I was out doing errands on Monday and came across these three large, somewhat angular trash bags. I remembered seeing a moving truck in the same general area only a few days prior and decided they were worth checking out – sometimes people leave behind good stuff when they move.


Inside one of the bags was a bow with a quiver and arrows. The bow isn’t anything too fancy but it’s still very tight and functional. I had a fun time learning how to shoot it and did a reasonable job aiming at a target around 20 metres away. The quiver looks hand-made as do some of the arrows, though there are a couple that look to have been store bought. I’m going to play around with this a bit longer before I think about selling it.


I went to my top “producer” spot around midnight that same day. I usually go in the mornings but there was rain in the forecast and I figured it would be best if I got there early.


The first thing I noticed was this beautiful old Underwood typewriter (on the left hand side near the pole). It’s in pretty good cosmetic condition but there’s some rusting on the mechanism that makes typing impossible. The space bar also doesn’t seem to work. These are things that could potentially be fixed but it’s not worth it for me to try. If you’d like this as a project or just as a decoration send me an email at thingsifindinthegarbage@gmail.com and maybe we can work something out.


In three different bags I found three separate collections of coins – I’d guess mementos from different vacations or trips. Most of the coins were from 1940s-1960s Europe with the ones in the plastic bag tending to be the oldest.


My favourite coins were a 1884 20 Rappen coin from Switzerland and a 1943 Franc from Nazi-occupied France (“État Français” instead of the usual “Republique”). I also took a liking to a New York City Transit token, a France public telephone token (dated 1937), a 1955 Farthing with a cute image of a bird on it and an old, likely silver-plated Israeli pendant.

This vintage casino chip is pretty cool too. It has a very pleasant yellow hue and lustre while also having a nice feel and sound. The design looks very 30s or 40s and it’s likely made of an early plastic such as Bakelite or Catalin.


I was planning on taking a few weeks off from my usual Wednesday TMR run but ended up going there this morning anyway.


I found some decent books in front of a recently sold house. The Mordecai Richler books will definitely sell at a yard sale as he’s one of Montreal’s most famous writers. I’ve heard good things about Timothy Findley too.


I also found a working lamp and a pair of opera binoculars.


These bags contained a lot of old electronic junk.


I saw this doohickey and had to have it. I have no idea what it does – the only writing on the thing is “Taiwan.” Red dots on the right hand side light up when you turn it on and you can illuminate other areas using the various dials and switches. If anyone has an idea what this is let me know. The design looks very 70s.


I also brought home some unused circuit-boards and 5.25″ floppies. One pack of floppies is unopened while the other contains DOS and an early version of Windows. People still pay for sealed floppies believe it or not – this pack went for 14$.


There wasn’t much else so I figured I’d beef up this post with a few deserving finds that didn’t make the blog previously. I’ve been stopping at one house near the northern end of the neighbourhood for a couple of months now (you can tell from the snow!). There’s never been enough to warrant a separate blog post but there’s a couple of things I want to show you.


I found this nice sterling silver pillbox pendant inside a bag with a bunch of old pencils and other miscellaneous junk. It’s made by a company (or person?) called Mackenzie. There are still pills (or mints) inside the container which you open by lifting the black tab. I remember doing my research on this and concluding it was worth around 80 bucks. It’s heavily tarnished and I have to figure out whether to clean it or sell it as is.



I really love this 1977 Montreal Grey Cup flag. I like the design and the way it features Olympic Stadium – it was a novel piece of architecture at the time! I think I could sell it for 50$ or more as it seems to be hard to find (a google search brought up no similar items) but for now I enjoy having it on the wall above the chair in my den.


I’m going to start detailing my sales a little better. Here’s the tally for last week (May 18-25):

Selle Italia bike seat (f. April 5) – Ebay for 85.88$
-Specialized bike seat (f. April 5) – Ebay for 50$
Ste Therese shrine (f. May 16) – to a reader for 15$

Not a banner week for sales but not bad either. I’m nearing maximum capacity for yard sale stuff so I’ll have to have another one soon, that should boost profits a bit. I’m going to go back and try to calculate my income for the year to date. I hope to have that ready for you by next post.

13 thoughts on “Quiver”

  1. Great,great job in finding all those coins and the superb Mordecai Richler books.Thank you for rescuing them.Neither Mordecai Richler nor Timothy Findley’s books belong in the garbage.Why are people throwing such things out (even if they are moving)?

  2. Mcgill’s Redpath Hall has started throwing out good book donations in recycling bins again.Last year due to repairs the Redpath Hall book fair was canceled.Hence few donations were thrown out last year.This year dumping of the books has started recently.They throw out a lot of good novels,textbooks and many nonfiction books in recycling bins because they think those books won’t get a good price at their annual book sale.I am a full-time employee of Mcgill and I have found many great novels for my home library.I have a three-room apartment in downtown and try to save some books every chance I get.I am not involved in the book sale,but those recycling bins full of books are usually put on Wednesday night after midnight to discourage people from scavenging.Book lovers,scavengers,book collectors,etc should check inside those blue recycling bins with lids on top early Thursday morning at around 7 pm.Sometimes they also put out the recycling bins on Tuesday nights or Thursday nights,but usually late on Wednesday nights.To discourage scavengers,sometimes they put folded cardboard boxes near the top of the bin ,but at the bottom of the bins there are great books.Check there Thursday mornings very early and also on other days between Monday and Thursday.

  3. I vote for leaving the tarnish, that’s how I prefer silver jewelry, adds more interest I think. I would be interested in buying as is. Let me know if available.

    I think people being in a hurry to vacate the premises causes them to purge onto the alleyways. While I am grateful for the useful things I find, I shake my head at the waste. Wish there were municipal free stores or transfer stations around.

    1. Hi, if you’re interested in the box send me an email at thingsifindinthegarbage@gmail.com and we can figure something out.

      I think moving is one of those tough things that can catch even the most organized person off-guard. Still, a lot of people don’t seem to care much about making sure things don’t go to waste.

  4. Over thev last two years,a few people have posted comments about Redpath Hall’s book dumping on your blog.But you have never checked out the place.You should now because you have a car.With a car you could cart away 100 good books out of the 300 being junked.Some weeks you may find few or no books inside those recycling bins;other weeks you might be drowning in treasures.Some weeks there are five big plastic bins full of hundreds of books.Tell your friends about it too.

  5. I have a great respect for books; there’s nothing quite like the look and smell of them and the feel of one in your hands as you turn a page. I have more than I could possibly ever read in my lifetime, yet still I get more. With the growing popularity of e-readers and tablets that can be used as e-readers, it is (unfortunately) inevitable that more and more “real” books are going to be discarded in the years to come, even by libraries. It’s a shame, but it’s also a reality of our time. So as wonderful as books are, for Martin to cart away 100 “saved” books at a time to an apartment is just not practical for a single individual. They’re heavy; they take space; they’re not always easy to unload afterward (many used book stores are closing, and many don’t accept hardcovers).

    There are other treasures, arguably more important ones, for Martin to find … glorious bits of ephemera, curious bits of forgotten culture, archaic technology. Books will never disappear; they’ll always be around in one form or another, but these other things can and will go the way of the dodo bird.

    I think comments to Martin’s posts (like that of Ross, above) are great in that they direct people to places where good books can be found and retrieved (for the mere expense of a bit of gas). Martin doesn’t have to be the only one doing the saving. Just saying …

  6. Leenie Divinity is right that many more books might be thrown out in recent years.But a lot of good books across North America do get rescued from trash bins and recycling bins by book collectors and book resellers,providing they know where they are being junked.Redpath Hall seems to change the day on which they dump books some weeks to deter scavenging.But still a number of scavengers,I think there,do rescue good books before they are destroyed.When Redpath Hall puts out blue bins full of good books during the day,many students and scavengers usually salvage most of the books.Whenever Redpath Hall brings out the blue bins late at night for the truck the next morning,a lot of good books in three or four big bins do not get rescued unfortunately.It all depends on the week.Please ask students to look out for those blue bins full of secondhand good books.

    1. Redpath Hall is merely the location of the book collection, and the sale in the fall.

      I’ve said it before, but if people are so concerned about books, can’t they get the name right? These books are being dumped by the McGill Book Fair. a volunteer group that gets some space from McGill, and which raises money for scholarships. It’s been going on since 1971. There is no local used book sale that is longer lasting (though. the South Shore University Women’s Club book sale that happens in August is only a few years younger).

      The only leverage people can have on the McGill Book Fair, and the Atwater Library, is by actually talking about specific titles, not how many books get dumped. Quantity means nothing, at least the books are going into recycling, but if the sales can be challenged on specific titles, then they are clearly not being selective in their dumping. And any time they dump a book that someone would pay for, they’ve lost that money. If they are dumping books that people would actually be paying for at the sale, then that will reflect badly on them, much more than that they are simply dumping books.

      Books only have value if someone wants them, I certainly have no interest in saving books, I have interest in saving books that I actually want. Martin isn’t out to accumulate stuff, he’s looking for things to sell. He’s not likely to find that much of value in discards from book sales, certainly not books that can bring in more money. Some books will carry a decent price, especially if the right buyer can be found, but most books will barely bring in anything, especially if postage has to be paid for.

      The book sales are dumping because they want to raise their prices, and if they get rid of the “lesser” books, then they can justify higher prices by saying “see, we’ve gotten rid of the riff-raff books”. Yes, probably many books can find a home, but the less common will likely take more effort. Books are just so plentiful, like clothing, that their value is pretty low. All book sales dump books after the sale is over, unless they can find some other sale or someone who wants the leftovers.

      As for the Book Fair being sinister, I doubt it. They probably put the cardboard on top because once the books are in the bins, the boxes can be broken down. If they shift the day the books go out, surely that’s because the recycling day has changed, they aren’t supposed to put out recycling on the wrong day. I fyou want them to be seen as evil, do it by showing books found that really do have a high value.


  7. That electronic box with the LEDs looks kind of home made. One guess, because it wasn’t uncommon at one point, is that it’s a “digital oscilliscope” for displaying waveforms. That sort of XY arrangement of LEDs would be needed for that. Of course, if there’s a computer inside, it might be something really weird, like a display to graph biorythms, as calculated by the computer. Part of me thinks the circuit boards (in the photo with the floppy disks) may be spares for what’s in the box, there might be repetitive circuitry for that display.

    I can’t think of that much that would have an XY display of LEDs like that.


  8. Here are a few authors whose books I rescued from blue bins outside Redpath Hall last year .These books were destined for the recycling truck.I rescued books from John Le Carré,Art Buchwald,Nathaniel Branden,William James,a comic book compilation of B.C and a book that I loved ‘THINK AND GROW RICH’ by Napoleon Hill in perfect shape.The same book at Indigo costs more than 8 to 11 dollars.There are many books worth saving from those blue bins–though there are also outdated scientific journals and some torn or damaged books junked too.But the gems are definitely there too.Just go look.

  9. tHIS weekend a lot of people are moving.You might find a lot of gems this weekend and in the coming weeks.Do not just look in front of houses and duplexes,but also in the tall blue and grren recycling buildings outside apartment complexes.Some houses and duplexes too put out all their garbage and recycling in plastic bins,not in black garbage bags.In these big plastic trash bins and recycling bins outside apartment buildings.,many people who are moving throw out good shoes,knicknacks,books,magazines,tools,vinyl records,cutlery and jewelry.Please check these out.

  10. The books I saved at Redpath Hall(two posts ago)were not last year,but two years ago.A small error in my last post.I collect books for myself,but I wanted to say many books dumped by the Mcgill book fair people do have resale value and many have literary value or academic value.The books I have found there two years have been a pleasure to read and keep at home.I want to encourage others to do the same.

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