The traveller


I went back to my home-town this weekend for some family time. It was a good trip, lots of Scrabble was played and a terrible Superbowl game was watched. I returned home on Monday evening but all the travelling made me pretty tired and I spent Tuesday mostly relaxing.

I always make it out on Wednesday for my TMR route, however, and yesterday was no exception. I left at around 7:30 and finally got back around noon, meaning I spent about 4 hours out on the “hunt.” I made some good finds, some of which I could use help in identifying.

I’ve been visiting this spot every week for the last month or so. Someone’s been slowly cleaning out a house, throwing out a small amount of occasionally interesting stuff each week. Last week’s TMR run was extremely disappointing, capped by the fact that the garbage on this street had already been collected by the time I got there, despite the fact that I left fairly early. I was a bit annoyed at the time (“that’s my garbage!”) but obviously there’s nothing you can do. It was odd that they came so early though.

The trash was still out this time around. There was also a moving truck being filled with furniture, perhaps symbolizing the end of this spot’s consistently mild production.


Inside a small bag was this set. On the bottom is marked something ending in “oppenheim” and “hand made in Israel.” There are (price?) tags on the bottom that look old, I’d guess from the 1960s. It’s made of some kind of light metal and has a mottled copper and silver tone.

I’m not sure exactly what it is. There’s a teapot-looking piece, though it could also be intended for coffee or something else. There’s also six little cups that look similar to egg holders and a cup with a lid. If anyone has an idea as to what purpose this has let us know!


There was a little bag inside another little (but larger) bag filled with seed hulls and…


… a whole bunch of foreign coins. Who knows why they were in the same bag. This is a nice little collection, most of which come from Europe and the Middle East. The are a few coins from the 40s and 50s, the oldest one being a 1920 10 Pfennig (German) piece.


I store the foreign coins I find in this vintage owl bank (which I found way back on my birthday in 2012). This haul pretty much doubled the amount I had previously and the owl is now getting pretty close to being full. I think I’ll try to sell some of these once yard sale season comes back, I’m thinking for 25c each / 6 for a dollar.


This film container held a bunch of old Champlain bridge tokens. I’m pretty sure these haven’t been used since the 1970s. There’s not really worth anything, though I could probably get 25c each going the yard sale route.


There were a couple of metal stamps that look to feature some kind of arabic script. Any ideas as to what they say?


This little book, also written in arabic script, was inside another small bag. It looks to be quite old. Someone put cigarette rolling papers between the pages, presumably to protect them. The front cover is off from the spine but the book is otherwise in great condition.

Any help in reading or identifying this would be appreciated! Click the smaller pictures to get a closer look. If nobody figures it out I’ll try to identify it using the “What is this thing” subreddit.


A woman, who I presume knew the owner of the house, was walking back and forth to her car. She noticed me looking through the trash but didn’t hassle me about it. In fact she offered me a few things, including this cool goat wind-chime. I like this a lot and will likely keep it myself.


This place on Brookfield has been producing a bit over the last few weeks as well, though none of the stuff has made it to a post (some will make it in the near future, however – discussed later). A lot of the things I’ve found here have been Greek.


This is an old Sekonic exposure meter for dark room photography. It’s in great shape and sells for around 30$ on Ebay.


I thought this box of slides containing insect parts was kind of cool. I wish I had a microscope to go with it!



There was also a nice set of coasters featuring Greek landmarks.


I stopped at this place because of the “for sale” sign. There was nothing of note in the trash, but the recycle bin contained a collection of …


… old maps and travel brochures. Most come from the 50s to 70s and all were published in the US and Canada. Everything is in really great condition.


These are my favourite maps, most of which are from the 1950s. The oldest I’ve found is from 1949 (the Esso one of Quebec on the left side), though many others appear to be undated.


I love maps. I especially love old maps – they tend to have more interesting designs and often feature great drawings. I already have a few nice ones, however, so I’ll likely sell these at a yard sale. I can probably get a few bucks each for the older ones.

(Oddly enough I chose one of the least exceptional looking maps to photograph close up. It’s a nice map but it doesn’t really feature any of the stuff I talked about! Oh well)


Here’s some travel pamphlets. Most look to be from the 50s and 60s. Of this bunch my favorite is the “House of 1000 Animals” at top right. I’ll have to do some research to see if there are any collectors of this kind of stuff. If not, they’d be good for making a collage or some kind of mosaic.


The coolest travel pamphlet is probably this one from the Thousand Islands. It looks to be from the 1950s. It opens up and folds out to reveal a bunch of great old photos.


This weekend I’m taking a train to Edmonton to meet up with a friend. She’s moving to Montreal and I’m going to help her drive across the country. That being said I’m going to miss a whole week of trash, though to be honest I think I’ll be happy for the break. I’ve worked pretty hard this winter, harder than I expected to really, but winter picking is definitely more of a challenge and after a while it kind of burns you out. Fortunately spring is getting close and soon the temperature will start rising above 0 on a regular basis, which is all I need really.

Despite the mild burnout I have still been contemplating garbage-related plans for my trip. I get to Edmonton on Tuesday in the early morning. I consulted the city’s garbage collection map and found a really nice area (which is, oddly enough, called Westmount) that has a Tuesday morning collection. I’ve often fantasized of posting about things I’ve found in another city. I hope to get lucky and find something cool I can share with you.

Either way I’m going to schedule a post for the middle of next week so you can all get your garbage fix. It’ll feature some stuff I found last Thursday evening and also some things from that place on Brookfield.

That’s all for now! Wish me luck on my travels.

21 thoughts on “The traveller”

  1. looks to be some good finds.

    re that mini book, don’t be in a rush to sell it.
    have seen a few antique shows, and many mini books, especially older ones, are quite valuable.

  2. That’s a fairly good selection of pamphlets of things to see just over the border. From watching Mountain Lake PBS, it would seem “Santa’s Workshop” was the first in the area. After WWII as cars became more common, that sort of thing seemed to take over from the
    hotels that had previously dotted the area and which relied on train traffic for visitors. (Think of the Vermont inn in “White Christmas”, or even the camps in “Dirty Dancing ” or “A Walk on the Moon”.) Once the population was more mobile, you could set up an attraction without having to have a place to stay nearby, It could be a day trip to Frontier Town, or visit on the way to Maine or something.

    Santa’s Workshop is still open, but I think the rest are gone, lost to bigger places like Disneyworld. Magic Tom had a show on CFCF TV decades ago, and in the summer wold do it remote, at places like Frontier Town. But I also remember seeing pamphlets on the way to Maine in the summer, the only one I remember stopping for was “The Man in the Mountain” a rock formation in NH that looks like a man, and is no longer there, the rock collapsed. Someone would likely find them of some value, especially since it’s a fairly large set of pamphlets.

    You don’t even have to go out deliberately while away. Just keep an eye out when going to the store, or even driving along the road.


  3. I LOVE looking at your trash/garbage/way cool finds!
    I’m thinking your first find is a teeny tiny samovar. I sort of have one like it in my Etsy shop.Here it is.

    Here’s a question though. What time do you usually go out? I don’t mind poking through recycle and trash but if my neighbors witnessed me . . . not sure how it would go over. Maybe I need to go to another neighborhood 🙂

    1. Depends when things are picked up. I usually go in the morning when the pickup is in the morning, but in Montreal there are sometimes evening pickups so I’ll go out then as well. You could go out the night before but maybe people will wait until morning to put stuff out, meaning that you’ll miss out on a fair bit of stuff (though you might still find great things).

      It is kind of awkward to dig through the neighbours trash. I’d suggest going somewhere where you aren’t recognized. Otherwise if the garbage is far too tempting to ignore you could wear a fake moustache and pretend you were someone else, haha

    1. These traditional styled coffee pots are used not only in Turkey, but all over the Middle East. Wonderful find.
      I love this site what you are doing!

  4. Found couple of links,
    just a suggestion, if you go to get this “validated” somewhere, go to an actual book dealer/appraiser, as opposed to a religious institution. One never knows, if it will turn out to be something someone does not think you should “have”, etc.. Few months back, a Canadian sent a famous artwork to France to get “validated”, and last week it hit the news, that over there, (France) the “experts” have decided it is a forgery, and will be BURNING it. Guess that one is in court.

    Not the same, but…

  5. Your blog is a numismatist’s treasure trove.I love old coins and I am shocked to see so many people thow out old coins as well as regular Canadian money in the trash.You seem to be finding coins regularly in the trash in the last few months.Are rich people just lazy or selfish?

  6. Yes, it looks like a Turkish coffee pot; tho’ it also could be a tea pot for the delicious blend of mint and green tea that is made very sweet with sugar.

  7. Wow,Wow,Martin.You are literally finding money in the trash.Lucky man.I propose you take a week off and go spend time visiting sites in Ottawa and lodging with a friend for cheap.There also go look through trash in different neighborhoods,rescue good stuff and report your finds on this blog.

  8. hey Martin,
    just thought, you mention you are going to Edmonton, maybe you should do a few garbage runs there?

    I have run across a few blogs out of Edmonton, think there is a community of “trash pickers” there abouts.

  9. I do urbex at Frontier Town, and have been looking for memorabilia, actually, for the project I’m working on about it (have also been looking for a few Champlain Bridge tokens for a jewellry project). Depending what you want for them, I’d be willing to take some stuff off your hands…

      1. Sorry this took me so long, my life gets kind of crazy sometimes (full time teacher with a side gig in writing and doing a masters). I just emailed you 🙂

  10. I just noticed the one for Arto’s Land of Make Believe, I got some shots there before it was carried away by Hurricane Irene. By the looks of it (Frontier Town, Ausable Chasm, High Falls Gorge, Whiteface, Land of Make Believe), they were pretty fond of the Adirondacks.

  11. Wow! You brought back some good memories this morning! I went to frontier Town when I was a kid, and I almost thought it was a dream until I saw the pamphlets you found!
    As for the microscope, I’ve saved many from a secondary school trash. If you want one… The only problem is that I live in Sept-Iles and since it is quite heavy, the shipping fees would be huge! Maybe you should begin checking schools’ trash bins!
    Have a nice week on the road!

Comments are closed.