Rue St-Jacques

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The art I found in St Henri on Thursday inspired me to further explore one of Montreal’s oldest neighbourhoods. I had planned on going in the morning but instead I went last night, partly to avoid the rush hour traffic but also because I felt like sleeping in.

It was a great trip. I discovered large parts of St Henri that I hadn’t seen before (or didn’t appreciate enough at the time). These parts were filled with beautiful old late 19th century brick row houses and the community in general had lots of character. Other parts of the neighbourhood, especially east of Atwater, were a bit more modern and were the home of several large apartment complexes. This area seemed to have a big issue with bed bugs: I saw close to ten mattresses while driving around, and in one case an entire apartment full of IKEA-style furniture had also been tossed to the curb. Not every thrown-out mattress is infested with bugs but I definitely wasn’t going to go out of my way to take a closer look!

The run was pretty quiet before I stopped to check out some bags in front of an old house on historic rue St-Jacques. My interest was piqued by the number of bags – more than you’d expect for a week from one house. Inside was a collection of old art materials, from fountain pen nibs to crayons (vintage made in Canada!) to charcoal and pastels. There were also some tools, many of which I don’t know the purpose of, candles, a worn leather-bound bible, a painted folk art sea shell, a hand-made carved wood fish, an old Canadian military button, and a really amazing piece of WWI history.

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The real treasure was inside this old, somewhat stained Birks jewellery box.

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This 10 karat gold medal was given to every “Plumas boy” that fought in the Great War and returned home. I had never heard of Plumas before and had to look it up – it’s a very small town (population 227 according to Wikipedia) in Manitoba not too far from Winnepeg and Portage la Prairie. A note inside the box explained how it was given to this serviceman’s daughter as a keepsake, presumably after he passed on.

It’s a really amazing piece that I have a hard time believing anyone would throw out. You’d think that seeing a 10k gold hallmark on an old medal would at least bring you to the pawn shop but hey, I guess that’s how I make a living! By gold weight alone this piece is worth close to 180$ (9.84g) but it’s obviously more valuable to sell it as it is. I could find only one similar medal (same design, different town) on eBay and it sold at auction for almost 200$ Canadian. I think though that a fixed price listing would garner an even better sale price.

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I’m on a bit of a hot streak right now. Let’s hope it keeps up!

New listings:

-WWII Air Force cap
-Lot of ticket stubs from 1976 Montreal Olympics
-Acqua di Gioia by Giorgio Armani, 50ml
-Vintage Japanaese miniature ceramic masks
-Vintage Rodenstock eyeglasses

Last week’s sales (September 8 – September 14)

-Winston Churchill “Painting as a Pastime”: to a reader for 17$. I asked for 10 (with free shipping) but they just sent me 20. Thanks! Found in a Ville St Laurent recycling bin in mid-August.
-Vintage gold-filled locket with “Suzanne” monograph: to a reader for 23.50$. A few different people asked about this piece but unfortunately only one Suzanne could have it. Found in Outremont around the end of August.

Total: 40.50$, 3086.50$ since May 18. A poor week for sales. Without my readers I wouldn’t have sold a thing!

If you have a question, see anything that you’re interesting in buying, or to just want to say hello feel free to email me at thingsifindinthegarbage@gmail.com. I also enjoy comments!

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Muhlstock

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I went to the store yesterday and bought a memory card reader. It cost close to 20$ but I can now use my backup camera (a Sony DSC-T70) and I don’t have to spend any more time in cell phone camera purgatory. I’m actually pretty happy with the Sony’s performance. It’s much older than my lost Nikon but it’s very capable and takes pretty nice macro shots (which are very important in this job!).

I’ve been keeping an eye on that dumpster in the Plateau that I mentioned last post. I managed a few good finds digging around early in the week, but when I went back on Thursday the dumpster had disappeared. Maybe it’ll be back, though someone did mention to me while I was poking around the other day that whoever was using the dumpster hadn’t gotten the proper permits.

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A lot of what was inside was ruined either by water or breakage. There were still several salvageable items, including a collection of nice dishes, many of which are old Fire King ware; an old meat grinder and staple gun; a collection of kitchen-themed miniature brass figurines; a National Geographic magazine from 1939; and a nice old landscape painting by someone named Gissine Horobin.

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This spot in Mount Royal made up for an otherwise quiet Wednesday morning run.

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Inside the recycling bin was this beautiful old poster from a bullfight in Madrid way back in 1956. It’s pretty big, measuring in at around 100 x 50 cm. The art is very similar to the old 1950s Tijuana bullfighting pamphlets that I found nearly a year ago. The eBay market for similar posters is a bit weird – people either seems to charge too much or sell for too little at auction This one went for close to 50$, though mine isn’t in quite as good condition.

I pulled these two old lamps from garbage bags in front of the same house two weeks ago. They’re quite nice and also very heavy – the green lamp’s base is definitely cast iron while the other is made from some other type of heavy metal. Both work fine, though the wiring is old and a little bit sketchy, especially on the brown lamp. The green lamp came with a oversized shade that I don’t think matches it very well. I have to do some research to see what these might be worth. All I know at this point is that the brown one mostly likely isn’t a Tiffany, which would have made it super valuable.

I also found a set of five vintage miniature Japanese masks (worth around 75$!) and a nicely painted egg, or maybe a carved piece of wood in the shape of an egg. It’s hard to tell. If anyone knows anything about the origins of the pattern let us know!

Another spot in Mount Royal provided a couple Chanel boxes, a Nike watch, and a little cloth bag full of small earrings and pendants, most of which are sterling silver or gold. I always love finding gold! Even just for melt they should fetch a decent price, though most are nice enough to make it to my eBay or Etsy store.

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On Wednesday night I went to Westmount. These bags in front of a super fancy house for sale provided a few goodies, including a tall brass candy dish, a nice wooden stand, a decorative ship, a book full of Salvador Dali’s artwork, a printer, and an old video camera (which unfortunately seems to have a broken cassette door).

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My best find of the week though came totally by accident. I drove a friend to an appointment in Westmount and had an hour and a half to kill before picking her up once again. I decided to take a tour around St Henri, a beautiful neighbourhood filled with lots of old character homes. It wasn’t garbage day (that’s Monday, apparently) but I saw these boxes and bags and decided to take a peek.

The bags (not pictured – I took them over to a nearby garbage bin and opened them in there) were mostly full of junk. It appeared as if someone was doing some renovating. I found a couple cool thing though, including a candle-holder and my first Montreal house number plate. This is one of the old ones, made of a heavy metal covered in blue and white enamel.

To me this plate is classic Montreal. If I were to try to imagine an ideal image of Montreal I’d picture row houses, external stairs and number plates like this one (and the similar type with the white background with black letters). It’s cool to have one of my own!

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Inside the wide cardboard boxes was my most valuable find. The boxes were mostly full of packing paper but one contained two old picture frames. I dug deeper and found what was likely originally inside one of the frames.

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It was a really pretty watercolour. I thought it looked special (and I always like original art) and decided to bring it home to do some research. Based on the signature (compare the picture below to this one) it appears to be a work by Louis Muhlstock. He emigrated from Poland to Montreal when he was 7, studied art in Paris and then returned to Montreal to become a well renown painter. Canada’s National Art Gallery has 20 pieces of his work. His artwork also manages pretty good prices in auction, realizing prices from a few hundred to over ten thousand.

I don’t think this one will get ten thousand, or even a thousand. It’s smaller than many of the high-priced ones (only around 11×10″), has some very mild damage (pin holes on the corners, evidence of a minor bend at some point, though it’s not very noticeable), and appears to be untitled. Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if I could get a few hundred bucks for this piece, assuming of course it’s legit. My mom linked me to a local gallery looking to buy Muhlstock’s so I’ll likely take it down there early next week to see what they say. Regardless, it’s a pretty cool and unique find!

New listings:

None. I was planning on doing some listing today but between researching and blogging I didn’t had the time. The whole camera debacle also set me back a bit. I hope to have a bunch listed in time for my next post.

If you have a question, see anything that you’re interesting in buying, or to just want to say hello feel free to email me at thingsifindinthegarbage@gmail.com. I also like comments!

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Dude, where’s my camera?

I finished my temp job and can now return to my usual garbage routine. I plan on going on a eBay listing spree soon to prepare for what I expect will be a busy and profitable holiday season.

There’s just one little problem: I can’t find my camera. I probably left it somewhere dumb as I tend to do, though I worry that someone might have taken it if I left it somewhere especially stupid. I hope it turns up because it’s a great camera that’s worth around 200$. I have a backup but it requires a proprietary data cable and uses the memory stick (instead of the usual SD Card), making it useless until I can track down a cable or adapter. (If I were Prime Minister I’d ban proprietary cables… but that’s a rant for anther day!). Regardless, even if I track down the necessary parts it can take time to get used to a new camera. If I can’t find my old faithful I have hours of frustration and mediocre photos ahead of me.

On the plus side I managed to have a couple yard sales this week. I found a good spot close to Parc Jeanne-Mance where sales seems to go off without a hitch. I’ve had issues (and gotten warnings) about sales at spots closer to home so I’m thankful I was able to pull something together before the end of the summer. Overall I made a few hundred bucks and opened up a lot more space to store new stuff.

Now, lets get to the finds!

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I came across this pile on August 31 in Outremont. My guess is that a couple of university kids moved from their apartment and left their extra junk.

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Inside a black bag was a working Blackberry Bold 9780. It’s the exact same model as the one I’ve been using for years but it’s actually in better cosmetic condition (on the left in the picture). I have a couple of backup phones already so I’ll likely put this one up on eBay – used models seem to sell for around 40$.

I also found a ziplock bag full of mostly costume jewellery. My favourite piece was an old sterling silver bracelet made from the linked shields of each Canadian province. It was made by BM Co, probably in the 1950s. Someone is selling one very similar to it on eBay for 70$ so it should fetch some decent coin. Also in the bag was a silver ring and a nice gold-filled locket monogrammed with the name “Suzanne.”

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I came across this pile while checking out a heavy garbage day in Ville St Laurent. Inside the bags I found a collection of old Greek books and magazines, many of which came from different Ahepa conventions in the 50s and 60s. These conventions must have been pretty noteworthy – the inside of one of the magazines features statements by Eisenhower, Diefenbaker, Jean Lesage, and Jean Drapeau, among others.

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The most valuable piece might be the “White Book” pictured above. It was published during WWII by the EAM, or National Liberation Front, which was one of the primary players in the Greek resistance of the Axis and eventually the Greek Civil War. I found three different copies on Amazon ranging from 105$ to 199$ – I listed mine on eBay for 100 USD + free shipping in hopes that it will sell relatively quickly.

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I’ve also been keeping an eye on a spot in the Plateau that provided some neat vintage stuff in past weeks.

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On one garbage day there was a single bag out front that contained mostly old rubbish. Since I knew the spot, however, I dug around a bit and pulled these two beautiful old mugs out from the debris. They’re Anchor Hocking “Fire King” Jadeite mugs and they’re quite collectible. A single, very similar mug sold for around 30$ + shipping. I love these mugs though and am very tempted to keep them myself.

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I went back the next two garbage days and found nothing. For whatever reason I found that a bit odd and decided to see if there was anything in the alley behind the building. When I turned the corner I saw a giant dumpster loaded with stuff, much of which was made inaccessible by large construction materials. I was able to dig around a bit regardless and saved a collection of 1930s-1940s era food jars. Many feature cool labels from long defunct Montreal-based companies and have cool art deco inspired designs. I doubt they’re worth much but I think they’re pretty great regardless.

Last two weeks sales (August 26 – September 7)

-Vintage bottle of Chanel #5: to a reader for 20$. She wanted it more for the bottle than for the scent, which has apparently gone off over the years. Found a few weeks ago in Cote-des-Neiges.
-1930s Aerolux neon light bulb: on Ebay for 67$. This sold just a day after it was listed, making me wonder if I should have asked for a bit more. A quick sale is always good though, and I know that some collectors check for new listings very often. This bulb was really beautiful and if I were rich I would have kept it. Found in Snowdon back in May.
-Collection of Montreal-related ephemera: to an archivist for 50$. This included a few of the old newspapers from a few posts ago, the Ahepa stuff from this post, but also other random papers that somehow relate to the history of Montreal. A 1940s-era envelope sent from the Montreal Gazette (with a nice old sticker at front) is one example of such a paper. At some point these things will be scanned and made available for anyone to see.
-Two yard sales: 208.50$ on Thursday and 147.50$ on Sunday (356$ total). These were a lot of fun and made up for recently-slow eBay sales. I made a lot of my money a dollar or two at a time but also made a few bigger sales, the largest of which was the collection of tobacco pipes and accessories that was sold off to a few different buyers for just over 40$ (not including a few pieces that I had sold previously). A nice old guy in Mount Royal gave me that box way back in April and I’m glad to see it go.

Total: 493$, 3046$ since May 18. A pretty good couple of weeks thanks to the sales.

New listings:

Aerolux light bulb (already sold)
Greek NLF White Book

If you have a question, see anything that you’re interesting in buying, or to just want to say hello feel free to email me at thingsifindinthegarbage@gmail.com. I also like comments!

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