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Michael Ricker, sculptor and founder of Michael Ricker Pewter, Inc. died January 7, 2006 as a result of complications from a ruptured brain aneurysm. He will be missed by collectors the world over. Perhaps you remember Michael and the numerous Ricker Pewter stores found in shopping centers all over the United States in the 1980’s. I’ll never forget seeing that pewter Carousel in the window!
Last winter it was snowing heavily and blowing to the point that visibility was almost zero when the
Mikey left his office and was going home. He made his way to his car and wondered how he was going to make it home. He sat in her
car while it warmed up and thought about her situation. Then finally remembered his mommy’s advice that if he got caught in
a blizzard he should wait for a snow plow to come by and follow it. That way he would not get stuck in a snow drift. This made him
feel much better and sure enough in a little while a snow plow went by and he started to follow it.
In the last NOVA-Antiques.com Newsletter, we talked about kitchen utensils, egg cups, which have become very collectible. Butter molds are from the same family, in that they were originally intended for home use, and not intended as the pricey collectible items that they have become. Originally used by women to adorn their dinner tables, the butter molds later were used by farmers to differentiate their product from others, thus becoming a marketing tool.
NOVA-Antiques.com provides the most comprehensive antiques show and flea market calendar for the Mid Atlantic region.
There are many types of butter molds, with many different origins and designs. First there is the hand carved wooden molds used by the farmers in the late 1700-1800’s. Later butter molds were made by machine. Although both are very collectible, obviously the older wooden ones are the most sought after and the most expensive for collectors. Many of the wooden butter molds are intricately carved, which drives the price even higher.
The wooden lollipop shaped butter mold pictured on the right recently sold on Ebay for over $560. This butter mold was approximately 10 inches long and featured a carved eagle with many intricate stems and leaves.
Smiley's Markets & Malls was formed in 1984 by Ben Campen, Sr. He had a vision of providing a place where anyone and everyone could sell their merchandise at an affordable price to the public. Ben has had experience in theflea market business since 1975. In the early 80's he wanted to build flea markets throughout the Southeast. When pondering about a name for the flea markets he wanted something that would reflect a positive light on the business and the people that operated it. Smiley's was the obvious choice. Contrary to what some people believe, his last name is not Smiley, but he will answer to it almost every time you see him.
As he followed the snow plow, he was feeling very smug as they continued and he was not having any problem with the blizzard conditions. After quite some time had passed, he was somewhat surprised when the snow plow stopped and the driver got out and came back to his car and signaled for him to roll down his window. The snow plow driver wanted to know if Mikey was all right as he had been following him for a long time. Mikey said that he was fine and told him of his mommy’s advice to follow a snow plow when caught in a blizzard. The driver replied that it was OK with him and he could continue if Mikey wanted but he was done with the Wal-Mart parking lot and was going over to K-Mart next.
A new museum designed to attract the younger crowd into the world of collecting has opened at Camden Station, Camden Yards, in Baltimore, Maryland. The museum features rare toys, comic books, oil paintings and other pop culture objects. Many of the exhibits in the museum are one-of-a-kind items and would command top dollar in most cases. Most of the museum’s collection is owned by Stephen G. Geppi, who also owns Morphy Auctions and the Adamstown Antique Gallery. Reports say that the museum is large enough that one visit will not be enough to take in all the exhibits.
Michael’s greatest work may have been Park City which was unveiled August 16, 1985 at a special Presentation Banquet in Denver, where Ricker presented his unique masterpiece in pewter to former President and Mrs. Gerald Ford. The entire Park City sculpture, Park City, has many different segments. Each year from 1976 through 1985 a new scene was added. The eight segments are: Turn of the Century Park, Large Carousel, Town Hall Scene, Circus Parade, Train Depot Scene, Church and Schoolhouse Scene, Riverboat Scene, Firehouse Scene, and Main Street. All pieces were retired by 1992.
Children on see-saws, boys in short pants playing with hoops, pop-corn wagons, children fishing, little boys with slingshots, park benches, beautiful trees, cigar store Indians, dogs, streetlights, artists, clowns with balloons – all of these can be found in Michael’s Park City. But Michael didn't stop with the Park City sculpture. He produced many other series, such as his limited edition Christmas series, his New Orleans Jazz Band, Sports Figures, Children's band, Desert Storm Collection, numerous animals, Salvation Army series, and more.
All will be in scarce supply, as his surviving fans and collectors continue to search for as many of these fabulous sculptures as possible.
That dream came true in the fall of 1984 in Fletcher, North Carolina. Smiley's opened its doors to a record crowd in the Fall of 1984.
Starting on 20 acres and with just over 50,000 square feet of covered selling area, Smiley's has now grown to well over 100,000 square
feet, 700 outside selling spaces and an antique mall that is longer than a football field. Smiley's Flea Market in Fletcher, North
Carolina is known as the best and biggest flea market in all of the Carolina's.
The Baltimore Sun recently reported that the cast iron gates of the Institute of Notre Dame in East Baltimore were stolen, but later recovered at a local Antique Shop. Seems the perpetrators were seen by a former student, wheeling the gates in a grocery cart. Police then checked area pawn and antique shops and found the gates at Mel’s Antiques on E. Lombard Street. An arrest warrant was issued for for the suspects in the case.