White blanket

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I started the week in Cote St-Luc, but for the first time in a while I came away with nothing.

I thought I had made a nice find for a second. There were two bins full of DVDs on the curb next to a house for sale, but upon closer inspection they proved to be bootleg copies. That takes away any value they might have had, and I left them for the garbage collectors.

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I did a little run in western NDG afterwards but didn’t find anything. However, on the way home I found an iPod in front of an triplex on Cote St-Catherine. It seems to work fine, and is worth around 100$ on eBay. I have two iPods now, both of which I’ll need to get cables for in order to sell them. Thankfully, the cables are cheaper than I thought they’d be – they go for only a few bucks each on eBay.

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I went out again on Monday night. I came across this pile in the Snowdon area, near Westmount. There was a lamp in the background, which I took but ended up leaving for others. I also salvaged some ski boots, a light jacket, and some rubber boots, all of which I ended up putting in the “Give Box” on St Viateur.

I kept this nice set of Bescherelles, which are the standard books that you’d use when trying to learn or improve your French. These would have cost at least 50$, and probably more like 75$ new. They make for great yard sale material.

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Later on I came across this spot in NDG, close to Grand Boulevard.

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Inside one of the black bags was a collection of hotel keys, most of which were labelled as being from the 70s, 80s, and 90s. I had a feeling there would be a collectors market for this kind of stuff, and I was right. Some hotel keys, especially ones from famous hotels in prestigious cities can fetch a nice sum.

I don’t think hotels generally let you take their keys home, so these people must have been stealing them for years! Not that it’s a big deal, I’m sure the hotels plan for that kind of thing, but it’s kind of funny.

I put these keys up as an eBay auction on Wednesday. I don’t usually do auctions – I find setting a price gets you a better deal more often than not – but I made an exception in this case. The key collector market seems fairly strong, and I’m hoping (or perhaps gambling) that the Christmas spirit will drive the price to a high level. There is currently one bid (at my starting price of 20 USD) and 9 “watchers.” I find that most bidding takes place in the last hours of a listing, so I expect the price to rise at least a little bit.

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I think this key was my personal favourite. It’s from the Atala hotel, an upscale (if not particularly famous) joint near the Champs-Élysées in Paris. It has a 1960s look to it, and the key is of the skeleton variety. I put it up for about 80$ Canadian, which I think is a reasonable price based on what I’ve seen others going for on eBay.

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I found a bit of jewellery too. This sterling silver pendant and chain was hidden inside a little box. The pendant is likely amber.

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I also found this ring, made from a well tarnished sterling silver.

Otherwise, I brought home an extremely long photo of a summer camp in 1962, a Tag Heuer watch with a very scratched crystal, and some kind of vice grip. In another NDG spot, I saved a hand-crank portable radio.

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I was excited when I came across this large pile of bags in Hampstead. However, the contents turned out to be mostly junk. There were many books, and while I took a few most didn’t appear to be worth the effort of saving. There were also some damaged ceramic, glass and wood decorations, which unfortunately were no longer salvageable. Still, I saved: a like-new vintage faucet; a set of coasters from an a hotel in Acapulco; a changepurse; a ziplock bag with various items inside, including a vintage belt buckle and waistline measuring tape; a Holy Bible (translated to Hebrew); a couple of art books …

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… and a large Raggedy Ann doll. She’s seen better days, partly because I accidentally ripped her head a bit while pulling her out of the bag. I left her outside my building, in case someone wants to try to patch it up.

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The snow started to fall on Tuesday. I did my rounds in Mount Royal, but as you’d expect people are less likely to put out their trash (especially at night) when it’s stormy out.

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The only thing I found was at this spot, the same one that produced the box full of foreign coins a couple weeks back.

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Leaning against the garbage bin was this nice vintage suitcase. A few worn, but beautiful travel stickers, likely dating back to the late 40s or early 50s, are stuck to the side. The interior is still quite nice, and I’ll probably use it to store eBay goods.

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The snow kept coming, around 30cm in all, making the rest of the week a bit of a write-off. It’s hard to drive around, let alone stop or park with the streets looking like this – I even got in a traffic jam while driving down a small residential road in Westmount. Montreal is no stranger to storms like this, so thankfully the streets are already mostly cleared. Hopefully people saved the good stuff for this week!

Last week’s garbage sales (December 8 – December 14)

I made by biggest sale ever this week!

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1. Set of three vintage cottage-themed Aynsley teacups, saucers: on eBay for 750$. I found them in Ville St Laurent about two and a half months ago. When researching these I discovered that this pattern was fairly uncommon, and sold for pretty high prices. It took a couple of months, but someone paid me for them!

750$ isn’t a lot for some people, but for me it’s about two months rent. I stressed a lot about how to ship this, and did a lot of research to make sure it went as smoothly and as risk-free as possible.

I learned a lot from the process. For one, apparently Canada Post will not provide insurance for “fragile” items, which obviously includes something like this. As a result, shipping with them (as I’ve done for every other sale I’m ever made) would have been a serious gamble on my part.

I looked into other shipping services, such as Fedex and UPS. When doing this, I learned that insurance is pretty complicated with them too. They offer insurance, or insurance-like coverage anyway, but they will sometimes refuse to pay up unless you shipped it in the exact way that they’d expect you to. Even then, it seemed like they would do anything to avoid payment, though I only heard the customer’s side of the story.

Ultimately, I came across what seemed to be the best solution. The UPS Store offers to pack your items for you, and as a result they are liable for any damage that might occur. I brought the cups to the UPS Store in TMR, and was surprised when they only charged me 5$ for packing. I expected to pay anywhere from 30-50$! I’m a happy customer, assuming of course the insurance works as it should.

Things could still go wrong, so I’m trying my best not to get too excited about the money yet. Perhaps the customer won’t like the teacups for whatever reason, or maybe they will be charged a customs fee that they weren’t expecting. Maybe the package will get stolen or destroyed, which would be annoying whether I get the money back or not. We’ll just have to wait and see. In the meantime, I have an extra 800$ or so in my PayPal account.

2. Illuminated Magnifier – Becks of London: on eBay for 60$. Found the same night as the teacups.
3. Lot of 51 vintage pins, shields: on eBay for 37$. These were part of a collection of jewellery and other bric-a-brac I found inside a couple small boxes in Rosemont last August. I found a few similar collections last year, but none nearly as notable this year. Hopefully that changes soon, as I love looking through that kind of stuff! I’m glad to see these go, as they’ve been around far too long.

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4. Vintage Le Crueset enameled cast iron pan: on eBay for 125$. This was a beautiful piece, one that I would have kept if I could afford to. Found on Cote-des-Neiges near the Golden Square Mile in early October.
5. Samsung Galaxy 5 cell phone: on eBay for 34$. Found early November in the Golden Square Mile

$T2eC16V,!zEE9s3!YbEHBR5WigDWKg~~60_57

6. Squamish “Moon Mask” wood carving: on eBay for 245$. I’ve had this on eBay for such a long time and am thrilled to see it go, especially for a couple hundred bucks. It was overpriced for a while, but I eventually came to a price it would sell at. Found late April 2013 in the Plateau.
7. Fiesta chip tin: to a reader for 5$. I found this in Rosemont early May but forgot it in my friend’s shed until just recently. Someone emailed me about it months ago, and I only replied recently when I finally retrieved it. It’s not the finest example of my organizational skills, and I apologize to anyone else who might has waited a long time for a reply. Regardless, I originally asked for 15$ (it’s a collectible item, especially here in Quebec) but accepted 5$, as he thought a sticker on the bottom was covering some significant rust (though none of it appeared on the bottom). In the end I just wanted to move it.

Total: 1256$, 8606.50$ since May 18th (when I began to keep track). This is my best weekly total to date, just a week after my last record-breaking week. Christmas is definitely proving to be quite profitable. I just hope nothing happens to those teacups!

New listings

1. Vintage Atala hotel (Paris) key
2. Lot of vintage hotel keys (auction ends Wednesday at 10 EST)

Note: I offer local buyers a (often significant) discount on all eBay and Etsy prices. Email me for more details.

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 thingsifindinthegarbage@gmail.com. I also enjoy reading your comments!

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24 thoughts on “White blanket

  1. Duncan says:

    The small “vice grip”, https://curbfinds.files.wordpress.com/2014/12/img_3389.jpg is in fact a small bench-mounted vice, often referred to as a watchmaker’s or jeweller’s vice. It clamps onto the edge of a workbench or desk, and can then be used for fine work.

    Best,
    Duncan
    Ottawa

  2. tess says:

    love the star and moon ring–are you going to sell it?
    v. interesting about the packing situation

  3. Wow! … a great variety of finds + sweet sales = a good week. I approve this message. 🙂

    That amber pendant is absolutely lovely. I can’t quite make out what’s in the amber. And the moon/star ring should shine up real nice, as well. I guess they’ll appear in your etsy store?

    Those hand-crank portable radios are very handy to have around for when there’s a power outage, or if you’re away from a power source. It’s something that’s been on my wish list for a while. How much are you asking for it?

    Hope this coming week is a good (or better) than the two previous ones!

    Stay warm.

    • martng says:

      Amber usually has some kind of “imperfection” to it, as far as I can tell. This is likely a pressed amber piece, which isn’t super valuable or anything but still quite nice.

      I’ll bring you the radio when I come down.

  4. Nancy says:

    Love the amber pendant. Don’t clean it in the baking soda/aluminum foil solution. I did and it took the shine off the amber and I never got it back to original. xx Good luck this week!

    • martng says:

      Thanks for the tips. I’ve been using a silver cleaner, I forget the brand as of late. I mostly use the baking soda / aluminum foil for silver plate cutlery.

  5. Nancy says:

    Please keep us updated on the cups’ travels. Saint-Christopher is the patron of long journeys so you may want to send him a shoot.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Christopher#Patronage_of_places

    (Seriously, wishing you and the cups good luck!)

  6. Nancy says:

    You can also send him a *shout 🙂 Or a prayer.

  7. Andrea Brunet says:

    How much are you selling the sterling silver/amber  necklace for I would be interested. Thanks Andrea Sent from my ALCATEL ONETOUCH POP IC

    • martng says:

      You were the first to ask, so it’s yours if you want it. I’d ask 15$, for the pendant and chain combo. I’ll clean the pendant of tarnish, if you desire.

  8. nancy says:

    Congratulations on great sales. The teacup sale is amazing. Amazing they survived being thrown into the trash.

  9. Crystal says:

    The photograph is probably a yardlong sometimes written as two words – yard long. (36 inches = 1 yard) Some of them sell for pretty good money. Just measure it to see if it is indeed 36 inches long.

  10. Rachel says:

    Just wondering, did you sell that amber necklace? I would also be interested in buying it.

  11. willedare says:

    I love your attention to detail. Great reading. Thank you for keeping these objects in circulation.

  12. jimmy says:

    hi,
    very interesting finds and website. it is cool that you can make money off of trash. i see you are making around $1000 per month.

    how many hours do you think you are working for that $1k? any guess?

    also, it looks like you prefer residential garbage. is that correct? do you have an
    opinion on business garbage? better or worse than residential?

    do you stick with old money type residential areas?

    any additional info on how you choose where to hunt would be welcome.
    thanks

    • martng says:

      I definitely work enough hours, I’d guess around 40 a week (including blog-related stuff, which is about 8 hours or so in itself). By hour it’s not a great wage, but it’s definitely satisfying.

      I prefer residential garbage. There might be some good business garbage, but I personally don’t explore it much. Residential garbage to me is just more interesting.

      Someone with different knowledge or expertise may be able to make excellent money with business trash (especially if they know how to part electronics, or something like that).

      I love old money residential areas. However, I also enjoy hunting in more blue collar neighborhoods. Some of my best finds have been in these places (like that gold medal a couple months back) – they tend to just be more hit and miss, or boom and bust. Rich areas, whether old or new money are simply more consistent.

      One thing I can suggest is to keep an eye out for “for sale” signs in front of houses. These places are in transition, one way or the other, and are more likely to produce some good trash. I personally find these signs to be a great tip in single-family home areas, and virtually useless in dense urban areas (like the Plateau in Montreal), for whatever reason.

      Feel free to send me an email if you want additional tips.

      • jimmy says:

        thanks for the info. the for sale sign sounds like a very good suggestion.
        i appreciate your reply and all the great info on your blog.
        thanks

  13. […] different replies in the span of a few hours. I sold it with the USB charger from last post. Found a few weeks back in […]

  14. happify says:

    I have an identical vise, though mine is missing one of the two metal things on either side of the center bit. (Mine’s attached to my desk and holding headbands like a hook right now.) The sticker on mine reads: Globemaster No. 5929 Korea and I think this is another one: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-1-5-GLOBEMASTER-5929-Mini-Bench-VISE-Korea-/251754792748?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3a9dc1472c
    http://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/vintage-blue-globemaster-5929-small-400626509

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