VANCOUVER — Eric Cohen was touring the age-old charcoal at Machu Picchu in Peru aftermost bounce aback he had a revelation: “There’s too abundant to see in the apple to be ashore in a retail store.”
So the buyer of Architectural Antiques came aback to Vancouver and set about closing his shop, a battleground on Main artery for two decades. He put up signs for a retirement sale, and affairs to aing by Nov. 1.
He had advised to advertise everything, and not aces up any added stock. But again an old guy absolved in off the artery in June, accepted a table lamp.
“He puts it bottomward on the desk, and says, ‘Do you buy Tiffany lights?’” Cohen recounts.
“I said, ‘I do.’ He said, ‘Is this a Tiffany?’ I looked at it, and said, ‘It abiding looks like a Tiffany to me.’ It was a asleep ringer for a Tiffany, it was aloof a killer. He says, ‘OK. I’d like to advertise it.’ I said, ‘What do you appetite for it?’ He says, ‘$25,000.’
“I said, ‘Holy jumpin. You’re not giving it away, are you?’ He said, ‘Well, there’s a adolescent in New York that I alleged and he said he would accord me $25,000, but he wants me to accelerate the lamp bottomward there. He said, ‘Send the lamp, if good, we’ll accelerate cheque.’ And I said, ‘Send cheque, if good, we’ll accelerate lamp.’
“So I bought it.”
The man had been into several Main artery aged food afore Architectural Antiques. “He got offered $400 in one shop, $1,100 in addition shop. Addition boutique they threw him out, because they anticipation he was crazy.”
But Cohen knew what he was doing. The lamp angry out to be a attenuate Tiffany ‘American Indian’ architecture from 1910. He put it up for bargain at a Sotheby’s bargain this summer, and it awash for $92,000 US. His booty afterwards Sotheby’s agency was $78,000 US.
Eric Cohen has an amaranthine accumulation of belief like this. He’s one of the abundant raconteurs of the bounded aged trade, and a avid beneficiary of annihilation old.
He specializes in aged lighting fixtures, but you can acquisition all sorts of gems in his store, from aged phonographs with big assumption horns to wall-sized bashful cine posters and $75,000 decrepit bottle windows.
Passing an affected assumption art deco coffer stand, he notes, “I’ve endemic it three times.” It came out of an old Coffer of Nova Scotia at Granville and Davie.
“I got three of the coffer stands out of the Scotia Coffer and I awash them all,” he said.
“A guy who bought one was backward and said, ‘Do you appetite the coffer stand?’ I said, ‘Listen, I don’t appetite the coffer stand, it’s heavy, I’m retiring.’ He says, ‘If you don’t booty it, I’ve got the atom man coming, he’s activity to accord me $1,000 for it.’
“I went home and I couldn’t beddy-bye at night cerebration that coffer angle was activity to go to the atom man. In the morning I got up, phoned him and said, “Tell you what, I’ll accelerate my guy over.”
It’s for bargain for $5,000. The appliance is now 50 percent off, which agency you could aces it up for $2,500.
A brace of bodies from the Vancouver Art Arcade were aloof in attractive at a chandelier that ability go into the bank of the gallery. Ironically, the chandelier came out of the aforementioned architecture aback it was adapted from a courthouse into the art arcade in 1983.
“When Arthur Erickson (converted) the courthouse, they put all the actuality into that bistro (Richard’s on Richards),” Cohen explains.
“When Richard’s bankrupt they asked, ‘Do you appetite to buy this stuff?’ There were amazing lights, brownish doors from the courthouse, decrepit bottle — oh, we had aces things.”
One of his abundant finds was addition chandelier that came out of the old Hotel Vancouver, which was burst in 1949. He got a alarm out of the dejected from a woman in Abbotsford, who said she had a ablaze for sale. It was Friday afternoon, she was affective the aing day, and she capital $700.
Cohen asked her to alarm it.
“She said the alternation is about as blubbery as my father’s thumb, a big blubbery chain. The bandage about it is about a bottom high, and aback it was calm it was about 10 anxiety high.’ I said, ‘Can you acquaint me a little added about it? ‘Oh, it’s so abundant it takes four men to backpack it.’ I said, ‘’I’m coming.’”
After active two hours in blitz hour he accustomed and was directed to a barn.
“I looked around, I didn’t see it anywhere. Again I looked in the corner, and there’s this massive brownish chandelier ashore appropriate in the admixture and mud. Her ancestor was an electrician and got it out of the hotel; he was accomplishing electrical assignment and they said, ‘Just booty it.’
“I went to move the ablaze and it was ashore in the manure. I went aback to see her and said, ‘Do you accept a shovel?’ Her acquaintance says, ‘Well, we accept to adjudge on the price.’ ‘I anticipation we’d already decided.’ She said, ‘Well, we’re not so sure, we anticipate it ability be account a lot more.’
“I get in my car and was activity to drive abroad and she said, ‘No no no, Mr. Cohen here’s a shovel.’ So I shovelled it out and loaded it up.”
The chandelier was in actual asperous appearance — Cohen spent $25,000 accepting new crystals and demography it afar and regilding it. It afraid in the abundance for several years, but eventually awash for $100,000.
His better bargain was a brace of beautifully carved marble fireplaces that came out of the Rothschild abode in London. They had appear to BC for a abode that was never built, and he purchased them for $70,000.
“I wrote the Rothschild foundation and said I accept these fireplaces area Rothschild sat with Disraeli aback Disraeli bare costs for the Suez Canal,” he relates. “But they never got aback to us.”
He took out an ad in the Maine Aged Digest, the bible of the aged trade. Somebody spotted it in the online adaptation and phoned her aged dealer, Carlton Hobbs, who was aerial from New York to London in a clandestine jet.
“He afflicted flight affairs and came to Vancouver,” said Cohen.
Hobbs purchased it for $125,000 US, and Cohen told him he had addition one that wasn’t assembled. A anniversary after Hobbs came aback and bought that, too, for a absolute bargain of $227,000 US.
Shortly after Cohen got a alarm from a affiliate of the Rothschild family, who was accommodating to up the ante appreciably to get the fireplaces aback in the family.
“I alleged Carlton Hobbs and said one of the Rothschilds begin out about this and they’d accord your applicant 100,000 pounds profit,” said Cohen. “He said ‘My applicant wouldn’t advertise it for a actor pounds profit.’”
The 62-year-old has been into antiques back childhood. His ancestors ran Cohen and Cohen Annihilation in Ottawa, and he would accomplishment actuality that bent his eye.
“They were a scrapyard and annihilation (business), they had no absorption in antiques,” he says. “So I acclimated to go into the houses and booty out all the acceptable actuality aback I was a kid, 16, 17 years old. I started autumn it in garages. I abounding up one garage, again addition garage. Again three garages.”
On his aboriginal date with his wife Judith, he chock-full off to beat through a accumulation of actuality that had been befuddled out.
“We went through some old lady’s garbage,” Judith addendum with a smile. “And we still accept a lot of the stuff. Beautiful cottony gloves, hat pins.”
On their amusement in England, Cohen took Judith up to a baby boondocks alleged Burnley.
“There was a guy up there who had hundreds and hundreds of decrepit bottle windows,” he explains. “So I fabricated a deal, I bought all the decrepit bottle for $5 each. The guy loaded them into a alembic (and beatific them overseas).”
This was the alpha of Architectural Antiques in Ottawa.
Then, one day, Vancouver extra Nicola Cavendish absolved in and told Cohen, “Oh, you guys would do a killing if you confused to Vancouver. Nobody has this actuality in Vancouver.”
“About a anniversary later, some cine guy from Vancouver comes in. I had this abundant big decrepit bottle window, a decrepit bottle bank of a account in Italy. He said, ‘Would you hire this to us?’ I said ‘Rent? What do you pay for rental?’ He told me and I about alone dead.
“I busy the stuff, and thought, ‘Jeez that charge be the acreage of milk and honey.’ Again I get a call, ‘Mr. Cohen, we absolutely enjoyed accepting your decrepit bottle on the set. One of the actors admired it so much, he’s apprehensive if you’d accede affairs it.
“Would I appetite to advertise it?” he laughs. “I said, ‘Judy, we’ve got to see what’s accomplishing in Vancouver.’”
So they came out for a visit, admired it, awash the abode in Ottawa and confused to Vancouver. There accept been a few bumps — American community already bankrupt a Venetian bottle chandelier actuality alien to Sylvester Stallone in Beverly Hills — but they did absolutely well, both in antiques and in absolute estate.
Cohen is so a about antiques, it’s adamantine to brainstorm him retiring. Especially back his contacts accumulate phoning him up with deals he can’t refuse. He aloof purchased 700 ablaze accessories from a antecedent in Ohio, again bought addition 300 from a guy in Boston.
So he’s absitively to go into “etirement,” closing the retail abundance but affairs actuality online. In the aftermost brace of months, he’s alien actuality to Monaco, Panama, Nebraska and China.
“It’s a segue to retirement,” affidavit Judith. “There’s aloof so abundant actuality … Eric’s in the actuality business.”
“I can’t bandy annihilation out, that’s my problem,” says Cohen. “I can’t bandy out a little allotment of brass. I can’t — it’s brass.”
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