North Okanagan residents find out what their antiques, oddities and heirlooms are really worth | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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North Okanagan residents find out what their antiques, oddities and heirlooms are really worth

Doug Seebach with a gold pan painted by Canadian artist Ted Harrison.
November 17, 2016 - 8:00 PM

VERNON - Ever wondered if that old antique is worth a fortune, or just wanted to know the story behind a particular curiosity passed down through the family?

Locals from North Okanagan got that chance today at an Art and Antique Appraisal event in Vernon. Peter Blundell, of Blundell Art and Antique Appraisals, was at the Vernon Public Art Gallery unravelling the mysteries of numerous heirlooms and antiques.

“We all have things we’ve gathered as we go through this life,” Blundell says. “It’s really exciting to see.”

He started appraising items in 1969 and admits he still gets surprised by the rare and unusual items people bring in. One of those items was a glass bowl with magnifying optics brought in by Armstrong resident Audrey Cliffe, who says she got it from her parents and has never been able to figure out what it is.

“I wanted to know if he (Blundell) knew anything about it,” Cliffe says.

The best guess is it was something called a bomb sight, and would have been used by military aircraft to accurately drop bombs. Cliffe uses it as a rose bowl.

Darrell and Audrey Cliffe, from Armstrong, were pleasantly surprised at the value of this streetscape painting, at roughly $6,000 to $8,000.
Darrell and Audrey Cliffe, from Armstrong, were pleasantly surprised at the value of this streetscape painting, at roughly $6,000 to $8,000.

Among the other items brought in for assessment were First Nations paddles, various paintings, and wood carvings. While there were certainly some high value items brought in, Blundell says people don’t always get what they want to hear.

“I think most people over value,” he says. “They blow it up over the years — things grandma said were worth keeping, and really it turns out to be a five-and-dime piece.”

The thrill is that you never really know until you get it appraised — and sometimes the piece could be more valuable than you ever imagined.

The art gallery’s executive director Dauna Kennedy Grant says it’s an important process that can lead to the preservation of valuable historical items.

“So many times we get passed these different items from family members that pass away and not necessarily the stories that go with them. It’s so easy to lose the history of things,” Kennedy Grant says.

While an item might not have much significance to you, she urges families not to dispose of things until they know what they are. Sometimes, such items can find a home in a museum or an art gallery.

Peter and Marion Blundell inspect an unusual item believed to be a bombsight used by military aircraft to accurately drop bombs.
Peter and Marion Blundell inspect an unusual item believed to be a bombsight used by military aircraft to accurately drop bombs.

“We need to keep our eyes peeled for those little treasures that we need to keep preserved,” Kennedy Grant says.

One big reason people get things appraised is, of course, to find out if they’re worth selling, but it’s not all about the money. Doug Seebach, of Vernon, brought in a gold pan painted by renowned Canadian artist Ted Harrison, who died last year. The gold pan was a gift to Seebach’s family.

“It’s the only one of its kind. He said he’d never paint another,” Harrison says.

The gold pan was a highlight for Blundell, who has never seen anything like it. The pan would likely fetch top dollar, but Seebach says some mementos are priceless.

“It would take an awful lot of money for me to sell it. It may just carry on in the family,” he says.

The art and appraisal day is held annually at the Vernon Public Art Gallery.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston or call 250-309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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