Rare finds are true treasures

The Treasure Hunters might not have dished out as much money on their third visit to Chilliwack last week as they had on previous trips, but a couple of items brought in by local resident did grab their attention.

The antique and precious metals dealers were at the Coast Hotel March 27 to 31, and appraised everything from old Barbie Dolls to vintage guitars.

Scrap gold and silver and a couple of rare coins fetched the best price.

"At every show we'll get maybe one or two coins that are rare," said show manager Martin Devos. "That's why they're rare."

But there were a couple of other items that caught Devos's eye too.

One was a 1964 black and blue CCM Jet hockey stick signed by all members that year's Stanley Cup-winning Toronto Maple Leafs, including hockey legends like Dave Keon, Eddie Shack, Frank Mahovlich and Tim Horton.

The Chilliwack man who brought the stick in found it 30 or 40 years ago in the attic of a New Westminster house he'd bought, said Devos.

The owner before that had been a professional football player whose name is unknown.

The present Chilliwack owner originally tried to donate the item to the Hockey Hall of Fame, but changed his mind when that organization refused to recognize him as the official presenter of the stick. The Tim Hortons coffee franchise also gave him the brush off, according to Devos.

Despite the novelty of the item, the Treasure Hunters manager said it isn't worth as much as one might expect since value depends not just on rarity but also the availability of wiling buyers.

(He wouldn't say what he offered the man for the stick.)

Another item that raised eyebrows last week was a small nickel-plated brass antique device that had the Treasure Hunters stumped.

The Chilliwack resident who brought it in told them he had bought it for a few dollars at a flea market.

He had put in hours researching it himself before bringing it in.

The circular device, which is about two-and-a-half inches across and looks a bit like an ornate keychain, is stamped with the words "The Duchess of Connaught Patent B. Bros," and its owner believes it might have once belonged to the Duchess of Connaught, a Prussia princess who married England's Prince Arthur, who served as the Governor General of Canada from 1911 to 1916.

But no one could figure out what the device actually was

One theory is that it is some type of fastener to hitch up parts of voluminous old fashioned dresses.

Another theory is that it might be a chatelaine, an ornate women's utility clip worn on a belt for carrying household items like keys and a sewing kit.

"It is a really unique item," said Devos.

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