Matthew Rhodes/Register: Richard Lahman and his wife have spent many years collecting unique and valuable ceramic molds that have stopped being made in the 1970s. The couple use them frequently and sell ceramics at a new shop, where customers can come in and paint one of the several dozen options from their shelves.

There are two new stores in downtown Brookings: they’re both located in the same space and run by the same person.

Pop’s Collectibles and Paint with Me Ceramics are owned and operated by Richard Lahman. They have been open since the beginning of June.

Pop’s has an assortment of Beanie Babies, Hot Wheels cars, baseball cards as singletons for sale or in the packs. Paint with Me Ceramics has a collection of ceramic sculptures that customers can purchase and paint in the store.

The shop is open from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Saturday and is located on 412 Fifth St.

“I opened a shop because I’ve got to have something to do. I’m supposed to stay home and sit around and do nothing, but I’d go crazy,” Lahman said.

On the west wall, Lahman has his collection of Beanie Babies for sale. Lahman said that he has been collecting the stuffed animal toys for over 25 years.

“The Beanie Babies, when they first came out I’d run all over the country for them and stood in line, pop into all of the old stores and try to find them,” Lahman said. “I have every one of the original ones from 1993. Some of them, I think, are worth thousands.”

Lahman also has a large collection of mint-condition Hot Wheels cars for sale, as well as preserved rare baseball cards along with the packs of cards themselves.

“My son got me into those. My son makes a living selling those, selling those things all over the world. He sold a collection for $10,000 some years ago,” Lahman said. “And the baseball cards I got from a place in Sioux Falls. I have them for the kids to just come in and buy them for a buck.” Some of the cards are worth up to $50, he said.

The ceramic statue pieces are all made by Lahman and his wife at their home. The two have been collecting the molds for over 40 years.

“We make them (the statues) at home. We’ve got our own kiln, and we’ve got our own molds,” Lahman said. “These (molds) are from the 1970s. You can’t get that kind of stuff anymore.”

They’re always in search of new ceramic molds and have frequently travelled across the country to purchase them by the truckload.

Lahman has a unique background and has been all over the state and country. He earned his undergraduate degree from South Dakota State University from their satellite campus in Rapid City. But before the college degree, Lahman joined the Navy immediately after high school, because he knew he would be sent to Vietnam due to the draft at the time.

Lahman said he was the last principal in Gary, South Dakota, before the school was closed down in 1986. The Lahmans have owned collectibles stores before in North Dakota.

The couple moved to Brookings to be closer to family and to have easier access to the health system here in Brookings. 

For more information, visit Lahman at Pop’s Collectibles and Paint with Me Ceramics on 412 Fifth St.

Contact Matthew Rhodes at

COURTESY OF: The Brookings Register

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