Sunday, December 31, 2017

Wild West Outlaw Treasure - Treasure Lead #8

This lead consists not of buried ill gotten loot, but of two gifts.

You see, I was talking with an old timer, a real cowboy, who is versed in the local lore of his area.

Word is that Jesse James, Frank James and two other outlaws of the James-Younger gang hid out in Southern Manitoba after (at least) one of their robberies.

The story goes that Jesse & one outlaw stayed at one farmer's place, and Frank and the other outlaw stayed at another farmer's place, all 4 posing/working as farm hands over the winter.

Apparently the Pinkertons had a blockade set up across the USA, being determined to catch the brothers as they tried to get home to the south.

When it came time to leave Manitoba, the brothers readied their horses, but found the two thoroughbreds they arrived on were not recovered/ready, so they left their two stallions here, and took one of each of the farmers' horses. 

So, there is probably some of the James' horses' DNA  floating around in some of the horse population here! 

Frank was appreciative for the lodging given him and his associate, and had presented his host with one of his Colt pistols. What model it was is unknown, at least at the moment!

This firearm was said to have been seen by a friend of mine in a collection back 30 or 40 years ago. He was told the gun had belonged to Frank James, but at the time he brushed the information told to him off as fantasy...but hearing this additional  story some years later has given him pause....could it be a colt that belonged to Frank James is in private hands right now?

Jesse on the other hand, presented a fancy bridal to the son of the farmer he and the other outlaw lodged with, as the son had admired it.  The bridal has not been seen (recognized) in recent times.

Fall had become winter, likely winter had become spring, and by that time the Pinkertons gave up. The outlaws made it home, probably during the late winter or spring. 

The trick to these treasures, beyond the monumental task of finding them, is provenance

It has been a rumour/tale told through generations that the James brothers came up to that particular part of Southern Manitoba after their robberies, but how do you prove it?  Are there photos floating around of the brothers posing with the families, or their images in emblazoned on a cabinet card that is marked with a Manitoba area photographer's markings, or their images with landmarks in the background that can be identified positively to those areas? 

The more time passes, the more tenuous those connections are, if they even exist. 

So, the next time you see a fancy bridal or a colt pistol from that era, it should be on your mind to ask if the person knows the history of the piece...maybe, just maybe the infamous James brothers once owned them!

A Colt Revolver with provenance as belonging to Frank James. Could this be the mate to the one that he left with the farmer in Manitoba?  (Image from this cool page:

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Fly, Fly Away - Treasure Lead #7

This lead actually is a ground based lead, but does have to do with flying.

During WW2 under the BCATP had air training bases spread across Canada.

So, what happens when a government owned facility becomes surplus, like so many did post when World War 2 ended?

They are closed, and their contents disposed of; usually through various means, including redistribution to other government facilities, by public auction, etc.

In the case of the bases, there was so much material to dispose of it would have been overwhelming. 

The bases had their own dumpsites for disposal of base generated trash, which all on their own would be interesting enough to excavate....though possibly dangerous, as well.

You have heard of the myth of buried Harley Davidson motorcycles in crates? 

Well, I got wind of one airbase where there were supposedly surplus aircraft engines in crates disposed of in one particular BCATP dump site!

Unwanted then, perhaps, but now are highly sought after by air craft restorers, museums, and collectors of WW2 aviation history.

So there you have some WW2 era buried treasures just waiting to be excavated!

Friday, December 29, 2017

The Manitoba Runestone - Treasure Lead #6

No idea what a runestone is?  Click here to find out.

Yes, I have a lead on a Norse in Manitoba!

It, like the Kensington Stone discovered before it, was found tangled in roots of some trees a farmer was taking up while clearing land for cultivation.

This stone was said to be sandstone, which doesn't bode well for preservation, being as stone that would soon weather after the inscription was carved....except this stone's location made it the ideal candidate for preservation underground.

You see, it was located at a spot that would have been lakeshore of one of Manitoba's largest lakes.

If you are familiar with those lakes, you will realize that come winter and spring, the ice can move ashore under certain conditions, and would effectively bulldoze the stone. 

This action would have likely tipped it over and as fate would have it, it seems to have been covered up either at that time, or gradually by further seasons of similar ice and wave action/erosion. The location it was found at is now roughly a mile from the current location of the shore. BUT, when you take into account isostatic rebound, it is located on what used to be the lake shore during the period the Norse could have theoretically traversed the lake system, 900 to 1400 AD. 

Don't bother going looking for it at its discovery site, though. It was removed, and shortly after broken in two pieces. It was then in assorted private hands.

However, I have traced it to its last known location. Just a matter of doing some door knocking now. This might just be the first treasure I do locate out of the ones I have already listed....or I may find out it was discarded, destroyed due to the owners not knowing what they had. 

Not looking forward to it being that particular outcome.

Either way, there is a photograph of the stone out there, and if you have heard of said stone, and know of where I can get a crisp copy, I'd be grateful for the assistance. 

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Hagar the Horrible Would be Proud - Treasure Lead #5

As the title of this posting indicates, this lead has to do with VIKINGS!

No, not the football team...

Actual, real VIKINGS!

Yes, some may find this lead hard to believe, being that we have been taught for generations that the Vikings never made it inland. 

This has proven false.

There have been too many discoveries of Norse artifacts dating between 900 and 1400 AD on Canadian and American soil...actually FROM our soil. These are artifacts that line up and fit together (forming a perfect path down through to the Kensington Stone) all too well for the naysayers....but, the whole debate about Norse incursion into the interior of Canada and the USA is an entirely separate topic, though it is intertwined with this lead.  I won't bother debating the whole Norse in Norther America subject here, as I don't wish to bore some of you with the hows, whys, whats, wheres, etc....but, be forewarned, I have a couple leads of this nature.

In this case, the items in question consist of a Norse helmet and sword, hidden in a cave in a wilderness area of Manitoba.

The lead was given to me from the person who saw the items as a child, who stumbled upon them due to his curiosity about the contents of said cave which was in a rock face. He and another child climbed said rock face to check out the small cave, and looked in, seeing a helmet with a spike on top, as well as a dagger or sword.

This was over 50 years ago, but, being in the area it was/is, I suspect the artifacts are still sitting in the cave untouched.

The description of the helmet as having a spike on top initially gave me the impression that it sounded like an early militia type helmet or a perhaps a German Pickelhaube. 

However, the location made no sense if it was a German helmet, and unlikely, though not out of the realm of possibility, of being a early militia helmet of some sort.

Considering the general location, it would make perfect sense for it to be a particular styles of Norse helmet, which was made in such a way that there is a point on the top. (On a side note, the typical horned "Viking helmet" seen in movies, etc, is essentially an Operatic/Hollywood fabrication

But, I will not know for sure it is Norse, of course, until I am able to see for myself.  Even if it is another type of helmet, it certainly does not belong in the middle of the wilderness.

What ever type of helmet it is, it is sure to be a treasure, and bring up a new mystery of how it and the dagger/sword got there.

Go Vikings!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Treasure On A Platter - Treasure Lead #4

Despite what the title seems to say, this treasure will not be easy to get.

I need to learn how to Scuba dive.....or at least hire someone or a crew that does scuba dive.

Yes, it IS sunken treasure!

It is in freshwater, that much I will reveal.

The other part I can reveal is that the treasure was initially trash....but has grown in value dramatically since it was submerged.

No, sorry, no lost Bugattis!

This is made up of many smaller things...


Specifically railway marked china.

I have the general location of a hoard of railway china, which was disposed of by the railway in a body of fresh water many years ago.

Now, what good is a bunch of old china?

Well, check out the prices of railway china on eBay.

Let's say there are 500 an average of even a lowly average of $100 a piece. Because of its age and what railroad it is, I suspect there will be many pieces worth more than that, as well as some worth less, of course. 

So, there you have treasure lead #4! 

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Treasure Intangible - Treasure Lead #3

This 3rd (and these are in no particular order, by the way, other than when I have done each posting) treasure can not be touched.

Not all treasure is made up of tangible goods. 

Sometimes the treasure to be found is information.

Information unknown, long lost to history.

I've blogged about this particular lead before , so some of you are already familiar with my pursuit of the identity of a notorious and mysterious criminal, the man known as The Mad Trapper Of Rat River.

I am 95% sure I have found his true identity.

I also believe I have stumbled upon found the route he took while on the run before his death in the Yukon.  Thi includes crimes he likely committed, and links to evidence found on his person in the Yukon. Part of the trail runs through Manitoba/Saskatchewan, and some other invents involving him occurred in Ontario.  The man really got around....which not surprising for a criminal on the run.

If you want to keep abreast of this, watch my blog here and Like my Facebook page!

The Mad Trapper in Death

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Treasure With the Blackflies - Treasure Lead #2

Those of you familiar with Canada's northern portions and the huge biting insect population it contains will have an inkling where my next treasure lead is.

That being it is in Northern Canada, and in this case, Northern Manitoba.

Yes, those wonderful blackflies are one of the hazards I may have to contend with should I pursue this lead.

You see, the item I am after has reportedly sunk back deep in the muskeg from whence it came many years ago.  How it emerged is quite an interesting story in itself, but revealing that will narrow down the location, which I do not wish to reveal yet.

What I am after is a dugout canoe, reportedly with a primitive axe embedded in one end.

It would be a wonderful archaeological find all on its own, but the location makes it more astounding....

There are no trees remotely near that area that are of the size required to create a dugout log canoe!  

So, there is treasure lead number 2!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Oak Island Treasure! - Treasure Lead #1

I said I'd reveal some of the leads in future blog postings, and I will reveal one in this posting.

Treasure comes in various forms, though typically people generally first think of pirate treasure chests overflowing with golden doubloons and precious jewels.

Being that I am landlocked, finding pirate treasure is unlikely. Yes, even though I am a 15 minute drive from Oak Island, I am nowhere near potential pirate treasure....  

Mainly because it is the wrong Oak Island. I am nearly 4000 KMS away from the right Oak Island, where the Oak Island Treasure is purported to be, and the location where "The Curse Of Oak Island" is shot. 

Don't get me wrong, there is potential to be some sort of treasures around the area of the nearby Oak Island...but certainly no pirate treasure. There is a prehistoric buffalo jump near there, and it was a Metis stronghold where Louis Riel may have stayed on his journey across the province.

History is important in the search for treasure.

 It is entangled with every treasure.

And one of the treasures I seek is part of history.

Specifically, part of the early history of the Canadian Pacific Railway's venture to link the country together with many miles of cold steel. 

As some not well known local lore states, there was a steam locomotive travelling down the tracks, and it hit a spot where the track had been built over what turned out to be quicksand once the ground thawed. Reaching this point of the tracks, the locomotive lurched to one side, tipped over and slowly sunk into the quicksand. 

I believe I have identified the most likely location of this long lost piece of important railroad history.

My research indicates the rail line was moved somewhat from it's original position in the area, which puts the age of this locomotive at about 125 to 131 years.

Now all I need to confirm or disprove my hunch is GPR (Ground Penetrating Radar)....not a cheap device.

So, without that equipment, proving the locomotive's location is not within my grasp.

Anyone happen to have some GPR lying around they'd like to contribute to the cause? 

Following Your Inner Child

Time to move on from those digital cats.

I am always looking at this business as what it is, a business. To me it is not a hobby, a flight of fancy, or a temporary situation. It has been 25 years, after all.

In that thinking, I tend to be attracted to other entrepreneurial thinking & musings of successful entrepreneurs. 

In that line of thinking, I came across a Ted Talk video the other day.

You probably will need to watch it to follow my line of thought and musings below. You might be able to follow without watching it, but, if you don't watch it and you are confused by my musings below, that will be why.

As a child, I loved the idea of being a treasure hunter.

Episodes of Jacques Cousteau's adventures that featured shipwrecks and other assorted treasure kept me fixated and after them my my imagination ran wild.  (It was on the 1 of 3 channels we did get on TV when I was a kid....Yes, I was so deprived!)

 What became of that kid?

Well, if you have ever read my blog from the beginning, you will already know that I basically ended up in the business by accident, after becoming unemployed (after almost 2 years before that employment paying for a computer education which was not what it was sold to us as, and which I did not use....)

Though, maybe my ending up in this business was simply fate.  

That first 25 cents forced into my hand as a child clicked a switch in my ultimate destiny.

So, I am a treasure hunter, but not in the fanciful way I initially pictured.

However, after seeing that video, I am inspired more to follow some other paths, or rather, another path more seriously, though carefully.

You see, I have accumulated leads which are to far more fantastical sorts of things, things that are off the track of what I normally pursue in my efforts to eke out a living. 

Maybe I need to pursue my true passion...true treasure hunting. 

What do I mean? What kinds of leads do I have? 

Well, they is fodder for my next blog postings.

Stay tuned!

Sick of Cryptokitties Yet?

I managed to figure out how to change the kitties name. Just clicking on the field allows you to change it.

So simple I missed it.

In my cryptokittie research I did happen upon another blogger who happens to have a cryptocurrency knowledge/financial background with a blog posting on the cryto critters.

If you are thinking of the digital cat images as an investment vehicle, you may wish to read that blog.

Again, I am coming at this from the point of view as a "collectible" to invest in, not as a digital currency in itself/non-collectible investment vehicle. 

That is what may cause a fork in the road it takes, delving away from the road Beanie Babies drove down.

The wild card with Cryptokitties is the technology they are part of.

My knowledge of the Blockchain, Ether, and all the rest is minimal, and if you do decide to "invest" in Cryptokitties or a cryptocurrency, I urge you to learn, learn, learn. 

Blowing off $10, $50, or $100 is one thing, but anyone investing hundreds or thousands into this sort of thing should try to gain some knowledge.  Playing around with it with a low sum of money is part of learning, but don't get tempted to put big money in while you are learning....that is a recipe for potential disaster.

 Getting rich quick is always attractive, but is rarely the fact of the matter, nor the result for most investors in such ventures.

Bitcoin started at under a cent each in 2010/2011, and now is in the $15,500 each range or so (numbers are constantly fluctuating, so who knows where they are at the time you read here to find out.)

Am I investing big money in Cryptokitties? 


Not that I don't think it has potential; I just see too much grey, volatility, etc, and, cash is tight. I have bills to pay that are important, and the time (for my wallet) is just not right.

But I am sure wishing I had heard of Bitcoin in 2011 and invested $100 in Bitcoin then.....and left it there. 

I would be a millionaire now....literally.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Going to Need More Virtual Litter..

I am officially a grandfather to a Cryptokitty...

Meet Fred (the name suits him, I think):

Now I need to figure out how to attach the name "Fred" to him permanently. I must be missing something somewhere...there has to be someway to name them, as obviously others have.

Something more to figure out when I have some time....but, need to concentrate on money making business, so back to work I go.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Cryptokitties Scratching the Furniture

For those of you who have come to my blog via Googling "Cryptokitties", and are not familiar with my ramblings, be scared....

be very scared....

Just kidding.

Might put you to sleep, a posting or two here might gross you out, but the blog is essentially harmless. (So I want you to think...Look DEEP into my are getting send me the contents of your bank account...)

Anyway, the whole thing with my view on Cryptokitties is not from the "gamers" is from the view of an old school antiques picker, and the viability of "digital collectibles" in this new age of the internet and technology.   If you came here for hints, cheats, inside info, well, this probably is not the place...though you will get some insight into how the collectibles world looks at "Marketed Collectibles".  

Only time will tell us whether Cryptokitties is a viable thing.

The software platform is certainly viable, and I can see dozens of uses for it in this business...and many with more potential than Crytpokitties itself. 

They have quite a few staff working on the site, but they sure could use an old school view of the market, someone like myself...hmmmmm, I could use another gig...maybe the change I need! 

 I do have one particular idea that would utilize the platform well, with little modification, and has serious legs to go far...who knows, it is one of those ideas that might just give eBay a run for its money on the stock market....or at least make the operator's wealthy. 

 What is the idea? Sorry, you'd have to be from Axiom Zen for me to tell you, and I'd still need that person to sign a NDA (non-disclosure agreement).  

Like the creators of Cryptokittie are bothering to read an antique dealer's/picker's blog, eh?  Too bad they likely are not....they could use some of the criticisms to tweak the site...and maybe gain some insight on the potential for the platform itself, from an entirely different point of view than they see it. 

(*in a Yoda voice*)  On the table leaving dollars they are.

I have 25+ years experience in the collectibles business, which is something that they really could use in order to get the maximum out of the platform. A totally different set of eyes, viewing the potential from totally different angles.

That seems to be the big issue with many sites....the tech side doesn't get the nuances and culture of collectibles, antiques, and this business in general.  

Take for example used to be an auction site....well, it tanked because of the way it was managed and operated. The tech side had no idea how the culture works in this business. Sometimes I wish I had never sold the domain name to them....oh well, had to pay bills!

Just a picker's life!

Where is That Litterbox...

Cigars all around!

So, I am now the proud father of 2 Crytpokitties!

I bought named Mau the other named Peach Otaku Anime Cat (POAC for short).

Anyway, I tried to breed the two of them together, and it turns out you need to pay even to a breed your own cats. I think I have issue with that.....seems to me they are mine, so breeding them together is my business.

Oh well.  Will pay the fee and see what results....Franken Kitty?

I am disappointed, as I thought that I would be able to create my own cat, add details, etc, but that seems to not be the case. 

So, here are the two cats:

I'll soon be a grandpa...., but apparently it takes 7 hours for them to have an, we'll have to wait. 

One thing you may have forgotten about is the $$$$$.  It has cost me about $30 US to get this far, between buying the two Cryptokitties, fees for buying  Ethers, fees for transferring money around, fees for breeding, fees to use Erthers to pay for breeding, etc, etc, etc. Hmmmmm. 

Quite the little business, with fees everywhere you turn. I think at this juncture I will stay with whatever I have after the "birth" or rather, hatch (yes, they have eggs), and see if in time I can sell one and recoup my expenditures, or at least part of my expenditures.   I don't mind sitting on my "investment" for a little bit, at least in this case it doesn't take up a ton of space, unlike my current inventory. 

It is also an investment in Ethers...theoretically they could go up in value, also, as Bitcoin has. Ethers seem to be the poor cousin of Bitcoin, from what I can see.  

Perhaps I can eventually buy some Bitcoin from the huge profits I get from breeding and selling Crytopkitties!  

Yes, that is sarcasm you can see dripping off of that sentence.

From what I can see thus far, unless you are right into Crytokitties, a real Cryptokittie nut, who is selling to other Cryptokittie nuts, I can't see how it could be profitable....unless your Cryptokittie gets bought for some outrageous sum (like the $104 million I mentioned in a posting previously).....which is unlikely, unless there is some stoned Arab Shiek with millions to burn who is enamoured by your Cryptokittie....

Looking more like an early Beanie Baby scenario. Might be an opportunity to make money early on, but the longevity of the idea might have a limited lifespan....but, then again, the internet is the Wild West, and someone might just give it legs by spinning off the idea off into something else. 

The thing is, seeing as you own the Cryptokittie, you theoretically could have Cryptokittie races....Crytokittie breeder's shows, heck Crytokittie catfights even.... It is yours to do with what you wish, after all.

Hmmm....Crytpokittie catfights....oddly enough, that might be an idea with legs. You heard it here first!  I certainly don't condone harm to animals, but when it comes to digital cartoon animals, well I may not have as much a problem with that....!  

Now that is something you can't do with a Beannie Baby!

Cryptokitties - The Saga Continues

So, now I am trying to acquire a base Crytpokittie.....

Am on the website, but can't figure out thus far how to get my own Cryptokittie, aside from buying a premade one from the marketplace.

These things are priced from 0.0003 Ethers ($3.13 Canadian) to 100000 Ethers ($104,512,000 Canadian)....

I am not sure who would pay $104 Million plus for a Cryptokittie....must be more than a few people into wacky tobacky on that site.....though, I doubt you could navigate getting on the site if you were, let's go with there just being some insane or overly optimistic folks..

And, it looks like I have to buy one first....or already have two and breed them to get another one. SO, I will buy two and start a breeding program of some sort, I'd guess....

Here go into the Crytokittie populated back in a bit!

Cryptokitties...Should I or Shouldn't I?

I am hearing crickets out snores....yet.   
I am assuming no one cares to invest their 2 cents as to whether I should go for a Crytokittie or not....

Oh well, it is too late anyway...

OMG, yes, I did do it, I have started to delve into the world of Cryptokitties....

But, first I had to download an app called METAMASK

Fair warning, I get the feeling this may seem more like a programming blog than my typical posting....

Oh man, stymied all ready....

It requires you to purchase a cryptocurrency......surprise, surprise.

In this case it is a currency called "Ether"......nope, no Bitcoin here.

Hmmmm...going to put me to sleep, is it?

(Yes, I realize it is a play on Ethernet...just being a smartass)

OK, let's see how far we can get without buying any Ether. 

Bit of a says I need to get yet another App....being that I live in Canada I have to buy it from an Exchange....which means downloading an app called Coinbase....then transferring the currency from the Coinbase wallet to the Metamask app.

I'm already getting a headache....

And, it almost seems like Cryptokitties is a way to get you to buy into the cryptocurrency ETHER.

A marketing ploy on the part of Ether, perhaps?  Who knows....or perhaps I have hit upon the way Ether is going up against Bitcoin as an investment?

So, back to it....

Hmmm...looks like I can't get any farther without buying Ether...

Oh, wait, found the marketplace for Cryptokitties....

Hmmm....well, I am not much of a gamer, I generally don't have time for video games of any kind, so this is already boring me...

What I see is basically the fears/points I mentioned in the last blog identical looking animal with variations.....and already there is over 80,000 Cryptokitties available. 

This might not be a well educated thought, but my gut says it won't fly in the collectables community. 

It is missing that tangible aspect....collectors of the type I know want to be able to touch their collections. 

But, perhaps this really is meant for a new type of collector out there....those folks living virtual lives....spending most of their time online, for whatever reason.  

I can't see even the seasoned Franklin Mint collectibles buyer going to want Cryptokitties. 

But, I am going off on a tangent again....  I downloaded Coinbase and am attempting to dive head first into the world of Cryptokitties!

OK, I admit, I'm not diving in head first...let's just say I am getting my pinky toe wet.

I am now to the point of having the software apps needed to get a Cryptokittie. 

Let's see how things my next blog posting. 

Ooooo yes, quite a cliffhanger! 

Sunday, December 17, 2017



The latest collectable! 

Now, I realize you may be having images of zombie kitten figurines or cat figurines wearing dark Goth makeup sitting in rows on shelves at the mall, but you'd be wrong.

They are actually cartoon cats....with so much more.

Now, if you don't already know how I feel about marketed collectables (Franklin Mint, numbered collector plates, etc)...

Well, I don't like 'em. They are simply not true collectibles....and their potential to go up in value tends to exist only in the marketing literature.

Cryptokitties may well be different, however.

Not saying I like them....but they are intriguing.

You've probably heard of Bitcoin and possibly other cryptocurrencies.
If not, they are basically digital money. Click on the highlighted words to get a definition of them, if you wish.

But you are wanting to read about collectibles here, right? So, I will get back on track tangents this time....going down just the bitcoin tangent alone would be year's of blog postings.

Cryptokitties are based on the same technology as Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, blockchain technology

From their website:

What is CryptoKitties?

And they go on to say: 

What’s the big deal?

Ain't that sweet? (Can you hear my eyes rolling?)

So, basically, what I gather is they are digital collectibles with solid provenance.... 

That is, as long as the internet is around.  But, I guess if the net goes down permanently there will be other issues to deal with than the provenance of your the apocalypse...and getting your Mad Max-esque vehicle going. 

The whole digital collectible thing is unusual enough that it puts a twist in the potential of these "collectibles" rising in value. 

Could this be the true collectible of the future?  Could we be trading in Cryptokitties soon?

Apparently, you build your own Cryptokittie. So, there is potential for the spawning of noted Cryptokittie creators; Cryptokittie artists that are more sought after than some Joe-public's Cryptokittie.

Just this little bit of perusal into the world of non-tangible colllectibles boggles the mind.

My question is, can this really be a viable thing?

It could be premature in its birth, being that Bitcoin's longetivity is still up in the air in may people's minds...and only time itself will cure the general public's reluctance to accept bitcoin as a long term viable currency....or, for that matter, to get them to understand it. 

Hell, I am still not so sure I understand it completely.

But, I DO understand marketed collectibles.

Crytokitties is just that, a marketed collectible......but with a twist.

That twist is technology....and technology that is interwoven with the internet.  It is part of the fabric of what we have come to use daily. 

That is a wildcard in this situation.

There are people who live virtually their entire lives online. 

Yes, the pun was intended...and will save me from writing out the sentence twice to say two different things.

There are people who live virtual lives, spend money on virtual property in all sorts of games like "Second Life" and a multitude of other video games of the more or less traditional sort, of which  markets have popped up to buy accoutrements of all sorts; weapons, gear, virtual real estate, actual characters themselves, etc, etc, etc.

So, people owning a virtual collectables is not so crazy as it may first seem to some people. 

What makes Cryptokitties different from Franklin Mint?


Or, rather, that is the main thing that makes it different.

A solid historical record and chain of ownership of the "Cryptokittie" since its creation.

The other thing that makes it notably different from Franklin Mint's business model is that each Cryptokittie is potentially (and more than likely) unique.

But in that I see a problem.

Franklin Mint's business model was selling oodles of a single identical object....albeit they may be numbered with a unique number...but when that number is in the thousands, the uniqueness of that object is solely the number itself...and no one gives a rat's ass about the number on the bottom being unique.

I can see Crytokitties potentially having the reverse of that issue.

They are all unique. 
Now, that is normally a good thing when it comes to collectibles. You find a Hot Wheels car that has the wrong decal on it you may have found a treasure, or a Barbie in a rare hair colour.  Or, areas of collecting that are not so heavily marketed in the same way, like Folk art, paintings, etc, etc....

  But, uniqueness, my friends, could basically make them all the same, especially when you reach a critical mass....a large quantity.

They are virtually all the same. Same general shape, style, etc.

Kind of like Beanie Babies....except there is only one of each. 

Sheer potential numbers is the problem here. 

Theoretically, and most likely, problems will arise with mass quantities of Cryptokitties being created. That will literally make them all worth the same. 

So what if Fred's and mine are two different colours, they are basically the same...put them together as a collage, and eventually you will no longer see individuals. 

 Oh, but they are created by individual artists you say? 

And, oh, but you can breed them you say?

Problem with both of those scenarios is they are constrained by a predefined set of rules....the programming. Set colours, designs, etc. 

But, there is enough variation that there certainly can be huge quantities of almost "unique" Cryptokitties created....but that is the problem again....sheer numbers.

Now, if you put a pile of folk art together from different artists, however, and you will still see individuality, no matter how large that pile grows.  

Put a pile of Cryptokitties together and I suggest what you will see is one style....all different, but all the same STYLE. They are not technically unique. The programming will limit them to a certain form, shape, and/or very general appearance.

Plus, you will need a secondary market to want to buy those Cryptokitties....and a secondary market willing to pay prices exceeding each individual Cryptokitties' cost to be created.

Will there be that sort of secondary market?

Or are Crytpokitties just the first of what could be considered virtual Beanie Babies?

Like with all collectibles, time will tell.  But, personally, I don't plan to invest heavily in Cryptokitties.  

I already bought my a few beanie babies years ago in a weak moment, thank-you very much. At least I can give them to a kid to get some joy out of.

But perhaps I am being too hasty? Perhaps I should give Cryptokitties a shot? 

What do you think, should I get in on the main floor of the Cryptokittie market? 

Leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts! 

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Optimism, Where Art Thou Optimism.

Being the type of person I am, I usually I have a deep well of optimism.

These days it has been harder to retrieve a bucket or two of it from the depths.  I guess the events of this summer kicked me even harder than I thought. 

My blog is real, I don't sugar coat things, don't put on a happy face when things are far from happy.  It is tough for me to be "fake". Others can do it well, but I am really about authenticity.    

Like Forrest said, "Life is like a box of chocolates"....

But, that quote really only holds true if there is a chance that some jackass has put in a little dollop of dog shit in one of those little crinkly plastic compartments.  

Avoiding those and those chocolates contaminated by that turd is about the best we can strive for.   

 I know I might get an orange cream (which I don't exactly find tasty) or some bizarre nougat that I am are not sure I like or hate...but damn if I don't get a tainted chocolate once and awhile....and this summer I wasn't diligent enough and managed to sink my fingers into a turd.

I didn't eat that turd, though, unlike Divine in that John Water's flick "Pink Flamingos".

How am I aware of that film? I naively saw it when I was in my early 20s, a friend telling me it was a classic.   Believe me, with after sight being 20/20, I'd rather not have seen it.  But, I did...and images I wish were not etched in my mind are now there...some fading, oh so thankfully fading.

Anyway, though it felt I was being force fed that turd of an experience, I battled back, and ended up basically on top....that is, my property is still mine...or, rather, mine with shared custody of it with the bank and my ex. 

But the emotional scent of that event still lingers, affecting the work and accomplishments I have had since then.  Just have to get it faded farther out of my head, I guess. 

I am hoping sooner than later it becomes solely another chapter I have to write for my autobiography, and not a recurring memory that makes me wary of trying other chocolates. I need a fresh box to choose from, perhaps.  

 But, that is what going forward with the business is about, isn't it? 

Getting access to that fresh box, being there when the wrapper is taken off and being offered some from that full box, guaranteed no turds included. I might accidentally grab an orange cream or that weird nougat... but, you know, I am beginning to appreciate some of the flavours I was not so fond of.  

Sometimes you need to be just being happy to get offered some fresh chocolates in the first place.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Getting With It

Well, seeing as it is unlikely the business will sell in the near future, it is business as usual.   

Ok, you got will be sort of business as usual. I am slowly getting with the age it is...the internet age. 

It seems the days of being able to 'have the right product and the people will find you' is not how it is online.

Yes, some of you already know this, and I guess I have for awhile, too.

 Just been in denial, I suppose. 

Could be because I am a Taurus, stubborn in my ways, resistant to change.

But, online change happens quickly. And, I guess I will have to change the angle at the way I come at things online....because many changes have occurred over the last several years.  

Time to get "with it."

So, I have a friend who is into the internet end of business in general who is helping get me up to speed.

Made a step...signed up for an Instagram account....done nothing with it so far, but here it is, in case you want to get a jump on the crowd. 

So, Fedora Antiques is being dragged into the new millennium.

How quickly the changes will take effect, or, rather,  affect sales (as in increase sales,) waits to be seen.

I am cautiously optimistic....and crossing my fingers.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

What Would I Do With My Time?

The title is the question. 

What would I do with my time if I did sell the business?

Oh let me count the ways I would use my time....


Harder than I thought to answer that.

Yes, as I mentioned in the last post, I would get to writing, but that wouldn't be all.

I would be doing more research connected to the writing, even get some road trips planned and executed.  Things connected to Albert Johnson  (aka The Mad Trapper of Rat River), a buried steam locomotive, an ancient dugout canoe, Viking travel through Manitoba, and a number of other areas of research I have interest in.

I think I could well be kept very busy by those pursuits if I was unshackled from my business.  

 How to make a living would be another matter all together, though.

I'd likely need to have a book contract in place, something that would have an advance, to support me in groceries and other "life expenses" while I do my thing in creating a book...


A reality TV contract, perhaps? 

 The problem with most reality TV contracts is the first season is pretty slim when it comes to real money.   

I am sure I will find enough to do with my time....IF the business were to sell....but until then I need to sell, sell, sell.

So, ready, set, SHOP!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Time For a Change?

Lately I've been thinking of a change.

A pretty drastic change. 

I've been thinking of getting out.

Getting out of the antiques business, that is.

There are lots of reasons you could point to....


A desire to just do something has been over 25 years of this.
Or perhaps a midlife crisis?
The events of this past summer wearing me thin emotionally?
Repros and fakes flooding the marketplace via eBay (etc) with no end in sight?

But, the reason is pretty simple, when I think about it. 

 I am just plain tired.

I need a break, and I don't see any way of getting that break short of getting rid of the business entirely....or, at least all my inventory.  

But, that leaves me with a big question....what would I do?

Actually, that is easy....

I'd write....get my book(s) actually going, started, finished, down on paper/disk. 

I'd have to have that financial cushion in order to do that, which selling the inventory should give me...but, finding someone who:

 (A) recognizes the value in the inventory I have 
(B) is financially able to purchase the inventory

It would take $200,000 as a lump sum to buy me out, I figure. That is lock, stock and barrel. All my inventory, good and bad, high end and low end.  

Realistically, retail value of the inventory is likely in excess of $1 million......and that is no joke....and no I am not off my rocker. 

Remember, that is at retail; and frankly, taking it item by item it adds up fast.  Even at "wholesale" pricing...and by that I mean at the reduced figures the inventory would wholesale to other dealers at.... (say, let's use 50% of retail across the board) you're looking at $500,000 in inventory.


Not at all. Think of all the work that has gone into accumulating the inventory, piece by piece. Fuel, time, knowledge, sources, vehicles worn out, all those expenses incurred running around, hauling, storing sorting, and on and on and on. 

Factor in/add the expenses incurred in sourcing the inventory to the actual cash cost of the inventory at time of purchase, and you would be well over that $200,000 mark. 

  But, antiques and collectibles inventory tends not to be easy to liquidate into a million dollar figure in a short time. This is not a "get rich quick" sort of business.   You have to love the stuff  to be in the business.  

But I think I may be falling out of love with it.

I still get a high from the hunt, and I am good at it, so eventually, maybe  I'd do some "custom picking" for the new owner(s) of the business. 

Who knows. Most antiques businesses get liquidated by their owners; rarely do they sell "en bloc." 

It all seems pretty much all a pipe dream at the moment. 

But, then again, that could just be because I am tired.

So tired.


Saturday, November 18, 2017

Yes, It Has Been Awhile

Yes, it has been nearly 4 months since I last blogged, but in my own defence I have been busy trying to keep things afloat, and, frankly haven't felt like writing much.  Plus, am still suffering the emotional after effects of the drama of June. You'd think that now that the drama is over the anxiety would go away, but apparently it wants to hang around and  tends to have an effect on my activities...

I did do the Vintage Redefined Market in Calgary, Alberta the first weekend in November.  Left a couple days earlier than I would normally, though. I wanted to avoid some weather that looked like it might result in icy highways...getting more cautious in my old age, I guess! 

Here are some pics of my set-up:

I think the turnout would have been pretty decent had the weather not turned started snowing Wednesday and continued off and on Thursday and Friday, which did not help with road conditions.  Despite road conditions, there was a fair turnout, but many who had pre-bought tickets for the opening night didn't show up.   As a result, I didn't do as well as I needed to, so went home disappointed in my sales. However, the promotion, venue, etc was all done quite well, in my opinion it was just the weather that hurt sales.  

Better luck next year, I guess. 

There is a spring sale, which I do plan to attend. You can keep tabs on it at this link: Vintage Redefined Market May 25th & 26th, 2018 

Friday, July 21, 2017

General Store Pick - July 2017

Been awhile since I was out on what I consider a true "pick"....for reasons outlined in my previous post.

So, when I got a call to look at some items from a location I was familiar with, I decided it was time to carefully get back in the saddle again.

The owners are wonderful folks, a young family. They have the same mindset for preservation of Manitoba's history as I do, which was great to encounter. 

They'd love to preserve the building, but financially they simply can't put the kind of money into it that it needs to be properly preserved.

Here is the grand old lady:

And in true picker fashion, I located a piece the owners didn't
 realize they owned!

 Here are some more "action shots", along with pics of some of the other items I purchased:

Pick safe folks!