René Mehrer and Leanna Nash never know who or what is going to come through their door at 4th Meridian, but that’s half the fun of being a collector.
For example, you could walk into their store today and purchase an erotic flipbook of French fashion from 1970, enemy plane spotting cards from the Second World War, an antique moustache curler and a handcrafted guitar shrine. They’ve even seen work from the anonymous street artist Banksy, allegedly.
“Somebody brought us a Banksy once, and that was out of our reach,” said Mehrer. “So we had to send them onto somebody else … there are so many Banksy fakes out there we just wouldn’t know.”
The two opened the shop and showroom in the Penticton Cannery Trade Centre in July 2018 and soon found their space filled with unique, one-of-a-kind paraphernalia and collectibles thanks to other keen collectors in the area. They also host ongoing online auctions of collectible posters and artworks at www.4thmeridian.ca.
“When we first started, we had a lot less, but people in Penticton have been hearing about us and they come down and like to consign. So we’ll take consignment, sometimes we’ll buy from estates, sometimes from people who collect in and around the Valley,” said Mehrer.
Both women have a passion for collecting, with Nash having 30 years under her belt as a private collector, before they decided to turn their hobby into a business. Aside from collectibles, 4th Meridian also deals in art, showcasing and auctioning off works by local artists.
Nash and Mehrer said the area has a large community of collectors, which means they try and cater to all interest in terms of inventory they take in. They said they do not accept large furniture, plate sets, or large figurine collections as they are hard to store.
“They are downsizing so they may just want to get rid of some of their stuff. Or they maybe moving into a smaller space so they can’t take the large items with them,” said Mehrer. “A lot of times, it’s things that they’ve loved and had in their house for 20 or 30 years — or they inherited but just don’t have room — and they’re looking to find a new home that will love these things as much as they did. They don’t want to just drop it off at a thrift store or take it to a landfill.”
The two have noticed some trends in the area as to what people tend to collect, but say that you can’t truly categorize the area as a whole as everyone has different tastes and find value in different things.
“There’s no one profile for a collector. We also have a lot of people who come from the coast so they’re looking for something entirely different,” said Mehrer. “Old maps of the Okanagan seem to go very quickly. Nautical items as well, people have been really interested in.”
Nash added, “We’re finding lately more industrial pieces are coming in, like more metal and salvaged pieces. It might have something to do with where we’re located.
“We thought we would be confined to the front two rooms, but naturally people wanted to come into the back because people going look for unique objects are looking to seek them out. And they think we’re hiding things back here,” said Nash with a laugh.
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