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A & E PIDGEON AUCTIONS & APPRAISALS
Nova Scotia Auctions -- Cape Breton Auctions
Canadian Maritime Auctioneers
Contact Donald or Verna (Sam) Pidgeon
info@pidgeonauctions.com
Mailing Address: PO Box 1083, Pictou, N.S. BOK 1HO
PHONE 902-485-5968

 Available Monday to Saturday inclusive from 8 am to 10 pm
 by appointment or by chance - NOT Sundays or Christmas Day

   
PLEASE NOTE:  We have now installed a new
 24-HOUR AUCTION INFORMATION HOTLINE -- 902-485-3333

 This line does not reach us directly, will not ring into the office or residence & no messages can be left at this number.It is designed for one purpose only--to keep you informed of all current auction information, so that if you are en route and need time or place of an auction or directions how to get there--call this line; if you are in doubt whether an auction will go on due to weather conditions, call this number; if you want to hear a general list of the items in the current auction, call this number--all current auction information will be kept up-to-date on this line & you can call any hour of the day or night for information

                                    A CHANGE OF VALUES 

911 changed the whole world forever.  And in the auction business, we are constantly reminded of that.

In the affluent times (70s, 80s & 90s), everyone who was anyone collected something..... remember coming to an auction or even at a dinner party when someone asked you, "What do YOU collect?"  In the mid-seventies, we were young and had no idea how society thought on this, we were invited to a buffet lunch after church by the goodly church people (would you believe?) and after viewing the beautiful china and silver in their home, was questioned, "What do you collect, dear?"......I answered honestly, "Sobey's dishes" (You know, the ones we used to get for a dollar each when we bought $5.00 worth of grub).  Can you imagine the looks I got!!!!  (We left that church soon afterwards).

Hoarding was perhaps a better word for it!  Many houses we have gone into contained literally thousands of useless "things".  Little old ladies just bought and bought everything and anything....the doctors, lawyers and Indian Chiefs had to outdo each other.....even the common Joe was a big buyer.

Much of this can be attributed to the lack of stuff for many years--during the depression, then the clamp in the wartime.  With so many men back after 1945, it was just a matter of getting a job.  And then a bit of a depression in the late 50's put a freeze on everything, so,  when the money started rolling in again, "stuff" became a status quo thing.....the more stuff you possessed, the better off you were--particularly antiques!  They were prestigious!

People just kept buying and buying for years.....auctions flourished, to say the least!  And antique shops were hopping! 

Then came 911.  The change was not striking....it took a while.

We began to get calls from people with big collections saying they were selling out all but a few things.  None of them really needed the money.  They had just come to the conclusion that "things" were not that important.  Most of them spent the money making others happy--like giving their grandchildren a trip to Disneyland, buying their daughter a Dishwasher or giving their son a Deed to the piece of land he's always wanted but could not afford.....just things to improve the quality of life for someone else.  They spent the money as if it was their last day alive and they just wanted to do some good for somebody!  

Along with that, many people did not want to hang onto furniture from "before 911", that related to those affluent times and they no longer wanted any remembrance of those times....the average Victorian piece of furniture died!  (The high-end stuff held its own, but that's a different clientele).  If you go back in history and study furniture, you will find that the Louies (X1V, XV & XV1) that were really big for years, sometimes selling for up to $100,000 per piece before the fall of 1929 never ever regained their former value.  People who could manage to hold onto such pieces during the big depression felt everything would recover afterwards, but that furniture never did.  It seems things relating to that time just before the fall left a bad taste in people's mouths and they just looked for something else after the depression.  Same thing with 911, Victoriana seemed to leave a bad taste and people just looked for something else after that.  Victoriana is coming back a little now, but nothing like it's former value.  There was a time in the affluent era when we could get $2000 for a good sofa, today we are lucky to get $400 for the same thing.  It just seems like "bad times" leave bad memories and people don't want to stir those up with things that makes them remember. 

Before 911, a collection of Royal Doultons consisted of 200 figurines plus; now a collection is around 10 to 15.  And they don't "love" them anymore; they "like" them. 

The change has not been good for our business, but it is nice to see people become real. 
 

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Australian Gun Law Update

Here’s a thought to warm some of your hearts

From: Ed Chenel, A police officer in Australia

Hi, I thought you all would like to see the now available data from Down Under.   It has now been one year (12 months) since gun owners in Australia were forced by a new law to surrender 640,381 personal firearms to be destroyed by our own government, a program costing Australia taxpayers more than $500 million dollars.

The first year results are now available: -

· Australia-wide, homicides are up 6.2 percent;

· Australia-wide, assaults are up 9.6 percent;

· Australia-wide, armed robberies are up 44 percent (yes, 44 percent);

In the state of Victoria alone, homicides with firearms are now up 300 percent as compared with the last one-year period when private ownership of a firearm was legal.

(NB: the law-abiding citizens did turn in their personal firearms, the criminal element did not and thus criminals in Australia still possess their guns.)

While data for the 25 years preceding the confiscation of privately owned guns showed a steady decrease in armed robbery with firearms, this has changed drastically upward in the past 12 months as criminals now are assured their victims will be unarmed.

There has also been a dramatic increase in break-ins and assaults of the elderly, while the resident is at home.

Australian politicians are at a loss to explain how public safety has decreased after such monumental effort and expense was expended in ‘successfully ridding Australian society of guns.’

This story of well intentioned government intervention in the rights of lawful individuals to own and possess firearms won’t be seen in the either the Canadian or American mainstream media or on the evening news.   If President Obama advocates a similar confiscation in the US, there will not be any reporting any of this to you.

But, the Australian experience speaks for itself. Guns in the hands of honest citizens save lives and property and, yes, gun-control laws affect only the law-abiding citizens.

Canadians and Americans may want to take note before it’s too late!

.....................another report we recently received is that the lowest criminal rate in North America is in the State of Texas--the only place in North America where a person is allowed to pack a pistol and there people are often seen right in the city wearing holster and pistol.....does that make a statement?

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                                                         THE HERMIT OF GULLY LAKE
     Probably most of you have read the book published in June 2006 about Willard MacDonald (or as they called him "Kitchener" MacDonald). ....but we all knew him as "Willard" the Hermit of Gully Lake.
     My take on the story is somewhat different for we knew the MacDonald family well.
     When I was in my teens, Jessie (Willard's mother) lived across the street from us up on Beaches Road in Pictou.  She was a beautiful person,  not just her personality, but physically--she was in her 70's then & her face was clear baby pink & she didn't have a wrinkle.  She was a lovely lady altogether and I learned much from her.  To my knowledge, she never spoke a bad word about anybody.  She would not lie to people, but if she knew the truth was going to hurt to the point of causing a problem, she would  not render a comment or an answer.  She was a positive thinking lady and always saw the good in everyone.  And she was a very Godly lady.  
     But the story goes back a lot further than this....my brother, Alden, became close friends with Ronnie (Willard's brother--or nephew as the books says).  I know nothing about that; but I do know that Jessie and Fin (Willard's parents) dearly loved Ronnie.  Unfortunately, the book says he was considered a shame unto them--that is not true for he was the apple of their eyes!
     Now to get on with names, "Fiddlefoot", as we all called him, was Willard's father and why they ever called him Howard all through the book beats me, for as long as I can remember, Jessie called him "Fin", short for Findlay.  His full name was either Findlay Howard MacDonald or Howard Findlay MacDonald--whichever, but to everyone, he was known as Findlay or "Fiddlefoot".
     Now "Fiddlefoot" was a very fine concert violinist and when he was in the States, he played in the Boston Symphony Orchestra (although the book says he didn't).  Mrs. MacDonald told that to me with her own mouth.  And Fin told my brother, Alden, the same thing.  That is why they lived in Summerville for he was able to board the elevated railway from there to get into the City  in short time for work at the Orchestra.
     The MacDonald family came back here from the States in the "hungry 30's".  At one point, it was mentioned to my brother that they felt they should return here since war was imminent and Willard would surely have to go to war in the States.  At that time (before the war and a few years into the war), Canada advocated its abstinence from conscription....and thus Jessie & Fin felt Canada would be the better place to reside then since they were against killing at all costs.  Later, of course, Canada did conscript soldiers and that is how the whole basis for this story occurred when Willard was conscripted and jumped the train that carried the soldiers off to war and headed for the hills instead.  He was a fugitive and had to hide.  Had he been found in those times, he would probably have been shot.
     The book implies that Fin (Willard's Father) was not much of a breadwinner, in fact even indicates that he was a lazy man.  However, the fact is that he knew no other trade except professionally playing the violin & working with violins.  And so he did all that he could to earn a living--he made and repaired violins....I can still picture that sign at the end of their lane at the West end of Pictou. "Violins Repaired"  (then they lived out in a little one & a half story house very near to the Causeway exit from the Rotary....Ben Humphrey's house was right there where the Hardware Store is now, then MacDonald's little place and then the old stone Tyrol Inn, now the site of  Rollie MacDonald's immense place).  Things got a bit better in the 40's but in the mid 50's in Pictou County,  you couldn't buy a job...everybody was hurting.  And certainly nobody was having violins repaired.  So Fiddlefoot did the next best thing he could--he packed up his little pouch of files every day and peddled away to town on his bike and went door-to-door sharpening knives and scissors for 10 to 25 cents apiece....it was long and tedious, but put some bread on the table.
     When Willard realized his parents were so strapped for money in the 50's, my brother remembers they got a message for his father to ask someone to take a truck out to to meet him at such-and-such a point in the country to pick up pelts.  Alden said Willard had trapped all winter and gave his father a large truckload full of mink, beaver and muskrat pelts which took in thousands of dollars which sure was big money in those days.  And that went on every spring as long as Alden could remember.  So neither was Willard a lazy man or uncaring of his family, for he provided for them liberally for several years.  Not only that, but after Willard jumped the train and went to the woods in the 40's, he would slip back home for 4 or 5 days every year when the weather got fine and worked the ground & planted a huge vegetable garden for his folks and then came back in the fall to harvest same.  These visits were kept secret.
      As I mentioned earlier, my brother, Alden, and Ronnie (Willard's brother) were close friends since Grade 7.  My brother played the guitar and Ronnie played the violin (which he, of course, learned from his father "Fiddlefoot").  That, in fact, was the start of a little band that Ronnie & Alden formed for playing at the local dances when they were in their late teens.
      Often Alden went out to Ronnie's place after school where he and Ronnie played their instruments together.  Alden was intrigued with the MacDonalds.  They were very knowledgeable people - both Fin and Jessie. Alden said he learned much from them.
      It was there at the MacDonald home that Alden met Willard on several occasions when he came home to see his folks and do the gardens for them.  Usually, he said, when Willard came home, no one knew he was coming (even though the war was over then, he was still considered a deserter)--the way it was, the folks would just wake up some morning and Willard would be out there working the garden or fixing something for them.  He left the same way.  Alden recalls one time walking into the house when Willard did not know he was there and Willard was playing away on a bagpipe chanter--and very good music, too.  Alden said Willard was very distant in those times (he attributed that to Willard living in the woods by himself), but he was very intelligent.
      One time when they were still of school years, Alden and Ronnie hitchhiked out to Diamond and they walked up the old road to MacIntosh Lake where they fished for the day.  I believe Alden said Willard made his abode around MacIntosh Lake in those early times and then later at Gully Lake.  They never saw Willard at all going in or at the lake.  Late in the afternoon, they though they'd better get going down the old road to Diamond and get on their way home before dark.  Although they hadn't seen Willard, he obviously had seen them earlier and though he'd have supper ready for them on the way out.  He met them on the old road and invited them over to the cabin.  There Alden said he had the most fantastic meal he had ever eaten.  It consisted of  venison and vegetables of all sorts, but nothing he had ever seen before.  When asked, Willard said they were wild vegetables that grew in the earth and under water.  Alden said they were delicious, but he never saw them again in his whole lifetime.  Along with that he had fresh sourdough bannock ready for them, and, of course, cold spring water to drink.
      Over the years, Alden came across Willard many times.  Once he recalls he came into the old Saturday night dance at West Branch where Ronnie and Alden were playing the music for the dance.  Willard just sat there in the corner and never bothered anyone, just listening to the music.  However, some young thing went over and tried to play up to Willard.  Her boyfriend noticed this and came over to pick a fight with Willard.  Other guys joined in.  That episode ended very fast.  Alden recalls that within 3 to 5 minutes, Willard walked out of the hall and rode away on his bike.  Every other male in the place, except the band members, were lying on the floor trying to pull themselves back together again.  He had taken on the whole hall by himself!  As Alden says, "Willard was one able lad in his day!"
      And so the saga has continued for over 5 decades.
      When Donnie and I were just young, Jessie, Willard's mother, moved into the little house across from us on Beaches Road.  Fin was deceased by then.  Once a month, Jessie would pay us to take her out on a Sunday afternoon to see Willard.  She must of had some way of letting him know when she was coming.  We would park on the main road just past Earltown and she would walk up an old road by herself, but sometimes we caught sight of Willard meeting her on the lane and always walking her back to the edge of the woods before darkness set in.  He would wait up there and watch from between the trees until she got into the car.  Jessie took a little bag of things out to him every time she went. 
       Later, our nephew, Duane, who is an adamant hunter, came across Willard in his travels and began taking a 50 lb bag of flour out to him every fall.  On one of those occasions, Willard asked him into the cabin for some bannock. The sourdough bannock was make right on top of the old stove--no pan.  Willard just wiped the worst off the stove and put the dough right on top to cook it.  That's when Willard was getting old.   To my knowledge, Duane did not have any of the bannock.  But he recalls Willard with great admiration that he could resist the world all that time and be his own person.  The last time that Duane took out a bag of flour was the fall before Willard died.  At that time Willard told Duane that that was the last bag of flour that he would be needing.  A couple months late, he found out why.

Note:  There is now a Movie-Documentary out now about Willard.  We saw it at the theatre in New Glasgow on 25th of November 2007 and now they are occasionally showing it on television....It is exceptional....very accurate and had several short video clips of Willard.....it is a true to life thing.  Don't miss it!

 

                                                               YARD SALE CAN BE BAD FOR SELLER;  GOOD FOR BUYER

Quite recently in the States at a yard sale, a lady put out a still life painting she had hanging around the house & ticketed it at $10.00. It was snatched up by someone with a bit of knowledge who consigned it to a quality auction where it sold for $52,000.00.

Another interesting recent transaction:
An American lady was willed various items from her mother's home including a painting which the local art gallery told her could fetch several thousand dollars.  She consigned that into a quality auction hoping to get enough money to offset her son's college tuition.  The lady and her husband were painting a closet while watching the auction online and when their painting reached $30,000.00, the husband fell off the stepladder, but when the hammer fell at $620,000.00, they both fell back in shock.  It is expected the painting was by the mid 17th Century Italian Painter, Pier Francesco Mola (although unsigned), but apparently 16 bidders from around the world must have identified it.