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Kootenay brochure worth its weight in gold

Latest in an ongoing series looking on Kootenaiana on eBay.

A highly coveted brochure about the virtues of the Kootenays sold this month for $191 US.

Produced by the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1897 and entitled Gold in Cariboo and Kootenay, the fold-out pamphlet includes a map and much purple prose about the opportunities of the two regions.

“The name of British Columbia has in fact become the synonym of mineral richness, and its TREASURE CHESTS ARE NOW OPEN TO THE WORLD,” it screams.

Of West Kootenay it says: “Utterly unknown a few years ago, and with but inadequate means of communication, it has suddenly, through the discoveries of its great mineral wealth, acquired a fame that has reached far-off lands and attracted hither experienced miners and capitalists who, convinced of the capabilities of the country, have remained to aid in its development.”

A section entitled “Law and Order” reads: “There is a noticeable absence of rowdyism and crime in all the camps and the tougher element have discovered that there is no room for them in the country outside the jails and prisons.”

There are pictures of Ainsworth, Nelson, Kaslo, Trail, and Sandon, among other places.

You can read the whole thing online at archive.org.

Seven other copies of this brochure, or ones like it, have sold online since 2002 for prices ranging from $28 to $241. They dated between 1895 and 1901, indicating the CPR regularly reprinted them.

• A series of postmarks from defunct West Kootenay-Boundary post offices were auctioned individually this month. Some fetched considerable amounts, while others didn’t sell.

In the former category was a 1953 cancellation from Broadwater on Lower Arrow Lake, which went for $66 Cdn. The post office closed the following year due to “limited usefulness.”

Next highest was a 1953 postmark from Poplar Creek, a Lardeau ghost town, that netted $24. It likewise closed a year later when postmaster Alexander Robb resigned.

A 1954 postmark from Makinson, a now-drowned Arrow Lakes settlement, went for $19.50, while others from Taghum (1958) and Rosebery (1929) sold for $15 each.

A few others went for a song: Sandon (1897) for $2.75, Phoenix (1902) for $2.50, and Queens Bay (1952) for $2.50. Another from Sandon (1898) and an early one from Nakusp (1894) didn’t find any bidders at all.

This story will appear in the West Kootenay Advertiser on July 26.

 

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