This year, those attending the annual Antique Appraisal Weekend at the Little Fort Hall may bid on items from another century. The North Thompson Valley Hospice House Society’s Antique Appraisal Weekend Committee plans a silent auction as part of the event, April 13 and 14.
To be auctioned on Saturday, April 13, is a by-now faintly lavender glass-and-brass oil lamp. Committee chair Pat Paula says when glass items begin to show colour it indicates that the object is likely at least 100 years old.
While oil lanterns are things of the past, they are still easily recognized.
Not so familiar is the item to be auctioned on Sunday, April 14. Called a hetchel — or a hatchel, or even a hackle — it is a primitive, 1900th century tool used in preparation of the flax plant for spinning into linen. Hetchels took various forms; this one’s base is roughly one meter by 18 centemeters, a hardwood plank. Centered on it is a circular stand of five-inch square nails, secured within a metal retaining ring. The ironwork and the wood surface both show patina indicative of great age.
Flax is a hardy perennial that now grows wild in dry uplands of the BC Interior, an airy but tough-stemmed plant with sky-blue two- centemeter flowers. Processing it into linen was an extremely labor-intensive exercise … which may explain why many people recognize a wool-carder and spinning wheel but are strangers to the hetchel.
The hetchel and lamp to be auctioned at Little Fort April 13 and 14 are both donations by Drake Smith of North Thompson Funeral Services in support of the hospice house society; both were purchased from Barriere-area antique shops, says Paula.
Openings are still available to those wishing to have items examined by accredited antique appraiser Peter S. Blundell of Vernon; those wishing to consult with Blundell may reserve a 15-minute session to show him up to three items for $43 by calling 250 672-5660 or 250 677-4287. Callers may leave a message including name, phone number and the day they wish to attend; they will be called back to arrange a time. Blundell will not appraise jewellery, coins, guns, wristwatches or anything over 400 years old.
Appraisals will run from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. daily (with a break for lunch); with several eateries within easy reach of the hall, only coffee and tea will be offered at the hall’s concession. A line-of-sight video feed to a screen within clear view of the viewing gallery and microphones allow the audience to follow each consultation.
The annual Antique Appraisal Weekend is the NTVHHS’s spring fund-raiser; a registered non-profit society, that group’s goal is to establish a hospice facility to provide supportive end-of-life care for North Thompson Valley residents. A fall fundraiser is the “Bike Challenge” between Barriere and Clearwater.