Tod and his 1941 one ton tow truck

look what pulled up front

look what pulled up front

One of things I love about living in Port Dover is that there is no lack of authentic characters.  It’s a beautiful sunny day and I was working out back in the garden when I heard the door buzzer go.  When I came around the corner I saw this parked right out in front of Shadfly, facing the wrong way,  right in front of the no parking sign. Hmmm,  I went inside to greet the owner.  I found a pleasant man with his young daughter quietly studying a hand made merry go round which had come from nearby Haldimand county made from an old chicken feeder.  “That’s my neck of the woods” the man offered.  “Oh, so you are a local” I replied. “That’s a pretty sweet old truck you’ve got going there. Could you tell me about it.” We exchanged names and pleasantries, and Tod went on to say,
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“Glad to.  It’s a 1941 Chev one ton which I have built onto a 1978 chassis. It’s got the original 1978 350 V8 in it. It took me a year and a half to put it together, which was as fast as I could go because I needed it for my scrap metal business  It’s a working truck you see. I use it every day and drive it everywhere. . It weighs 8,000 lbs, and I put 17 leaf springs in her on both sides so I know she can lift anything.  I had one of those car carrier type rigs before but the government demands so many damn permits for those things now that it’s just too much bother and expense to have one.  I work alone and there’s so many guys in the metal business now that I have to keep my costs low.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA”  “Look inside, I’ve got a lot of Lana Turner pin ups in there.  She was the real thing”

I had brought my camera over to take some photos for the Collectivator site so I asked if he minded if I took a few shots. Tod was happy to comply for as you can see, he’s proud of his truck. Why wouldn’t he be.

When asked, he told me that he collects car related things such as old oil cans and such.  Turns out he has a big barn full of such items which he has collected from “back in the time when you could buy things for not much money”,  I suggested he may have quite a valuable collection by now.  He told me that occasionally people have wanted to buy from him but he always refuses, and he has turned down a visit from the Canadian Pickers show guys a couple of times.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“I’m obviously not into it for the money .  I put a greater value in the delight of just having these things around me.”  A man after my own heart.  As he drove off in spite of the fact that I had nothing to sell him, I couldn’t help but feel richer for the experience.  Another day in Dover.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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Antiques I love, and why I love them – wire basket

wibask1As you can see we love citrus. What I also want you to see is that I love the wire basket that the fruit sits in, and around.

This basket is hand made from the mid 1800’s, and it delights me every time I look at it. Look at the detail photos and marvel at the workmanship and design.  From the bumpy texture of the wire itself, to the delicate little folds that hold the pieces in place, it is a marvel.

We bought it about 30 years ago from Peter Baker at a show we were both participating in at the St. Jacobs arena.  This had once been a mighty show but had stopped for a couple of years, and this was the first year they had tried to revive it.  Unfortunately, it didn’t happen.  The crowds, or lack there of allowed us plenty of time to chat amongst ourselves.  Jeanine took a bead on this basket the moment Peter set it out, but it was in the second day of the show, when there was absolutely nothing happening that she opened the subject of the basket, and her possible interest in purchasing.  Peter who is always a pleasant fellow did his best to facilitate the deal, but Jeanine played it cool. It was late in the third and gratefully final day that they came to an arrangement.

Quite often I will look at this basket, and admire again the beauty of the form, and the integrity of the craftsmanship, and I am grateful that Peter and Jeanine were able to come to an arrangement.

wibask5 wibask2 wibask3 wibask4

Thoughts and observations on the 2013 Bowmanville Antique Show

bow13shadThis is a picture of my booth at the 40th Edition of the Bowmanville Antique show. which was held Good Friday, March 29, and Saturday March 30th.  As you can see I went heavy on the folk art and light on furniture.  I love antique furniture, but I just don’t have the back for it anymore. If you want to see a slew of good pictures of the show please follow this link –  http://www.facebook.com/groups/126697675589/ to Adrian Tinline’s Canadiana Antiques facebook page.  If you are unfamiliar, this also serves to introduce you to this lively and informative forum.  Join, if you will.

This year Bowmanville was, as always a beautiful show, full of exceptional works of antique and folk art, and early handmade Canadian furniture and accessories.  All 24 exhibitors took special care to select and present their. best wares.  Many dealers put aside special pieces all year to present them here for the first time.

The show started humbly in 1973 when picker and collector extraordinaire Rob Lambert decided to invite the best dealers in the field of Canadiana to hold an annual spring show near his home in Bowmanville, Ontario.  In those early days dealers set up their offerings in their rooms at the Flying Dutchman hotel. When the starting bell rang, people would run (quite literally) from room to room to get ahead of their rivals, and purchase the treasures presented.  It was wild and hectic, with occasional  incidents of pushing and near fisticuffs. People were passionate about their collections back then.  It quickly gained the reputation of being “the” Canadiana show and it’s numbers and reputation grew from year to year.

Eventually the show moved to the G.B. Rickard Recreation Complex where it has continued to be held until present day.  For the past several years it has been expertly run  by Bill and Linda Dobson.  They have worked hard to maintain it’s tradition as a high quality, vetted show.  The vetting process is carried out before the show by a group of experts who go from booth to booth checking everything out for authenticity, quality, and accuracy of presentation.  Any repros, rebuilds, or items not meeting the criteria of the show are removed at this time.

I’ve been doing the show for about twenty years.  I’ve always been happy to do it, but I’ve also always fretted about doing well.  It all happens so fast. The bulk of the business is done within the first two hours of the show, People line up well ahead of time.  From time to time people even camp outside the door overnight to be first in line. With so many beautiful items competing for attention, you have to be ready to rumble when they come running through the door at  6 pm. Chances are that by eight o’clock you will have sold the bulk of what you are going to sell. You are on your feet and on your toes  selling, wrapping, and doing the math during those first two hours and then everyone clears out. By  9 pm you are either happy or concerned, but at least there is a good meal waiting for you.  Bill and Linda have always had wine and beer and food ready to bring out as the show closes, and for the last couple of years Mary Jo Field has been producing absolutely fabulous meals that in themselves are good enough reason to book the show.

Although many come to see the show on Saturday the atmosphere is considerably more relaxed. This is fine because  it allows you an opportunity to see the show, and chat with other dealers. Many of who I now see only once a year at this show. These chats often result in a few more sales or swaps.  Then it’s all over at 4, and within a couple of hours you’re packed and on your way home, either feeling great, or not so great, or disappointed.  It’s that kind of show.  Some people will always do well, and some people not so well.

I’d say that for the past couple of years, like everywhere else, sales have been slower, but there are positive signs too,  Prices are noticeably more reasonable, and interesting pieces, priced right do sell. It’s also great to see the show now includes three young dealers, Ben Lennox, Adrian Tinline, and Fairfield’s Antiques.  All had excellent booths, and added to the excitement with their enthusiasm and knowledge.  I also find it encouraging to see more young faces in the crowd, attendance figures are up over last year.

Here’s hoping that the Bowmanville show will continue to be a great place to see and buy the best in early Canadian antiques and folk art  for at least another forty years.