A loss of someone great in our hobby – Tom Hicks

It is with greatest sadness and a heavy heart that we inform you that Tom Hicks died yesterday about Noon. He was a friend to many of us and a downright legend in the hobby. His memorial service will be this Saturday, September 2, 2023, at the First Baptist Church in Eatonton, Georgia. Visitation will be from 1:00 to 3:00 pm.

James Thomas Hicks

James Thomas “Tom” Hicks was born on November 7, 1940 in Autauga County, Alabama. He attended Auburn University and graduated in 1965 with a degree in wildlife biology. He was hired as a wildlife biologist by the Georgia Game and Fish Commission (now Georgia Wildlife Resources Department) in 1966 and was stationed in Darien, a small southeast Georgia coastal town. While there, he read a story about Savannah bottle digging in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Sunday Magazine and decided to check it out. “I didn’t have much money back then, but I thought it was a neat hobby and decided to get involved,” he said during a 2005 interview.

In 1969, he was among 14 Georgians who joined the Antique Bottle Collectors Association of Sacramento, Calif., the predecessor to the Federation of Historical Bottle Clubs (later Collectors). He later joined the Federation as a life member, serving as Southern Region editor in 1989 and Southern Region chairman in 1990.

Meanwhile, in 1975, he met Mabel Resseau in Eatonton, Georgia. She became Tom’s June bride that same year and the two have been together ever since. If you saw one at a bottle show—the other wasn’t far behind. They attended the Charles Gardner Collection auction that same year and Mabel had the catalogue signed by a Who’s Who of prominent people in the hobby, including auctioneer Robert W. Skinner, Norm Heckler (who authored the catalogue) and Gardner himself. En route back to Georgia, the Hickses discovered they’d accidentally left the catalogue behind, but someone found it and mailed it to them!

The Hickses lived in a restored and expanded 1820s home near Eatonton that houses their immense collections of Georgia pottery, Georgia and Alabama colored sodas, pontiled or rare bottles from those two states, glass target balls, Christmas lights, gun oil bottles and Joel Chandler Harris memorabilia like Bre’r Fox and Bre’r Rabbit figurines and antique Georgia-made furniture. Harris lived in nearby Eatonton.

The Hickses were featured in a story, “The Collecting Adventures of Tom and Mabel Hicks,” by Bill Baab, published in the April 2005 issue of Antique Bottle & Glass Collector. More of their adventures were documented in another story by Baab in the November-December 2014 issue of Bottles and Extras.

Mabel is a collector, too. Her interests range from pottery pigs, original Hummel figurines, barber bottles, face jugs and ceramic chickens.

Tom emerged as a widely respected expert on southern bottles pottery and he and Mabel became fixtures at Federation-sanctioned shows, missing only one Expo (because of health issues) since attending the 1976 St. Louis show.

We will miss Tom greatly and give our best wishes and condolences to Mable.