Nelson smelter spoon sells for $110

A sterling silver souvenir spoon depicting Nelson’s Hall Mines smelter sold last week for the starting bid of $110 US.


Latest installment in a series about local collectibles on eBay.

A sterling silver souvenir spoon depicting Nelson’s Hall Mines smelter sold last week for the starting bid of $110 US.

Based on an inscription on the back, it was manufactured in 1906 by or for local jeweler and optometrist J.O. Patenaude.

The smelter, located in Rosemont, operated for about a decade starting in 1895. It was among the victims of the city’s notorious fire bug of 1911, but its brick smokestack survived until May 5, 1923 — when it collapsed a day before its ceremonial demolition.

• Four fairly rare picture postcards depicting First Nations people from this area sold late last month for considerable sums.

The first, a ca. 1910 group shot showing 17 adults and children, went for $19 US. Another copy of this card sold in 2005 for $32.50.

The second, produced by T.N. Hibben and Co. of Victoria, showed a family in front of a tepee. Postmarked 1909, it went for $24. There is reason to believe it was taken in West Kootenay, for an alternate version was published by William Rutherford of Nelson. Copies of the latter sold in 2003 for $21 and in 2007 for £26.

The third, postmarked 1913, showed a man in a sturgeon-nosed canoe holding fish, and sold for $79. The same photo appears on page 317 of Kootenay Outlet Reflections, where the man is identified as Chief John Alexander of the Lower Kutenai band.

According to Nick Dosenberger Sr., Alexander “would sometimes bring my mother fish … Mother paid him about $1 for a 14 to 15 pound fish. He would never, ever, bring a small fish.”

The final card, titled “Eventide, Procter, BC” dated from the same era and also showed a man on Kootenay Lake in a canoe. It fetched $82. This photo also appears in Kootenay Outlet Reflections, p. 4.

• A few other cards put on the block by the same Victoria seller also drew healthy prices: a coloured card of a sternwheeler passing Procter drew a dozen bids and went for $73, while a lovely pre-1925 view of the Nakusp waterfront, showing the Leland and Grand hotels, sold for $37.

• An inkblotter from Fowler Fuel and Transfer of Nelson sold for a buck.

It featured an ad for Western Monarch Coal, “mined from the richest part of the Drumheller lower seam” and guaranteed to be “a bright, clean coal beautifully prepared.”

The blotter contains a spelling mistake: it should be Towler Fuel and Transfer, which operated on Stanley Street in the 1940s. The rusted cab of a truck from the same business lies along the highway outside Salmo, still bearing a readable sign on the door.

This story will appear in the West Kootenay Advertiser on April 12.

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