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Archive for the ‘Antiques’ Category

Fort Langley MarketFive Best Places to Acquire Antiques

1. Antique and Collectible Shows
These shows are the perfect venue for shoppers who like having a lot of selection all under one roof. In Vancouver check out shows by 21st Century Promotions and in Cloverdale visit those by Antiques by Design.

2. Auctions
For those of you who like the idea of bidding and competing for antiques, auctions are the place for you. Some worth checking out are Maynards, Love’s, Team Auctions and those held by Ken Passmore.

3. Daytrips and Roadtrips
There are so many wonderful antique/secondhand/thrift/consignment shops and markets throughout BC. Plan a day checking out local neighbourhoods like Main Street in Vancouver or downtown Fort Langley at the Village Antiques Mall.

4. Rummage Sales and Estate/Garage Sales
Regularly check your local classified listings for any of these kinds of sales as they are often great places to find deals if you know what you are looking for (Craigslist is good for garage and estate sales). I personally also enjoy heading out on the weekends and just seeing what I can find with good signage on the road.

5. Digging Through Your Own Past
One place often overlooked is in our own family’s attic or storage facility. Here you can find beautiful pieces of jewellery, china or furniture that are just waiting to be handed down to the next generation.

Five Reasons to Shop for Antiques

1. Form and Function
It is a fun way to create your own unique style with key pieces that are beautiful, functional, and often made to last.

2. Eco-Chic
Items which are considered antiques, vintage or retro are all environmentally friendly. By re-using or re-purposing them, we are extending their life and keeping them out of landfills.

3. Cost Effective
Compared to newer items, antiques are good value for the quality and price as they can be seen as investments, often increasing in value over time.

4. Conversation Piece
Each antique or collectible will likely have its own story to tell; whether it is about how and where you acquired it or where it originally came from.

5. Locally Sourced
Purchasing antiques frequently supports home-grown businesses, many of which are family run and vital to our local economy.

Five Things to Keep in Mind When Antiquing

1. Be Prepared
Do your homework and have an idea of what you are looking for and what you are willing to pay. It helps to also research what the going rates are for some items.

2. Be Mindful
When out purchasing antiques it is easy to sometimes get a bit lost in the moment with some bigger purchases. Be mindful of what you can afford to pay and what you have room for in your car and at home.

3. Be Nice
It is important to be respectful when negotiating a price for some items. Although bartering is common practice, going too low or being rude can be quite off-putting for sellers.

4. Be Open
Allow yourself to be spontaneous if you find something you absolutely love. If you go away to think about it, chances are it will be gone by the time you come back.

5. Be Aware
Most people selling antiques are reputable and knowledgeable and are often experts in their field. But do be careful when purchasing antiques online or at garage sales etc.

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Jimi Hendrix Display at the Hard Rock

Jimi Hendrix Display at the Hard Rock

This past weekend I decided to go and check out the newest antique show to hit Metro Vancouver–The Big One! This two day show was organized by Point Blank Shows and Mad Picker Shows and was held at the Hard Rock Casino in Coquitlam, British Columbia.

Getting there was easy and although there was ample free parking, I could have used a bit more signage to tell me how to find the right building. I ended up having to wind my way through the casino which was quite dark but along the way I was able to enjoy some of the impressive memorabilia displays, including this one for Jimi Hendrix. There were also displays for other rock legends, including Brian Adams. All of these displays are curated by Warwick Stone. I saw him speak on Global News earlier this week and he gets to collect memorabilia from all over the world and then his job is to display the displays in many of the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Properties across the globe.

Once I found the show, I walked straight into a bright display of vintage jukeboxes proudly being displayed by the Mad Picker himself, Wayne Learie.

1953 Seeberg 100W Jukebox - $5000

1953 Seeberg 100W Jukebox – $5000

After having a fun chat with Wayne, I found myself at Deen Hannem’s beautiful display of religious artifacts and what she calls “revamped” furniture. This seemed fitting as her shop in Langley is called Revamp Furniture Garage. I was drawn to the rustic yet elegant feel that her display had…it certainly stood out at the show. Deen also organizes the Vintage and Revamped Furniture Market in Cloverdale. The next one is set for October 3 and 4 2015.

Revamp Furniture Religious Icons

Revamp Furniture Religious Icons

Revamp Furniture Antique Dentist Chair with Bobo

Revamp Furniture Antique Dentist Chair with Bobo

From there I discovered the most striking and complete Victorian Mourning Outfit. Randy Smith and his wife Trish from BC Acquisitions were quite proud of this rather sombre yet beautiful ensemble. Randy told me that it dates back to around 1890/1895 and was being sold for $695.

BC Acquisitions Victorian Mourning Outfit

BC Acquisitions Victorian Mourning Outfit

And, then next to all the finery I was completely captivated by life size versions of Sesame Street’s Bert and Ernie. They stood out at the show and it is no surprise that they sold within the first five minutes. Rick Sky from Morphy Auctions was also caught off guard but pleased to be able to sell them. Although, he did have to work out a deal with the new owners so that he could keep them as way to attract shoppers until he was done with the show season.

Morphy's Auctions Bert and Ernie

Morphy’s Auctions Bert and Ernie

I spoke briefly Howard Blank, from Point Blank Shows and as a result of this show being so successful…they plan to host another one in the fall. When I get those dates I will add them to the site.

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Green Filing Cabinet As usual, Midge arrives at the factory a few minutes early. Grateful to have a job, she clocks in just before 8am then makes her way to the staff room.

She folds her coat neatly and places it, along with her purse and gloves, in number 14, one of the many small stacked metal lockers. She grabs her blue cotton smock and head scarf then makes her way to the factory floor.

First to arrive, she tidies up the work station by adjusting the pop-up arborite stools attached to the long well used maple table. 

Flash forward 60 some years. What would Midge think now if she saw the same work table with pop-up metal stools in a restaurant dining area with the green lamps as “chandeliers” or the stacked lockers in someone’s kitchen being used as a pantry?

Hurricane Grill Restaurant Installation sm

Reclaimed, restored and re-purposed, these vintage industrial pieces are being redefined for the modern consumer. Sleek lines with rough edges, industrial furniture that was once considered purely functional for factories is perhaps now becoming the little black dress of interior design. That is, the must have design accessory for residential and commercial settings.

Over the past five to ten years scuffed filing cabinets, galvanized metal stools and factory cart coffee tables have become increasingly mainstream and have slowly been taking over floor space at many antique stores. Scott Landon, from Scott Landon Antiques in Vancouver, is one of the few dealers locally who carry original pieces salvaged from North American factories and warehouses.

Industrial Dials sm

Landon loves how industrial looks and sees modern applications with just about any salvaged piece. “I just brought in a set of 1940s steel doors on tracks from my first demolition in BC in years. This will be great in a restaurant or in someone’s home.”

In fact, Landon was recently hired by the owners of a local restaurant chain to fulfill their vision of integrating original industrial pieces (factory tables, metal stools, vintage lighting), along with reclaimed wood, as part of the restaurant’s complete redesign. “I like being able to help people pull it all together” says Landon who is determined to show how we can easily blend the old with the new and still find balance.

Vintage Industrial Work Desk sm

When he first entered into the business over 22 years ago, Landon carried about 80 percent Canadiana and 20 percent industrial. Today those numbers are reversed and he couldn’t be happier.  “Unfortunately, it has become increasingly difficult to salvage industrial furniture locally as not much was saved when many of the older factories were shut down” says Landon. As a result, he has established a team of people all across North America to track any upcoming demolitions. This is a very tight knit network and it has taken years for him to become part of the inner circle. But well worth it for Landon who is passionate about sourcing out new leads and putting together bids to clear out old factories for original furniture, hardware or other interesting industrial “artifacts” as he calls them.

Although the demand is quite high for authentic industrial pieces and Landon is doing his best to acquire, preserve and restore them, several other local antiques dealers have decided to go the route of importing re-purposed reproductions.

Industrial Cart Antique Concepts sm

The Antique Market in Vancouver began importing industrial pieces around two years ago, and although not the top seller, it now represents 40 percent of their stock. “We did have some locally salvaged pieces” says Jim Wight “but industrial was a niche market and one that was pricey.” As a result, one of a kind pieces were tough to price and they found that many people who liked the look were unable to afford them and wanted more options.

Tim Garrett from Renaissance Home (formerly Antique Concepts) in Langley has also made a shift to ordering re-purposed industrial pieces from Indonesia and India. For Garrett it also makes sense to buy from these countries as “they are manufacturers of the world with a huge amount of factories and it is fitting that that their primitive stuff is being re-purposed.”

Whether salvaged, re-purposed or reproduced, vintage industrial pieces continue to gain popularity. And, with each piece comes a small piece of history. As Landon says “we are trying to tell a story and want people to understand what stuff went through, and what we went through, to make it work today.”

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The unofficial greeter at Granny and Grumpa's Antiques and my new best friend.

The unofficial greeter at Granny and Grumpa’s Antiques and my new best friend.

It has been a while since I have taken the time to go out and explore secondhand shops. So last weekend I decided it was time to head out on my own Secondhand Safari. For this particular trip I felt that I  should get outside of the city and head towards the Valley (Fraser Valley that is). And as we all know it is always better to go on a safari with a friend so I convinced my fabulous friend Elaine to come with me. There were several stops on this trip including the Twilight Drive In Swap Meet, a flea market in Aldergrove, the Abbotsford Flea Market, Village Antiques Mall in Fort Langley, and even an auction at the town hall in Fort Langley. However, although not our first stop, I want to start with Granny and Grumpa’s Antiques in Abbotsford.

Just one of the many barns filled to the brim with antiques and more.

Just one of the many barns filled to the brim with antiques and more.

I am not sure how after all these years of visiting and writing about secondhand shops across Vancouver and BC that I have never been to Granny Grumpa’s before. But I do know that I will definitely go back…as should you! It is bigger than any store or antique mall that I have ever been in and meticulously organized. Even more impressive is that it is all owned by two people…you guessed it Granny and Grumpa. Never did catch their real names, but they are charming and incredibly knowledgeable about everything contained on their premises.

Granny and Grumpa

Granny and Grumpa

Located off Highway #1 and nestled in the heart of farmland in Abbotsford (37936 Wells Line Road), Granny and Grumpa’s used to be a working dairy farm before being converted into an antique emporium. Although things aren’t priced, all you need to do is track down Granny or Grumpa and they will know exactly what everything is worth. It is all arranged with great care and you can even find themes for specific rooms. Whether you are looking for dolls, tools, country furniture, tin signs, collectibles, vintage clothing or even heritage farm equipment…pretty sure you can find it here. They post their hours as 9 to 6 daily but I would call before you go just to be sure (604) 854-1033.

Beautiful selection of vintage equipment and tools for making cheese.

Beautiful selection of vintage equipment and tools for making cheese, etc.

If you like old Coca Cola advertising, there is a whole room dedicated to it here.

If you like old Coca Cola advertising, there is a whole room dedicated to it here.

 

Huge selection of glass oil lamps and so much more.

Huge selection of glass oil lamps and so much more including toy tractors and trucks.

Have a thing for antique dairy farm equipment?

Have a thing for antique dairy farm equipment or need a portable milking machine?

A spectacular butcher's block...if only it would have fit in my car...

A spectacular butcher’s block…if only it would have fit in my car…

Along with actual vintage cars and tractors, you can find the odd mannequin as well...wonder if this was Granny and Grumpa back in the day?

Along with actual vintage cars and tractors, you can find the odd mannequin as well…wonder if this was Granny and Grumpa back in the day?

There was so much to see and it made for a great destination for our day long safari! Granny and Grumpa are gracious hosts and I plan to go back in the near future. However, next time I plan to have a bit more time to really explore and do some shopping and maybe bring a van so that I can come back with that amazing butcher block. While there Elaine had the foresight to ask about where we could grab a late lunch near by. Granny sent us to the Birchwood Dairy where we had a very tasty lunch and tried some amazing ice cream that they make onsite. Must remember to also pack a cooler so that I can bring home a tub of their delicious ice cream as well as their yogurt.

 

 

 

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Times are tough, especially for anyone in the antiques trade, but Tammy Dargatz is almost giddy when asked about any interesting stories to cover for the show. “You have to go and talk to Jeff and Jane’s daughter. She is here with her new boyfriend, who is also a dealer. They met while she was helping her parents at our last show in Calgary.” This young romance seems to give Dargatz hope as it sets the stage for a whole new generation of antique dealers and buyers.

With several local antique malls closing and with more people trying to sell and buy online, the antiques industry is changing. However, Dargatz believes that “people still need to touch and feel” and when Tammy and her husband Dennis (Antiques by Design) heard that the Gadsden’s were planning to cancel shows in Abbotsford and Calgary, they decided to step in and run the shows themselves. “It is a lot of work but we needed another show to sell at. We also believe that people still need and want a place to go an experience antiques first hand.” By having a one-stop shop with so much selection under one roof, antique shows continue to meet a real need in the marketplace.

Once they made the decision to take over the shows, other show promoters offered to help. For Dennis Dargatz, any good show is based on vendor support. Both John Humphries, who organized Blue Mountain, as well as Jeff and Jane Harris, from Seahawk Auctions, shared their vendor lists with them. “With the right quality of vendors, the gate will come.” And so far, this has been working out. Dargatz expects to see close to 2000 people over the course of the two day show.

Their first show in Calgary was held on the Stampede grounds but they have since relocated to the Acadia Recreation Complex. This is where the Taya Harris met Shawn Holatko. For Dargatz, watching their budding romance provided a very sweet element to organizing the show, especially when she saw them drive off together once it was over.

Harris is the daughter of seasoned dealers and show promoters, Jeff and Jane Harris, and was literally born into the business and even remembers having naps under the table at shows. On the other hand, Holatko found his own way into the business, doing his first show at the age of 15 in Winnipeg. “I liked history and started by collecting stamps. I also enjoyed finding stuff at yard sales.”

Jane Harris is thrilled that Taya and Shawn have met and plan to make their own mark on the industry. “This business is made for young people; it is one big treasure hunt every day and they are surrounded by eager and willing mentors.” Since their initial meeting last June, Shawn has since relocated to Vancouver and he and Taya are now growing their business together. They specialize in selling silver, jewellery, china, crystal, art glass and stamps too.

Another indication of the changing of the guard is Jordi Williams who is new to the antiques industry (Williams Architectural Salvage). With big bold pieces of furniture of salvaged wood (from old barns and factories) and original metal hardware, his booth of “industrial chic” has generated a lot of interest. He started selling online, but finds that the shows are becoming a better showcase for his work. His furniture is the perfect blend of the old and the new, appealing to shoppers who are looking for unique items that have a story to tell but still modern in their design.

Mother and daughter team Nicole Gunn and Ann Crowie also bring their own sense of style to the show. They specialize in classic fur coats, vintage clothing and jewellery, and glassware. “I love my furs, they are part of our Canadian heritage,” says Crowie while wearing a vintage Dior Arctic Fox fur. “They were made for real women of all shapes and sizes.” Their booth is set up like a French boudoir with opulence and elegance in abundance.

Tammy Dargatz is pleased with the show, especially that a new crop of youthful dealers are bringing their own spin to the industry. She hopes that much like the young budding romance, more people will rekindle their passion for antiques and come courting at their next show which is set for November 3-4, 2012 in Abbotsford at the TRADEX.

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Kwaguilth carved yellow cedar canoe

An unlikely room for an auction, the Engineer’s Auditorium in Burnaby was transformed into a vibrant showcase of Native history, tradition and art. With hundreds of items from across Canada and the U.S., many of the showstoppers at Seahawk Auction’s past Native Art & Artifacts Auction (#45, November 21, 2010) were from contemporary Native artists such as Ojibwa artist Norval Morrisseau and renowned local B.C. artists such as Bill Reid, Robert Davidson and Beau Dick.

Norval Morrisseau painting of a bird on paper

Considered by many to be the “grandfather” of Native art in Canada, Morrisseau is credited with bringing Native art into the mainstream art world and for inspiring three generations of Native artists. Interestingly, no other artist influenced his work and it is believed that he was the first to paint his people’s cultural heritage, “faithfully handed down by cultural tradition”. Through his art, he wanted to break down the barriers between the white world and his. Morrisseau’s greatest wish was to be recognized and respected as an artist and for his paintings to be seen by all people. In his words, “I want my work to be cornerstone for Indian art, to provide something that will last.”

And, indeed it has. With 409 Native art and artifacts on display, Seahawk’s auction has attracted buyers from across Canada, the U.S., and Europe. There was a full house in attendance with several buyers calling in by phone and bidding online. With Ted Deeken at the helm as the auctioneer, the auction brought in just over $380,000 (not including the buyer’s premium of 15%).

According to Bill Neville, one of Seahawk’s organizers, “this was a great auction all the way around.” Personally, he was quite surprised by how well some of the contemporary pieces did as they had a fairly large selection of older 19th and 20th century items that spoke more to Native history and cultural traditions. He also felt that this auction had one of the largest selections of ceremonial masks that he has seen in a very long time.

Of course two original items from Bill Reid were highlights for many auction goers (Silver Killer Whale Brooch and Original Charcoal Sketch), but this auction also showcased an impressive collection of work from Beau Dick.

Beau Dick articulated black raven mask

Born on Village Island, Kingcome Inlet in British Columbia, Dick is a respected Kwakwaka ‘wakw Chief and is considered to be one of the most accomplished and talented carvers on the West Coast and is widely acclaimed for the powerful quality of his masks. Although he has created his own distinctive style, he has studied under his father Francis and grandfather James Dick and has worked with Tony Hunt, Henry Hunt, Bill Reid, Doug Cranmer and Robert Davidson. Many of his important pieces can now also be found in the Canadian Museum of Civilization, Royal BC Museum and the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia.

The work of Robert Davidson, a North West Coast Native of Haida descent, was also well represented at this auction. Having worked as an artist for over 30 years, and also coming from a long lineage of acclaimed carvers, he is considered the “consummate Haida artist”. Both his father and grandfather were respected carvers in Masset, B.C. and his great grandfather was famed carver, Charles Edenshaw. Davidson also completed an 18 month apprenticeship with Bill Reid that helped to launch his artistic career. His work can be found in several private and public collections such as the Vancouver Art Gallery, National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, and the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Hull. Although known as a master carver of totem poles and masks, he is also recognized for his work in other mediums such as printmaking, painting, and jewellery.

Columbia River Stone Bowl

Aside from the huge selection of contemporary Native art and ceremonial masks, there many ethnological items up for auction that provided a very visual and tactile peak into every day living for First Nation families in the 19th and 20th century. In particular there were hand woven baskets from various locations, bent wood boxes, basketry rattles, snowshoes, woven blankets, fire-making equipment, large stone bowls, everyday clothing such as moccasins and beaded gloves, and hunting gear that included spear heads, stone clubs, forged spike tomahawks, and an iron head pipe axe. All of these items also sold well at the auction.

Seahawk offers two to three auctions per year and their next one is scheduled for May 5-6, 2012 . More information, and a complete price list from this auction, can be found online at www.seahawkauctions.com

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“Be cheerful. Chest up, chin in, spirit high, brain alert, nerves tuned up for action, muscles full of snap and vim—this is efficient living—biologic, scientific living.” These words, still relevant today, are written by the now infamous John Harvey Kellogg of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes fame in a 1917 yearbook for the Normal School of Physical Education in Battle Creek Michigan. One would expect to find something like this among other historical documents in a library or a bookstore specializing in antique books, not in an old beat up cardboard box tucked away in a small wooden shed on the outskirts of Gibsons, B.C. So once found, what to do with it?

The book, simply titled Blue & White, once belonged to Sylva Huntley who was the only Canadian, let alone British Columbian, to attend the school as part of the class of 1918. Tattered and worn with the stitched binding falling apart, the pages are filled with black and white photographs of school clubs, faculty members and students in their school uniforms. Like any yearbook, there are also signatures and cute comments like “To the cheerful little girl from Canada” and “Hoping some of your soldier boys come back to you alive”.

In amongst all the photographs, the one of Kellogg stands out. With a distinguished looking beard and mustache, he appears in full academic regalia and signs the book simply “Your friend J.H. Kellogg”. He is perhaps best known for his family affiliation and for the School of Normal Education that was part of The Battle Creek Sanitarium, which was fictionalized in the novel The Road to Wellville by T. Coraghessan Boyle in 1993, and later turned into a movie by the same name. However, he was also an accomplished surgeon and a gifted inventor with over 30 patents (including the electric blanket) and is believed to have developed some popular breakfast foods such as Granola, peanut butter, and corn flakes.

The yearbook appears to be rich in history and sentiment-but is it worth anything? And if so, who might be interested in buying? According to Gale Pirie, an accredited and independent personal property appraiser, there seems to be quite a difference between “perceived value” and “actual value” and stresses the importance of doing background research.

Pirie, who offers professional appraisals, is able to provide a historical perspective as well as a more thorough sense of its worth and where it could be sold. At local antique shows she offers appraisal clinics where she provides verbal appraisals for $7 per item—much like a mini Antiques Roadshow.

Holding the book carefully, she spends time leafing through the pages, then pulls out the commencement program which has been left loosely in the book. “This is interesting,” she says. “We don’t often see the programs intact with a full class list of the graduates. These programs were only given to students, so they are quite rare.” As she continues to study the book, she focuses on Kellogg’s signature. She notes that it looks authentic and was probably signed in pencil, as was common practice because ink was often messy. In the end, Pirie suggests that this book might be of interest to collectors, especially those who have interest in items pre-World War I. With all of the signatures and with the program intact, she suggests that it might be worth $350 dollars.

In terms of selling it, Pirie makes several recommendations including online auctions, classified listings, collectors, and antiquarian booksellers with stores or who buy and sell online.

John King, a local antiquarian book dealer, is not so optimistic about selling the yearbook here in B.C. “I think it might be easier to find someone back east who specializes in ephemera,” he says from his home office on the Sunshine Coast. In his opinion, Kellogg’s signature is what makes this book valuable. However, he does admit that yearbooks are not his area of specialty. He is better known for military and British history books as well as books that focus on North West Coast and Aboriginal studies.

As a longtime member of the Antiquarian Booksellers of Canada, he does however offer some insight into the value of selling through online marketplaces for books such as AbeBooks (which was started in Victoria B.C. but recently sold to Amazon.com), as well as Alibris and Bilbio (both out of California).

“I wouldn’t suggest trying to sell through these services with only one book but rather see if a dealer might be interested in buying it. Each of these sites has a monthly fee and it can take time to sell a book.” King mentions that he currently has just over 6000 books listed on AbeBooks and only ends up selling one to two books a day. “Something as specific as this yearbook could take several months to sell,” he says. In the end, the cost to sell it would outweigh any financial gains.

In Vancouver, one of the best known antiquarian bookstores is MacLeod’s Books. This iconic store, with massive piles of books everywhere, has been in operation since 1964 and the current owner, Don Stewart has been running it since 1975. Much like King, he does not feel that there is a local market for this type of publication. “This is so specific and is a better example of what the Internet is good for,” he says. “This is just so specialized and would only appeal to a very specific customer base.” He suggests trying eBay.

Although Stewart agrees that there is a market for books written by Kellogg, he doesn’t think that there would be as much interest in the yearbook. With over 100,000 titles in stock, covering many different history-related subject areas, Stewart should know.

In the end, there is no clear idea of where one could sell this Blue & White 1917 yearbook. We know that it has value; it is just a matter of trying to connect with the people who might be interested. At least for now it will not be relegated to another beat up cardboard box but perhaps end up on a bookshelf waiting to tell its story again.

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