Site icon Things I find in the garbage

Triple digits


I’ve been pretty busy this past week getting things up on eBay and Etsy. I listed twenty-two items since my last post and have for the first time eclipsed the 100 listings mark on eBay. I’m pretty proud of that! Two of the new listings have already sold – see which ones below.

Listing can be a time-consuming process. However, once you get into a rhythm it speeds up a fair bit. I start by trying to answer two questions: is this item worth listing, and if so how much should I list it for? This takes some research, much of which is done through eBay’s completed listings search. I then photograph the item and fill out the listing form. Later when the item sells I have to ship it out – this is usually the last stage unless someone wants to do a return.

I expect that the Christmas season will be productive so my goal is to get all (or at least most) of my stuff listed before then. I still have a lot of work to do, especially when it comes to jewellery. I have a fair bit of it and some has been sitting around for over a year! The main reason for the delay is that I find photographing jewellery especially challenging and a little bit intimidating. I personally find it fairly difficult, especially for larger pieces like necklaces.

Lets get to last week’s garbage. I came across these garbage bins just off Sherbrooke last Monday.

Inside one of the bins was a bunch of food – it looked as if someone threw out everything in the pantry. I salvaged a bunch of canned food, a microbrew beer (I drank this already and it was delicious!), a nice metal box that my room-mate bought off me for 2$, and an old collectible Guerlain perfume “bee” bottle (which I listed on eBay).

At one point I unexpectedly spotted something that I recognized to be tarnished sterling silver. It looked a bit like a thimble and inside was some kind of resin. I consulted /r/whatisthisthing on reddit and we figured out that what was inside was frankincense and that the silver piece was likely an incomplete spice box. I wish I could go back and dig around a bit more for the other piece, though I did look pretty thoroughly.

My run through Mount Royal on Wednesday was relatively dry, though I did find this MacBook at the bottom of a garbage can. I took it knowing it was worth money even just for parts. I was also optimistic that it might work – the battery was clearly bulging and busted but otherwise the machine looked pretty clean. It also happened to be in front of a house for sale, and people often toss good stuff when they’re moving.

I was able to test it because a friend had the same model of laptop. It works! I ordered a power cable and battery on eBay so I should be able to get it up and running soon. If everything works according to plan I’ll use this laptop to do some work away from home. I think it’ll be a nice change of pace to be able to write a blog post from a coffee shop, for example. It’s a bit older (2007) and isn’t super fast but it should do well in that role. If I were to buy a similar laptop it would have cost around 200$ – the cord and battery together cost about 55$.

Last week was otherwise pretty dry. This week got off to a nice start though thanks to St Henri, which is suddenly (at least for the moment) my most productive neighbourhood. I went back to the place where I found the medal last week and found more good tools and art supplies. I’m most happy about finding the measuring tape as I needed to get one of my own.

My best finds though came from this pile not far from where I found the Muhlstock painting.

Inside the bags was a bunch of interesting stuff, a lot of which was stored in old strawberry and shoe boxes. I saved some tools, old tins, a pin from a 1978 nuclear disarmament rally in New York City, three nice metal coasters (two of which appear hand-made), and a little metal container containing an old sewing kit (which was made to promote Lydia E. Pinkham’s vegetable compound).

This was an interesting find that /r/whatisthisthing again helped me identify. It’s a very heavy (55 gram) bracelet that’s hallmarked as sterling silver. A person’s name is monogrammed on the front and on the back a series of numbers (957 37 57). I found it unusual partly because I’ve never seen a sterling silver piece quite as bulky and partly because of the odd set of numbers on the back.

It turns out that this is a WWII-era United States Navy ID bracelet. The giveaway turned out to be the number sequence which is consistent with the US Navy service numbers of the day. It also looks a lot like this one currently on eBay. A pretty cool find, and one that should make me a bit of money.

This old Hydro Quebec envelope provided the biggest surprise, however. Hidden inside was five old coins and 2.50$ in bills. You read that right!

Apparently Canada issued 25 cent bills in the years 1870, 1900, and 1923. There was a reason for this that wikipedia doesn’t explain too well – if you could better tell us the story let us know in the comments!

There are 12 bills in total, 10 of which are the 1923 version and 2 of which are the 1900 version. Most are quite well circulated and thus worth around 5$ a piece, give or take a dollar based on the specific condition. One note – a 1900 issue – is in very good condition and is worth around 25$.

The coins are pretty cool too, if not particularly valuable. There’s a Canada 1943 wartime nickel, a 1973 American dime, a 1905 and 1921 British Penny, and an 1862 5 Centesimi from Italy.

I had a good time last night during a walk in the Plateau but that story will have to wait until the next post!

Former garbage listed for sale online since my last post:

I’ve omitted a few of the links. This is because I avoid sharing any potentially personal information on the blog.

Canadian flag – Red Ensign of 1921-1957SOLD! – 132$ (minus free shipping)
Canadian flag – Red Ensign of 1921-1957 (a second) – SOLD! – 187$ (minus free shipping)
Vintage flag of Switzerland
Vintage Australian Red Ensign
New York Times Picture Section from the Hindenburg disaster
Lot of four New York Times Picture Sections, dated range from 1919-1937
-Portrait of a Colonel by renown photographer Yousuf Karsh
Program for the Presentation of Colours to the Black Watch (1962)
-10k gold WWI service medal
WWII-era RCAF leather photo album
Vintage sunflower oil tin (full!)
Vintage art deco table lamp
Two vintage jadeite Fire King mugs
Small bottle of Red Moscow perfume
Vintage Guerlain perfume “bee” bottle
Vintage Liberty silk scarf, soccer / football design
Vintage Liberty silk scarf, floral design
1946 University of Sudbury school ring, sterling silver
Modernist-style sterling silver ring
Sterling silver ring
Telephone Pioneers of America bracelet charm
Sterling silver charm bracelet: provincial coat of arms

Last week’s sales (September 15 – September 21)

-Antique sterling silver Shaeffer pen: on eBay for 108$. This didn’t take long to sell and fetched a nice price. Found in the Plateau in early August.
-Vintage metal box: to a friend for 2$.

Total: 110$, 3196.50$ since May 18 (when I started counting). Not terrible but nothing inspiring either. Thanks to the flags though this week is already making up for it!

If you have a question, see anything that you’re interesting in buying, or to just want to say hello feel free to email me at I also enjoy comments!

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