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Weekly Speaker Program

June 3, 2019: John Syratt, Antiques and Collectables dealer, collector, and appraiser.

Robyn Braley introduced our guest speaker, John Syratt. His topic was antiques and collectables.

John worked for the Lethbridge Herald, published City Lights in Calgary, and then started an industry magazine, Treasures. He also serves as a youth pastor in his church.

John became interested in antiques at the age of 12 when he was taken to visit a museum north of Toronto, and has been an avid collector ever since. He is also qualified as an appraiser.

In Canada, an object must be at least 100 years old to qualify as an antique.

John told us that 66% of people collect things. He illustrated that point by asking us what we collected, and got a substantial response, including what he identified as the strangest collectable he had ever heard of when one of us answered "pineapples!"

He told us that one of the most popular things to collect is records, particularly vinyl. 60s, 70s and 80s blues and rock are most popular, with country music not so much.

Other popular collectables that increase in value are sports cars, casino chips, knives, guns and, surprisingly for some, business or calling cards.

In the Alberta scene, Medalta stoneware was produced near Medicine Hat from 1916 to 1954, and there is now a not-for-profit society that promotes the products and events for selling and trading by collectors.

Both jewellery and trademarked items from the past are popular; but John warned us that some collectables lose value as they age, such as Royal Dalton figurines.

One of the strangest collectables he’s heard of, in addition to the pineapples, is skunks which one of his friends collects. He’s not certain how he keeps them!

Bob Pearson thanked John, and presented him with one of our world famous and hard to obtain collectable, a Motive Action Boltman.

  • John Syratt and Bob Pearson John Syratt and Bob Pearson

reported by Don Campbell

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