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Antiques off the Roadshow

Antiques off the Roadshow

This past Saturday at Surrey Art gallery a number of people were bringing their paintings, books, First Nations art, and other collectibles to get an expert opinion on who was behind the art and the estimated value. Each appraiser was sitting at the table surrounded by different tools: Linda Devine, a jewelry expert, had her very own little wooden box with colorful reagents; Jane Harris, a fine art specialist, was using a magnifier, the handle of which was made by her husband from an old umbrella.

The most dramatic discovery of that day was a painting brought by the art collector Pat Bennett. It was made by a landscape artist Adelsteen Normann (1848 – 1918), who was born in Oslo but based in Berlin. It still has an original Berlin stamp at the back. As Jane Harris stated, the painting could be worth of $8,000-12,000.

The other painting which caused quite a sensation was worth of $46,00-54,000 and was shown by a very cute old lady.

Moreover, I talked to some experts on the unique item they ever discovered in their career. Jane Harris shared her story on how her 5-year old daughter (at that time) found a glass flower in the antique shop. The cost was just $8. Nobody would ever imagine finding out later that it was made by a famous Russian artist Faberge, and it was worth of $30,000! No wonder why Jane is always on a hunt for treasures: flee markets, antique shops, and even Salvation Army thrift stores!

John King, an antiquarian book dealer, recalled receiving British documents signed by Queen Elizabeth I reign and also some documents from 1200. On Saturday somebody brought him a collection of the USA 1870-s Republic Party documents, and papers signed by presidents Grant and Fillmore. It could be worth of $10,000-15,000.

Linda Devine got a possible gold, very thick and heavy bracelet to check out. She was debating whether it was silver covered in gold or solid gold. As she claims, the only way to find out is to use reagents. When I made a remark on how gold usually has stamp identifiers, Linda mentioned that ancient jewelry sometimes doesn’t have those, which was a big surprise for me.

Jeff Harris was very busy with a couple who brought two items: a coin and pendant. The total value was around $200-300 for the both of them, but they won’t sell it as it is a family relic.

*About the Appraisers:

Linda Devine is an expert gemologist specializing in Georgian, Victorian, Art Nouveau, and Art Deco antique gold and silver jewelry, including watches. She can also give an estimated value for scrap gold.

Greg Tolliday has been in and out of the antique business since establishing a shop along with his wife on Fourth Avenue in Vancouver in the mid-1970s. He and his wife continue to sell fine antiques at shows in the Lower Mainland and, through consignment, in Alberta and the BC interior.

Jane Harris specializes in silver, European art, bronzes, Asian art, textiles, and paintings.

Jeff Harris specializes in the appraisal of Aboriginal and Inuit art.

John King is an antiquarian book dealer with specialties in military history, paper, and vellum documents dating back to the medieval period.

Edward Tokarek specializes in fine arts,  antiques, and collectibles.

**photos were taken by Alie Slabenko and Scarlet Black


*Original Berlin stamp at the back of Adelsteen Normann's painting
*Art collector and Jane Harris inspecting a painting
*A painting worth $46,000-54,000
*Possibly gold ancient bracelet
*Linda Devine's jewelry reagents 
*First Nations family relics: a coin and pendant brought by a couple
*Some ancient paintings to explore
*John King and a client looking for a stamp at the back of a painting
*Jeff Harris talking to a lady regarding her art pieces
*Linda Devine is inspecting a piece of jewelry
*Jeff Harris, First Nations and Inuit art specialist
*Linda Devine is using her magnifying glass to find original stamps or marks 
*John King, an antiquarian book dealer 
*Jane Harris, a fine art expert

About The Author

Alie Slabenko

Alie Slabenko is a local writer and poet passionate about human rights. She recently completed the New Media Journalism Program at Simon Fraser University. She also holds a Masters in Tax Crimes from Russia and PDD in Marketing from Douglas College in Vancouver. Alie has volunteered for the YVR airport magazine as a creative contributor and written several travel and lifestyle articles for an online Russian magazine. She is a traveler by heart and has visited Hong Kong, Macau, South Korea, China, and the USA. In her free time Alie likes to paint, take photographs, write poems, and manage her social justice oriented website. Alie is a human rights advocate who seeks to serve people through her journalistic skills focusing on racism, transgender rights, women rights, and human trafficking.


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