Character study


I’ve been visiting this spot in Hampstead every week for a little over a month. Some people were apparently preparing for a move. Because I got behind on posting after my own move, and because the trash here came a little bit at a time (on the most part) I figured it best to wait until it was all done and share it all in one post. I think that format is interesting – it’s sort of like a character study of this specific household.

The biggest pile was out the first time I drove by, around the same time as the liquidator was doing his business. I always wonder if I missed out on something great in the weeks prior. It’s one of those niggling questions that I can’t help thinking about. There’s no satisfying answer, and the only thing I can do is hope the best is yet to come.


I knew the trash was going to be interesting as soon as I peeked inside that first bag.


There were several nice old tins, my favourite of which is the set of mathematical instruments at bottom center. It was made by a M.A. Coombs of London, probably in the 1910s or 1920s. I also really like the Edgeworth pipe tobacco tin.


I had to sort through a bunch of rubble and junk to get to the my other finds. Another bag held a cool vintage ruler. It was made my Acme in Canada, probably made around the same time as the Coombs tin.


I saved a collection of pencils, many of which advertise different companies. Believe it or not some vintage pencils can be quite valuable. The Eberhard Faber Blackwing 602 might be the most valuable vintage pencil out there – a lot of 12 recently sold on eBay for almost 400$. The discontinued model has a cult following and many believe it was the best pencil ever made. It even has it’s own wiki page. I doubt any of mine are super valuable, but I’ll definitely look them up before giving them away on the cheap.


There were also several nice pens. Two are Parkers with 12k gold filled caps (bottom). A few others advertise different companies, including Texaco, Allied Chemical, Huyck and Hoeganaes.


Otherwise, I saved a couple old bottles; …


… two tickets to a 1987 Black Watch parade, which was also attended by the Queen Mother;


… and a 1965-66 curling club events calendar.


Finds were a bit harder to come by the next few weeks but I always came away with something. I had to dig through some food waste to save these items, which include: a collection of Champlain Bridge tokens, a vintage Heather Curling Club pin, a souvenir dollar from the Calgary Stampede, and a pin commemorating the 100th anniversary of the recently closed Royal Victoria Hospital. The latter is marked as being sterling silver. I gave them all a good wash later.


I also found a couple old Gillette razors, one of which was dated 1932 (left);


… a working art deco era Solar watch;


… and this small tin full of bric-a-brac. The most interesting piece is the thimble, which is made of aluminum and advertises a “Cafe ‘Victoria’ Coffee.” It was likely made around the turn of the century, if not a bit before. I did a bit of research but couldn’t find any similar thimbles or other information about the company. If you know anything about Victoria Coffee let us know in the comments!


The vintage B&L (Bausch and Lomb, at bottom) Ray Bans were probably my most valuable find. The glasses have some mild wear to the 12k gold filled finish, but the lenses are in excellent condition for their age. Similar pairs sell for a pretty penny on eBay – check out these realized prices. Mine should sell for around 150-200$. The other frames are Polaroid Cool-Ray 987 sunglasses. They make for fun yard sale material.



Let’s finish things off with this hand-made stuffed animal. It has a face that only a mother could love.


The frog (?) definitely has some character. I’m not sure why I felt compelled to save it, but it probably has something to do with my appreciation of things hand-made. Maybe I can find it a new home.

This house hasn’t put out any trash the past two weeks. The bins (and one extra bag) sit up on the driveway, tempting me to trespass and see what’s inside. I don’t think that’s a good idea though, so for now I’ll just keep passing by on trash day and hoping the bins get put to the curb. If they do, and there are interesting things inside I’ll let you know.

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Recent sales (July 6 – July 19)

Midsummer tends to be a slow time for eBay sales. This two week period was especially slow because I haven’t listed anything new since my move. This partly due to garbage fatigue and needing to settle in to my new place, but it also hasn’t helped that I haven’t had the internet for a month. It should arrive soon, mercifully, but it’s a lot harder to get in a listing groove when you have to do all your work at caf├ęs. Still, I made a couple sales and boosted my income by selling off some gold and silver scrap.


1. Gold and silver scrap: Sold to a local antiques dealer for 595$. The sterling pieces I found in NDG provided the impetus for my trip – they alone made me 140$. The rest of the money came from jewellery that was either broken or not worth the effort of listing online.


2. Vintage Tiki volcano bowl: On eBay for 45$. Found November 2014 in NDG.


3. 14k gold Bechtel pin: On eBay for 55$. Found May 2015 in Mount Royal.

Total: 695$, 11382.50$ since the new year began.

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Asprey pt. 2


These finds actually came a while back, originating from the same place in the Golden Square Mile that provided the great art deco era Asprey catalogue I’m trying to get big money for. I thought the catalogue was a one off find, but when I came across this stuff the week after I thought it best to hold off on sharing until the source had dried up. Perhaps it’s more paranoia than anything, but certain details in these posts could have made it possible for someone supernaturally good at researching to discover the location. I’ve been a bit more careful about this since losing my monopoly on a spot (and probably a lot of money) due to my posts a while back. Anyways, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen anything of value in these bins so I figure it’s now safe to share what I found.

There were a bunch of books in the recycling bin this time around.


I saved 15 books, all of which were in essentially mint condition. They were printed by the Franklin Library, a company that published very fine editions of classic books between 1973-2000. Their books, particularly the ones bound in leather are sought after by collectors and sell for nice prices on eBay.


However, my favourite finds were inside this box marked “knive blades & handles.”


True to its word, the box was loaded with knife blades and handles.


There were also a few other things, including this book about testing precious metals. On the inside cover is a ex libris bookplate bearing the same name as the one in the Asprey catalogue. It was printed in the 1930s but I suspect that gold and silver testing hasn’t really changed that much over the years.


For instance, Aqua Regia (which translates from latin to royal water) is still used to test gold today. I haven’t really figured out how to test gold yet and perhaps this book can help me. I have testing for silver more or less down pat.


Back to the blades and handles. These were definitely vintage pieces.


Some pieces were in great condition, like a very nice silver plate fork (near the bottom of the picture above) that was made by Mappin & Webb.


One handle and one blade (at top in the picture below) were sterling silver.


I thought several of the handles were made from ivory. However, upon further research they appear to be made from celluloid, a plastic invented in the mid 1800s that was once commonly used to imitate ivory.


This page is great if you’re looking to distinguish between ivory, bone, and celluloid. I don’t think I’ve found any ivory yet on my journeys.


There were also several handles made from what looks to be mother of pearl. I don’t think they’re worth much but they look nice and make a cool sound when you hit them together. They were likely part of a fancy silverware set (such as this) back in the day. Now these handles will make a great addition to my yard sale curiosity box.


This metal stamp was my favourite find. It’s the kind of thing I add to my personal curiosity box. The side is marked “W.D. Armstrong Maker Montreal.” W.D. Armstrong was a Montreal engraving company that was founded in 1915; it seems to exist today as Montreal Stencil. It measures just over an inch long and wide and is quite heavy for its size.


The actual stamp reads “Mappin’s Ltd Montreal.”


It was likely used by a Mappin & Webb operated boutique in Montreal. The store would have sold very high end luxury items. This postcard on eBay is the only evidence of such a store that I could find offhand.

I really enjoy finding items that were born from old school opulence. This stamp, which was probably made sometime between the 1920s and 1940s, isn’t luxurious at all, in fact it is purely functional (outside of the fancy handwritten script, which I assume wasn’t easy to do). However, I find it interesting because it was probably used in the day to day operations of this highly distinguished company, and because the design of the stamp is very characteristic of the time it was produced. I also suspect that this stamp may be one of a kind – it’s far more ephemeral than any of the luxury items Mappin’s would have sold. I couldn’t find anything like it on eBay, though the search was quite preliminary.

I plan on having a yard sale this Saturday – check out the Facebook event page for more details!

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