Why Antique Collectors Love Perry, Missouri | KCUR 89.3

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Despite its population of only about 600, the town of Perry in northeastern Missouri is home to six antique stores — and there were more.

Each store is unique, housing different collectibles depending on the interests of the owner.

However, each store also carries a wide variety of inventory; many homeowners have multiple storage units housing collectibles that don’t fit in their stores. This variety, store owners say, is part of what draws collectors from across the country to visit Perry’s stores.

Perry, which borders Mark Twain Lake, became an antiques destination around the time the lake opened in the 1980s, according to Moon City Antiques owner Charles “Bud” McDonald.

“Saturday is always the best day ahead,” McDonald said. “We have very good restaurants in the area. So come make a day of it.

Moon City Antiquities

Meredith Wendling

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Missouri Trade Alert

Moon City Antiques’ superhero and comic book stand is a favorite of owner Bud McDonald.

Anyone who enters Moon City Antiques will hear his record player. One spring Saturday, the player swirled and the sounds of “Singing in the Rain” filtered through the shop.

The player is a 1964 GE Trimline 200 turntable. When it was released, it was the most portable way to listen to music, according to McDonald, the store owner.

“If you were a teenager in 1964,” McDonald said, “this is what you wanted for Christmas.”

McDonald’s has been selling antiques since 2004, when it opened its store on eBay. McDonald, who hails from Pike County, has since opened its physical store location in Perry.

In the store, McDonald’s has created booths to showcase some of its favorite collections. A booth features original 1930s photographs signed by Hollywood stars. Most of these photographs came from the estate of Kathleen Bush, who wrote to stars asking for signed photos when she was a teenager in the 1930s.

McDonald’s doesn’t just have one specialty. He says his store offers “an eclectic mix.

“But you have to (have variety) when you’re in retail at these kinds of stores. Otherwise, you become a museum, and I’m not interested in being a museum.”

Prize-winning pieces:McDonald’s favorite section is its superhero and comic book stand. The stand is an outgrowth of McDonald’s childhood love of comics, which he attributes to his childhood in the Silver Age of comics, a period of the 1960s widely considered one of the greatest in comic book history.

Arlington Antiques

Arlington Antiques is located at 103 Palmyra Street in Perry.

Meredith Wendling

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Missouri Trade Alert

Arlington Antiques is located at 103 Palmyra Street in Perry.

For Shirley Levings, 88, antiques are a family affair.

“People,” Levings said. “That’s what keeps you going.”

She ran Arlington Antiques with her husband, while her father, who worked in antiques until he was 100, owned Miss Daisy’s across the street.

Now that her husband and father are dead, Levings has sold Miss Daisy’s to Ferry. She runs Arlington Antiques with the help of Zabette Elam.

Levings’ store is stocked with all kinds of items, but what she offers the most are antique dishes and decorations.

Since the store opened, Levings has expanded it several times, including nearly doubling its size by acquiring the building next door. No expansion is likely in the near future, as Levings mentioned that it has reduced its stock and intends to sell at some point.

Prize-winning pieces: Levings favorite items are his dishes, especially his flowing blue porcelain. Levings says she gained her knowledge of these elements by reading and re-reading reference books until she knew all the patterns.

Levings said she struggled to choose a favorite from the collection. “Everything I see and buy at that time,” she said, “is what I love the most.”

Miss Daisy’s Antique Shop

Jeff Ferry, owner of Miss Daisy's Antique Shop, shows off bottles he's collected over the years.

Meredith Wendling

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Missouri Trade Alert

Jeff Ferry, owner of Miss Daisy’s Antique Shop, shows off bottles he’s collected over the years.

Perry-area native Jeff Ferry has owned Miss Daisy’s Antique Shop for eight years. For him, antique dealers help tell the story of the community.

“Antiquities are part of our history,” he said, “and we have to get involved, love and (be) interested in our history, otherwise we are doomed to repeat some mistakes we made in the past. “

Ferry has been in the business since childhood, when his father owned an antique store in Peoria, Illinois. When Ferry was in the army, he would set up shop outside local pubs and buy collectibles from pub goers, then ship them home to sell.

Ferry says that in addition to the store, he sells a lot online, often through auctions. Additionally, Ferry has been featured on American Pickers, a television show about the resale of antiques and collectibles.

Miss Daisy's Antique Shop is located on Main Sreet in Perry.  The retailer is open four days a week.

Meredith Wendling

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Missouri Trade Alert

Miss Daisy’s Antique Shop is located on Main Sreet in Perry. The retailer is open four days a week.

When asked about his top-selling items, Ferry mentioned change, oil cans and toys.

“I have a large collection of Case and Parker knives that people come from far and wide to buy from me,” Ferry added. “A bit of everything, actually.”

Ferry touts many other items in his inventory, including antique marbles, Missouri Civil War bills and a Hungry Jack fishing lure he says is worth $4,500.

Prized piece: Ferry’s favorite item is a set of knives from 1983 which he says is worth around $3,000. These knives are in mint condition, Ferry said, and have never been sharpened or cleaned.

Lick Creek Antiques

Lick Creek Antiques specializes in Christmas decorations and

Meredith Wendling

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Missouri Trade Alert

Lick Creek Antiques specializes in Christmas decorations and “store stock”, purchased from another store’s inventory when it closes.

Ben Akers has been in the antiques business in Perry for a long time – 52 years in total, the last 40 of them in his current location. Akers doesn’t offer its merchandise online, but it estimates it sells between 250 and 300 items a week in-store.

Akers’ specialty is store stock or items purchased from another store’s inventory, usually after the store has closed. This means that the items are still in new condition.

Lick Creek has store inventory dating as far back as the 1870s and as recent as the 1960s. This includes items ranging from vintage clothing and linens to computer hardware to postcards.

Akers says that outside of the store’s stock, Lick Creek is best known for its year-round supply of Christmas decorations.

Prize-winning pieces: Akers favorites are the Civil War-era items he sells. It has a variety of period items, including books and journals.

This story originally appeared on Missouri Trade Alert, another member of the KC Media Collective.

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