Treasure Troves in Yarmouth County

By callen, on Thu, 17 Apr 2014 | 0 Comments

"If you ever wondered why people were afraid of needles, this is why," said Kevin Selig, holding up a deadly looking syringe from the late 1890s. The curiosity from the past is one of thousands to be found at "Waterfront Antiques and Collectible"


Selig's partner, Sue Bain, is a retired lab tech. She tends the shop mostly and says the stock in the store comes from estate sales and directly from the public.... often with a tale. "If you can get a story with an item, it makes it more sellable," she said. It's hard to say what the most popular items are, added the sellers; they try to have a little bit of everything because it's hard to pinpoint what each person is looking for. "A lot of people are buying functional things, things they can use daily... not the fancy piece of glassware to put on the shelf and gather dust," said Selig. He says when he walked through the door of the historic building (the Waterfront Gallery and a shipping office are located on the first floor) he felt instinctively that it should be an antique shop.


The shipping office is Canada'a oldest and is now owned by the Yarmouth County Museum and Archives. From here, one of Yarmouth's largest fleets of sailing ships was managed. The office has changed very little over the last 140 years. The firm was the Yarmouth selling agent for different cordage and twine companies, and as a commission merchant, a wholesale and retail dealer of West India Produce. The company became one of the largest dealers in hard and soft coal in western Nova Scotia. Visitors appreciate the entertainment value as well as the purchase of the items, which are attractively displayed and priced. There are "primitives" - bowls, spoons, saltshakers, hand-built cupboards, beaters, early kitchen tools, and more. Spools from the cotton mill nestle in a coal shuttle, a two-foot long chain carved out of wood has a ball in a box at the end. A traveling inkwell in the shape of a suitcase fits in the palm of your hand. A back counter is covered with ancient tools, which even the young men are buying, because they were designed for certain jobs that you can't buy tools for now, explained Bain. Selig winds up an old gramophone and scratchy music from another era fills the shop. "It's like a museum but you can buy the stuff. People don't realize how old this area is and how much stuff dates from the 1700s, the 1800s, the 1900s. You can't go anywhere out west and find that. This is a very old and rich area and people like that. They respect the fact that they came to Nova Scotia and bought something from the 1700s," he said.


For example, he takes out a tiny pair of leather shoes with well-worn wrinkles and toes scuffed bare, most likely worn by a baby crawling on the floor. "These are often found in houses, in the walls and over doors. It was a sign of wealth because usually they were custom made for one particular person," he said. The sole of the shoe is part of that person, he explained. By placing the shoes over a door they kept evil spirits or bad things from entering. Waterfront Antiques and Collectibles is open 10 to 4 p.m. daily during the summer. "Yaciuk's Antiques Clocks and Collectibles ": is located at 1385 Lake George Rd. This business offers clocks (mainly Black Forest and American), Swiss music boxes, Hummel figurines, early photography, Victorian portraits and art, vintage kitchenware, china and glassware (incl. Royal Doulton, Dresden, transferware, Nippon, Noritake, Depression Glass and Art Pottery), Occupied Japan, Bisque, Steif, Wade, crocks, old advertising bottles and tins, as well as small furnishings. They are open Tuesday to Friday from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., Saturday 12 - 5 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.


"The Antique Picker": is owned by long-time antique vendor, Howard Benham. It's located at 301 Dayton Road in a large barn that can take hours to explore. Make a circuit and then go around again and you'll see entirely new items you missed the first time. Benham has partnered with Shackwacky this spring to open a large new store on Water Street called The Warehouse Antiques & Collectibles near the Lost to the Sea memorial. All of these shops are bursting with memories and well worth a visit.