Anthony J. "Tony" Nikischer was born in New York City on March 11, 1949, the son of Anna and Nicholas Nikischer. Anna (who is Romanian) and Nicholas (who is Austrian) had emigrated to New York in the 1930's. Tony grew up in New York City, and attended City College of New York, majoring in Geology. His studies were interrupted temporarily for financial reasons, but he then enrolled at Manhattan College and earned a B.S. Degree in Managerial Sciences, graduating magna cum laude. He went on to make a career in the utility industry, in management positions at Consolidated Edison Company of New York.
Mineralogy, however, has always been Tony's main passion in life. When he was a young boy, one of his older brothers got him started in minerals by giving him an Elba pyrite and an Oregon "thunder egg" agate. Soon he was checking out street excavations and rock outcrops in the public parks of Manhattan and South Bronx looking for minerals. Through visits to the American Museum of Natural History he learned about the properties and occurrences of minerals from around the world. He haunted the New York City mineral shops and read all he could about minerals. A shop called Walker's Minerals was one of his favorite places, as was Helen Snyder's little shop called Highlights. Helen dealt primarily in decorator specimens, but always had good Mexican material. He also purchased minerals by mail-order. Particularly from Walter Wright's (q.v.) Prospector's Shop in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Laszlo Dudas's Continental Minerals in Montana and later in Tucson. Tony still has virtually all of the mineral specimens that he acquired in his early years. Those, plus specimens acquired in more recent decades, now comprise a personal collection of over 12,000 specimens.
Tony's early college studies in geology, later supplemented by studies in X-ray microscopy at Lehigh University, have served him well in his collecting and dealing.
In 1974, as a sideline, he started his own mail-order mineral business, Excalibur Mineral Company, specializing in rare minerals for the species collector. His company prospered, and in 1992 he bought out his principal competitor, Forrest Cureton (who was retiring after 40 years in the mineral business). Thus Tony combined the two largest commercial inventories of rare mineral species in the United States, and finally gave up his regular job in the utility industry to become a full-time mineral dealer.
With the acquisition of Forrest Cureton's stock, Excalibur Mineral Company's inventory grew to around 200,000 specimens representing 3,100 species. Tony had become the largest supplier of rare mineral species in the United States. More operating room and storage space were clearly needed, and so a warehouse facility was rented at 1000 North Division Street in Peekskill, New York. Since the expansion, Excalibur has also established its own in-house analytical laboratory, equipped with a Scanning Electron Microscope and state-of-the-art EDAX detectors utilized for Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy. Analytical services are made available to private collectors, dealers and institutions, as time permits.
In 2003 the new mineral nikischerite was named in Tony's honor (the official decription, along with color photos of the new species, was published in the Mineralogical Record). Tony was recently elected a director of the Friends of Mineralogy, and serves as Chairman of the Board of The Hudson Institute of Mineralogy (a not-for-profit organization he created to promote research, preservation and education). He is also the publisher of Mineral News, a monthly periodical devoted to mineral collecting.
Tony can be found at many of the major mineral shows in the United States and Europe; his show booth or hotel room is always a magnet for systematic mineral collectors and mineralogists looking for rare species. His website address is www.ExcaliburMineral.com.
Addresses and dates:
Bronx, NY (1974-197?)
Dover, NJ (197?-1986)
Randolph, NJ (1986-1989)
New York, NY (1989-1992)
Crugers, NY (1992-1994)
Peekskill, NY (1994-present)
HUMINICKI, D.M.C., HAWTHORNE, F.C., GRICE, J.D., ROBERTS, A.C., and JAMBOR, J.L. (2003) Nikischerite, a new mineral from the Huanuni tin mine, Dalence Province, Oruro Department, Bolivia. Mineralogical Record, 34, 155-158.
TARASSOFF, P. (2004) Who's who in mineral names: Anthony J. Nikischer. Rocks & Minerals, 79 (3), 190-192.
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[Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. (2018)
Biographical Archive, at www.mineralogicalrecord.com.]
|Click on thumbnail picture to see larger image.|
Number of labels found: 6 | Labels being viewed: 1 to 6
(Tucson Show, 1998)
||51 x79 mm,|
||45 x 79 mm,|
||42 x 69 mm|
||44 x 68 mm,|
||40 x 65 mm,|
Green label, "Excalibur" only