The Rusty Dime opens

Don’t let “The Rusty Dime” name fool you. This new shop at Lee Branch in Greystone is solid gold and chockablock with wonderful collectibles. It’s no flea mart.

Owner Mel Rich greeted me during the store’s recent grand opening.

“This shop is a dream I’ve had for a long time,” he said.

Most recently, Rich hails from South Carolina, but has roots in the Mississippi Delta. “There was an old saying when I was a boy,” he said, “hanging around a country store when dice was rolling: ‘Seven come eleven or a rusty dime.’ The name means I’m hoping for a winner.”

Rich took me on a tour of his museum-like shop filled with art objects and antiques, and collectible books, all moderately priced. My eye glimpsed lithographs hanging on one wall, Audubon birds, signed and numbered prints, Currier & Ives.

“For 24 years I lived in South Carolina, buying from estate auctions there, and in Georgia and Virginia, storing away for this day,” he said, speaking of his shop opening. His collection includes acrylics, oils and mixed media. Some are abstract. Many are Southern scenes.

We perused shelves of old books. “Here’s a Webster’s Dictionary published in 1919,” Rich said. “And, a First Edition Mother Goose Book published in 1913.”

One book caught my attention, an inspirational book titled “Apples of Gold, Pictures of Silver,” published in 1894. Inside were many engraved plates.

“Now this is a really old book,” Rich said. The book was terribly distressed, taped in place. “Look, it’s an 1861 Webster’s,” he said. This 149 year-old book had reason to be in distress, having survived ravages of the Civil War. Actually, it looked real good for its age.

The shop’s collections include 23 volumes of Mark Twain’s delicious scribbling, pottery, porcelain dinnerware, furniture and even an old shaving mug. Rich led me to another room where items ranged from $5 to $20. There I found Currier & Ives originals, Charleston etchings, signed artists proofs and more old books.

The framed print I purchased for a gift was wrapped neatly, but now hangs on my wall. I made mental plans to return often, since Rich has more stored away for future stock. “There’s something for everybody here,” he said. Call The Rusty Dime at 995-4005 for information and hours.

Gladys Hodge Sherrer can be reached by e–mail at gsherrer@hotmail.com.