On Feb. 8, 2013, an unusual “for sale” notice appeared in the classifieds section of the Prince George Citizen.
“HAND Carved Throne. $5000 firm,” it read.
It stayed there for the next six years.
The daily paper was, at the time, running a promotion in which “for sale” ads ran indefinitely until a buyer was found. The price dropped, but the ad kept running. It became a piece of community lore until last week, when it was finally purchased by a local pub.
“It’s been a part of Prince George for so long,” BX Pub owner Justin Mousseau said of his motivation for making the purchase, which was finalized on May 4.
“You get up. You let the dog out. You get a paper, you make sure the throne is still for sale.”
Mousseau says he heard customers talk about the throne one or two times a week, along with rumours about where it might have come from. Finally, at the suggestion of his wife, he bought it — in part so he wouldn’t have to keep hearing about it.
“Enough is enough,” he said, laughing.
The ad — for what is actually a hand-carved 20th century replica — was placed by Larry Johnson.
He bought it at an antiques show in Prince George “17 or 20 years ago” after being struck by its intricate designs, he said.
“I took one look and I thought, ‘Oh my god, I’ve got to have this chair,” he said. “I do woodwork and carving … the artwork on it is just incredible.”
However, keeping the oversized piece of furniture in his 900-square-foot home wasn’t practical, so Johnson put it up for sale.
He would get two or three calls a year, but no one was interested in paying what he felt the throne was worth. Eventually, he dropped the price to $1,000. He wouldn’t go lower than that.
Mousseau agrees with Johnson’s assessment of the chair’s beauty — something not captured in the small black-and-white photo in the classifieds.
“It looks way better than I would have thought,” Mousseau said. “It’s absolutely breathtaking.”
Available for birthdays
Mousseau said he’s receiving dozens of messages from people who want to know if he really claimed the famous throne. Johnson, and Citizen classifieds supervisor Derek Springall have been fielding curious calls as well.
“The first call I got Monday morning was ‘I heard a rumour, did that throne sell?'” Springall said.
The ad has prompted plenty of conversations over the years, he said. Some were from from customers threatening to cancel their subscription if it continued to appear. In 2018, an angry letter writer suggested a crowd-funding campaign to buy and burn the throne so readers could stop looking at it.
At its new home at the BX pub, the throne will be available as part of a birthday package.
Mousseau said he’s glad to be preserving a piece of Prince George lore, and Johnson said while his living room now feels “a little empty,” he’s glad more people will be able to see the throne he fell in love with years ago.
“Everybody gets a chance to go down and take a look,” he said.
And for fans of unusual classifieds, Johnson has another item he’ll put in The Citizen if they ever run the same promotion: a hand-carved birdcage that looks like the Taj Mahal.
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This story originally appeared on CBC