After sailing the high seas and landing in the home of a Baltimore ship surveyor, some nautical treasures washed into the hands of antiques appraiser Alex Moshtagh at Community Centre 55 last week.
Beach resident Shelly Hill says the nautical pieces she brought in – a captain’s clock, a copper ship’s lantern and a stash of aged Scotch whiskey – are just a few of the gifts her uncle John Wallace received from ships’ captains in his 27 years as a ship surveyor for Lloyd’s Register.
Wallace, who passed away just last month, travelled up to 6,400 km a month to inspect and certify ships that had run into trouble in US, Caribbean or Central America.
The two-foot tall copper and glass ship’s lantern that Hill brought in for appraiser Moshtagh is the smallest of seven her uncle collected, she said.
Moshtagh, who curated a private collection for 10 years before joining Oakville’s Treasure Antiques, said the lantern is worth about $1,000 and would likely fetch twice that in Baltimore, where it has a connection to a local shipyard.
Prices for such pieces have taken a hit in the current economy, he said. Nevertheless, he said Hill’s lantern is fairly rare and has a particularly attractive look.
“Antique metals should look antique,” he said, advising Hill not to polish the lanterns. “For a lot of collectors, the patina is the most important thing.”
Moshtagh says the Beach has yielded some highly valuable antiques before. At another drop-in appraisal last year, one Beacher brought in a painting that Moshtagh recognized as a Franz Johnston, a Group of Seven painter. It is likely worth some $25,000, he said.
“You just never know what you’re going to find.”