The Old Colony Memorial newspaper dates to 1859 and features an article about the laying of the Forefather’s Monument cornerstone.
PLYMOUTH – The Old Colony Memorial newspaper dates to 1859 and features an article about the laying of the Forefather’s Monument cornerstone. The painting is a Karl Kaufmann 19th Century oil on canvas of a Venetian harbor scene. And the Gottleib pinball machine with the spandex-clad, big-hair theme is so 1980s that J. James Auctioneers & Appraisers owner and auctioneer Josh Rioux can’t wipe the smile off his face.
The treasure hunt is always on at J. James Auctioneers & Appraisers, where Rioux, who is an appraiser and auctioneer, is called upon to assess the potential value of art, antiques and other rare objects. He buys the items on consignment and auctions them to the highest bidder. Now he’ll be able to do that in his own digs.
J. James Auctioneers has bought its own auction house – a place where Rioux can conduct the day-to-day business as well as hold auctions.
“I always wanted to integrate the auction and the business at one location,” Rioux said. “Nate Meyer of ERA Belsito & Associates called and said, ‘It’s a shot in the dark, but I want to show you a building.’”
The building is Cold Spring Chapel at 190 Court St., and Rioux said he stepped through the door and knew it was ideal.
J. James Auctioneers is now located here, where auctions will be held and customers and clients will stop by for consults on everything from coins to jewelry. J. James’ next auction is in March when the Venetian painting, the newspaper and many other lots will be sold to the highest bidder.
Step through the medallioned black doors of this church and you quickly see its potential as an auction house. Built in 1895, the building first served as a school house, and later as a Christian Science church. Over the years, the church has been rented out for weddings.
Rioux’s wife, Elizabeth, will continue to run the wedding business here, and the church will also continue to hold church services on Sunday – this time with The Revival Tabernacle Church.
Cold Spring Chapel is a well-preserved Neoclassical design without so much as a chip on the walls. Wood floors creak underfoot, and massive windows flank the pews, letting in plenty of natural light. Attending an auction here, in this 4,500-square-foot antique church, seems fitting, since attendees will be bidding on J. James Auctioneers’ antique lots.
“I’m not going to change anything with the space because it works perfectly,” Rioux said.
Auctions are free and open to the general public; just don’t accidentally bid on something if you go to watch.
Rioux acknowledges how fun his job is, in spite of all the research and sweat involved. It’s a little like Antiques Roadshow, as Rioux is always on a treasure hunt. He offers free appraisals at his office at Cold Spring Chapel, and will also make house calls for larger items. The identity of auction item owners is kept confidential.
“It’s completely the thrill of the hunt,” he said. “I am willing to crawl through basements, attics, barns, fighting spiders to find the undiscovered treasure,” he said, laughing. “I’ve walked through flooded basements with water up to my knees because I saw a beautiful piece of Sandwich glass on the other side of the room.”
Elizabeth, whom many know through her work as an art teacher at Plymouth Community Intermediate School, noted that her husband is more than a tad like Indiana Jones. He came home once with a massive spider bite on his face.
The hardest time of year is the summer, Rioux explained, when he’s climbing into attics and crawl spaces in 100-degree weather.
“I think Plymouth is the most vibrant town on the South Shore,” Rioux said. “We love living here. Dealing in art and antiques – this is ground zero. It’s great for an auction company.”
J. James Auctioneers & Appraisers will host its next auction at 4 p.m. Saturday, March 10 at its new location at 190 Court St., Cold Spring Chapel. Live online bidding allows off-site bidders to participate. For more information on this and upcoming auctions, visit jjamesauctions.com where you can view all the lots to be auctioned, or call J. James at 508-746-8608. J. James also has a Facebook page; just search “J. James Auctioneers Appraisers.” J. James' offices are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.