Monthly Archives: February 2014

Swatches Galore

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I’ve put my friend Sarah’s car to use the last few trash days. The power of internal combustion has allowed me to explore some new neighbourhoods that would otherwise be too far away. Yesterday we drove north to Ahuntsic and today I drove west to Hampstead and NDG.

Ahuntsic was pretty dry. We found some useful odds and ends but nothing worth posting about. I did pick up these three cases of still-good orange juice – my room-mates have already drank a whole case! We’ll probably end up using the bottles for kombucha as well.

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On the way back I decided to cruise through a part of Rosemont that I knew had a trash day at the same time. That’s where we came across this nice old pine trunk. It needs a little love but it’s still a beautiful vintage piece. Sarah’s going to use it to store art supplies and other miscellanea.

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While walking on Monday evening I came across this pile on Clark. I took a number of things some of which I left at the Give Box on St Viateur (including a little plastic basket and a small table mirror).

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I brought home six watches, one of which I forgot to include in this picture. The best ones (at least in my opinion) are the two on the far right. The second from right is an old LCD Timex which is cool because the dial face is completely LCD. The LCD hands definitely give it some vintage appeal, especially among those with a thing for the 80s. I’d probably charge 10$ for it at a yard sale, given that there’s some scratching to the crystal. I usually charge 5$ for a generic-type watch.

The one on the far right is the most valuable, also due to its 80s vintage look. It’s a “Swatch” marked as being made in 1986 and featuring a pattern very reminiscent of the era. The Swatch brand is somewhat collectible; on Ebay they sell from anywhere to 10 to 300 dollars depending on the design. I found one with the same design as the one I found that sold for 50 USD (about 55 Canadian). Mine has a bit more light scratching on the crystal but I still expect it would sell for 40 or 45$.

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This morning I drove out to Hampstead and the eastern part of NDG.

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Hampstead wasn’t that great. I did find a Sega Genesis with a couple of controllers in the pile above, however. I didn’t find the power cable unfortunately, though on the plus side it also seems to use a run of the mill AC adaptor which I come across fairly regularly in my travels. If it works it’s worth about 20$. I also found a bag full of nice old picture frames which I’m sure will come in handy.

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NDG was pretty dry as well but this spot on Marcil helped make my day profitable.

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Inside one of the bags was a nice little micro-bead purse and matching change-purse. Inside the purse is a tag saying “hand made in France.” They look vintage and will definitely sell at a yard sale.

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Also inside the bag was an old Schick Razor. It’s marked as being patented in 1937 and comes in its original box. Razors like this aren’t super valuable (10-20$ on Ebay) but they’re still pretty cool and won’t last too long at a yard sale.

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There were three more watches in the bag as well, meaning that in about 12 hours I found nine different watches! These ones are more modern and a bit more fancy. The Lacoste 2500g, assuming it works (as most quartz watches do, I just can’t figure out how to open the back) is worth a decent amount. I found the same model on Ebay selling new for 179$, with free shipping making the price more like 150$. Mine is in excellent if not perfect condition and if I can get a battery in it I’d put it on Ebay for 100$.

On the left is a Skagen. They generally sell used for 30-40$ on Ebay but since the crystal is kind of scratched up it’ll relegated to the 5-10$ yard sale pile.

In the middle is a Chanel J12, or at least something that looks like it. If it were real it would have diamonds on the bezel and be worth thousands of dollars. It’s most likely a knockoff, however, though as knockoffs go this one is pretty high quality. I admit to fantasizing about it being real for a while! I have no idea what I could get for it, though it being pretty much brand new and still in plastic I figure I could get at least 20$ for it.

Tomorrow I head off on my usual run to TMR. My hope is that last week’s mild weather and the nearing of the end of the month will bring some good finds. Wish me luck!

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Crown Life

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I got back from Edmonton late Saturday night after spending a bit more than a week “on the road.” I definitely got to see a lot of the country! We didn’t take our time driving: most cool spots and hiking trails were snowed in, motels are expensive, and it was really cold most of the time. Still, it was a good trip and it solidified my connection to this massive country that is Canada.

The train got in a bit late to Edmonton but Sarah and I still managed to do a bit of a trash run in an area known as Westmount. We didn’t find anything too crazy but did bring back a few mementos. If I lived in Edmonton I’d definitely check the trash in this neighbourhood quite regularly, there’s lots of beautiful houses and a fair bit of history.

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The recycling bins above contained a bunch of old liquor bottles from the 60s and 70s. If I had the space I might have taken them but alas the car was already loaded with stuff. The bags contained some odds and ends and what looked to be the contents of a deep freezer. I took these two stuffed animals both of which look to be from the 1970s. The dog is pretty cute and has movable limbs, the octopus is pretty fun as well. The dog is actually sort of collectible – it was made by Kamar in Japan and other dogs by this company have sold on Ebay for between 10 and 35$. The octopus I might just keep for myself, at least for now as it’s a charming living room decoration.

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I also found a couple of cool glasses. One unfortunately broke along the way but this chalice made for the 1973 Edmonton Exhibition made it back alive. I like its kitschy design and it’ll serve nicely as a souvenir from the trip. It’ll also serve nicely for drinking wine and beer.

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I’ve spent most of the last few days recovering from the driving (/ constantly sitting in weird angles) and also helping my friend get settled in. Today though we decided to use her car and drive over to TMR, hoping to find some cool trash but also some furniture for her new place. It was an interesting change of pace to use the car. It’s much faster and you can definitely cover a larger area. You can also take a lot more stuff. On the down side, however, you lose a bit of the “feel” and are more reluctant to stop at any time.

I should be able to use the car a bit going forward, I’ll just have to contribute money for gas and other maintenance stuff. This means I might be able to check out some new trash days that are otherwise too far away. I currently have my eyes on Westmount and Ville St Laurent specifically, the latter especially on their heavy trash days. The car is a small hatchback, nice because it’s pretty decent for storage but also very economical on gas.

Today’s run was pretty solid, we didn’t find anything that would stop the presses but we still came away with some interesting and useful finds. Our first haul came from this place. The owners have been throwing away a small amount of good stuff every week for a while now, likely because they’re getting ready for a move.

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Inside the recycling bin was this painting. The artist’s signature looks to be written in Greek.

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Inside its original box was this Holiday-brand tape deck. It looks straight out of the 70s and seems to work okay, it’s just missing one of the keys. I might be able to get a bit of money for this at a yard sale as it definitely has a cool vintage look.

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Inside a black bag were some baubles and bits of jewellery. My favourite of this bunch is the horn-shaped piece on the bottom left. It’s made of some material that’s colourful and shiny, my guess would be carved mother of pearl.

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These might be the best of the bunch though. Both are connected to key-chain attachments but I doubt those were there originally. The one on the left is made of sterling silver and feature some kind of Hebrew phrase. On the right is a medal commemorating the liberation of Jerusalem in 1967 during the Six-Day War. It’s apparently made of bronze, I found one that sold for 10$ on Ebay. If anyone can tell me the meaning of the Hebrew phrase let me know!

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Later on we came across this spot somewhere west of the railroad tracks. We stopped only because we saw a wooden box with wheels that Sarah thought might be useful; inside the bins though was some more interesting stuff. I took this picture as we were about to leave, as you can see there wasn’t much left for the garbage truck.

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Inside one of the bins was a bag full of nice fabrics and sewing materials.

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Inside the other bin were a bunch of old frames and photos. A lot of the photos are pretty cool and I’ll show you some of my favourites below. I’d guess that most of the pictures were taken in the 40s and 50s.

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These were worth taking for the frames alone but the pictures (and the people) are beautiful as well. I like the image of Mary on the right, it’s deep inside a very cool greenish frame that features a pattern made of shaped mirrors and black paint. To me the frame looks very art deco and the lithographed image of Mary is similar to others I’ve seen that were made in the 30s and 40s.

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On the left is a very old religious image with text (I’m not even sure of the word for this kind of thing, does anyone know?). On the right is what looks to be a class photo with the title “Rhétorique ‘A’ 1958-59”. I’m not sure what that would be either, so if you have an idea let us know!

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I love old certificates and this one is no exception. It was issued in 1952 to a boy in honour of his passing his catechism test. I have another one just like it for another, slightly younger boy.

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A few more pictures. The one on the top looks like Niagara Falls. On the bottom right is a boat that looks to be full of military personnel. It’s one of two different framed pictures of the boat, which lead Sarah to note that the boat itself must have had some kind of significance to the photographer, especially since one of the pictures wasn’t a particularly good shot (a bit blurry). If I were to guess I’d say that this boat is bringing back soldiers from World War II and that the person who took this photo was the wife of one of the men aboard.

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I also really like the picture on the bottom left. It’s taken inside of a Crown Life Assurance-Vie (life insurance) office – you can see the name written backward in one of the windows. The view of the outside is awesome, giving a view of a bunch of 1950s cars (“boats”) and an old Shell Oil sign. The photo offers a great look at what a desk job back then could have looked like.

I might keep a couple of these as decoration but many will likely end up in a yard sale. Old black and white photos are fairly popular in my area and since they are already framed I can charge a bit more for them.

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By the time we got home we had filled most of the trunk with stuff. Some we left in the Give Box on St Viateur (the basketball, a ski bag and a fake Louis Vuitton bag) and some we took back to her place (including the wire mesh table, wooden planter, the box in the back which was full of old wallpaper designs and the red toolbox). All in all it was a good haul.

I’m trying to figure out what to do tomorrow. I could do my usual run though Rosemont but I could also make a special trip out to Westmount (the Montreal one this time around). It’s a very rich neighbourhood but it’s a bit far away to go to by bike. There’s also a lot of big hills that make using the bike trailer very difficult. Anyways, we shall see. I’ll keep you posted regardless!

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Afrique Nouvelle

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I’m currently on my trip out west (and back). The moment this post is published I should be getting off the train and rushing off to check out a trash day in Edmonton. With any luck I’ll find something cool to show you upon my return. In the meantime, here’s some recent finds that didn’t make the blog for various reasons (none of which relate to the coolness of the items themselves).

I came across this pile on a Thursday evening a couple of weeks back when I was walking my busted bike to the co-op. The intersection was Mont-Royal and Henri-Julien.

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Inside one of the boxes were a bunch of old music books, magazines, and theatre programs. I didn’t post them because I had just done an ephemera-heavy post earlier that day and didn’t want to overwhelm you with old paper stuff (it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, after all).

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Here’s a few of the songbooks, all of which were published in the 1930s and 1940s.

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On the left is a 1923 music magazine. On the cover is the image of Charles Gounod who was apparently a French composer. There’s a Gounod street in Villeray and now I know why! In the middle are two old literature magazines, both missing their covers unfortunately. They’re still pretty cool though and I’m sure someone at a yard sale will appreciate them.

On the right is a program from a Metropolitan Opera show in 1952. In one of the front pages they pay tribute to Maurice Duplessis, the Premier of Quebec for many years from the 1930s-1950s.

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Of the bunch these home décor magazines are my favorites. They’re from 1924 and 1930 respectively and feature a lot of cool old art and design. These would be great for an artist who wants to simulate these old styles, most of which have a strong art deco feel. I really like the two page image of the dahlias which appears right in the middle of one of the magazines. Perhaps it was intended to be taken out and potentially framed?

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This is the place on Bloomfield in TMR I talked of in my last post. I came across this collection of stuff the Wednesday before last. It was a disappointing and frustrating day overall. I didn’t end up finding enough to warrant a separate post and my general frustration led me to temporarily under-appreciate what I did find.

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Still, there was a bit of good stuff, including a bunch of old film reels.

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On the top are three 8mm short films, all of which have German titles. I’m quite certain they’re all silent movies as there is no space for audio on the film. They’re obviously quite old (Harry’s new car (“sein neues Auto”), for example, looks to be from the 1920s), though I suspect these are re-prints from a later time. By the look of the packaging I’d say they were made in the 1960s, though I could be wrong. Regardless, it’d be fun to give these a look-see. I just have to find an 8mm projector!

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In the plastic case was an old Western movie. “Il etait une fois dans l’ouest” translates to “Once upon a time in the west,” a 1968 film by Sergio Leone which according to wikipedia is “generally acknowledged as a masterpiece.” I’ve never seen it but I might have to check it out giving that rave review.

Though the label is written in French the opening credits (and copyright threats) seem to be written in English. I don’t think the sound is printed on the film regardless.

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I think this film has the potential to be the most interesting. According to the first frames it was published in April 1961 and presented by the state of Katanga. I had never heard of Katanga before but I did some research; apparently it was a breakaway state that separated from the recently independent Congo in 1960 before surrendering in 1963. From the sounds of it Katanga was a puppet state, one supported by Belgium to support its economic interests.

Given Katanga’s status as a puppet state this film seems likely to be an great propaganda piece. Its title, “Afrique Nouvelle” (New Africa) only makes it sound more enticing, at least to someone with an interest in politics and sociology like myself. I also haven’t found any references to it online (though I haven’t spent too much effort yet researching it) which also adds to the intrigue. Of all the films this is the one that I want to watch the most. I’ll have to track down an 8mm projector.

There’s also a mystery film (the big one in the metal container). It doesn’t have a label and there’s no title or hint as to what it could be on the first series of frames. It’s probably from the 60s as well.

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Let’s finish with this spot. As you can tell this is from a while back, November in fact. I posted about some other things I found here but overlooked a few interesting pieces that I came to appreciate later.

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These books might not look like much…

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… but they’re actually pretty cool. All three are hand written. Two look to be class notes. One (the biggest) is from a Université de Montreal course on Hygiene from 1924-25. The other (the one with “record” written on the front” is from 1947 and looks to have something to do with medical solutions and serums. It includes a bunch of “recipes” for what look to be injections. The smallest book looks to be the minutes from the 1927-28 Université de Montreal Pharmacology student association.

I love finding hand-written stuff because you know it’s one of a kind. I wish my French was a bit better so I could read these a bit, especially the minutes which could contain some interesting tid-bits. If you want to take a closer look click the images below. If you want to see a full-size image there’s a link at the right bottom after you click on it “View full size”).

Anyways, that’s it for now! I’m sure that at the latest I’ll be back to do next Wednesday’s TMR run. Driving from Edmonton to Montreal takes around three days, but we might take our time (or the weather might force us to take our time). We’ll see. Either way I’ll be back soon enough, I promise.

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