Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Abel DaSilva Buys And Sells Antiques in Downtown Toronto

Abel DaSilva outside the St Lawrence Sunday Market in Toronto, told Dumpdiggers that the only he time he doesn't make money shopping for antiques is when he doesn't buy anything. A bold statement, and we loved it. And from that moment forward, on Sunday January 3rd I personally watched the man like a hawk, determined to learn the secrets of his success.

Just after the holidays, I wrote and published two stories about an afternoon that I spent with Abel DaSilva, Toronto’s foremost antique glass bottle merchant and quite knowledgeable in multiple subjects. He's an eBay power seller, and a prolific Yahoo Groups discussion forum participant.

Shopping for Antiques at the Sunday Market in Toronto with Abel DaSilva is a first person account of what I saw while following Abel around the St Lawrence Hall as he sniffed and pawed hundreds of collectibles. This article establishes the setting and chronicles the purchases of a wise man leveraging his knowledge of history. Abel understands tricky niche markets for collectibles and how to buy local and sell global using eBay and related Yahoo antiques collecting groups.

Another article, perhaps even more fascinating, is entitled Sightseeing with Abel DaSilva in Downtown Toronto, and this matter sifts through half a dozen stories about four different building lots in the downtown core. In each of these urban properties there were truckloads of historically significant antique glass bottles discovered by professional excavators with no mandate to preserve or even document their finds. What happened to this stuff? Abel knows the whereabouts of almost all the buried booty, and has stories about what's still under just about every new structure on the Toronto shoreline.

What’s even better is how Abel befriends the excavation company employees, site supervisors and heavy machinery operators by sharing his knowledge of the specimens they unearth in their digging projects. Abel doesn't have much time between when the men and machines start excavating, and when the pile drivers start pounding, and the first concrete teams arrive to pour cement in insulated concrete forms for walls and floors, and reinforced pillars for the parking garages. Mr DaSilva gets their attention two ways. He makes them take time out of their busy schedules because 1) he's very generous about sharing tips, and heritage information about the site and its contents, and 2) he has a fistful of ready cash. Click the pictures they expand - look carefully at the picture above right, and you can see hundred year old glass bottles in the ashes behind the bulldozer.