Pour la couture


I’ve been doing my trash runs by bike and foot exclusively over the last few weeks. I’ve found it relaxing not having to deal as much with traffic and waiting at stoplights. It also ensures I get a good amount of exercise – enough to work off those pastries I love so much!

Another benefit is that I’m stopping at much smaller trash piles than I do if when I’m driving. It’s much easier to stop and dismount from a bike.

I also just plain forgot that some of the best trash comes in small packages. I feel like I’ve been making finds recently that I wouldn’t have made not that long ago (but might of made a long time ago). The first two piles in this post, for example, certainly would have gone unnoticed if I were being picky. The two piles after that might have been missed too.

Friday morning brought me to Rosemont, specifically the part east of Iberville. I noticed these bags in front of a cute single story home and decent to take a peek.

A woman came out of the house as I was poking around and told me that the bags were full of junk. She was mostly right. As is often the case though there were a few things I liked, including in this case a set of souvenir postage stamp cards from the mid 60s to 1970. There was also a guide for field hockey from the 1976 Montreal Olympics. None of these things are particularly valuable, worth maybe a dollar a piece, but they make for cool yard sale stuff.


These bags sat just a little bit up the road. They mostly contained old sewing related bric-a-brac. I found a cute hand-made business card for a sewer (“pour la couture”) to go along with it. I love old ephemera.

I don’t have much storage space and had to leave the most of it. I salvaged a couple items, including a 1950s era chrome container (a toothbrush holder?). My favourite find though was a very old and very small sterling silver ring that features the initials “JB”. It looks hand-etched. Based on the style I’d guess it was made around the 1920s.


A few blocks over I came across this pile. Amongst some other junk was a small collection of jewellery that stunk of cigarettes.

Many of the pieces were broken, incomplete or just junk. Still, I came away with a few nice pieces. My favourites were two rings: a vintage-y sterling silver and marcasite ring with a greenish middle, and a simple sterling ring with a pock-marked, crater-like design. The latter has a very modernist feel. Both of those should eventually find their way to my Etsy store, I’m thinking for maybe 40$ each. I also found a couple pieces of scrap silver to add to the collection.


My Monday evening run through the Plateau was totally barren before coming across this spot on Villeneuve.

Inside the bags were items likely left behind after a move. There were lots of miscellaneous electronics including: two cordless phones, one of which was still charged; a little cordless drill, still charged; two packs of writeable Blu-Ray discs and one of writeable DVDs; and an unfortunately broken Macbook G4 laptop. There was also a good screwdriver with all the bits, a box of incense, several decent records, and a nice Jonathan Richard Irish tweed hat that should sell for around 40$ on Ebay. The oddest find was a new-in-box moose call that originally sold for 48.94 – it seemed somehow out of place. Overall I scavenged a great collection of yard-saleable items.


I came across this pile coincidentally when returning from an appointment down-town on Tuesday afternoon. The bags were packed full of cool old clutter and I quickly began sorting through it. Unfortunately though I came across evidence of bed bugs: a cast skin on one of the chairs in the background. It just goes to show how you could always keep your eyes open, this definitely wasn’t a “classic” or obvious bug situation. A lot of the stuff looked to have been there since the 50s and 60s.

There were many good things that could have been saved regardless but I don’t have the resources to do it safely. I’m only able to save items that can be easily cleaned (and likely non-infested) such as ceramic, metal and glass and even then I’m very conservative about what I take.

This pile was pretty neat and I was able to find some small items that made it worth my while.


These two pens jumped out at me from a collection of other, less notable pens. They had an antique look and the tone of silver patina I know and love so much.

At top is a monogrammed, portable, pendant-style fountain pen made by Waterman. At bottom is a traditional ballpoint pen by Shaeffer. Both are made of sterling silver and are quite beautiful.

I did some research on eBay. An auction for one like the Shaeffer was winding down just as I was searching: it sold for 71$. A pen similar to the Waterman sold for 210$. These are excellent prices. However, I think I can do even better with a set price listing.

I also found a couple vintage Bezalel “Tribes of Israel” pens (probably worth 20-25 bucks each) and a set of six tokens, each of which made with and labelled as a different type of metal. Does anyone know what they could be for?

All in all, a good few days!

Last weeks sales (July 28 – August 3)
Vintage hockey puck: on eBay for 20$. Went to a guy in Newfoundland. I found it at a great spot in CDN.
Peterson’s Sport tobacco pipe: on Ebay for 34$. This was part of a collection given to me by a nice old guy who saw me looking through his trash.
-Collection of 475 foreign coins: on Craigslist for 70$. I’m glad to see these go, especially for a decent price. I’m sure to replenish the collection soon enough.
-Pearl necklace: to a reader / on eBay for 32$. From my July 28 post. A reader messaged me on eBay and we made a deal. It took a while to figure out the price (don’t want to give away a treasure for nothing!) but I’m happy with the price.
Total: 156$, 2305$ since May 18. A passable if mediocre week.

5 thoughts on “Pour la couture”

  1. Consider putting lots of foreign coins in your Etsy store – artists use them to make jewelry. I helps if they have interesting images on them.

  2. Lots of good finds!

    That chrome toothbrush box would have been part of a toiletry set for traveling. Something like https://www.etsy.com/ca/listing/197153652/vintage-antique-art-deco-chrome-3-piece?ref=market Yours is a nice art deco style. There’d likely be a number of pieces in a case, like this. http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vtg-Mens-TRAVEL-Toiletries-CASE-Austria-LEATHER-10-pc-/300589779478?pt=US_Men_s_Accessories&hash=item45fc8c0a16

    Great pens. They should clean up nice.

  3. I would think you could sell that Macbook for a decent price even if broken. There are businesses that buy old macs to fix and resell if you wanted a quick flip on it. I’m sure they don’t pay a lot for them, but they’d buy it. There’s one in my city that sells on ebay called Sell Your Mac (.com)

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