Part of a continuing series on artifacts of local interest being auctioned on eBay
The premier item last week was a copper watch fob from the Chahko Mika fair of 1914, which sold for $293 US.
Long before Chahko Mika was a Nelson shopping mall, it was the equivalent of the city’s world’s fair, a week-long carnival that drew thousands. (The name is Chinook for “you come.”)
The original event lasted for a single year, but was fondly remembered, probably due in part to its timing: less than a month after the fair closed, local men shipped out for World War I.
It was a final happy memory before the horror of the next four years.
The fair was resurrected for a few years in the 1960s, while the name lives on in the mall built in 1980.
The fob itself, manufactured by Mayer Brothers of Seattle, originally sold for 50 cents and was one of several Chahko Mika souvenirs hawked by Nelson jeweler J.O. Patenaude. Others included bronze buttons (25 cents each) and spoons (75 cents to $3 each).
The fob drew nine bids — five of $180 or more. The seller was in Vancouver.
The only other Chahko Mika fob to appear on eBay was snapped up by a Nelson collector for the bargain price of $24.50 in 2002.
Patenaude, meanwhile, is better known among collectors for a series of silver dollars he counterstamped with his initials, JOP, in the 1930s and ‘40s and gave to customers. The only one yet to appear on eBay, in 2006, sold for $279.
• A Victoria dealer has been auctioning a nice cache of BC postal covers — otherwise known as envelopes — including many from West Kootenay Boundary.
Among the more interesting ones were from Trail’s Crown Point Hotel, postmarked 1912 ($7.50 Cdn); Grand Forks Hotel, 1940 ($15.50); Rossland’s Centre Star mine, 1902 ($20.50); Greenwood Electric Co., 1906 ($26), and Western Exploration Co. of Silverton, 1945 ($27).
Other covers bearing cancels from now-closed post offices included Blueberry Creek, 1965 and 1968 ($59); Kinnaird, 1953 and 1957 ($2.50); West Grand Forks, 1964 ($2.50); Ferguson, 1902 ($6), China Creek, 1956 ($12.50), and Harrop, 1962 ($10.50).
• A bottle from the Nelson Soda Water Factory was briefly offered for sale last week for something north of $1,400, but withdrawn.
The bottle dated to between 1896 and 1907. According to Bill Wilson and Jim Askey in Pioneer Soda Water Companies of BC, the factory was originally on Hoover Street, then moved to Latimer. The first proprietor was E. Percy Whalley.
This story will appear in the West Kootenay Advertiser on December 8.