Four Rooms antiques expert Scott Landon is looking for a wonderful commode

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Scott Landon wasn’t entirely sure what to expect when he signed on to Four Rooms. But a chance to educate the public on his field of expertise was something the Vancouver-based antique dealer couldn’t pass up.

“Contrary to what people think, you don’t buy something for a dollar in a basement and sell it for a thousand bucks in your store. It just doesn’t happen,” Landon told the Straight, during a media day at the CBC shortly before Christmas.

And Four Rooms—in which Landon and three other experts from across Canada evaluate and offer what they consider the fair market price for people’s collectibles—is no Antiques Roadshow, either. “Where,” as Landon put it, “somebody comes in and says, ‘I’ve had this thing in my drawer for 30 years,’ and a guy can say, ‘Yes, at auction, 15 to 20 grand!’”

“Sounds all wonderful,” he continued, “but what is it actually gonna sell for? This you see happen in Four Rooms. You see the transaction from the item showing up to it being purchased, and you see what reality is. That’s the good part of the show. It’s real. It’s my money, and the negotiations were real.”

The catch with Four Rooms, which debuts on Sunday (January 5), is that the seller only gets one shot with Landon and each of his co-hosts. And you might have already rejected the best offer you’re gonna get—as we see in the first episode—for your mummified cat, or that couch that belonged to Ronnie Hawkins, or that signed letter from JD Salinger.

In the latter case, the owner of the Salinger autograph was looking for the highly unlikely sum of $60,000. The beauty of Four Rooms is that Landon and his partners could say: “Get real.”

“Come on, you might have two or three people in the country that you can even sell that to,” said Landon, rolling his eyes. 

Not that he hasn’t been impressed by some of the items that have turned up. As the show’s expert in Canadiana, Landon said he was “blown away” by a collection of flour bags that were shipped behind enemy lines by the Canadian government during the First World War, and subsequently repurposed into artwork.

“Fantastic story, fantastic historical significance, and I bought them,” he said. “Thrilled about them. Got them buried way until it airs, but it’ll appeal to somebody for sure.”

Meanwhile, Landon also knows that somebody, someday, could easily walk on set with his holy grail.

“Gimme a nice 18th century Quebec diamond point armoire, in original paint—well, there might only be half a dozen that are really pure that are in existence,” he said, wistfully. “That’d be great! Or a wonderful commode!”

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