There’s been so much good trash lately that it’s been impossible to keep up. Finds that I’d otherwise have mentioned (particularly in the winter when things are slower) are now being left aside. Regardless, I still have a whole ton of stuff from the last week or two that I definitely want to post here, so if everything goes well I should have a few new posts for you soon.

I was pretty busy yesterday. I found some neat stuff in Rosemont in the evening (I’ll post those finds sometime soon!) and at night went to check out the place in Westmount that I featured in my last post. Along the way however I stopped at this spot in Cote-des-Neiges. I saw a few interesting things here on the previous trash day, and the items being thrown out (including old sewing stuff, a portable record player, and many full expired cans of food) indicated that someone was probably clearing house. I made a mental note to check back in the future, and it paid off big time.


I love seeing cases like this because there are usually cool old machines inside. It was hiding underneath a black trash bag at the center of the pile.


This case contained a cool old portable Singer electric sewing machine! I tested it and it works great.


I just looked this up on eBay. I was thinking that it might be worth a hundred, maybe two hundred dollars. However, it might actually be worth closer to 600$. That’s a lot of money! It’s a beautiful machine, and it’s in really great condition for its age. It also comes with a bunch of accessories. It’s marked as being made in 1951, which was Singer’s 100th year in business.


This cool Vervant’s Oriental Rugs ashtray was the only non-sewing related item inside the Singer’s accessory tray.


There was more sewing stuff too.


None of it was particularly exciting, but I did think this thimble was cooler than most others, even if it’s missing all but one spot of its red enamel.


In one bag there were several books and some records.


Another bag contained some old letters, postcards and photos. Oddly, some of them were ripped to pieces, while others were not. A significant amount of the photos were related to swimming and probably from the 1940s. The letters look to have been written in a Slavic language.


One bag contained a bunch of newspaper clippings, most of which looked to be from the 1940s and relating to swimming competitions.


I found a stained navy-style hat …


… that was apparently made in Montreal by a Principle Cap & Sportswear in 1952.


I also saved some cool cat-eye sunglasses by Martin Wells. These are pretty hip right now and should make me at least 50$. I sold a different pair of Martin Wells frames not too long ago.


I looked in one bag and saw one of my favourite garbage-related sights: a collection of baubles! Thankfully, they were all inside this one smaller plastic bag, so I didn’t have to rummage around the bottom of the bag as I usually have to.


There were several key-chains and some pins. The Aztec key-chain on the left is marked as being sterling silver.


However it was the collection of cufflinks that truly made the collection great. Most are classic vintage pieces, but it was the pair on the bottom right that stuck out most to me. I instantly recognized them as the work of Guy Vidal, the renown Quebec brutalist jewelry designer. I found a bunch of his stuff a few months ago and a reader helped me identify the pieces as his before I sold them at yard sale prices. I sold a pair of earrings by him for around 100$, and I expect the cufflinks to go for a similar amount (though I will be tempted to keep them for myself! I really like Vidal’s work). The things you learn in this business!


These cufflinks are marked 750, or 18k gold. They weigh around 6.6 grams, so if they’re indeed 18k gold (they do look the part) they’re work around 200$ in scrap gold value. Not bad!


I’m not done yet though! These two bags had labels on them indicating that they were full of silverware.


True to their word, they did contain a bunch of nice silver plate cutlery. A few average stainless pieces were mixed in as well.


A few of the smaller pieces were particularly nice. The tongs (presumably made for sugar cubes) on the far left are marked Heirloom Sterling; the spoon second from the left is marked Birks Sterling; and the spoon third from the left is marked 800 silver. A few others have confusing, foreign, or no markings, so they could be sterling too. The spoon third from the right is an odd one – it has a sort of art deco-y design on the underside (bottom right photo below, click for a better view).



This might be one of the nicest silver pieces though. It’s a tea strainer with a matching crystal drip bowl, both of which are marked as Birks Sterling. I found them in the blue felt bag in the background.


I found a similar one on eBay that sold for close to 100$. This one looks a bit nicer though, and I think if I sold it at a Buy It Now (or set) price instead of at auction (as this one person did) I could get a bit more for it. Again, I’m tempted to keep it as it’s very beautiful and I love loose-leaf tea.



I probably gained over a 1000$ in stuff in just one night here. I’m excited to go back in the next weeks and see what else gets tossed! If this is what someone thinks of as trash, I can only imagine what else they might throw out…


I went to my spot in Westmont after searching through the trash of Cote-des-Neiges. There was nothing there that wasn’t already out when I drove by on Tuesday, long before trash day. I presume these people have finally cleared out.


Most everything there was junk this time around but I did save a few cool things. I found another rock collection, though this one’s not nearly as interesting as the one from the week before …


… an antique pewter baby rattle


(it’s marked W.E.B. Pewter, and seems to sell for around 10$ on eBay)


… and a cool box of shells!


The shells are nice, but it’s the box that makes this a cool find.


I’m not sure how old it is, but from the design I’d guess it was made around the turn of the century or maybe a bit before. I could be wrong, though. What do you think?

I’ve been finding so much stuff these days, and It’s not even the end of the month! Either way, things will be okay if I can keep cranking out blog posts. Things seem to be going a bit faster since I switched to this new format, as this post took only 4-5 hours to finish. It might also help that I’m switching my coffee for tea, as my brain seems to work a bit better (and write a bit faster) when I drink the latter. Anyways, more posts coming soon!

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Conspicuous consumption


I took a look back at my oldest blog posts recently. The photography and writing wasn’t always the best in those days, but I do appreciate how brief and to the point each post was. I would just go out trash picking and the day after post what I found, even if it was nothing special. Simple as that. I’m thinking I’ll try a similar style of blogging again. I’m liking the idea of each post being bite-sized as opposed to being like a chapter of a book. Not that there’s anything wrong with the latter, but the longer posts are a bit more of a commitment to everyone involved. Shorter posts also mean the blog will be more active. Anyways, we’ll see how it goes!

Now, that being said this post is still going to be fairly long. Westmount provided in a big way last week, and I have many useful, expensive, curious, and ancient things to show you!


The pile above produced a bunch of useful stuff. I saved a collection of envelopes, tracing paper, two packages of modeling clay, markers, a roll of (relatively) expensive tape made for Canada Post, and other miscellaneous craft-related things. Many items were still wrapped in their original packaging. Nothing super exciting or valuable, but definitely good yard sale material. The tape I’ll use myself.


There was also a box full of 3D glasses, all of which seemed to be in fine condition.


However, it was this spot (the same that provided the jewelery and gold from a couple posts ago) that contributed the most interesting finds. I spent close to two hours rummaging through these bags. There were even more (mostly white kitchen-style bags) to the right of this picture.

The people were clearly moving (there was a “sold” sign out front the house, and a moving sale sign in one of the bags) and just didn’t care to try to redistribute their old stuff. For whatever it’s worth, I googled the address and found that the house sold for close to three million dollars.


I saved a bag that contained a bunch of scarves (many silk) and belts …


… a smaller bag full of boots;


… and a collection of CDs, most of which were classical music.


There was all kinds of random stuff, a lot of which was useful. The flashlight at top right is great and I’ve been using it on my night runs since I found it.


The black thing at the top right here is a battery-powered pencil sharpener.


I found a bunch of perfumes inside a bag of toiletries. Some of them will sell for decent money on eBay!


Others are best suited for yard sales, but that’s fine too.


There were a few pairs of sunglasses. These three were made by Chinese Laundry (top left), Moschino (perscription, top right), and Ray Ban (bottom). There was also a pair by United Colors of Benetton, but I forget those at my storage area.


These Chanel sunglasses might be the most expensive though. They came in a nice case and are in pretty good used condition. My intuition says they’re genuine, but I’ll have to do my research to make sure that they’re legit. If this is the kind of stuff they’re throwing out, it makes me wonder what kind of stuff they’re keeping!


Some items had price tags on them. This glass frame seems overpriced at 10$, considering it wasn’t in perfect condition. I’d sell it for two.


This nice vintage trinket box (5$) was more reasonably priced.


I have plenty more miscellaneous items to show you, including this odd contraption called the “Neckpro”;


… two small jars of jam;


… a slightly busted glass bird (it was in a small box, along with this note);


… a cool candelabra, which looks to be from somewhere in South America;


… a couple foreign bills, one from the Congo and one from Kenya;


… a collection of skeleton keys, three sets of prayer / worry beads, and two small crucifix pendants;


… and a handful of coins. The ancient-looking Greek coin is almost certainly a replica, but it still seems to test positive for silver.


I also found a bit more jewelery. The small hat pendant on the top left looks to be 18k gold. The heart keychain is by Christian Lacroix, and the pendant at bottom middle is by Yves St Laurent. It’s unfortunately missing a plastic stone. The bracelet on the right is sterling silver.


This box contained the most unusual finds. It was hidden in amongst the furniture.

As a side note, I actually drove by the place a few days earlier and saw the furniture in the driveway long before it was trash day. I didn’t stop to look because none of it was particularly nice. However, I think this box was also outside for days! The bottom was full of water, and it had rained a couple day previous to the actual trash day. To think that everything was just sitting out in the open for that long! I snapped this photo after taking out a couple of the bigger pieces.


Some things looked more common, like this wooden spoon;


… this wooden tobacco pipe;


… and this odd heart, which seemed to be made from glued together pieces of plaster and ceramic.


There were several pieces of broken pottery, most of which look very old.


This stone looks like it was once part of a statue. The opposite side is similarly carved. It’s roughly 5″ wide, long, and tall.


This definitely looks like a foot of some kind of figurine. You can see a bit of a design on it, most notably at the top near the break. I’d be surprised if this stuff wasn’t ancient, but that doesn’t mean it’s worth much either. They’re still cool though! I’d bet that these piece were collected at an amateur archaeology expedition.


There were also various bits of metal and pieces of ceramic. The large rusty piece at center right looks a bit like a piece of sword.  If anyone has any information about any of this stuff, let us know in the comments!


This is an odd, crudely made piece. I think it was made to hang, but I’m not quite sure either.


This box contained a really diverse mix of old stuff. There were a bunch of more common looking shells …


… as well as some more unusual pieces. The thing on the bottom left is definitely a fossil. I’m not sure what the four pieces at the bottom right are, but they’re light and might be bone. I’m not sure what the thing at the top left is made of. The oddest piece here might be the weird tube-like thing at top right. It’s totally hollow.


Here’s another odd piece. The stick looks like it’s growing out of the bottom, but it could have also been inconspicuously glued there.


The bottom part is hollow, similar to the weird tube thing. There seems to be several shells (fossils?) on the underside..


We’re not done yet, though! Most everything in this box was interesting. This knife looks to be made from soapstone. It’s not sharp at all.


It’s around 7″ long.


This little pill box was submerged in water when I found it, but survived with only minor tarnishing because it’s made of copper. It’s marked Siam on the bottom. There was a sticker on the inside with some random numbers on it.


This thing is about as long as your average pencil …


… and is marked “Mathieu” near the top. It might be silver, but I’m not sure. It looks old either way. Any ideas what this might be?


There were also two little plaques. At least, that’s the best way I can think of to describe them. The larger one is close to 5″ tall, while the smaller is a bit over 3″. The one on the left looks like it’s from the 1950s, while the one on the right looks a fair bit older.


How much older I can’t be sure. It has a 800 silver mark and something that looks like an upside-down L next to it. The guy’s clothes might be a clue to the age of the piece. If you know something about fashion history, let us know what era you think this might be from! You can zoom in really close if you click on the photos.

This pile was one of the best I’ve come across this year. Lots of valuable and interesting stuff!

I’ll be posting more often going forward. Expect one featuring last week’s sales soon.

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London Piano


I got up really early this morning to drive Sarah to the airport. She lets me use her car to look for trash all the time, so it’s the least I can do (I also help pay for insurance and maintenance, for the record). I dropped her off at 4:30 AM and afterwards took advantage of the early morning / holiday traffic to look for some trash. I explored St Henri, Shaunessey Village, and Outremont but didn’t find anything at all noteworthy outside of this piano, which was up the hill in Outremont.


It’s looks pretty solid, and all the missing parts seem to be on the ground just behind the piano. It still sounds cool when you play with the strings.


It was made by a London Piano in London, Ontario. It claims to be a concert / grand piano, so it’s probably of decent quality.


I have no idea how it got there. There are houses nearby, but this thing is heavy enough that it would have taken some serious effort to bring it even that far. There are special piano movers for a reason!

It’s not trash day in that part of Outremont, and even if it was I’m not sure they’d be able to take this monster. The city might have to figure out some kind of special collection for it once they figure out it’s there. If anyone reading wants a project and somehow has the resources to move a piano, you can find it on Avenue Springgrove by Prince Philip. If anyone does take it, let me know!

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