Public Relations


I started work on a temp job last week that ends the beginning of May. It’s good to have cold hard cash but it does make it hard to do much on the garbage front. Until the end of the job I’m going to focus exclusively on checking out “producer” spots and doing a little run after if there’s time.

On Tuesday I went to where I found the cool Expo stuff from my last post but didn’t find anything particularly exciting. I had some time before starting work and decided to see if Hampstead had anything to offer. I wouldn’t have gone if not for time constraints – I’ve never found much there and feel like a outsider when I do go.

I stopped at this house that appeared to be preparing for a move. A woman opened her door as I was looking around and asked that I close the bags after I was done. The “just don’t make a mess” is the neutral one of the three ways people relate to me when I’m looking through their trash. We’ll see examples of the other two later in this post.


I think someone living at the house was into jewellery making.


This little white shopping back was just full of jewellery, a lot of which is marked or looks to be sterling silver.


A lot of pieces had price tags attached, including these three pairs of earrings marked for 25$ each.


Some pieces were really gaudy but some were quite pretty. I like this necklace which showcases a beautiful coloured crystal.


I also liked this simple necklace. The crystals at the end change colour dramatically based on the angle of the sunlight. I’ve never seen anything quite like it.


This bracelet is getting into gaudy territory but it’s still pretty cool. The metal bits are marked sterling.


This bracelet with nicely carved crystals and rocks has a 90$ price tag.


This ring might be the gaudiest thing I’ve ever seen. The rock (probably another coloured crystal) is huge to the point of being comical. It’s about an inch tall, or about half the length of my pinky finger.

I’m going to have to test to see if it’s real gold or not. It looks like gold but could also just be relatively new gold plate.


There was a receipt for various jewellery-making materials inside the bag. The receipt pretty much confirms that a lot this jewellery is sterling. Even just for scrap I can make a decent chunk of cash here – scrap sterling is worth about 300$/pound.


I also brought home three Ikea picture frames in good condition. It’s too bad I couldn’t take anything more. There was a lot of good stuff (including cool-looking kid’s toys) but the car was already full.


I had the morning off today and did my usual rounds in TMR.


The bags above provided some obsolete but still desirable electronics. I sold a walkman just like this yellow one on Ebay for 10-20$, I forget exactly. The discman at the bottom is a good model and should sell for around the same amount. I still have to test them but generally these types of things work when I find them.


I also found this Timex Ironman watch. These cost 100$+ new, I should be able to get 30-40$ for it (assuming it works, of course).


I stopped here for the racquet in front…


… and ended up finding these boots inside one of the bags. Must be spring cleaning! They’re Italian-made Aquatalias and look like they’ve barely been worn. A similar pair on Ebay sold new for 100$ + 40 for shipping. They’re really nice and seem to be good quality.


I was almost done looking through these bags when a man called out from his window telling me not to look through his stuff. “Get out of my garbage” is number two on the list of ways people relate to me and is obviously my least favourite.


Before he asked me to leave I found a saw in like-new condition and a nice vintage “Penguin” hot and cold server. Usually I’m good at keeping my cool in these situations but I was a bit irritated today and commented that he should have donated the saw to charity. The server generally sells online for around 20$ plus a hefty shipping charge.


Let’s finish up here. I’ve been stopping every week at this house ever since I noticed this vintage box (which contained an old pair of seal-hide boots) on top of the trash bin a few months ago. I’ve made the occasional good find since then including a deck of Gucci playing cards and a collection of official Expo 67 slides. The garbage here never looks very exciting from the outside and I might never have stopped here if not for seeing that old box.

(I used this old “stock” photo because I didn’t shoot one before meeting the owner of the trash, which makes it a bit awkward and weird to start shooting photos).


Inside a mostly empty trash container was this old Soligen (EIS Cutlery) knife. The handle is made from the hoof of an animal. I need some glue to get the blade attached to the handle but otherwise the knife is in great shape.

As I was about to leave an older man called out from his door asking me to wait a minute. He went through his house to his garage and opened the door.


He offered me two boxes.


The top one contained some miscellaneous items including this Aristo-Hyperbolog slide rule. He explained to me that he used to be a chemical engineer and that this is what he used before calculators.


The bottom box contained his old tobacco pipe collection. There’s 16 pipes and a bunch of pipe-smoking paraphernalia. Tobacco pipes can be fairly collectible so I’ll have to do some research before I do anything with them.

The “here, take this too!” is the final and obviously most desirable way people relate to me. I’d say it happens just about as often as the opposite, negative reaction. The man seemed very nice and treated me with respect which is all I really want. All told what he gave me is worth a decent amount of money. He’s certainly pretty well-off though and likely just didn’t want to go through the trouble of selling them.

After he gave me the boxes I showed him the knife I found. He told me it had been given to him by his mother when he was just 12 years old, which I’d guess would have been around 60 years ago. It’s always nice to know the story behind the things I find. The experience certainly improved my mood after the previous negative interaction.

I’m not sure I’ll be able to post again before this job is done around the beginning of May. Don’t worry though, I’ll be trash-picking full-time again soon enough!

14 thoughts on “Public Relations”

  1. Been following your blog ever since I moved to the city this past September. Love keeping up with your treks and finds and have been inspired myself to venture out a couple times. I feel compelled to ask you if it would be possible to purchase one of those tobacco pipes from you. I would greatly enjoy smoking from a pipe that has such a good story behind it. If you would like to keep them all I completely understand as well.

    All the best in your future searches, I will continue to read avidly.



    1. I’m definitely interested in selling pipes. I have to do some research to come up with prices on individual pieces but as a whole I definitely will sell them (I have a tobacco pipe that belonged to my Grandpa and that’s enough for me). Email me at and we can work something out, though I won’t be able to meet until after May 1

  2. It is ridiculous that people worry that much about things that they throw out. Anything that would be bad to have fall into the wrong hands (i.e. personal information) should be disposed of properly and the rest should go to someone that will use it rather than a landfill. I love the smell of tobacco smoke. It reminds me of my great grandfather as do those pipes.

  3. I love the necklace you found with the yellow stone in it… wish to sell it..?

  4. lots of good finds.

    the last one, with the man handing you stuff, was for sure a nice thing to hear about.

    I suspect this man was glad for someone to have the stuff/pipes/knife/etc, that seemed to value the items (even if to be re sold, which also means someone will value them)

  5. Great post, on may levels. I loved the analysis of the various reactions to your activities.

    And some really nice finds/giveaways, to boot.

    What are those two items at the top of the electronics pic? One seems to be a little replica of the HMS Warrior (which I saw in England), but the angle doesn’t show much detail. And that glass fish with the stopper … what is that? Interesting.

    1. Thanks. I didn’t mention those, mostly because I was rushed for time (and I like to keep the reader guessing a bit). It is indeed the HMS Warrior in a little bottle. The glass fish I think was also made to be a “ship in the bottle” type thing

  6. following your adventures from Texas. Found you through “money in the garage”. I would pee my pants if someone handed me those pipes. My pawpaw smoked a pipe and I know he had some really cool ones. I have no idea what happened to them after he passed away. Probably sold to the highest bidder at a storage auction. I shared the link to your blog on a facebook dumpster diver/ trash picker page. Don’t be surprised if you get knew followers from the lower 48.

Comments are closed.