My belligerent lucky charm


On Wednesday I went to Mount Royal and stopped at a house that’s been producing for a while – the same one that provided the WWII RCAF cap and Expo 67 ephemera not long ago.

In the middle of sorting through the recycling bin an SUV pulled up beside me. I turn around and saw a neighbourhood security guard who I’m sure was the same guy that told me to leave the area way back in October. I’ve since had contact with other security officers in the area but none that has given me any real trouble. This time around he took my name and address, gave me a warning and told me I’d face a 219$ fine if caught again, all the while acting fairly belligerently.

I left but came back around a bit later to finish the job. I’d rather risk a 219$ fine than miss out on an amazing trash pile. Inside the bin was a treasure trove of old newspapers, photos, and other ephemera, much of was related to World Wars I and II. It seems that the family previously living in this house had a extensive military background. This stop was definitely one of my finest as a trash picker, and much of the best stuff came after I returned for the second time.

It’s annoying that I could be fined for picking in Mount Royal going forward. It’s one of my favourite routes due to its beauty and interesting history. Regardless, I doubt this will keep me from going and if fined I may elect to fight it in the courts. I’d be curious to know what by-law mentions trash picking. I should have asked him!

On the other hand that security guy might be my good luck charm! I found great stuff last time I talked to him as well, including a collection of newspapers from the end of WWII.


This atlas, published in 1913 is cool in its own right…


However, it’s what was stashed between its front and back covers that was particularly interesting. There were many old, mostly pictorial sections of newspapers, older than I’ve ever found before. They cover many different topics including: the Hindenburg disaster, the coronation of King George VI, the 1939 Royal Visit, the 1923 Great Kantō earthquake, various post-war celebrations, and the building (and collapse) of the Quebec Bridge in 1916. There were also newspaper clippings mostly related to the WWI.

It’s an amazing collection and many of the papers are in really good condition. They’ve likely been stored in that book for quite some time. I had never heard of the Montreal Standard before. It was apparently a pictorial newspaper published between 1905 and 1951.


(Just to note: you can click these thumbnails below for a better view. You can also get an even closer look if you go to the bottom right of the popped-up image and click “view full-size.”)


I’ve always been a bit of a map nerd so this piece is one of my favourites. It’s a (WWI) War Map of Europe published in 1914 by Rand-McNally and given out compliments of Canadian Sirocco Company. They apparently made fans and blowers way back in the day, so long ago that it’s hard to find any information about them on Google. I can’t find a single mention of another map like this one. It’s a great piece that would look really good framed.


These photos were found in the middle of a scrapbook mostly full of newspaper clippings and military-related ephemera. Two are group shots labelled “Uplands 24/4/44.” Uplands likely refers to the former RCAF training school at Uplands just south of Ottawa. Many airmen were trained here before being sent to fight in Europe. These photos are amazing, particularly the shots of the planes in flight which don’t seem to be very common. Some great history right here!


I also enjoyed finding these two WWII-era RCAF Christmas cards, both of which were apparently never used. The design of the one on the right is especially cool – the logo is printed with some kind of blue, fuzzy fabric while the inside features a great drawing and typography so typical of the era.

There’s still enough neat stuff to warrant another post! It may take time though as I began the second part of a regular temp job today. It involves re-delivering stored boxes to students returning from summer vacation. It’ll keep me busy for the next couple of weeks, but I’ll probably be able to post and will definitely have the time for a few trash runs.

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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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