All cleaned up


My Friday evening run through the Plateau was very pleasant and surprisingly productive.


I opened one of the bags above and came across a collection of old audio reels. Many are labelled as being recorded off the radio in the late 60s. One is marked as a CKLC (Kingston) broadcast featuring something called the “Committee of the Unemployed.” These might be of interests to an archivist I know.


My best finds of the day though sat in front of a beautiful home right by Parc Lafontaine. Inside the bags was a collection of old glasses and sunglasses. A lot of them are fairly nice and should make me a bit of cash. One pair in particular though stuck out. They’re by Metzler of Germany, a fairly desirable designer brand (second below). They’re gold plated, vintage and look pretty much brand new. I’ve already put them on eBay and expect them to sell for 75-100$.


Also inside the bags was a bunch of vintage bric-a-brac. One of my favourite pieces was a “charga-plate,” apparently a precursor of the modern day credit card that was used from the 1930s to 1950s. This one slipped out from in between a bunch of old waterlogged letters. I think it’s missing a bit of paper that would have been on but it’s still pretty cool. I hadn’t heard or seen a charga-plate previously. I’d guess that this one would have been an earlier model.

Otherwise I found: a nice MacDonald’s tobacco tin in good condition; a collection of five lithographed prints; an old leather book cover, probably for a bible; a Crane shower head; two crystal glass doorknobs; a vintage Slaymaker lock with key; and a one inch tall wooden figurine, among other things. I’ll definitely keep my eye on this spot going forward!


I took a little cruise last night and stopped at this pile in Cote-des-Neiges. The bags were full of what seemed like renovation-related junk.


Inside the bin though was an old alarm clock box full of different scents. I tossed a few that were nearly empty or not particularly valuable but kept and cleaned up the rest. I should be able to make some money from these, particularly with the Pierre Cardin, Chanel #5, and Aramis.

The most interesting though are the three bottles on the right. The logo is written in Cyrillic script and has a distinct Soviet feel to it. I’d also guess that the bottles were made in the 1960s. I have more research to do but I did find a similar bottle that’s bring sold for 55$. If anyone can read the label let me know what it says!

(Edit: apparently these are bottles of Krasnaya Moskva, a Soviet-made perfume that was very popular in its day.)


I spent a while yesterday cleaning up those antique silver pens I found a couple weeks ago. They look great! I’m thinking I can get 200$ for the fountain pen and 100$ for the Sheaffer. I bought a new cartridge for the latter which should make it easier to sell. They’re already on eBay, check out the listings here and here.

Last weeks sales (August 11 – August 17)
-American Airlines Wings: on eBay for 110$. I found these in TMR way back in March. I had to wait a few months but I found a buyer at a great price. Just goes to show the value of patience when selling on eBay!
-Wooden duck: to a local store for 10$. This story never made it to the blog. I was looking through some trash in front of a wealthy home in Outremont when a woman came out and told me she had a bunch of stuff up for grabs in her garage. Evidently she was moving, perhaps to an even nicer house. I took a few bottles of wine, a set of dishes (which I gave to my friend), and a few other things including this wooden duck. I was hoping the artist would be collectible but in the end it was just a nicely carved duck. Still, I’m happy with the 10$ and the fact that I don’t have to store it any more.
-10$ bill: 10$. I found this on Thursday. Easy money!
-5 British pounds: converted by the bank to 8.11$ Canadian. More easy money! I found this bill a month ago in TMR and just got around to converting it last week.
Total: 138$, 2508$ since May 18. Another passable if unspectacular total.

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A special gift for the garbageman


I took it easy last week, figuring it was better to focus on other tasks during the traditional mid-month lull. I still made it out for some runs, and while I came up empty on a few occasions I managed to make some good finds.

I’ve been checking out the trash in front of this house in Mount Royal for a month or so now. It’s where I found the WWII RCAF cap and the old Canadian flags. I’d guess that they’re clearing out the basement after a move – the rest of the house has always looked very empty.

Over the last two weeks I’ve saved more decent stuff, including a collection of late 1930s to early 1940s “College Humor” magazines, a passport to Expo 67, and several nice pairs of glasses and sunglasses. The passport was full of pavilion stickers, many more than ones I’ve seen in the past. I was surprised to see that so many African countries were represented at the fair.

I’m thinking I’ll throw the vintage frames into a eBay lot with some others I already have. I might sell the Polaroid Cool Ray “Party Time” glasses (bottom left) individually as I found a pair that sold for 60$. I also like the white, lustrous sunglasses at bottom left, though the only information printed on them is that they were made in France.


I came across this pile during a little run in the Mile End yesterday evening. Inside one of the bags was a little change-purse with a 10$ bill tucked inside. I guess whoever was sorting through this stuff wasn’t paying much attention! The only other time I’ve found a Canadian bill in the trash was when I found 28$ dollars in old bills back in the winter of 2013. I saved a few other items including: a Kosta Boda candle holder/paperweight, a metal mask decoration from the Hotel Marquis Reforma in Mexico, and a cool Clinton Gore election pin from 92 or 96 that I immediately pinned to my shirt. One bag was completely full of passes for a journalist.


Elsewhere I found: a set of cutlery in Laval, two bags of nice wood pieces in TMR (which I’ve put on CL free), a box of vintage “Made in Canada” mason jars in Rosemont, and two film cameras in TMR.

One of my favourite finds however was an unopened “special gift” from Mercedes: a solid metal 8gb flash drive featuring a leather cover emblazoned with the Mercedes logo. It was given “in honour of your time with us.” It’s not worth much – the 8gb size is sort of outdated with 32gb and 64gb drives now the norm – but I find it funny how this special gift from Mercedes, still brand-new in the box ended up in my hands!


In other news, the ring sizer I bought off eBay arrived today. It’s a great tool that easily and accurately determines the size of the rings I find. At around 5$ it’s a good investment that will make listing on my eBay and Etsy stores much easier.

Last weeks sales (August 4 – August 10)
-Loose change: 30$. I opened a TD bank account because they offer a free change counter and brought in the small change I’ve collected in the last year or so. Most was smaller change because I pick out the bigger stuff like loonies, toonies, and sometimes quarters for spending in day-to-day life. I don’t plan on touching this bank account, outside of once in a while using it to treat myself to something fancy. Much of it came from the jar full of change I found on a cold but pleasant evening in January.
-Skygolf GPS Receiver: on eBay for 35$. I found this in TMR a few weeks ago.
Total: 65$, 2370$ since May 18. Not a great total. I need to have another yard sale sometime soon.

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Pour la couture


I’ve been doing my trash runs by bike and foot exclusively over the last few weeks. I’ve found it relaxing not having to deal as much with traffic and waiting at stoplights. It also ensures I get a good amount of exercise – enough to work off those pastries I love so much!

Another benefit is that I’m stopping at much smaller trash piles than I do if when I’m driving. It’s much easier to stop and dismount from a bike.

I also just plain forgot that some of the best trash comes in small packages. I feel like I’ve been making finds recently that I wouldn’t have made not that long ago (but might of made a long time ago). The first two piles in this post, for example, certainly would have gone unnoticed if I were being picky. The two piles after that might have been missed too.

Friday morning brought me to Rosemont, specifically the part east of Iberville. I noticed these bags in front of a cute single story home and decent to take a peek.

A woman came out of the house as I was poking around and told me that the bags were full of junk. She was mostly right. As is often the case though there were a few things I liked, including in this case a set of souvenir postage stamp cards from the mid 60s to 1970. There was also a guide for field hockey from the 1976 Montreal Olympics. None of these things are particularly valuable, worth maybe a dollar a piece, but they make for cool yard sale stuff.


These bags sat just a little bit up the road. They mostly contained old sewing related bric-a-brac. I found a cute hand-made business card for a sewer (“pour la couture”) to go along with it. I love old ephemera.

I don’t have much storage space and had to leave the most of it. I salvaged a couple items, including a 1950s era chrome container (a toothbrush holder?). My favourite find though was a very old and very small sterling silver ring that features the initials “JB”. It looks hand-etched. Based on the style I’d guess it was made around the 1920s.


A few blocks over I came across this pile. Amongst some other junk was a small collection of jewellery that stunk of cigarettes.

Many of the pieces were broken, incomplete or just junk. Still, I came away with a few nice pieces. My favourites were two rings: a vintage-y sterling silver and marcasite ring with a greenish middle, and a simple sterling ring with a pock-marked, crater-like design. The latter has a very modernist feel. Both of those should eventually find their way to my Etsy store, I’m thinking for maybe 40$ each. I also found a couple pieces of scrap silver to add to the collection.


My Monday evening run through the Plateau was totally barren before coming across this spot on Villeneuve.

Inside the bags were items likely left behind after a move. There were lots of miscellaneous electronics including: two cordless phones, one of which was still charged; a little cordless drill, still charged; two packs of writeable Blu-Ray discs and one of writeable DVDs; and an unfortunately broken Macbook G4 laptop. There was also a good screwdriver with all the bits, a box of incense, several decent records, and a nice Jonathan Richard Irish tweed hat that should sell for around 40$ on Ebay. The oddest find was a new-in-box moose call that originally sold for 48.94 – it seemed somehow out of place. Overall I scavenged a great collection of yard-saleable items.


I came across this pile coincidentally when returning from an appointment down-town on Tuesday afternoon. The bags were packed full of cool old clutter and I quickly began sorting through it. Unfortunately though I came across evidence of bed bugs: a cast skin on one of the chairs in the background. It just goes to show how you could always keep your eyes open, this definitely wasn’t a “classic” or obvious bug situation. A lot of the stuff looked to have been there since the 50s and 60s.

There were many good things that could have been saved regardless but I don’t have the resources to do it safely. I’m only able to save items that can be easily cleaned (and likely non-infested) such as ceramic, metal and glass and even then I’m very conservative about what I take.

This pile was pretty neat and I was able to find some small items that made it worth my while.


These two pens jumped out at me from a collection of other, less notable pens. They had an antique look and the tone of silver patina I know and love so much.

At top is a monogrammed, portable, pendant-style fountain pen made by Waterman. At bottom is a traditional ballpoint pen by Shaeffer. Both are made of sterling silver and are quite beautiful.

I did some research on eBay. An auction for one like the Shaeffer was winding down just as I was searching: it sold for 71$. A pen similar to the Waterman sold for 210$. These are excellent prices. However, I think I can do even better with a set price listing.

I also found a couple vintage Bezalel “Tribes of Israel” pens (probably worth 20-25 bucks each) and a set of six tokens, each of which made with and labelled as a different type of metal. Does anyone know what they could be for?

All in all, a good few days!

Last weeks sales (July 28 – August 3)
-Vintage hockey puck: on eBay for 20$. Went to a guy in Newfoundland. I found it at a great spot in CDN.
-Peterson’s Sport tobacco pipe: on Ebay for 34$. This was part of a collection given to me by a nice old guy who saw me looking through his trash.
-Collection of 475 foreign coins: on Craigslist for 70$. I’m glad to see these go, especially for a decent price. I’m sure to replenish the collection soon enough.
-Pearl necklace: to a reader / on eBay for 32$. From my July 28 post. A reader messaged me on eBay and we made a deal. It took a while to figure out the price (don’t want to give away a treasure for nothing!) but I’m happy with the price.
Total: 156$, 2305$ since May 18. A passable if mediocre week.

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Red Ensign


It was raining Monday afternoon but I decided to see what I could find around walking the streets of the Plateau. It ended up being a fairly idyllic trip, largely due to my love for the rainy walk but also because I very casually came across some decent stuff.


Inside the bin above was a shopping bag that looked to contain a few wires for various consumer products. At the bottom of the bag were some foreign coins and a couple pieces of junk sterling silver. I gave the 2 Euro piece to my friend moving to Spain and am saving the 2 Sacagawea US dollars for an eventual trip to the states. I also saved a wireless router and a foot pedal made for transcription.

I don’t usually get my hands too dirty but this bag was a little nasty. You can see the cigarette butt and also some random feathers (wet from the rain) and a used Q-tip. Nothing that won’t wash off! Regardless, I made sure to wash the coins and such in soapy water. It’s a good reminder that garbage picking isn’t always glamorous and that a strong stomach is a required tool.



I came across more coins later on. The bag was much cleaner this time around. These ones were a little more interesting, including a 1975 Southern Alberta Canada Games token, a 1945 nickel, a 1943 silver dime, and another Sacagawea dollar. The silver goes into the scrap jar while the rest of the foreign coins go into my recently emptied bank (more on that later).

Also inside the bag were some nice looking DVDs, a surge protector and three old magazines, one of which is a Playboy from 1970. In some nearby bags I found two unopened packages of Ikeas clips.


I took another garbage walk Tuesday evening, this time with a couple of friends. These bags looked to contain the partial remains of an office of some kind.


I thought I struck it rich when I found two copies of Adobe CS5.5 – they sell on Ebay for a few hundred a pop. Alas, they are only the upgrade version (from 5 to 5.5) so they don’t hold much value. If anyone happens to want a minor upgrade to their CS5 let me know.

There were some useful things otherwise, including 5 power cords, tape, and a bunch of unused regular and bubble envelopes (very useful for eBay selling!).


Not far away was this pile of stuff. The box in the back was full of clothes and had an “à donner” (to give) written on it. We scavenged lots of good stuff: nice shoes and boots (friends have already claimed the two pairs on the right); a collection of unopened teas, hot chocolate, and canned food; and some great clothes, including what is now one of my favourite shirts.


A house on my Wednesday trip to Mount Royal provided my favourite finds, however. It’s the same place that gave me the WWII Air Force cap a few weeks back so it wasn’t entirely unexpected.


Sitting inside those garbage cans were four old flags, three of which I didn’t really recognize. I did some research.


Canada’s current flag has only existed since 1965. Before that were three different editions of a “Red Ensign” that featured the Union Jack at top left and a shield or coat of arms on the right. This is the second of those three – it served as Canada’s national flag from 1921-1957. It’s notable characteristics are the weird woman-harp (replaced by a normal harp for the 1958-1965 version) and the green maple leaves (later changed to red). You can read more about it and see the evolution here.

There were two of these old Canadian flags. One is in great condition and the other is good but with a few minor tears. I think they’re really cool and they’ve already taught me a little history. They’re worth a bit of cash too – I expect to get between 100-150 for the great one and 50-75 for the good.

The other mysterious flag turned out to be an Australian Red Ensign. The one I recognized was Swiss, though at first I thought it was a Red Cross flag. The Canadian and Australian flags were made by Scyco of Canada while the Swiss was made by Heimgartner and Co. They’re both vintage and I expect them to garner some decent money as well.

That’s all for now! The car should be available next week so I’ll be able to explore a bit further again. Still, I’ve enjoyed the return to walking and biking for trash and plan on doing it more going forward. I relied on the car a bit too much for a while there.

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