Reading material


A couple of weeks back I stopped at an intriguing trash pile in Westmount. I quickly noticed that two of the boxes at the bottom of the pile were filled with old magazines. I started moving away the junk on top when a young boy, maybe 8 or 9 years old, who was playing with a soccer ball nearby walked over and asked what I was doing. I said I was trying to get the magazines at the bottom. In response, he told me (in an attempt to be helpful) that the magazines weren’t actually very good because the “stories weren’t interesting.” I told him that I actually wanted them more for the pictures, because my collage artist friend (who I mentioned in my last post) would love to have them. He seemed to appreciate that, and he actually helped me bring the magazines to the car. All in all it was a fun interaction!


I originally figured I’d be selling these magazines to my collage artist friend. I did sell her several of them, including the magazines that were in poor condition or were simply less known. But it turns out a lot of these vintage magazines are worth decent coin.

Most of the magazines (maybe 30-40 in total) are Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, and the majority are issues from the 1950s and 1960s. The going rate for a run-of-the-mill issue is about 20$ on eBay, but some are worth a fair bit more than that because of their covers or contents. For example, I sold the Harper’s Bazaar magazine at bottom left to a reader for 50$, which was actually a good deal! That issue contained some product drawings by Andy Warhol, which I unfortunately forgot to photograph. I have the Audrey Hepburn issue (bottom middle) listed for 85$, and I expect it to go for around that. All in all I expect to make around 500-600$ from the collection. Not bad!


Otherwise, I stopped at this pile alongside one of Montreal’s major arterial roads. There was a mound of bags on the curb, most of which contained books.


The recycling bin was also stuffed to the brim with books. I mainly saved the ones I thought could be easily sold or appeared somehow unique. The car was already loaded with finds (some of which I may share in a future post), so taking all the books simply wasn’t an option.


There were a few older books dating back to the turn of the century. Most of these were Polish, and I suspect their previous owner was of that heritage.


Most of the books though were related to science, and the previous owner was apparently a big fan of Science fiction. I’m not super familiar with sci-fi but I did spot some names I recognized, including: Isaac Asimov, John Brunner, Piers Anthony (who I learned about through this great episode of This American Life), Frank Herbert, and Robert Heinlein. There were also a few books by Carlos Castaneda, which when combined with some of the other titles indicate a general interest in mystical experiences.


It’s a great collection. None are valuable enough to bother selling on eBay, but they make for great yard sale material!

On that note, I plan on doing my next sale this Saturday at 4100 Coloniale. I’ll probably be out from noon to six or so. These books will be there, as will lots of other stuff! I feel bogged down by “things” at the moment and want to unload as much as possible, so prices will be even better than usual.

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Recent sales (April 11 – 24)

The strong sales continued, this time bolstered by a successful yard sale. Otherwise, I’ve been feeling a little burnt out and unmotivated so I’m trying to take it easy. I realize I need to figure out a better plan for organizing my junk and a better setup for taking photos. These are things that regularly stress me out and would be easy enough to fix. For instance, acquiring a light box for photography would make my life a whole lot easier! Right now I take all my photos outside, which is effective but unreliable because the weather (especially wind, rain, and the level of sunlight) makes it a real hassle sometimes. Thinking about it now it just seems silly that I don’t have a real photography setup.

It’s been relatively quiet on the garbage front lately, but I have made some great finds (including some ridiculous stuff in the McGill Ghetto during move-out day) that I hope to share with you in the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned!

1. Yard sale: 310$. As described in my last post. It was a beautiful day and I managed to unload a lot of stuff, so I really couldn’t ask for more.


2. Hemmi Bamboo slide rule: On eBay for 80$. There’s some money to be made in old slide rules! Found a little over a month ago in Cote St-Luc.

3. Arcadia of my Youth DVD: On eBay for 55$. Another anime DVD from that collection I found last fall in the Plateau.

4. Golden Dior luminizing makeup jewel: On eBay for 20$. Found this January in TMR.


5. Sirius Sportster Satellite Radio: On eBay for 40$. Found last year in Montreal West.


6. Lot of 1960s / 1970s Private Eye (British satire) magazines: On eBay for 40$. Found last fall in the Golden Square Mile.


7. Very Canadian sterling silver bracelet: On eBay for 50$. Found September 2014 in Outremont.

8. Michael Kors perfume: On eBay for 30$. I think I found this on Cote St-Luc road in NDG.


9. Sterling silver cigarette holder (with ejector): On eBay for 60$. Found last fall in the Golden Square Mile.


10. Paolo Soleri bronze bell: On eBay for 90$. This sold quickly! Found a couple months ago in Montreal West, but just listed last week.

11. Silver earrings: On Etsy for 20$. Found in the Plateau back in the day.

12. Silver ring: On Etsy for 35$. Also found in the Plateau back in the day.


13. Harper’s Bazaar magazine – December 1955: To a reader for 50$. This came from an old magazine collection I have yet to mention on the blog. This issue is worth more than most because it featured some drawings by Andy Warhol. Found last week in Westmount.

14. Magazine / ephemera lot: To a friend for 40$. I recently met someone who does collage art, and we’ve worked out a deal where she buys old magazines and other paper items from me. She doesn’t need the items to be in perfect condition, so this sale included the magazines with ripped covers from the collection mentioned above. It’s pretty easy money for me, and a good deal for her as well.

Total: 920$, 9833$ since the new year.

Relevant links

1. Facebook page
1. My eBay listings
2. Etsy store
3. Kijiji listings
4. My donate page

Email: I often fall behind on emails, so I apologize in advance if it takes me a long time to get back to you.

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Twiggy crap / Widdicomb


Spring is finally here! The weekend was very beautiful (more on that later) and I had hopes that this week would be a good one for finds. However, I feel like all I’ve seen thus far is bags and bags of yard waste – twiggy crap that only worms would want. It seems that for most people the first step of spring cleaning is to rake the yard. My thinking now is that people get to cleaning out their basements and closets a little later on. That would explain why May was such a good month for me last year.


Still, I’ve made a couple of noteworthy finds in the past few days. I was driving around NDG when I noticed this guy poking his head out from behind a recycling bin.


It ended being an legless full-sized cutout of some dude. His fashion sense is very 1950s or 1960s, and I’d guess it was made around that time. It makes a cool decoration so I might just keep it myself. I’d love to know who it is though – let us know in the comments if you have any ideas!


My run last night was pretty quiet overall. However, I did stumble across this nice vintage chair.


It’s got a very modernist look to it. On the bottom is a label marked Widdicomb, the name of a renown American furniture company. After consulting with Reddit, I can say more specifically that it looks to be a piece from George Nakashima’s “Origin” line.


Some Widdicomb pieces go for a fair bit of money. However, it’s super comfortable and I’m considering keeping it for myself. My decision on whether to keep it or sell it will depend on just how much it’s worth, as I have a hard time turning down good money for decorative stuff. There is a light stain on the cushion, and the cushion is probably a bit “saggier” than it was 60 years ago but it’s in fine condition otherwise. Paranoid, I inspected it for bugs multiple times but found no trace of them. I suspect the previous owners just wanted something new and “fresh.” Stain-free perhaps.

In other news

My yard sale on Sunday went quite well! The weather was fantastic – sunny all day and about 20 degree Celsius – so I couldn’t have picked a better day. Thanks to all the readers who came by and said hello! I made just over 300$ overall, which I consider a pretty solid performance.

The sale was also productive because it helped me get my stuff organized. I have a loose organization system (ie: specific boxes for ephemera, doodads, and whatever) and having everything out there made it easy for me to put things in the right places. This also made it easier to purge. I got rid of maybe four boxes worth of stuff I decided wasn’t worth trying to sell, which of course opens up more room for better things.

If anyone’s curious, when I do a purge I’ll put all the stuff on the curb in open boxes, which allows other scavengers pick through it and take whatever might have any value. I make sure to put the boxes out only when the weather is nice, and well in advance of trash collection. There’s plenty of pickers in Montreal, and I think this is the most effective way to redistribute my refuse.

Otherwise, I got a tetanus booster the other day. It had been about 10 years since my last shot and I figured that it’s a good thing to stay on top of given my profession. I’d recommend that anyone else who digs through trash regularly (as well as those who don’t) do the same!

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