News from 1906 Capt Finch loses art collection


Mark Baber

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The San Francisco Call, 21 May 1906
Retrieved from the California Digital Newspaper Collection web site


MASTER OF LINER COPTIC HEAVY LOSER BY FIRE
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Captain Finch's Fine Collection of Oriental Art Work Destroyed at Occidental

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Captain Finch of the liner Coptic, now on the way home from the Orient, was
a heavy loser in the fire of April 18. Intrinsically there were many greater
losses, but in no case were the intimate personal treasures of one man's
gathering so completely wiped out.

Captain Finch has been sailing in and out of this port for many years. He
commanded the Cunard liner Belgic until she was ordered to England. He
took her home and came out again to be master of the Gaelic. When the Gaelic
was ordered home Captain Finch was transferred to the Coptic.

During all his service on the Pacific Captain Finch and his wife lived at
the Occidental Hotel. The Coptic has been ordered to England and Captain
Finch was prepared on his return to this port to bid goodby to San
Francisco, send his wife to England and join her there later when he reached
Liverpool with the Coptic.

During his service on the Pacific Captain Finch has had for shipmates more
than a few distinguished passengers, many of whom, on leaving the ship,
presented the skipper with some little token for remembrance. Sometimes it
was a piece of quaintly carved ivory or vase of artistic beauty. Captain
Finch was also something of a collector on his own account and as years went
by he acquired a valuable pile of Oriental art work, including rare china,
Japanese prints, ivories and the numerous other forms in which the artists
of the Far East express their ideas.

All of these treasures were stored in the Occidental Hotel awaiting the day
when the Finchs would return to England and there install their Oriental
collection in a home of their own.

When Captain Finch arrives here he will find that the big fire made a clean
sweep of his treasures and that his years of collecting have gone for
naught. Mrs. Finch is living with friends in the city, doing her best to
cheer up and learning to make the most of a limited wardrobe.

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