The art I found in St Henri on Thursday inspired me to further explore one of Montreal’s oldest neighbourhoods. I had planned on going in the morning but instead I went last night, partly to avoid the rush hour traffic but also because I felt like sleeping in.
It was a great trip. I discovered large parts of St Henri that I hadn’t seen before (or didn’t appreciate enough at the time). These parts were filled with beautiful old late 19th century brick row houses and the community in general had lots of character. Other parts of the neighbourhood, especially east of Atwater, were a bit more modern and were the home of several large apartment complexes. This area seemed to have a big issue with bed bugs: I saw close to ten mattresses while driving around, and in one case an entire apartment full of IKEA-style furniture had also been tossed to the curb. Not every thrown-out mattress is infested with bugs but I definitely wasn’t going to go out of my way to take a closer look!
The run was pretty quiet before I stopped to check out some bags in front of an old house on historic rue St-Jacques. My interest was piqued by the number of bags – more than you’d expect for a week from one house. Inside was a collection of old art materials, from fountain pen nibs to crayons (vintage made in Canada!) to charcoal and pastels. There were also some tools, many of which I don’t know the purpose of, candles, a worn leather-bound bible, a painted folk art sea shell, a hand-made carved wood fish, an old Canadian military button, and a really amazing piece of WWI history.
The real treasure was inside this old, somewhat stained Birks jewellery box.
This 10 karat gold medal was given to every “Plumas boy” that fought in the Great War and returned home. I had never heard of Plumas before and had to look it up – it’s a very small town (population 227 according to Wikipedia) in Manitoba not too far from Winnepeg and Portage la Prairie. A note inside the box explained how it was given to this serviceman’s daughter as a keepsake, presumably after he passed on.
It’s a really amazing piece that I have a hard time believing anyone would throw out. You’d think that seeing a 10k gold hallmark on an old medal would at least bring you to the pawn shop but hey, I guess that’s how I make a living! By gold weight alone this piece is worth close to 180$ (9.84g) but it’s obviously more valuable to sell it as it is. I could find only one similar medal (same design, different town) on eBay and it sold at auction for almost 200$ Canadian. I think though that a fixed price listing would garner an even better sale price.
I’m on a bit of a hot streak right now. Let’s hope it keeps up!
Last week’s sales (September 8 – September 14)
-Winston Churchill “Painting as a Pastime”: to a reader for 17$. I asked for 10 (with free shipping) but they just sent me 20. Thanks! Found in a Ville St Laurent recycling bin in mid-August.
-Vintage gold-filled locket with “Suzanne” monograph: to a reader for 23.50$. A few different people asked about this piece but unfortunately only one Suzanne could have it. Found in Outremont around the end of August.
Total: 40.50$, 3086.50$ since May 18. A poor week for sales. Without my readers I wouldn’t have sold a thing!
If you have a question, see anything that you’re interesting in buying, or to just want to say hello feel free to email me at email@example.com. I also enjoy comments!