild!

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While we came upon numerous historical trinkets and chotchkies that were very interesting or exceptionally rad, we did come upon a few of a less well-meaning historical significance. This bottle-opener for instance. Yes, I know it’s simply depicting the human form; however, there were many pieces we found from before the era of women’s suffrage that objectified women.

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An objectification of the female body with little respect for the person she is underneath all that.

We were shocked when we found this tobacco ad laid out at one of the booths:

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I can barely believe an advertisement such as this would have been allowed to run in the general public, but it was a much different time then. A less enlightened time where it was “all-in-good-fun” to blemish people with cultures different from your own.

I know these two pieces will assuredly offend some of you, and may cause others pain or sadness. We were dumbfounded to find this relic of time buried in the maelstrom of stuff contained within the fairgrounds. While it is absolutely despicable and causes me great shame for my country, it is important to remember it, so that we don’t forget our roots, or become complacent in our ongoing efforts to be better human beings.

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Hopefully we can end this on a lighter note, with this last treasure from history that we found. Can you believe the Michelin Man used to look like this?

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Nevermind, forget ending things on a happy note. This thing is absolutely terrifying, like something out of a horror film. I may have nightmares.

RELATED: Taste Testing: The Five Weirdest Foods at the North Carolina State Fair.

Overall, it was a worthwhile experience! I’d urge you to take an expedition out to the flea market sometime and see what treasures you can unearth. And you might just find that there’s a neat little story behind a thing or two. Happy hunting!

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  • Greg


  • Greg is a graduate of High Point University and loves Dubstep almost as much as life itself. When not taste testing North Carolina State Fair carnie food, he works as a data management associate, and enjoys being cheerful and spending time with his superhero wife. All my articles.

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