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Archive for the ‘Collectibles’ Category

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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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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With over 200 vendors from across British Columbia and Alberta, the Fraser Valley Antiques and Collectible Show, now in its 18th year, on the surface appears to be like most antique shows. But it isn’t. Digging a bit further into its history one quickly discovers that this show, nostalgically referred to as the “Bottle Club” show, is quite unique in that it is run entirely by members of the Fraser Valley Antiques and Collectible Club (FVACC).

According to Brian Lefler who has been a member of the club for 35 years, “The club was pretty hard core in the beginning.” First known as the “Old Time Bottle Club of BC” it was established in the early 70s in the Fraser Valley. “Back then there were only twelve members and the only way you could join was if someone died,” says Lefler who was lucky enough to become an official member in 1972 when he participated in his first “dig” at Arbutus and 25th in Vancouver.

“For this select group of collectors, digging for old bottles was the common bond that brought them together,” says Tim Mustart a club member since 1985. “They would often get tips word of mouth potential excavation sites and actually dig for old bottles or historical artifacts on vacant lots or even better at a brewery site or a bottle making company.”

At one point they were also known as the “Valley Diggers”, says Al Reilly one of the club’s current historians and a member since 1971. Now in his 80s, the only digs he gets to are the ones in his garden but he remembers some of the first digs quite well. “There was a dig at 12th and Slocan, where the Italian Cultural Centre is now.” “It had somehow managed to get into an American publication on digging and a lot of people showed up from all over Canada and the U.S.”  He says this was a particularly good dig as there had been a ravine and people used to throw their garbage into creeks back then. Not good for the environment, but great for diggers.

Reilly believes that they were instrumental in helping to preserve parts of our history that could have just as easily been lost. “Diggers were not good archaeologists though,” says Reilly. “Instead of planning out the sites in advance, they would dig a deep hole and expand from there.” However he does go on to mention that “a good digger would always take the time to fill in the holes afterwards.”

As interest grew in the club they eventually had to expand and start to do things differently. In 1984 they became a non-profit organization and the name was officially changed to the Fraser Valley Antiques and Collectibles Club. Now with over 150 members, they represent an eclectic group of collectors who are “devoted to the identification, preservation, appreciation and collection of local historical antiques and collectibles.”

Accordingly, there is a different kind of digging going on these days. The club started to host an annual antique and collectible show while also holding monthly meetings where members could buy, sell and trade their prize possessions. They also publish a bi-monthly newsletter called the Fraser Valley Holedown.

For most members like Lefler, the shows offer an opportunity to sell off parts of their collection but more importantly it gives them a chance to connect, catch up and share stories with other members. “I now come over only once a year to do this show and socialize,” says Lefler who has since retired and moved away to one of the coastal islands. According to Tim Mustart, these shows also “help to support club activity financially while also encouraging new members to get involved.”

Other types of treasures unearthed at the show include vintage pop bottles, many still with pop in them, as well as old ginger beer bottles, glass inkwells, liquor bottles, and fruit jars. But the show is now about so much more.  Dealers also sell, among other things, tins, advertising, pottery, ephemera, antiques, train memorabilia, and even comic books.

As a result, the FVACC show is a special event that runs deeper than most shows in that it brings together a group of collectors and dealers who all share a common passion for digging through our past while also staying connected in their mutual respect for preserving our history.

Next show set for Saturday, April 21st 9am to 4pm and Sunday April 22 10am to 3pm. Admission: $3. Early bird admission on Friday from 6:30 to 9:30pm for $20. Click here for more details.

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In a different place and in a different time, men of a certain society could easily be distinguished by how they looked and what they wore. In his fur felt homburg or shiny top hat along with his tailored waistcoat or smoking jacket, a gentleman’s sense of style and elegance could not be missed. And, regardless of the event, he was never without a cane to match his outfit (e.g., basic for strolling, silver-topped for calling in on friends or gold-headed ebony for the opera). In the 19th century (and early 20th century), canes were not carried, they were “worn” by men of means. The right cane could clearly announce their status and place within society.

As a result, canes like any other fashion accessory, came in many shapes and sizes but were crafted with great care and always with a sense of style. And, much like a woman’s purse they also became quite utilitarian. It was not uncommon to have canes with secret compartments to stash a flask, hold a snuffbox, or even conceal a weapon. These canes, most commonly known as “gadget canes” became quite popular. And, during the mid nineteenth century with the dawn of the “mechanical industries”, canes began to include the most remarkable selection of items within their now hollow shafts.

According to Catherine Dike in her book dedicated solely to canes, Cane Curiosa, gadget canes can be broken down into four main categories of use: serious outdoor walking, city use, professional, and as a weapon. The outdoor walking stick would be simple yet sturdy, often quite rustic looking and might have a picnic set, fishing pole, a backgammon game, or even small chair tucked away in the shaft. The “city” cane would be more elegant and ornate and might have a cigar case, spittoon, a watch, or perhaps a violin neatly concealed inside. Professional canes would tend to be more practical and carry items such as a conductor’s baton, a hammer or saw, a complete paint set with brushes, or even pharmaceutical tools and doctor’s implements such as a stethoscope, syringe and pillbox.

The weapon canes were even more intricate, as it would take some serious design ingenuity to craft a cane that housed guns and swords. Some weapon canes were a bit more subtle, built with solid knobs at the top that could be quite unassuming to the untrained eye. But, these “knobkerries” or “knob sticks” could easily bludgeon someone to death with enough force. Sword canes came in many shapes and sizes, some even having both a stiletto blade and a firearm enclosed within the shaft. Gun canes were also all quite different and included flintlock guns, percussion firearms and breech loading guns.

In their day, gadget canes were cherished and worn with great pride and style. Somewhere along the way, however, multi-purpose canes slowly disappeared and reverted back to being practical walking sticks for people of all ages and class. Some suggest that this would have been around the time of the First World War.

Fortunately, their appeal as a collectable has not dwindled. In fact, if anything they are now in extremely high demand and sought after by a very select group of international collectors and antique dealers. This is a rather large set of individuals, with cane conventions popping up all over the world on a yearly basis. As a result, finding original gadget canes from the 19th century is becoming increasingly difficult.

Not long ago, a rather large unprecedented collection of original and mint condition canes came up for sale by a European collector who was in his late nineties. This sale drew the attention of many collectors and dealers, as he had collected close to 300 19th century canes, many of which were gadget canes, during his world travels and throughout his lifetime. There was much interest and many offers, but in the end it was a Vancouver dealer who managed to secure the deal. The dealer, who wishes to remain anonymous, has kept part of the collection but has been selling off the rest privately and through Bakers Dozen Antiques in Vancouver.

According to Heather Baker, the owner of Bakers Dozen (3520 Main St. Vancouver) and respected antiques dealer, “it is quite exceptional to see this kind of quality and quantity in 19th century canes. Each cane is so special and you know that the collector took great care in selecting the pieces for his collection.” Some of the collection was recently sold at the Kerrisdale Antiques Fair in Vancouver and about 27 are now on display at the store on Main Street. Prices vary from $300 all the way up to close to $5,000 for the more hard to find canes such as the gun canes. There are even some “naughty” canes in this collection, appealing to the more daring collector.

The piece that has caught Heather’s eye is a rare ivory phrenology cane. Considered as pop psychology in its day, phrenology studied personality traits and intelligence by literally measuring the bumps on someone’s head. It was all quite scientific but never quite proven as a reliable field of study. However, phrenology paraphernalia still intrigues many today. In her store, Heather has quite a few other references to phrenology, so having an actual phrenology cane was quite exciting for her.

Heather is not sure how long the canes will remain in the store, but hopes more people will come in to see them first hand and appreciate the intricate craftsmanship that went into making them. It may no longer be a sign of your place in society, but owning a gadget cane would certainly set you apart from other collectors.

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She lives in the country surrounded by wildlife, rides a Honda Gold Wing 1800 motorcycle, and has been an active member of the Gold Wing Road Riders Association, B.C. D Chapter, for three years. Not the typical profile you would expect for an antiques appraiser. Yet Gale Pirie, an accredited and independent personal property appraiser (i.e., not affiliated with any auction house or store), is highly respected in her field and considered to be one of the best in British Columbia. She has also appeared as an appraiser on the Canadian Antiques Roadshow.

Although she is known for her expertise in porcelain and pottery, she is a generalist – “appraising everything (except real estate), from human skeletons to railway tracks and dinosaur teeth.” For Gale it is not just about determining an item’s value, it is also about creating and understanding the connections to our past.

Gale grew up in an affluent neighbourhood in Vancouver called Shaughnessy, but wasn’t surrounded by antiques in her home. For her, the connection came from a few special items that her grandmother had brought over on a ship from Europe in the late 1920s. Although a privileged Catholic family in Poland, they were forced to leave the country with very little. Her grandparents managed to bring their young family and a few possessions that included a sewing machine and some feather quilts. Gale’s mother took great care of the quilts over the years and as Gale and her twin sister got older, their mother had the quilts redone for their respective hope chests. This is a piece of Gale’s family history that she treasures and that helped her to see early on the importance of preserving and appreciating where we come from.

Gale went on to become an educator in both the public school system and in colleges. She eventually became the Director at a public college, from which she has since retired. Throughout her career she has always maintained a passion for literature, history and antiques. She has been especially fascinated by our local history, whether from our aboriginal ancestors or from those who came later to settle the land. She believes that all of these stories and artifacts make up our country, and it is important to maintain these connections.

While still working she fueled her passion for history and antiques through ongoing research and study, eventually becoming an accredited appraiser in 2000. She began doing appraisals part-time, initially working with lawyers and insurance companies appraising items for legal purposes. Most of her work came from word of mouth referrals, but in 2007, just around the time she retired, she received a call from the producers at CBC to appear as an appraiser on the Canadian Antiques Roadshow. This led to increased exposure for Gale’s appraisal work, and today she has a busy practice offering direct appraisals for individuals one-on-one or at appraisal clinics, as part of fundraising events, evaluating in-kind donations, offering her services for pre and post loss insurance, and for legal purposes.

Her work is quite diverse as are her clients, some of which are scattered all over the world. As much as she can offer appraisals over the Internet, she prefers to do them in person as she can create a better context for the item and its historical relevance. This then allows her to develop a deeper connection to the story behind the item and this may have an impact on the value.

Some of Gale’s favourite moments are when she can help kids get excited about the past and connect with their own family’s history. While offering an appraisal clinic at the Kerrisdale Antiques Fair in Vancouver, Gale was asked to appraise some items for a father and his three young sons. They had brought in three albums of postcards and the boys were not all that interested initially. Through a series of questions, and with a purpose in mind, Gale was able to engage them. The albums contained 1000s of postcards and letters written back and forth between their great grandparents while the great grandfather was working overseas. She explained to the boys that they were all written in pencil as they didn’t have ballpoint pens then and that for the time, these postcards would have been considered quite “steamy”. The albums offered an amazing overview of what was going on during that era but also a detailed account of their great grandparent’s courtship.

Although British Columbia is still considered quite young by historical standards, Gale believes that the “wild west” is quite rich with history. She loves the notion that “many people who came out here were either looking for something or running away from something.” As a result, she is fascinated by the “characters who built our province”. From the missionaries to the prospectors looking to make it rich during the gold rush to the Japanese Internment camps…they have all collectively added to our province’s diverse history.

In Coquitlam, B.C. Gale was asked to appraise items from a gold rush hotel in Rossland B.C., the Hotel Allan. The hotel was designated a heritage hotel as a result of the work of Bill Barlee, a former B.C. politician raised in Rossland, who is also well know for his impressive collection of “old west artifacts” and a popular T.V. series called Gold Trails and Ghost Towns. He also wrote a book called Gold Creeks and Ghost Towns and much of his collection can now be found in the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Ottawa. Unfortunately after the hotel was officially designated, it burned down. However, many of the historical items had luckily been removed when it was sold. Turns out the family that hired Gale had at one time owned the Hotel Allan.

Gale was also recently flown into the Crescent Valley to appraise some items in a heritage building that she discovered was once the Crescent Valley Jail. While there she was quite intrigued by the room where she was doing the appraisals and by asking questions and doing a bit more research, she realized that the room was once the cell where the Sons of Freedom (Doukhobor Extremists Group) were incarcerated.

Gale continues to research our history through these many connections and passionately shares these stories with her clients. Even though Gale lives in B.C., she travels extensively and offers personal property appraisals across Canada and Internationally. Gale has a Web site where she can be contacted and she also regularly appraises at local flea markets and antiques at the Croatian Cultural Centre and at the Kerrisdale Antiques Fair.

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Once known as “Antique Row”, Vancouver’s Main Street has evolved into one of the city’s most eclectic and vibrant shopping districts. At first glance, it would appear that “Antique Row” no longer exists and that the stretch of antique stores that used to be found between 26th and 29th Avenue has been replaced by a new breed of designer and specialty stores. However, many of the original antique stores are still around, and several new stores have since opened…they are just more spread out in what could now be called “Main Street’s Antique Corridor”.

From just off Hastings Street all the way to Marine Drive you can easily visit up to 25 antique and collectible stores, all along one easy access route that crosses the city from North to South. Many of these shops also sell their wares online via their respective Web sites and will ship across Canada and the United States.

A great starting point is the Antique Market (1324 Franklin) which is located in an industrial part of town a few blocks east of Main Street. In the business over 30 years, this store started out on Main and was there 28 years before the owner, Harry Stryer, decided to consolidate the store front with the warehouse six years ago. An avid traveller and seasoned business man, Harry has transformed his warehouse into a stunning retail space that showcases and impressive collection of architectural antique wrought iron, antique French iron, period lighting, antique lighting, Chinese antiques, and antiques from England, Belgium as well as from more exotic places like Egypt and India.

From there, head west towards Main Street and visit The Source (929 Main).  Located on the border of Chinatown, this shop has also been around for over 30 years. Owned by two sisters, Lorraine Shorrock and Clare Reandy, The Source specializes in heritage iron and brass (building and furniture hardware), antique furniture, stained glass, architectural antiques, and British Pub items (e.g., original pub signs).

A few blocks further South on Main Street, between 2nd and 3rd Avenue, is another fun place to stop. Here you will find three vintage stores that specialize in Mid Century Modern; Your Fabulous Find, ReFind, and the new Space Lab. Although technically not antique shops, these stores cater to the “20 somethings” looking for Danish Teak, Art Deco, or what one of the owner’s affectionately calls “groovy bachelor pad stuff”. Maynards, which has operated as a Fine Arts and Antique Auction House since 1902, has moved their showroom next door at 1837 Main Street.

Just a few blocks up the road is another well known and respected antique store called Vancouver Architectural Antiques (2403 Main).  At this location since 1994 they specialize in antique lighting, fine antiques, and estate appraisals.

Continuing south, you come across two very different stores at Main and 16th Avenue; Sellution Vintage Furniture (3206 Main) and Alexander Lamb Antiques (3271 Main) which has a small backroom that houses a collection of vintage tribal photographs and artifacts in a mini-museum called Exotic World.

Baker’s Dozen Antiques is the next must see store on this route. Located at 3520 Main Street, this store caters to antique toy collectors but also features an impressive collection of dolls as well as a diverse selection of folk art and other harder to find antiques and collectibles. When there, ask to see Heather Baker’s provocative three dimensional collages in the back room.

Past King Edward Avenue and heading towards the original antique row is a cluster of antique stores that specialize in European, Asian, and North American antiques. Arriving here is like stepping back in time, many of the buildings in this area were built in the early 1900s. These include Red Corner Antiques (4219 Main), Modern Time Antiques (4260 Main), Red Rose Antiques (4285 Main), Renewal Antiques (4296 Main), Wholesale Antiques (4373 Main), JoJo’s (4376 Main), Abe’s Furniture (4386 Main), J&J Antiques (4394 Main), Le ‘Gent Antiques (4402 Main), Timeless Antiques (4406 Main), Old Stuff Two (4510 Main), and Sugar Barrel Antiques (4514 Main).

Of particular interest in this section of Main Street is Secondtime Around Antiques (4428 Main). In their 30th year of business on Main Street, the owners Mark and Tracey Porter buy mostly from Belgium and France and in lesser amounts from Austria and Germany. They do carry English antiques but buy them locally and selectively. With over 8000 square feet of showroom space, they offer a wide variety of styles such as Victorian, Art Nouveau, Arts and Crafts, Edwardian, Art Deco, Louis X1V, Louis XV, Federal styles including Hepplewhite and Duncan Phyfe, as well as Country French and Canadiana.

From here, head further south on Main all the way to Marine Drive, turn right and you then come across two other larger well known antique stores: Antique Warehouse (226 S.W. Marine Drive) and Farmhouse Antiques (1098 S.W. Marine Drive).

This makes for a full day if you plan to visit all of these stores, but rest assured there are many excellent places along the way to stop for coffee and lunch.

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