Adirondack Boats Aren’t Just for the Water Anymore

 

When it comes to iconic symbols of the northeastern wilderness, Adirondack Guide Boats certainly come to mind.  Once functional boats used by expert escorts on the rivers and lakes of northern New York and Vermont, these crafts have become extremely popular pieces of décor in Adirondack Great Camps and cabins.  Similar to a canoe, guide boats allude a rugged durability that speaks to earlier generations and the history of the Adirondack area.

Used by the likes of President Teddy Roosevelt and poet Henry David Thoreau in their expeditions, the lightweight crafts required skilled artisans and countless hours to be constructed.  Henry Van Dyke wrote of guide boats in his 1895 Little Rivers, A Book of Essays in Profitable Idleness, “A Saranac boat is one of the finest things that the skill of man has ever produced under the inspiration of the wilderness. It is a frail shell, so light that a guide can carry it on his shoulders with ease, but so dexterously fashioned that it rides the heaviest waves like a duck, and slips through the water as if by magic. You can travel in it along the shallowest rivers and across the broadest lakes, and make forty or fifty miles a day, if you have a good guide.”

Today, however, Adirondack Guide Boats and canoes are exhibited more frequently in homes than on the water.  From books by rustic furniture expert and photographer Ralph Kyllo, and magazines like Adirondack Life, we find that guide boats and canoes possess an omnipotent presence when displayed from open beam structures and spacious cabins.  From exquisite homes in Lake Placid, NY to rugged, mammoth structures in the Rockies, this creative design demonstrates an exemplary respect and admiration for the crafts that are so dear to our hearts.

 

R.M.S. Titanic Memorabilia is Unsinkable

In 1997, thanks to director James Cameron, we all felt as though we got to take home a little bit of the Titanic experience.  But in a much less dramatic event this past weekend in Britain, Henry Aldridge & Son auctioned off a number of Titanic memorabilia pieces.  To highlight the sale was a 10 meter cross section plan of the ship, which brought £220,000 ($362,000 ), nearly twice it’s estimated value.

The plan, which had originally been commissioned by the British Board of Trade during the inquiry of the Titanic’s sinking, has been privately owned for many years.  It had been prepared in Indian ink, hand colored and mounted on linen before undergoing rigorous scrutiny for 36 days in 1912, during which time the Board was able to conclude that the Titanic’s infamous end had been caused by “excessive speed.”  The plan still includes a chalk mark that indicates where the iceberg was thought to have struck the unsinkable ship, ultimately concluding with over 1,500 fatalities.

While a private owner again purchased the piece, it has since been rumored that the plan will now go on display.   Other highlights of the sale included numerous first edition books about the sinking, a set of keys from the Titanic lavatories, and original newspapers depicting the rescue of survivors.

 

May Brings Big Art Auctions for Canada

In what is reminiscent of 19th century art tours, Canada is currently experiencing some major art tours throughout their nation by leading auction houses.  Touting impressive listings and artwork that has not been displayed for decades, art collectors everywhere are gearing up for a very intriguing , albeit expensive, May.

Heffel Fine Art Auction House has been preparing rigorously for their May 17th auction of 168 lots of prime artwork.  Headlining names have included Paul-Emile Borduas, Jean –Paul Riopelle, Jean Paul Lemieux, and the Group of Seven.  Two rare E.J. Hughes works from  the Collection of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British  Columbia are expected to bring record sales.  The artwork comes from numerous prominent estates  including that of Montreal art collector Theodosia Dawes Bond Thornton and of  Andree Lavigne-Trudeau, sister-in-law of former Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau.  The live auction will be held in Vancouver and is expected to fetch a sum total of between $8 and $12 million.

While Heffel Fine has admittedly dominated the Canadian art auction market since 1996, Sotheby’s will also be cutting their piece of the pie next month.  Also touring across the country, the UK-based company will be auctioning just under200 pieces on May 26th.  While their works only span approximately 30 years, it is anticipated that the sale will gross as much as $6.9 million.  Most impressive will be a recently rediscovered work by Tom Thomson, which showcases the greenery of Algonquin Park.  Having been out of the country since the mid-50’s, Sotheby’s president David Silcox considered it a particularly special feature of the sale.

 

Gold & Silver & Cash, Oh My!

The increase in the price of gold and silver over the course of the last 36 months has had people scampering to pawn shops and gold parties.  Yesterday, gold closed at an all-time high of $1,517.10 an ounce.  While silver has not returned to it’s all time 1980 high of $55 an ounce, it too has seen dramatic increases recently.

However, experts are uncertain and divided over what will come next for these precious metals.  While some speculate that rocketing prices are caused by a market bubble that will soon reap it’s own price correction, others claim that the two will continue to rise dramatically as long as inflation continues to rise as well.

So what does this volatile market mean for the average middle class American?  It means that there is a gamble to be made.  Certainly, there has never been a better time to cash in on gold and silver trinkets, broken chains, or that set of silver that is merely taking up space in the attic.  However, when it comes to those heirlooms that have made their way through generations of a family, it is worth taking great consideration as to what one should do.

Forbes magazine currently considers the silver market to be considerably strong, but expresses doubt over the longevity of the bullion market.  As such, may now be a worthwhile time to find an appropriate dealer or shop to sell your gold items.  Silver, on the other hand, which has a much smaller price to ounce ratio, may allow for more hesitation as one watches the market.  Heirlooms are a piece of family history, so whether gold or silver, don’t make rush decisions unless in a dire financial situation.  As for the useless baubles and dust collectors that all of us have tucked away somewhere, now is as good a time as any to cash in!

 

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