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May-June 2014

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Through the 'Scope: Willard J. Perkin “Did Perky”

Love them or hate them, most collectors have heard of “Perky” boxes, the shiny, hard plastic boxes with hinged clear lids, black bases, and Styrofoam inserts commonly used for thumbnail-sized mineral specimens (and almost never for anything larger). However, many collectors may be unaware that the name comes from California dealer Willard J. Perkin (1907–1991), an active fixture at major shows from the 1950s until he passed away (Currier 1992; Wilson 2013). “Perk,” as he was known, is credited with creating the first of the 1.25-inch cubic Perky boxes by mixing and matching pieces of existing all-clear or all-black boxes that were available in the late 1950s and turning what was intended to be the lid into the bottom by adding a foam insert.

Dr. Peter K. M. Megaw, a consulting editor of Rocks & Minerals, is an exploration geologist with more than thirty-five years' involvement in Mexico.

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