A special gift for the garbageman

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I took it easy last week, figuring it was better to focus on other tasks during the traditional mid-month lull. I still made it out for some runs, and while I came up empty on a few occasions I managed to make some good finds.

I’ve been checking out the trash in front of this house in Mount Royal for a month or so now. It’s where I found the WWII RCAF cap and the old Canadian flags. I’d guess that they’re clearing out the basement after a move – the rest of the house has always looked very empty.

Over the last two weeks I’ve saved more decent stuff, including a collection of late 1930s to early 1940s “College Humor” magazines, a passport to Expo 67, and several nice pairs of glasses and sunglasses. The passport was full of pavilion stickers, many more than ones I’ve seen in the past. I was surprised to see that so many African countries were represented at the fair.

I’m thinking I’ll throw the vintage frames into a eBay lot with some others I already have. I might sell the Polaroid Cool Ray “Party Time” glasses (bottom left) individually as I found a pair that sold for 60$. I also like the white, lustrous sunglasses at bottom left, though the only information printed on them is that they were made in France.

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I came across this pile during a little run in the Mile End yesterday evening. Inside one of the bags was a little change-purse with a 10$ bill tucked inside. I guess whoever was sorting through this stuff wasn’t paying much attention! The only other time I’ve found a Canadian bill in the trash was when I found 28$ dollars in old bills back in the winter of 2013. I saved a few other items including: a Kosta Boda candle holder/paperweight, a metal mask decoration from the Hotel Marquis Reforma in Mexico, and a cool Clinton Gore election pin from 92 or 96 that I immediately pinned to my shirt. One bag was completely full of passes for a journalist.

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Elsewhere I found: a set of cutlery in Laval, two bags of nice wood pieces in TMR (which I’ve put on CL free), a box of vintage “Made in Canada” mason jars in Rosemont, and two film cameras in TMR.

One of my favourite finds however was an unopened “special gift” from Mercedes: a solid metal 8gb flash drive featuring a leather cover emblazoned with the Mercedes logo. It was given “in honour of your time with us.” It’s not worth much – the 8gb size is sort of outdated with 32gb and 64gb drives now the norm – but I find it funny how this special gift from Mercedes, still brand-new in the box ended up in my hands!

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In other news, the ring sizer I bought off eBay arrived today. It’s a great tool that easily and accurately determines the size of the rings I find. At around 5$ it’s a good investment that will make listing on my eBay and Etsy stores much easier.

Last weeks sales (August 4 – August 10)
-Loose change: 30$. I opened a TD bank account because they offer a free change counter and brought in the small change I’ve collected in the last year or so. Most was smaller change because I pick out the bigger stuff like loonies, toonies, and sometimes quarters for spending in day-to-day life. I don’t plan on touching this bank account, outside of once in a while using it to treat myself to something fancy. Much of it came from the jar full of change I found on a cold but pleasant evening in January.
-Skygolf GPS Receiver: on eBay for 35$. I found this in TMR a few weeks ago.
Total: 65$, 2370$ since May 18. Not a great total. I need to have another yard sale sometime soon.

Pour la couture

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.