Community

Sternwheeler lust drives up postcard prices

Another in a series about items of local note on eBay.

Collectors can never get enough of sternwheelers, it seems. Recently, a postcard of the Kootenay Lake ship SS Nasookin sold for $93.50 US

The rare view, dated 1913, shows a large crowd at the Nelson wharf. It may have been the ship’s launch, for it was built that year. Along with the SS Bonnington and Sicamous, it was among BC’s largest inland steamers.

From 1931-47, the Nasookin operated as a vehicle ferry between Gray Creek and Fraser’s Landing until being replaced by the MV Anscomb. Part of the ship survives as a home on the North Shore.

A postcard of the Bonnington, meanwhile, sold for $77 US. It showed a large number of people on board and standing at the Nakusp wharf. This steamer operated between Arrowhead and Robson from 1911-31 before it was dismantled in the 1950s and sank.

Another card showing the ship lit up at night went recently for $66 US.

• A cleaning fluid bottle from the Boundary ghost town of Phoenix sold recently for $37 US. Prepared by J.B. Boyle, the label promised “A finish preserver, cleaner, and polish for furniture, fixtures, and all woodwork.”

John Borland Boyle was, as of 1898, a druggist in Victoria.

The 1901 census found him, age 30, living in Phoenix with wife Ella. He advertised weekly in the Phoenix Pioneer, and through its pages we learn he was a member of the local Liberal association and served on city council in 1904. His drugstore was on Knob Hill Avenue.

By 1907, Boyle moved to Vancouver, where he had a drug store at 2001 Alma Road in Kitsilano, and published postcards under the name “Boyle the Druggist.” He was last listed there in 1919 before Leonard G. Couzens took over the business.

• Something doesn’t always have to be particularly old to fetch a decent price.

Case in point: two envelopes bearing POCON postmarks — post office computer organization numbers — from the Grand Forks sub office No. 1, dated 1989 and 1998, sold for $80 and $66 Cdn respectively last week.

A better-informed postal collector will have to let us know what made them so desirable. In both cases the same two bidders drove up the price.

This story will appear in the West Kootenay Advertiser on December 6.

 

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