Slocan spoon sells for $88

When Queen Victoria marked her diamond jubilee, one of the souvenirs struck was a sterling silver Slocan City spoon.

Latest in a series about the Kootenaiana trade.

Queen Elizabeth II marked her diamond jubilee this month. The only other British monarch to reach that milestone, Elizabeth’s great great grandmother Queen Victoria, marked 60 years on the throne in 1897.

Among the souvenirs created to commemorate the latter occasion was a sterling silver spoon with Victoria’s profile embossed on the handle and “Slocan City” in the bowl. One of those spoons drew nine bids on eBay this month and sold for £55 (about $88 Cdn).

1897 was not only the queen’s anniversary, but Slocan’s high point in its early life as a mining boomtown. That year it boasted two newspapers and the relentless pounding of nails as most of the business district was thrown up in a frenzy.

On the Queen’s birthday weekend in May, the beautiful SS Slocan was launched, and pioneer prospector Eli Carpenter astonished everyone by walking a tightrope over main street — instantly becoming a part of local folklore.

The spoon’s seller was in Goodwick, Wales.

A chrome postcard of New Denver’s fabulous Newmarket Hotel, published by Art Stevens in the late 1960s, sold for $25 US.

Built in 1893, opposite the village wharf, proprietor Henry Stege advertised the hotel as “situated on the banks of the beautiful Slocan Lake, and guests can sit upon the balcony and gaze upon the grandest scenery in America [sic] without extra charge …

“Goldbugs, Silver Democrats, Canadian Capitalists, Prospectors, Miners, Tenderfeet, Ten Mile Millionaires and Pilgrims of every shade in politics, religion or wealth are welcome at this house.”

The hotel retained its old west flavour until it burned in a suspicious fire in October 1973. It’s now the site of Valhalla Pure, while the name lives on in New Market Foods, which opened last year.

Oddly, this appears to be the only postcard of the hotel ever produced. At the time, the proprietors were Al and Nora Johnston. One other copy sold in 2007 for $29.

• A lithographed postcard of the Yale Hotel in Grand Forks, mailed to Portage La Prairie, Manitoba in 1908, sold for $33 US.

The pride of the city when originally built by founding mayor John Manly and Dr. George Averill in 1899, the Yale was destroyed by fire on July 10, 1908.

Rebuilt in brick, it burned a second time on January 5, 1950. Rebuilt again, it burned a third and final time on October 27, 1991 — another in the city’s heartbreaking series of hotel fires that also claimed the Province, Russell, and last March, the Grand Forks.

This column will appear in the West Kootenay Advertiser on June 14.

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