A former Surrey RCMP officer, turned professional antique collector, turned reality TV star, has relocated his business closer to his South Surrey home, bringing a warehouse of history with him.
“This is not your grandma’s attic” Scott Landon told Peace Arch News in his Campbell Heights warehouse, shortly before describing a 8.6-foot by 13-foot coloured banner promoting a circus act by Carter the Great from 1915.
The piece, hanged prominently in Scott Landon Antiques (105-2567 192 St.), which is attached to his warehouse, was created to advertise one of eight world tours magician Carter the Great made from 1900 to 1936. It’s worth about $7,500.
Landon, who started to dabble in collecting antique furniture 25 years ago, turned the hobby into a full-time career in 1999 after spending 13 years working for the RCMP. Items in his current curated collection include architectural elements, furniture, decorative objects, folk art, lightening and signs.
After operating a store on Granville street in Vancouver for 18 years, Landon moved his boutique to South Surrey in October.
Landon received national recognition for his keen eye after serving as a Canadiana expert for Western Canada in the CBC television show Four Rooms, which premiered in 2014.
The program was based off four negotiators, Landon being one of them, in their quest to purchase historical, valuable and sometimes unusual antiques.
“I didn’t reinvent the wheel, I’m not the smartest guy on earth. However, I have an inventory and a network for antique furniture that is probably second to none in the country,” Landon said last week. “It’s antiques, it’s vintage, it’s art, it’s architectural.”
Landon says he gets most of his collectibles from North America, and cites his contacts for his success.
In the days before the Internet, Landon would travel to antique shows in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Toronto, Calgary and Portland.
“You network with people and its easy to navigate across the country and see who’s who in the zoo, and they know about you. You can start playing like that,” he said.
Landon provided an example of how having contacts can work in his benefit.
He said that he got an inside scoop that New York City’s 18-storey Vanderbilt Avenue Building – built in 1902 by the same architect that designed New York’s Central Terminal – was to be demolished in 2016.
“I was the only Canadian guy to go in there and buy stuff that was coming off the building… I brought back cast-iron angels and ornaments that came off the building that were second to none. I didn’t even have to show it to anyone, I just called my top five clients and boom, it was gone.”
Landon, who has warehouse space in Chicago, New York and Montreal, will fly to those cities to put together a deal, he said.
“I can’t emphasize enough how it’s all about connections and contacts.”
Landon said the antique business has “taken it on the chin for a long time,” and that there’s more to it than “grandma’s rocking chair.”
“There’s a lot more responsibility for the whole thing. You have to give a curated product. When you sit in my store, I will tell you that’s an 1870 buffet from Ontario and it’s worth $850. I better damn well know what it is. You have to give that person all the information they need to make the decision.”
Although he serves international clients, locally he has found success furnishing commercial businesses as well as private homes.
Recently, he sold a portion of a 1920s’ 20-foot by 10-foot cabinet that came out of a soon-to-be demolished hardware store in Toronto. He refurbished it, now a section of it has gone to La Taqueria in Downtown Vancouver and the other section is “probably” going into a private home as a back bar.
“It will live on for who knows how many years.”