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!

Follow me on Facebook

13 thoughts on “Triple digits”

  1. I’ve been watching your ebay listings grow. You HAVE been a busy beaver on that front.

    Food! Can’t live without it. And the price was right. 🙂 Beer! Can live without it, but hey, everybody deserves a treat, especially a free one. 🙂

    I’m trying to picture the kind of spice box that frankincense thimble would have been part of. No luck.

    Laptop computer! A business necessity in this day and age, and even at $55, the price was right. I have no problem imagining you creating a blog post from a coffee shop.

    That little Lydia E. Pinkham’s vegetable compound sewing kit sells between $25 and $50. Nice little find, and unusual too. Great collectors item for people interested in sewing and quaint medicines. There’s lots of advertizing for her “medicine” out there.

    More military ID! How fascinating. And that old money! Gadzooks. All in all, a good week, I’d say.

  2. Sometimes the most valuable things are those you find when you actually need
    them. I’ve been looking for a tiny tape measure, I know I’ve bought them in the
    past, and found a cloth tape measure (like for sewing) which is a reasonable
    substitute. It is more efficient to find things you need, than find things to sell and then buy items.

    I wish I could find a reasonably recent laptop. I found two last year, but both were
    in pieces. almost intact but for the hard drives. So I assumed something had gone wrong, and the owners had opened them to get the hard drives out, and then scrapped the rest.
    On the other hand, if I found a decent laptop, I’d scrounge the power supply. I once bought a Mac Powerbook at a rummage sale, and took the power supply out of an inkjet printer to run it. It worked fine.

    That 1978 button should be relatively uncommon, especially around here. It must be
    when UNSSOD I took place. Not many people went then, it was UNSSOD II in June of 1982 that had maybe up to 500,000 at a disarmament rally. There were lots of buttons for that one.


  3. If you have access to flatbed scanner, or run across one in your travels…try that out for the jewelry. Sometimes it works out better to show the detail than a photo on necklaces or bracelets…and sometimes not. Anyways, congrats on the listing and happy hunting!

  4. Good for uou, Martin! Ithink you have accomplished a lot. Starting out selling on Ebay is a long learning curve. I love the pearl necklace I bought from you. Keep up the great work, and thanks for sharing. You have a bright future.

  5. I am a struggling but bright student at Mcgill.I live in 1 room in Rosemont and I occasionally salvage discarded food outside bakeries and groceries.I am happy you salvaged all that great food that someone threw out from their pantry.I wish more middle-class people would do this occasionally to help the environment and also to cut down on their food bills.Outside left-leaning Plateau,Mile End and Rosemont,I hope more people in English Montreal would do this.I have classmates living in NDG,Lasalle,Montreal West and Cote Des Neiges.(You are doing most of your salvaging in francophone parts of the city,and I am from Ontario,but I have learnt which are the anglo parts of Montreal)

  6. Could you include both western St.Henri and Verdun West into your trash searches on many Thursday mornings?Both have garbage and recycling pickups on Thursday mornings—you could cover two areas in one morning.Yes,western St.Henri is geographically a much smaller area to cover than Verdun West.I live in Verdun and know both Verdun Ouest and western St.Henri.

  7. the reason the battery expands (macbook) is because of accumulated schmutz & fuzz Inside the laptop thus leading to overheating,it would be a good to open up the casing & clean her out with a can of compressed air,otherwise your new battery will also overheat,most of us aren’t told about these little maintenance issues upon purchase of electronics (better for sales 😉 cheers,pat.

  8. Awesome finds!!!! Love seeing all your pictures of your treasures!!! I need to check you out on Ebay!! Keep up the good work and stay safe!! 🙂

    1. I think it’s a can full of different types of mushrooms. I haven’t opened it yet to give it a try though

Comments are closed.