Limited Edition Prints


Limited Edition Prints have been first and foremost a huge disappointment from an investment point of view. The world is full of people who want to get rich quick. Limited Editions have shown to be not a superb investment. They are prints, and sometimes an individual print has been created thousands of times – almost like a poster – yes, signed by the artist and numbered – but automatic signing machines were invented around 1900, and still in use today.

Think twice before investing good money into a picture that has a large number. In theory, 400 and smaller are good numbers. But is the artist really going to sign 400 copies? That is hard on the fingers.

In another life I had a good customer who bought Limited Edition prints in multiples of 10 or more and then stored these prints under his bed. Guess what? Yes, the mice got in, ate the edges and peed on the images. I received the inevitable call as he was in the troubling position of trying to grapple with the insurance company who were being very cautious on approving his claim. Their difficulty was with the lack of uniformity in the nibbling and my good customer had not made any attempt to protect the collection.

Always protect your art in a clean environment. Less chances for damage.

My last words of advice on this – if you love the print – ready to frame and hang it on your wall in a very visible spot – then it is a good investment! Enjoy!

Up Down Crash and Clash

As an appraiser, I am painfully aware of the fluctuations of the market place.

In 1980 I wrote my first book “The Market Place Guide to Oak Furniture” which was very successful. With this book and the following ones, I put out price guides for each piece of furniture in 1980, 1985, 1997.

For my initial valuations, I took slide shows back to Toronto and copious amounts of notes. In the areas I originally visited, I gave each dealer 30 seconds to come up with a value of their piece of furniture I had just recorded and taken photos of for possible placement in the book. The consistency of the answers I received was quite astounding. The dealers were quite unanimous in their opinions, and I wrote down their answers. Sometimes I found there were anomalies. I discounted those areas and disagreed with the others. Much was gathered and values became quite consistent.

In 2008 the stock market crashed to everyone’s surprise along with the antiques and collectibles market. The market has gradually returned slightly but after the crash there are other demographic groups that have come into play. Minimalists and Millennials – neither have adopted antiques – recycling yes, but not antiques and collectibles. Ikea has done a brilliant job on these people.

There has been a slowdown in the antiques marketplace. Those Baby Boomers – who we love and trust – have no more room in their homes, and are beginning to downsize – move to smaller quarters – their children? – well, they are inheriting an awful lot of ‘stuff’ and they have their own ‘stuff’ – and perhaps they are not up-to-date on values of this new ‘stuff’ nor perhaps do they really appreciate this ‘stuff’ nor want to.

If you are considering downsizing, what to do with everything – that is what we do.  Come in and help, give suggestions, research on today’s values, take plenty of photos, write reports, give verbal opinions – what is rubbish – beyond Salvation Army.

Discuss with your children what your ‘stuff’ is all about.  What it means? Family connection? Made by a family member?  Dates.  Write it down.  Teach your children today.   Help them appreciate what you have.  We can write reports for your children along with yourself – make sure the facts are correct!  And this is a wonderful way to connect closer to your family.

Downsizing today has become the normal.

Today, buying antiques and collectibles has become a very good deal!!  Check out your local auction houses, antiques stores, ask the dealers why prices are where they are!  And the thrift stores – bargains galore – but knowledge of all is utmost important – not eBay knowledge – real life knowledge.


Seller’s Market – Buy home, and antiques – TV Show –

This is a new television programme filmed in Kelowna over the past few months – shown on CHEK television out of Victoria, but shown on ‘ – Kelowna News’ – every Wednesday.  If you go to ‘Seller’s’ – you will get all the past shows.  But this programme called  – “Buy home, and Antiques” brought us in to appraise a lot of furniture and collectibles – the purpose was to give a general Fair Market Value for today – the owner wishing to sell the house furnished – as he and his wife had built this home back in the 70’s and furnished it with antiques – which did fit this house very well.  And we are mentioned at the end of the show. That is why I hope you will be able to listen to it.  Please enjoy.  Also go to:

Seller’s Market – Buy Home and Antiques

A new television programme filmed in Kelowna, being offered every Wednesday on Castanet – or on CHEK – Victoria – go to this webpage – really interesting, we were part of the evaluation of the antiques that were shown – aired November 8, 2017.  Please enjoy.



What a 2017 summer!!

We have had a very busy summer probably sparked by the visibility of the smoke caused by the wild fires and floods which reminded us of the fragility that we all shared of the possibility of true loss.  This has been a worst fire and flood season that B.C. has ever seen.  Insurance claims have gone ‘through the roof’.  We were attempting  to have a family camping holiday to Haida Gwaii but due to wild fire road closures, postponed until next year – hopefully.

We have been very busy with appraisal work.  There has definitely been a spike in the enquiries for our services.

There are many varieties of appraisals – Insurance Value (Replacement Cost Comparable), estimate of Value for Estate Purposes (Fair Market Value), Division of Property, and Downsizing – a huge modern subject.

We are all aging at the same time – Baby Boomers – and we collect stuff!! (or we used to!)  We hunt through the shops, we love garage sales, Kijiji and all the online auction sales.  Our local auction houses are stacked-in with stuff – waiting for their ‘antiques and collectibles’ auction held every few months.  Wow!  And these can be wonderful! for neat stuff, often great (low) prices – but don’t forget all the extras that are added onto the auction hammer price – lots for thinking about.  Then there are our children who are mostly not interested in what we love – (so annoying) or their homes are full to the rafters – now what?  Yep – the Baby Boomers –

And we – Marian and Peter- understand totally for we are all of the above!!  and perhaps we can help you!

It always surprises me that people would spend like ‘drunken sailors’ at auctions, then not have an inkling of how much it is really worth.  Which reminds me of a friend who used to work on the cruise ships where once the auctioneers were arrested by the police upon home port arrival for fraud by ‘bouncing off the walls’ for bids (often called chandelier bidding).  This happens where people get loaded with alcohol which softens the judgement when buying at auction.  It is strictly “Buyer Beware” – and do Beware – it is cruise season again and we know the joys of the fantastic all-you-can-eat buffets and the accompanying liquid!  Just be careful – our advice to cruisers.

Chilliwack Arts Centre – Art and Antiques Roadshow

CHILLIWACK ARTS CENTRE – 9201 Corbould Street, 604-391-7469.

Art and Antiques Identification Day

Thursday, October 5th, 2017  – 10:00 am to 5:00 pm

Fee – $45.00 – a portion of all proceeds goes to the Chilliwack Arts Centre.

Call 604-391-7469 – reserve your space for fifteen minute sessions.  

Verbal Opinion-of-Value Appraisals

Are your trinkets trash or treasure?

Appointments required – call 604-391-7469 – 15 minute appointments – Peter will look at up to three items – (15 minutes passes very quickly).  Verbal Opinion-of-value.  You will be given paper to take notes.  

Idea – Phone the Box Office – 604-391-7469 – make an appointment, and tell the office people what you will be bringing in to show Peter.  They might ask you to take a photo of it and email it to the Centre who will forward it to Peter.   Peter and Marian will try and do pre-show research.  The photos can be very helpful.  That creates more time to talk with you, look at your items,  and ‘usually‘ works very well.  If you bring in a painting – who is the artist?  Again, pre-show research is needed.   Send a photo with the signature to the Arts Centre.  No signature?  That’s fine.  Peter will examine it and discuss with you what it’s value might be.

If you have a piece of sterling silver, check to see what the marks are.  Take a close up photo – send it to the office who will forward it to Peter – again, pre-show research.  Your item will be weighed and analyzed.

Furniture, check to see if there are any signatures or labels – if it is too large to bring to the show, take a photo, send it to the Arts Centre.

Reminder – Peter does not appraise guns – swords are good, coins, stamps, jewellery, wrist watches but pocket watches are fine, Oriental rugs and old books (dust allergies), militaria, items over 400 years old (often reproductions).

All this will be discussed with the Arts Centre Box Office people when you call.

And of course, don’t just come with your items and leave!! – take time, sit back and enjoy the whole process, see what other people have.  You can stay as long as you wish.

Peter and Marian look forward to meeting you.  This will be the fifth time they have been to the Chilliwack Arts Centre and are really looking forward to returning again this year.

Ego Plates – Part 1

Ego Plates

By Peter S. Blundell AA

William Ewart Gladstone (1809-1898) had an irrepressible ego. In Victorian England, he was an alternating Prime Minister with Benjamin Disraeli. I am sure he was not only egotistical but probably a rather gruff opponent in politics. His political career started in 1834 as the Junior Lord of Treasury and rose to Prime Minister in 1866, 1873.

1880-85, 1886, 1892-94. The fact that he was elected to Britain’s highest post so many times would indicate that he certainly was doing things right to attract the voters so often.

Gladstone must have been a formidable orator. A commentator described his style thus: “Every word that he speaks has been fiercely furnaced in the blast of a life that has struggled in earnest. His periods fall on you stroke after stroke like the blows of a lumberer felling an oak.”

As well as political favours, he gave away plates! His constituents were largely illiterate but a political plate they could understand and possibly even use on a day to day basis. A plate brought back into the home would indicate to all the voter’s friends where his political sympathies lay.

In the photo, there is a pressed glass cup plate that states “Gladstone for the Million” and bearing a Scottish thistle, shamrock for Ireland and a rose for England. Yet another plate shows his home ‘Hawarden Castle’ in North Wales and ‘Hawarden Church’ which he attended. The other plate documents his career to 1886. For a large part of the Victorian era, he was the face and voice of Liberalism in Britain.

Gladstone was a collector. He loved books and had a fascination for postcards. He was also known to write huge amounts of letters. As a collector, I like him and would like to have known him and he could appreciate that we collect his plates today.



Part 2 Treasures article Aug. 11 Nikon  002


The three plates I have photographed for you are –

Brown with home – estimated value -$120.00

Cup Plate – $85.

History Plate – $145.00



Let it Snow!!

Let it Snow!!

By Peter S. Blundell AA

Canadians live with snow in more ways than one. The Inuit have many names that describe all the different kinds of the white stuff.

However, we do tend to have a liking for snowy scenes for the framed artworks on our walls. When I visit my appraisal customers’ homes, I am amazed at the influence of snow in our artistic taste. Not only do artists paint snowy scenes, we actually buy this art!

Why are we so endeared to snow pictures?? Maybe it is because we sort of love the stuff? And have learned to live with it and embrace its challenges.

I have noted a true lack of sunny paintings from warmer climes such as the Caribbean and Mexico.

Many Canadian artists have staked their fortunes on slippery scenes. The Group of Seven are examples of this, and others Graham Norwell, Ernest Dalton, Allen Sapp. Quebec artists by the hundred have also been inspired with pictures of skating, hockey, good old maple syrup shacks, and frozen waterfalls abound.

I cannot see a day when all this wonderful Canadian art will go to the great recycling depot in the sky! Maybe some, however, will show up in antiques shops and Value Village.

In the meantime, pull the drapes and snuggle up to a roaring fire and admire the frozen glow of your snow paintings!

The Plates of Ego – Part 2

The Plates of Ego – Part 2

By Peter S. Blundell

Politicians are well known for their massive self absorption. Canadian members of parliament have been known to have commemorative plates custom-made for their own promotional purposes. Sir John A. MacDonald had his own plate designed and so did the Federal Liberal Leader of his Opposition party Edward Blake (b.1833-d.1912). Blake was defeated twice 1882 and 1887 by Sir John A. MacDonald and did not become Prime Minister. However his ego plate remains as a memory of his political career.

Digging through some archival material can be fun if you have a character to research such as Blake. He was known to have an amazing capacity for facts and figures, however, he probably had too thin a skin for Sir John A to play with. He also was quite notorious for standing on his feet for six or seven hours giving speeches. He championed Provincial rights, was a free-trader. Blake fostered Liberal strength in Quebec but his Ontario Protestant supporters were hugely hostile to Louis Riel (Riel Rebellion) and he tried desperately to commute Riel’s death sentence on the grounds of mental illness. Whereas MacDonald let Riel hang and Quebec was estranged from the Tories for many years. Blake was the person who chose Sir Wilfred Laurier to succeed him in 1887 apparently a good move for Canada.

The end of the story is quite difficult to figure out because this Canadian Protestant became an Irish Nationalist MP in the British Parliament from 1892 to 1907. Edward Blake photo Nikon 1 001




By Peter S. Blundell A.A.

So goes the old campfire song about the Titanic.

There are quite a few books on the Titanic – Titanic and Great Sea Disasters, A Night to Remember, Titanic, the Psychic and the Sea, but my favourite was written and published by Elbert Hubbard of The Roycrofters fame.

Elbert Hubbard was born into a wealthy family who were soap manufacturers. The Larkin Soap Company had an interesting method of marketing to groups of ladies who would buy soap in bulk and get the premiums made in the seven or eight furniture factories in Buffalo, N.Y.  Many houses in the U.S. were furnished this way and the Buffalo Pottery was also part of the premium scheme. You can imagine the wealth!

Elbert, however, had other ideas and was influenced by the Arts and Crafts Movement and set up a Campus in East Aurora, New York of artisans making furniture, copperware, leather and book publishing. One of the books he wrote was a small booklet about the Titanic. Ironically, my reprint copy has a picture inside of Elbert Hubbard standing on the deck of another Atlantic liner The Lusitania which was torpedoed and was lost in the Atlantic with huge loss of life. The Roycrofters struggled on until the 1920’s and today the main campus building is a luxury 5-star hotel.

The sinking of the Titanic had a long term financial loss to Canada. Melville, Saskatchewan was being financed as a railroad centre by Charles Melville Hays (yes, the town was named after him) and he had financed the opening of the Prince Rupert port. All these exciting plans came to an abrupt end when Melville lost his life on the Titanic.

The passenger list was full of high society leaders from both the U.S. and Britain, and I’m sure that Elbert Hubbard was predicting his future demise when he wrote his booklet. I am also sure that there must be a moral in this story at the bottom of the ocean? Or – do not mention the name of the Scottish play (Macbeth) or write about the Titanic – thus saying I cancelled my Costa Concordia cruise around the Mediterranean!!