I'm a professional scavenger making a living selling curbside garbage. This blog details my finds and sales. It also acts as an archive for things beautiful and historic that would otherwise have been destroyed.
Lots of people are moving this week but the trash hasn’t been particularly noteworthy or exciting. Still, I went out this morning and biked towards Olympic Stadium. On the way back I went through Hochelaga-Maisonneuve to get to Centre-Sud, where I came across this pile of stuff in front of a house for sale.
The things here looked as if they had been in a basement for a while. There were old preserves, mason jars that some passers-by ended up taking, and some old records. I thought about taking some preserves but decided against it. The records looked to be mostly classic rock – I saw a few by Boston and some Pink Floyd, but unfortunately they smelled sort of musty and as far as I know records don’t fair well against that sort of thing.
I did take a few things though. There were two unopened glass bottles of old Schweppes Tonic Water which I’d guess would be from the 60s. They’re from the time when they printed the labels directly on the bottle (whenever that was, but it was a while back). Other than a bit of rust on the caps they look great! They haven’t even really evaporated. There was also an old bottle of Fuller’s degreaser.
I still have a couple of bottles of “Vintage Sprite” so these will join the collection. I’ll probably put them in my next yard sale barring their having a lot of collector’s value.
In with the records was this folder made for the Ferrari car company. A little musty but in good shape overall. Inside the pocket was a picture of a car and an unopened envelope addressed to a doctor.
The letter inside was a receipt for a Ferrari purchased in 1979. It cost the good doctor 95000$, which in today’s money equals 296,603.05. Ah, the decadent joys of being in the upper class. By possessing this receipt I’m the closest I’ll ever be to owning a Ferrari. Still, if anyone deserves a sports car it’d be a doctor. Besides, if I spent a lot of money on a car I’d rather have some classic boat from the late 60s.
Anyways, I’m going to head out in a couple of hours to explore the Plateau. Hopefully I’ll come across something good on this day of moving.
I felt energetic and decided to make the trek to Villeray in the late evening as opposed to the early morning. My experience says that people put their trash out the night before fairly inconsistently but I had a theory that yesterday’s warm sunny weather, following a bout of cold rainy days, would make people more likely to take out the trash early.
The theory may have had some validity as there was certainly a lot of trash on the streets. Inside these bags were lots of fabric and sewing materials.
This box was full of yarn. I left the yarn for others to take and kept the box which I thought could have mild value (and plus, I just like old ephemera). It’s definitely older as there’s no French written on it, which I’m pretty sure would be illegal under Bill 101.
I brought home some miscellaneous sewing / knitting stuff, including a honey tub full of buttons. I imagine that this stuff was part of an older woman’s supplies. Some of it is pretty old – those De Long pins in the left tub for example are dated (Copyright) 1941. They promise not to rust and indeed over 70 years later there’s none to be seen!
A bunch of sewing patterns that date from the early 60s to mid 70s. They seem to be complete but I have no way of being sure.
I also found this board game made by Hydro Quebec, which is the publicly-owned electricity company up in these parts. The postmark on the envelope it was shipped in is dated 1966. I found another Quebec government sponsored board game from around the same time period which makes me think that making promotional board games was a fad in the late 60s (at least in the Quebec government).
This one is a snake-and-ladders knockoff. You win by getting to the last square which represents the development of the massive hydro dams in the Manicouagan Lake (“Manic”) area. They still provide much of Quebec’s power, a lot of which is also exported to Ontario and the States. You jump ahead based on things like getting new electric cables in your house and you fall back when you get wet hands, which means you should be more careful about the potential of an electric shock.
I wonder how many of these games are left sitting around in people’s closets? Chances are lots were thrown out (or will be) or somehow ruined. This game is probably pretty rare. Rare doesn’t necessarily means valuable but it’s a cool historical artefact nonetheless.
I’m heading out soon to explore the Plateau. I’ll let you know if I find anything!
I opened a trash bin next to an apartment complex and saw a piece of luggage. I took a look inside and found a couple of old fur hats, a fur scarf and a well broken-in catcher’s mitt.
The fur is “shedding” a bit but seems to be in pretty good shape. I think they could use a good clean though. What’s the best way to clean fur? My first guess would be dry-cleaning, but if anyone has any suggestions let me know. These could have some value when the cold weather inevitably comes around again.
I also found a 10k white gold earring sitting on top of a trash bag underneath that suitcase. I scoured the rest of the bin, which smelled pretty gross by the way, but didn’t come up with any other precious metals. I’ll add this piece to my junk gold collection.
I had a pretty good day selling things off Craigslist. I finally sold the nice set of china for 90$, a manual typewriter for 60$ and the Peavy Rage amp for 30$. That adds up to 180 which raises my monthly total to 445$. That’s basically enough to cover rent, bills, and a basic amount of food for the month. I’m treading water and that’s not too shabby.
Tomorrow morning I’m heading off to Villeray. It’s nearing the end of the month so I’m hoping to make some nice finds.