Sunday, May 15, 2016

Digging Story: Ace Hits Stoneware, James Ryder Ginger Beer Bottle from Guelph

When I saw Ace post this image of a James Ryder Ginger Beer from Guelph on Flickr, I knew there had to be a backstory, and so I asked him for more narrative in the comments.  Two weeks later, on a cold Sunday afternoon in May 2016, Ace replied to my request in an email.

Antique Stonewear Ginger Beer Bottle - James Ryder, Guelph,
But first, on his original Flickr post, Ace wrote, "always nice when you can find an old ginger beer bottle from your hometown.
____Ye Olde English____
 ___Stone Ginger Beer___ 
_______Made By_______ 
_____James Ryder______ 
Mineral Water Manufacturer 
____Guelph, Ontario_____ 
___This Bottle Must Be___ 
__Returned Or Paid For__

Category: 4 Rare "

The same James Ryder Ginger Beer bottle is in the Guelph Museum and is described in their website archives as "Stoneware ginger beer bottle. Glazed, off-white and gold neck, black label, ceramic stopper with rubber ring attached to neck by wire. "James Ryder, Mineral Water Manufacturer". Stamped: "Ye Olde English Stone Ginger Beer". They do not attempt to date the piece.

Also present in the Guelph Museum are two clear glass bottles that hold 8 fluid ounces each. One is embossed "Ryder's High Class Mineral Waters, GUELPH" on the front. It also has an image of "Conveyor Belt with a Wheel". Bottle made in a mold between the years 1915 to 1925.  The other clear glass bottle is also embossed with the same lettering but features a picture of "a well with a pulley system".

While scouring the online archives in Guelph for anything know about James Ryder, I did discover his name among the membership rolls in the Masonic Lodge and we know he was a benefactor or at least had some affiliation with the Salvation Army, cause his name is in a booklet from the 1920s. Perhaps I could have found out more. Maybe a reader will email me more information?

Ace emailed me this morning and wrote,

Here's the story for the James Ryder bottle, I was walking by a Guelph construction site and noticed some bottles lying around and one of the construction workers didn't seem to mind if I stopped by after hours to look around. When I came back in the evening I noticed the hole the backhoe had been digging earlier was mostly filled in again but there was one spot I could still dig myself. I dug up many junk bottles and was about to give up when I noticed a white stopper sticking out the side of the hill, I gently poked at it and it fell out and there appeared to be a top of a ginger beer bottle lying its side but I figured it probably wasn't intact so I didn't get my hopes up. I carefully dug it out and turned it over and to my surprise it was a James Ryder Ginger Beer bottle from Guelph and in one piece. I continued to dig a little longer for more good stuff but got nothing but junk. The hole has now been filled in again so I'm lucky to have at least found one good bottle. - Ace from Guelph

Monday, April 18, 2016

2016 Toronto Bottle Show, Sunday April 17th at Pickering Recreation Complex

The 22nd Toronto Bottle Show and Sale hosted by the Four Seasons Bottle Collectors Club was held at the Pickering Recreation Complex again, and once again this year the show was really well attended by the public. Admin reports that 263 people paid the five-dollar entrance fee, and the annual event was real busy from the moment the doors opened at 10am, right up until 1pm  or thereabouts when it slowed down somewhat, and it was all over by three.
With 65 dealer tables this is Canada's biggest bottle show offering a huge selection of antique bottles, pottery and related collectibles for sale. The poster says “No crafts, reproductions or early admission.” But there are some reproductions. Some reproductions are historic in their own right, and I'll point them out in this post.

I arrived at the venue approx ten minutes before the doors opened, and couldn’t find a parking spot in the adjacent lot, so I had to park across the street. This is the line up outside at 9:50 am. It was an absolutely gorgeous spring day and the first nice Sunday we've had in a while - a great day for a bottle show.
I got this photo outside the front entrance of the hall – the show needs better signage. Click the pics below for a closer look. All the images expand.

If one day I win some money in the lottery I will come to the next Toronto Bottle Show and spend $50,000 buying the single nicest piece from each of the sixty five dealers present. And so when i ask vendors to hold up their best item, this is what I'm thinking; i wonder 'would that collectible stand the test of time?'

Sean Murphy held up his new favourite squat soda water bottle, JAMES CORDERY / LONDON. This one dates from 1891 to 1894. Sean has been divesting of crocks and bottles to focus on acquiring the best Ontario sodas. There are about ten really hard to find Ontario squat sodas dating from the middle to late 1800s that he doesn't already have, and for which he keeps an eye peeled at every show he attends. This is a smart quest. Sean has set an achievable goal to assemble an historically significant collection.

What flavour was the soda pop in this small bottle? That is a question for the ages; in truth it could have held any flavour, or many flavours – like so many other squat sodas there's no clue to the maker's flavour on the glass. Period advertising is often the only way modern collectors can know the historic producer's signature blends.  
Above is Sam Stuart with a large collection of relics from the Ontario Forest Board. Not much to say about Sam here except that he was selling a rock for $25 because it was in fact a 10,000 year old hand tool.  Sure I got a picture and I could put it here, but it just looks like a rock. See the rock that is in fact a 10,000 year old hand tool on Flickr.

Scott Jordan an Paul Marchand with a drugstore sign from the early 1900s advertising Dr. Thomas Eclectic Oil which I wrote about here in 2008, remarking on its popularity as a found antique (while reminding readers that its pretty much worthless as a collectible). Unlike the actual bottle, a well preserved drugstore sign advertising the product could be quite valuable. Sadly I neglected to record their price at the show - it was just held up on a whim for the camera.

These guys are from Ottawa and they are pillars of the Eastern Ontario bottle collecting community and long standing members of the the Bytown Bottle Collectors club who are having a show next week, April 24th 2016 in Ottawa. This show is only ten percent smaller than the Toronto show on paper. The Four Seasons Show in Pickering has sixty five tables and Ottawa has only sixty.

These guys always have really old, highly obscure and super interesting medicines which is what Scott collects. Look here at the lovely paper label amber Ryckman's Kootenay Cure, which is very much like Dr Thomas Eclectic Oil in that it's a patent medicine, also known as a nostrum (from the Latin nostrum remedium, or "our remedy") is a commercial product advertised (usually heavily) as a purported over-the-counter medicine, without regard to its effectiveness.

Ryckman’s Kootenay Cure was manufactured in the mid-1890s by a Member of Parliament with mining interests in the Illecillewaet district southeast of Revelstoke. Samuel Shobal Ryckman (1849-1929) was one of several MPs drawn to the Kootenay in 1892. He said that on a visit to one of his gold mining claims near the headwaters of the Incomappleux River, an old miner gave him a recipe for a rheumatism cure. The potion, which also cured blindness, deafness, indigestion, gout, eczema, skin disease, hives, sores, liver and kidney disorders was made from plants found in the area. Soon the S.S. Ryckman Medicine Co. was cranking out cases of the Kootenay Cure, and filling newspapers with testimonials about its amazing properties. It sold for $1 per bottle, or a half dozen bottles for five dollars. Scott Jordan was asking $125 for the well preserved specimen today.
John Dunbar holds up a lovely Dutch onion.

John Dunbar has been collecting since he was kid and one of his oldest and most prized possessions is this dark green onion bottle. John acquired the collectible from a frequent visitor to Surinam. It would have had a cork and lead foil at one time, and contained French or German wine on its voyage south - depending on the company it could have been refilled with rum for a return voyage. 

Early in the day I encountered Janet Gilbert and her husband Mark Gilbert who came seeking bottles, jugs and crocks with the name 'Swan' for the creation of a family museum.

They had pics of antiques they knew existed, and so  they asked dealers 'have you seen these items?'

The family museum project is to be shared with Cluff heritage so if you have any leads on either name items, Janet is buying.  We know Swan Bros were grocers in Toronto who left their name on some jugs and crocks. Some history appears on online at Worthpoint.

Was Henry Swan one of the Canadians who marched to Fort Erie to put down the Fenians? 

Glen Moorhouse was making coffees in the snack bar when Janet Gilbert bought me a free cup to thank me for replying to her email last summer wherein I put her in touch with the Four Seasons community. That action and her subsequent follow-ups with club members led to her appearing today and buying her name sake antiques.  

Periodically throughout the five hour long event there are random draws for Show Money which is dispensed to non-members to spend wherever they please. I dream about winning and look for my favourite objects on every table..

The town of Port Perry came up in conversation again as I interviewed Rick Adams and his wife Gail who drove down from Huronia, all the way down to Pickering to showcase Ontario heritage with stoneware items like this uniquely misshapen giant six gallon pickle crock. Click the pics - they expand!
The piece is stamped  S. SKINNER & CO /  PICTON C.W.  - the C.W stands for Canada West and that's what makes it so darn historic and valuable to collectors. That means it was made before Confederation in 1867 which is when the province of Upper Canada was renamed Ontario precisely because it would be too confusing to have the province of Upper Canada or Canada West occupying the bottom middle of a nation called Canada.

Saving history - this errant piece of Ontario pottery was discovered in Alberta a few decades ago, and Rick had to pay extra to ship it back to its home province. As for the lid... Was there ever a lid? Would it be also be misshapen like the crock? Did it have a lip and make a seal?  The item is really sturdy and weighs over ten pounds. Rick was asking $1500.

Douglas Dopko was at the 2016 show selling his digger stash - on the table were over a hundred bottles of every description, most of which he had dug up himself in old dumps as a young man.

These vessels on his table were otherwise contained in four heavy Tupperware containers behind him, and his objective was to bring home lighter crates.  By the time I arrived at his table, the pair of veteran diggers had already sold $200 worth of stuff and every piece is a story. They told me about the biggest dump they ever encountered, a ravine dump between two farms they picked through in the 1970s and early 1980s.

After some scouting around in their glass, I found the best piece on their table was not a dug item at all but rather this Captain Morgan Gold Label Rum bottle which has the date on which it was consumed, Friday the 13th of February 1952 scrawled on its paper label. That was a rum day for someone.

Bob Harris, always a highlight of my report, lit up the entire 2016 show with his antique coal oil lanterns. 

Update on Bob - right after last year's event, when I teased him in my Dumpdiggers report about bringing a tackle box full of antique fishing lures to a bottle show – he tells me he sold everything inside and including the tackle box just a few days later. I’d like to believe it was because it was advertised so well in the Dumpdiggers' 2015 Toronto Bottle Show blog post which features him holding up that smashed tackle box, but we'll probably never know.

This year Bob and his wife brought kerosene lamps, or are they 'coal oil lamps'? The oldest ones used whale oil I suppose, but of course Bob didn’t have any that ancient. These are from the last great age of oil lanterns when they were mass produced glass and metal fixtures in the house, present in every room, and in every dept store home furnishings catalog. 

The models all had names like Princess Feather and Bullseye and Canadian Drapes. Interesting enough to send me on a research binge for a few minutes is that 'Princess Feather' is a respected design theme its own right. Its a design motif most present in quilting. I'm going to do something I never do in this post and that's borrow an image from another blog. The image to the left is from Karen's Quilting blog' and in her write up she refers to circles made by connecting eight 'princess feathers' around a central flower blossom. So the takeaway for me is that a 'princess feather' is an actual 'swoosh' feather design that may or may not be derived from a feather on a Heraldic banner.  At any rate what we see on Bob's lantern below is a much more exaggerated swoosh. The princess feather below is a vertical feather curl almost like a fiddle head.

Bob tells me the oldest Princess Feather kerosene lamps didn’t have the central flower blossoms you see on reproductions. To the right is a repro that is a valuable antique in its own right. The piece is over sixty years old, still functions and is a beautiful decorative furnishing that looks great by the window.

The lanterns came in five different sizes and Bob had three sizes of Canadian Drapes oil lamp varietals, including the smallest which he was proud to report still has its original chimney, or at least a glass chimney that fits the lamp base which he identified as 'vintage' by its peculiar style of decorative crenelations at the top of the chimney, see below.
So after all that I asked, ‘Bob when did they stop making these things?’ And he said ‘They’re still making them! You can buy a new one today in Walmart’, which I guess speaks to the efficacy of the design. Although these items on the Harris table were priced to sell at between $100 to $150, I think he went home with most of them. But who knows, it doesn’t mean they wont sell later!

Tim Maitland and his father Jim Maitland almost always have the biggest milk bottle spread of the show with hundreds of vintage silkscreen vessels set out in front of them at their table.

But today Tim held up a 16oz cobalt blue 'coffin poison' bottle marked POISON / CARBOLIC ACID / USE WITH CAUTION instead of a rare dairy bottle.

The letters 'OCP' embossed on the bottom denote the vessel belonging to, or originating from (or as being subjected to legislation and enforcement governed by) the Ontario College of Pharmacy. 

Carbolic Acid poisons resulted directly from the efforts of the Ontario College of Pharmacy (OCP) to oversee the sale of that chemical. Around 1910-12, it became provincial policy, as per the regulatory initiatives of the OCP, that Ontario pharmacists had to put up carbolic acid in these specially designed bottles. They come in 1/2, 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8 and 16-ounce sizes. Besides being embossed with "Carbolic Acid" on their fronts, they also have "O.C.P." (for Ontario College of Pharmacy) embossed on their bases. Other provincial pharmacy boards in Canada also adopted their official use. So what the heck do people do with carbolic acid anyway? The nearest I can figure is that it was a common antiseptic and was used in the fight against dysentery and infection in hospitals and clinics. 

John Findlay brought some Brewerainia to the bottle show. He chose to hold up a hard to find Dawes Black Horse Ale and Porter tavern sign. The image on this sign is one of three different scenes known to exist in this size / format and examples of all three are on display in the Black Horse museum in Lachine, Quebec. When we chatted at the show, John mentioned that he's heard rumours of another (fourth) scene that exists. "At this stage, I believe it to be nothing more than a rumour. None of the numerous breweriana collectors and dealers that I've spoken with over the years are aware of it." John said, "If, however, a fourth scene does exist, I know for a fact that an example of it is NOT on display at the museum and, to the best of my knowledge, it doesn't appear in any online catalogues. If it does exist," John concluded, "it would be a truly rare piece and I would love to see it!"

Tavern signage also includes glass signs (signs made of glass) and grocery store posters. But the classic tavern sign that John was holding was made for hanging in establishments selling Black Horse beer. It would have been prominently displayed to impart the brand name and logo to induce consumers to order the product. $400 

Dressed in orange and surrounded by orange collectibles were Michael Rossman and his wife Janice. They're the 'Orange Crush couple', and I have written about him and his valuable book Orange Crush - Krinkly to Mae West at least once before. Here's a link to the 2011 Toronto bottle show where you can see his offerings on display. The couple didn’t bring any Crush bottles this year; they only brought Crush paraphernalia and Michael's $45 book. Already before i arrived at their table he'd sold three copies and some keepsakes. 

The couple also brought early carrying cases and serving trays and period advertising under glass. They also had a superb six glass set of Orange Crush drinking glasses from the 1960s.  I should have bought that Orange Crush Frisbee for $20 - its retro cool.  

Gary Spicer is 25 years a diver. He started in the St. Lawrence when it was so murky you couldn’t see twelve feet in front of you. Now with Zebra Mussels its clear as day down there apparently, but there's nothing left to find. Gary had two valuable pieces perched precariously at the top of his display. Beer bottle collectors were all stopping by to gaze at the stone vessel that dated from around 1853, and for which he was asking $850. In the photo above Gary holds his STARR BROTHERS / BROCKVILLE soda that dates from between 1860 - 1872. This vessel, he claims is the only known example, and Gary is an expert on bottles and relics from Eastern Ontario. He has been known to speak to citizenry about local bottles that are the legacy of their commercial trade. In 2013 he was featured in a local newspaper celebrating Brockville's heritage

Terry Matz is Canada's foremost torpedo bottle collector, but this year he chose to display a teapot. Near the end of the day I drifted over to Terry’s table to see what he'd brought for me, and same as last year he had a rare item glazed in either Rockingham or Bennington that was a museum quality piece.

Indeed, Terry's teapot is similar to a piece found in the Royal Ontario Museum which they describe as "A variant form, the unmarked beaver and maple leaf teapot here does not conform to any excavated sherd or lids, though the piece as a whole is remarkable similar. While it could be a style of the post-1883 period, its relative heaviness and clumsiness suggest its an earlier Welding version (c. 1875 - 1880) and a predecessor of the excavated form. Canadiana R.O.M."  And same as previous years this item was not for sale - Terry was offering his insights on the historically significant item as gift to knowledge seekers and Dumpdiggers blog readers.
Ron Demoor came in from Delhi Ontario to pick up a very special eight sided cobalt blue pint

Over the years I've covered Ron's table and shown his Sproatt torpedos, and even singled him out as having the most valuable bottles at the show. 

This year he was a buyer. He bought the eight panel cobalt blue soda seen left that was made between the years 1850 and 1862 - Henry Sproat(t) is listed in the red book as 'Ginger beer maker' . You can gaze upon the H SPROAT torpedo soda bottle here in Tim Braithwaite's collection courtesy of Early Canadian Bottle Works, Darren's website .

The oldest or first H. Sproatt Toronto bottles have only one (T) in Sproat. This is found on the quarts, Squat pints and torpedo bottles. The quarts and squat H. Sproat bottles all have graphite pontil marks on the bottom of the bottles. The smooth base ones have the corrected H. Sproatt and have a smooth base. This was a spelling mistake by Lockport, N.Y. glassworks that made these bottle.

I ventured to guess the piece was worth about $2000 and Ron nodded, but I'm not sure he heard me or understood that I was asking. or now that I think on it, its more likely doesn't want to make public exactly what he'd just paid for the piece.

Below is Tom Hollman and Ross Wainscott sitting behind a table full of fruit sealers.

Tom had a good show selling Beavers and other sealers. Here he is holding his rare plum coloured The Burlington with its matching plum coloured lid for $675 bucks - a steal for this rarest shade of rare preserving jar.

The 2016 Toronto Bottle Show was great fun as always and thanks for everyone who deigned to pose for my camera. 

At the end of the show I conscripted Carl Parsons and a perfect stranger to pose beside the front entrance sign. The pic didn't really turn out the way I wanted; it didn't lead, but its a good image for the close. Thanks all - Good work Club Members.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Bought Antique Glass Bottles From A Soil Remediation Equipment Operator

So I bought some antique glass bottles...

I paid $60 cash for three nice pieces of glass.

The transaction occurred at twelve noon on Tuesday 26th January 2016 in the Cherry Beach parking area on the rocks beside the bike path.  I didn't know what I was going to buy when I agreed to the meeting...

The real story here is who sold me these bottles, and how this professional person happened to have them, and how many more valuable bottles he has to sell... ?  I know he's packing some old milks and druggist bottles.

Meet Stephen Brown, an equipment operator at Green Soils on Unwin Ave in Toronto... And now a budding bottle collector.
Stephen works at this place you see below (click the picture it expands) and before we go any farther with what I got from him, we have to discuss this unusual source...

Green Soils is a soil remediation service whose business function is summarized in this March 2012 Globe & Mail article, Green Soils gets contract to clean up Port Lands excavations from which I will quote the pertinent details,

 ...Over the next decade, Waterfront Toronto expects to excavate two million cubic metres of contaminated soil and bring in another million of clean fill as the agency and its developers begin to revitalize the Port Lands

And there are insights into how it works, 

 "... facility currently cleans soil contaminated with fuels using a “bioremediation” technique that involves spraying dirt with bacterial compounds that can digest hydrocarbons." but the article goes on to say that no facility in the GTA is licensed to treat soils with metal residue.  So what about soils that are filled with antique glass bottles?

On the GFL website you'll find, ...  GFL Liquid Waste Division effectively destroys petroleum hydrocarbons such that all soil will be rehabilitated for re-use as top soil or fill at agricultural, residential and/or commercial/industrial properties. Unlike treatment systems involving thermal or chemical processes, biological systems do not involve significant energy inputs, nor result in the sterilization of the soil.

As some readers may remember, Dumpdiggers has visited in person a handful of downtown Toronto construction sites. We've bought bottles at the gate in historic places such as where the old schooner was discovered at Bathurst and Lakeshore, and at what was once Rees Wharf and is now Southcore Financial on Bremner, and on the eastern Lakeshore by Cherry St.  In writing each of those posts I watched the trucks taking away the dump and wondered about the fate of the bottles hidden in the fill. Thousands of antique glass bottles and early Canadian stoneware jugs and crocks were being unknowingly unearthed and unwittingly discarded.  The valuable pieces are excavated from what used to be the Toronto lake bottom and which is the parking garage of these condo tower sites. The artifacts, so many they certainly depress the market anyway, are shipped away to parts unknown and dumped deep under a mountain of other 'safer' dirt.  So even if the piece was to be found this century or next century it would have no historical context having been displaced from its original dump site so efficiently with modern equipment.

I knew about Green Soils from Abel DaSilva who had approached them with an antiques salvage operation in mind but whom I'm sure had been ignored by senior staff with no agenda for social or cultural charity beyond protecting the environment - which they are already doing everyday.

So it was a nice surprise to get Stephen Brown's email and we met shortly thereafter in some secrecy near the bike trail north of the parking lot at Cherry Beach.

James Buchanan Whiskey Bottle -  From the Buchanan Whisky International website in the History page , 1889 The Buchanan Blend wins the gold medal at the centennial Paris Exhibition. Knowing he has a high quality product, James Buchanan starts to negotiate the export of his Scotch whisky blend, making numerous trips to Germany, Canada, USA, New Zealand and South America. 

I would like to know if this bottle is Canadian? And was it filled in Toronto at Gooderham & Worts? Or was this bottle made in England and shipped full of whisky from the Old World?  Either way I have already been told by s certain someone I know that this bottle is 'junk'.  Even if and when its all cleaned up, its near worthless, except as a window bottle.

  John O’Connor / Trade Mark / Toronto

Among the Toronto bottles for sale, I found an unusual John O Conner crown top squat soda. This vessel doesn't follow the later crown top label configuration seen on the link below - the slug is old style  John O’Connor / Trade Mark / Toronto
Also, this size and label configuration does not appear on this list of early Canadian soda water bottles under John O Conner. 

On the bottom there is another star with accentuated points - bumps on the glass.

John O Conner had trademarked a five pointed star logo which is the same one adopted by the USA on their flags. It's hard to imagine what the star symbol meant to him, and what it meant to the general public in the late 1800s. Most likely it symbolized an individual liberty - the star being on the flag of the USA.

According to Glen C. Philipps’ reference book, Ontario soda water manufacturers and brewers gazetteer business directory, this firm was only in business from 1892 up until 1894. ?

But says John O'├žonnor Trade Mark, Star logo Toronto sold Soda water, Ginger beer dates from 1892 to 1910?  Tim says this battle was made after 1900.

If you know anything about this bottle I'd appreciate your insights in the comments.

And finally, I bought an '1862 Eves'

I'd heard about the '1862' J Eves Soda Water bottle for many years, and so when I saw it there I knew I had to buy it. Legend has it that Steve Redmon 'the Professor' found some of these in aqua in the old Rosedale Valley dumps. Tim explained that the Eves bottle is found all over Ontario because of his association with the railroads. And I learned by reading the story linked below that he made soda water in three different markets, Kingston. Toronto and London Ontario.
J. Eves Soda Water Man R is explained on the Canadian Bottle Collector's Website,

Canadian bottle collectors who are familiar with the history of James Eves know that he was a bottler of soda water in Toronto during the 1860s. The records show that in 1862 Mr. Eves set up his business at 7 Ontario Street (near King) in Toronto C.W. It is from this location that Mr. Eves undoubtedly ordered his first batch of bottles that are now known as the "1862 Eves" squat soda. The front of this style of bottle is embossed: J. EVES / SODA WATER / MANR and the back is embossed: THIS BOTTLE / IS NEVER SOLD / 1862.

For the longest time I puzzled over what MANR could possibly mean, but now I see plain as day that its short for 'Manufacturer' which would indeed be hard to fit on a soda bottle. I also must pause to reflect on that... Whisky is distilled, wine is vinted, beer is brewed and soda water is ... manufactured?  So carbonating water to make if effervesce was in their minds, (and in the minds of the consumer) still very much a manufacturing process.   

To the right is what my bottle would look like if it was aqua glass, and minty clean. This is a bottle that Abel DaSilva (YorkGinger) sold on eBay for $216.50CAN  that was the final price Jule\y 2015. If you search Eves Soda Water its the first thing to come up today. 

If I were selling the Eve's bottle, which I am not, then I could not expect even half that price as I have a less desirable shade of glass, and there is damage to the top of my bottle. The vessel I have is very dirty with stuck on dirt inside the bottle under the label - it would require cleanig and tumbling probably just as much money again to repair the top which would from that point forward always have to remind buyers that it has been 'REPAIRED.  So... sad to say unless I do it myself its really not worth it.

But who knows what else Mr Stephen Brown will find while doing his job?  Let this post herald this man's grand debut into Canadian bottle collecting. Look for him at the show in April.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

1944 Ontario Farmer's Gasoline Tax Exemption Book

This is the Ontario Farmer's Gasoline Tax Exemption Book that was issued to my grandfather in 1944 so he could farm his land and feed the troops.

The pages are filled with duplicates of the original 1944 Ontario Gas Tax Exemption Statements

Below is an authentic 1944 Ontario Gas Tax Exemption Statement that was used by Percy J Campbell for 55 gallons of gas from the Shell Oil Co to use in his Ford Tractor on his farm in Dartford, Ontario on 10 May 1944,

This is what the tractor may have looked like - 1939 Ford Tractor

Friday, September 11, 2015

Take the Antique Appraiser's Challenge at Glenerin Inn & Spa in Mississauga

Play Antique Hunter at Glenerin Inn with me...

If I showed you five different antiques, could you pinpoint which one is most valuable?

This idea could be a web show? Or maybe a slick piece of interactive content  that challenges users to become antiques hunters. I got the idea while touring the Glenerin Inn & Spa and taking pictures for their website. I also wrote a post that hints at art of the appraiser, indirectly when I reported the story of the Brushstrokes brand reproduction Claude Monet hanging in the Grand Sunroom for their blog. The painting is a perfect fake sold quite legally by a now defunct company called Atelier America Ltd., which perfected contextual printing in the late 1980s. The company reproduced many famous pieces of art before going out of business in the new millennium when the art business was radically changed by the internet.

I'm going to show you five antiques that I spotted while touring the property and you can tell me which is the most valuable in the comments.

First let me set the stage. Here is the historic Evans Estate,

more specifically Glenerin Hall, located near Dundas and Mississauga Rd in the town of Mississauga Ontario which most Canadians will recognize as a suburb of Toronto but which many Americans will wonder about... Its a bonafide historic building as evidenced by the blue plaque.

and the groundskeeper invited me inside...

So here's where the game begins...

Item #1 

Is that the tiger woods of oak dressers ? or is it a bureau?  a serving table? a dish pantry? I'm asking.. I really don't know.. I love the carved claw feet. No I don't know what it's worth either...

I didn't think to open any of the drawers and look inside so this is all you get...

somebody tell me what it is properly called so I can write it here 

Item #2 

Once again a mystery to me - I  have no idea what style of chair this is but as soon as someone tells me I will update this post and play the expert. I can only speculate that this is an important piece of furniture as it's placed in a position of prominance in the window sill of the upstairs hallway / main stairwell.

Item #3

This is a piece of art from a famous Canadian artist (I think) that is being proffered for sale in the silent auction as part of the March of Dimes, Hope with Art program which provides the pubic an opportunity to purchase beautiful framed artworks at reasonable prices. Most importantly, profits from the sale go to March of Dimes Canada and help support the programs and services provided to children and adults with disabilities.

Item #4

Here is the reproduction Monet that was discussed in the beginning of this post,
The back carries the clues to the Brushstrokes legacy.

yes I know its only a reproduction art piece and as such its worthless as art right? But I reckon it could still be valuable as decor.  And this appraiser quiz game should have some surprises - some curve balls...

Item #5
and here a curvy piece of sculpture.

before you get too excited... let's turn it over and look at the bottom.

Okay so now you have seen all five items - I swear these are the most interesting objects i\on the estate at present which has been renovated many times, most notably in the 1970's . Now what are your bets? Which of these five objects would you pin point as being the very best and most valuable collectible .. and why?