When antique shop owner Alexander Archbold spent $10,000 for the contents of a house owned by a casual acquaintance of his in Edmonton, Canada, he thought he was taking a risk. He knew Bette-Joan Rac was unique — well-traveled music teacher who was always draped in designer clothes and jewelry — and that her house was crammed floor to ceiling with boxes, clothes, magazines and what looked to be junk. In a best-case scenario, he expected to break even by selling Rac’s grand piano and a few other trinkets. 
What Archbold found was a treasure trove of silver bars, vintage designer clothing, quality jewelry and art. He’s already made $250,000 in one of three planned auctions by Edmonton’s Kastner Auctions. “We were emptying out some leaflets in the front room and some little silver bars fell out. They were hidden among the magazines and garbage,” he told an Edmonton reporter. Further searches revealed plastic bags and shoes filled with gold jewelry, a 100-ounce bar of silver hidden under a mattress and vintage designer clothing stacked ceiling high in some rooms. 
Archbold estimates that the total contents of Rac’s home could be worth about $400,000.  
He plans on using his unexpected windfall to realize his dream of opening a café beside his shop. The grand piano will hold a place of honor in that café. 

estate of piano teacher with coins money grand piano vintage clothing

Photo: CBC News / Alex Archbold



6 responses to “Antiques Shop Owner Makes Surprising Find”

  1. moharmony50 says:

    P.S. to DM1: The heirs had just finished emptying out their parents’ house which I gather was exhausting. They had no idea what was in Madame Rac’s house. They put the project up for bid, and Curiosity Inc. was the high bidder. I think the whole project was quite absorbing and I recommend watching it on YouTube. Enjoy!

  2. moharmony50 says:

    DM1, Jezbela, Musicwhere made assumptions based on the usual human behaviors of greed (Alex’s) and laziness (the heirs). Neither of these are correct, but I gather from watching his YouTube series that you weren’t the only ones with those unkind thoughts. Please watch the Curiosity Inc. series on “The Musician’s House”. I don’t know him so make up your own mind. My opinion is that he is an honorable man and not a two-faced liar). He also addressed the fact that he had found so much and was told that there were no hard feelings. Madame Rac was an only child and had no children. Her heirs got the keys to four safe deposit boxes and deeds to property in several locations. As to how much it costs to build (not renovate) a restaurant, ask around. He has to put in infrastructure on what is basically a vacant lot. He could also use some money to pay the bills and his shop and for his family. Be nice, y’all!

  3. DM1 says:

    So happy for the buyer and YES it was a huge gamble with that kind of money. I am always amazed at what other people think “others” should be doing with somebody else’s money! He probably did donate to some worthy cause but it probably won’t be good enough or the wrong non-profit cause according to others! Where were the heirs? Too lazy to do any of the work themselves so why would he give them a dime! He already gave them what they asked for $10,000 so they deserve nothing! This guy did all the work, hired a truck and probably spent a tremendous amount of time and labor to move all this stuff out and store it. The heirs probably wanted the house emptied quick to sell the house so they could get that money. Their family member’s heirloom’s meant nothing as they sold it for $10,000. I know from experience it does take a couple 100K to get up and running a restaurant and get noticed before any profits are seen. Its wonderful and thoughtful that he is keeping the piano and putting it in his establishment. I hope people spend hours playing it. So happy for this guy!!!

  4. jezbela says:

    Surprising find…riiiight. No dealer buys a $10,000 estate with the plan to break even. I am all for tripling your money – or more – but don’t tell me he was surprised. He was counting on these finds!! The guy is a good gambler! But I think he should have kept his winnings to himself…this exposure will bring him nothing but trouble.

  5. Musicwhere says:

    I’m glad for the finder but it seems to me he could at least donate 10% of his final proceeds to some worthy needy non-profit especially since he will not only have recouped his initial 10K, but netted another 390K. Even after taxes it’s a nice tidy sum/profit. And I wonder was his casual acquaitnace dead; seems so, so maybe her heors could get some. Anyway, decency and altruism comes in many shades. I know from experience it doesnt take 400K to open a restaurant.

  6. TRay says:

    The story about the Edmonton house took me back 45 years to Lakewood, Ohio, where I worked in the water department. In a nice area of town, there was a house that was inherited by a man who apparently had mental issues because he continued living there after all utilities were cut off for nonpayment. When he wanted water, he “borrowed” a bucketful from a charitable neighbor. Entry and egress were through a window because he couldn’t open an exterior door because they were blocked by piles of magazines, newspapers and other clutter. After years of fighting city hall, the man finally agreed to move out when the building department won a court case declaring the property a public nuisance, seeing that it was a fire hazard and had an emanation of smell that disgusted most life forms. Prior to demolition, utility companies entered so as to properly disconnect their respective services. Afterwards, our representative reported that, along with a baby grand piano, money was scattered throughout. No one chose to pick up any souvenirs because, in addition to the honesty of the workers, everything was layered with a scuzzy film, even the money within magazine pages.

Leave a Reply

Featured Articles