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News / Life / Clark County Life

Grand gifts: local treasures are priced at $1,000 – and up

By Tom Vogt, Columbian Science, Military & History Reporter
Published: December 18, 2017, 6:03am
6 Photos
Chris Simons, owner of I Like Comics, pauses for a photo with a copy of “Captain America No. 6” from September 1941. The rare comic is one of perhaps 100 in existence.
Chris Simons, owner of I Like Comics, pauses for a photo with a copy of “Captain America No. 6” from September 1941. The rare comic is one of perhaps 100 in existence. Amanda Cowan/The Columbian Photo Gallery

Created a century apart, the two books reflect two of the most tumultuous periods in American history. The sculpture channels 10,000 years of Northwest cultural tradition.

Toss in a 290-pound mineral marvel, and it makes for some grand gift ideas.

A grand — $1,000 — also is where these item’s price tags begin, and they all go north from there. We visited four Vancouver stores and highlighted one item in each outlet. The four featured items add up to about $23,500, should you wish to buy them all.

“Captain America No. 6”

• $6,500

• I Like Comics

• 1715 Broadway

• 360-852-8890


The cover portrays Captain America clobbering a Nazi thug, knocking him head over swastika, as he rescues his young sidekick Bucky.

“It’s a very early Captain America, his sixth appearance,” said Chris Simons, owner of I Like Comics.

Simons is unsure what the press run was for that issue: maybe half a million comic books. A reference shows that 76 issues are on the market, graded according to condition. He estimates that fewer than 100 exist.

While $6,500 represents a nice boost from its cover price of 10 cents, this Cap comic isn’t even the most expensive item in the display case. The book that introduced the Justice League of America (the February 1960 issue of “Brave and the Bold”) is priced at $8,500.

But some interesting social and historical elements are woven into that Captain America cover. It was issued in September 1941. The United States wouldn’t enter World War II until December.

“Both creators were Jewish,” Simons said. “At the time of the war, comic heroes were involved before our country was.”

Captain America’s creators were Joe Simon (born Hymie Simon) and Jack Kirby (born Jacob Kurtzberg).

A full year before Pearl Harbor, their debut issue of Captain America (December 1940) showed him punching Adolf Hitler in the face.

Stick Indian

• $3,500

• Friends of Fort Vancouver store

• 1501 E. Evergreen Blvd.

• 360-816-6216


In creating human imagery as well as animal forms, Lillian Pitt draws from 10,000 years of regional influences.

They include the legend of the Stick Indian.

“They’re like the boogie man,” said Pitt, a descendent of Wasco, Yakama and Warm Springs people.

If families were out picking huckleberries, the children were warned not to wander off, or the Stick Indians would get them.

“You rarely hear of Indian kids getting lost,” Pitt added.

Her “Warm Springs Stick Indian” sculpture is a mask, cast in lead crystal. It’s priced at $3,500 in the Friends of Fort Vancouver store. (The store is inside the Fort Vancouver Visitor Center, 1501 E. Evergreen Blvd., opposite the east end of Officers Row.)

Other traditional inspirations include Coyote, Salmon People and She Who Watches.

Amethyst geode

• $5,000

• Exquisite Crystals

• 619 Barnes St.

• 360-573-6787


The biggest item at Exquisite Crystals is 290 pounds of purple dazzle that stands 40 inches high.

It’s an amethyst geode from Brazil — a rock with a hollow interior that is lined with purple quartz crystals.

The interior is about 20 inches wide by 16 inches deep. You can measure glitter by the square foot.

“We don’t sell them every day,” owner John Van Rees Sr. said. (The store is in the West Barracks portion of Vancouver Barracks, across the street from the historic Post Hospital.)

There is a market for them, however, said his son.

“They’re big in home decor,” John Van Rees Jr. said. “In an entryway, it’s a statement piece. They’re impressive, whether you know rocks or not.”

“Rarity is relative,” noted John Sr. A heavyweight geode “is common for people in our business.”

He pulled out a piece of rose quartz that’s also priced around $5,000, and it’s small enough to hold in his hand.

1855-1859 U.S. Congress autograph book

• $8,475

• Vintage Books

• 6613 E. Mill Plain Blvd.

• 360-694-9519


We sometimes look at the bickering in Congress and find consolation by saying that things could be worse.

The people in this book are who we’re talking about.

Today’s partisan politics? The 34th and 35th U.S. Congresses were worse.

This autograph album — priced at $8,475 — features 122 different signatures from the House of Representatives from 1855 to 1859.

It definitely is a one-of-a-kind collection, said Pepper Parker, a staffer at Vintage Books. “A lot of their signatures are available on different documents, but several are not available anywhere.”

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This is the era that foreshadowed the Civil War. In 1856, Rep. Preston Brooks of South Carolina entered the Senate chamber and attacked abolitionist Sen. Charles Sumner of Massachusetts with his cane.

In 1859, a brawl ended when Cadwalader Washburn of Wisconsin pulled off William Barksdale’s wig. The melee ended in laughter when the Mississippi lawmaker accidently put his hairpiece on backwards.

There weren’t any future presidents among the men. (They were all men: It was the 1850s). Several did become Civil War generals or governors.

Who collected all those signatures? That is lost to history, Parker said. As far as the book’s path to the store goes, “We must have gotten it from an estate.”

Columbian Science, Military & History Reporter