Allen Bensmiller’s 15 minutes of fame was, really, only about 10 minutes.
The affable Armstrong man was featured prominently in the first segment Monday of the popular History channel TV hour-long program, Canadian Pickers, with hosts Scott Cozens and Sheldon Smithens.
The show was shot in March.
“I thought it was good,” said Bensmiller, who runs Allen’s Antiques in Armstrong, though the segment was shot entirely at his residence.
“They edited out so much. They were at my house at nine in the morning and didn’t leave until five in the afternoon. We did go for a lunch break but there was so much recording going on.”
During the show, viewers saw the hosts issue a challenge to come up with the most macho item they could find during their stint in B.C.
They drove into Armstrong on a snowy March Saturday in their van and stopped off at Bensmiller’s home.
First place they checked out was the shed, where Cozens bought a number of matchbooks with pin-up girls on the cover.
“Not much more macho than pin-up girls on matches,” said Cozens.
Smithens donned a 1970s-style hockey helmet with the No. 11 on it, and the word “Killer,” along with a breast plate.
Cozens also bought a number of trolley car signs for $20 while, after some bargaining, Smithens pocketed a clock for $35.
The show then moved into Bensmiller’s home, where his collection of advertising items wowed Cozens.
“Scott likes the same things I do,” said Bensmiller during the show.
“He’s a sick puppy like I am for this stuff. Sheldon’s into the finer things in the hosue. Scott’s after what we’d throw in the dump.”
A must-have item for Cozens was a Five Roses Flour tin sign that was hanging on a kitchen wall, saying he had the sign one other time but traded it away and always regretted it.
After Bensmiller said $1,400 would take it off the wall, Cozens bartered down to $1,200, which Bensmiller accepted.
An Art Hider calendar went for $1,300 (and a beer), a table from Vancouver’s Broadway Hotel went for $350 (after a mock arm wrestling match between Bensmiller and Cozens), a 1909 school supply map sold for $300 and two painted glass images were scooped up by the pickers for $80.
“They bought a lot more stuff that you didn’t see on the show,” said Bensmiller. “They spent more than $5,000.”
Lots of people have told Bensmiller they watched the show, including his three kids who live in Toronto, Calgary and Kelowna, or want to know if they can watch the episode again (you can, at www.canadianpickers.com).
While some of his fellow collectors don’t like the idea of having television people come to their homes to look at their collections, Bensmiller thought what the hell.
“You only live once,” he said. “And the kids got to see the old man on TV.
“It was fun.”