Radio ’49


I went into this week hoping the giving season would have inspired people to throw out their old iPhone 5s and MacBook Pros. Those lofty dreams were dashed, but I had a good week regardless, especially considering the weather.

My first nice find of the week was in the Plateau near Parc Jeanne-Mance. While I was looking through one of the bags a man approached me, asking me why I just didn’t take the entire bag home with me. It was an odd question, but he seemed cool enough. I explained that usually I have to sort through some junk to find the stuff I really want. He ended up telling me that the trash belonged to his daughter, who was getting rid of some old stuff. She was probably moving, but he didn’t specify that.


His daughter would have been around my age I think, which makes me wonder where she got (and then decided to throw out) these beautiful antique opera binoculars. They’re in mint condition, adorned with perfectly cut mother of pearl. They’re marked as being made by Lemaire of Paris for Henry Birks & Sons, a high-end Canadian jewelry store. They’re likely from the late 1800s or early 1900s, making them over a hundred years old. A great find, and one that should fetch me around 150$!


There was a bit of jewelry too. Most of it was junk, but this sterling silver locket is quite beautiful. There was also a Grande Prairie Alberta pin, which is funny as Sarah just moved here from there. I lived there for a bit a couple years back too, and have good memories of my adventures in the region. It’s funny to see this pin somehow emerge in Montreal, as Grande Prairie is still a fairly small place. I seem to have misplaced it, but if I find it I’ll add the picture to the post.

Otherwise, I saved: a set of vintage pots; a candleholder lamp; a nice windchime; four crappy cell phones (which I’ll put in the recycle); a small geode; a collection of small trinket boxes…

…a hand fan; a handmade pencil case and Star Trek badge pin; a slightly busted cookie jar in the form of a cat; ink stamps in the form of cats…

…and a bizarre figurine of two cats passionately making out. Whoever owned this stuff was really into cats!



On Tuesday morningI went to a part of Cote St-Luc I hadn’t previously explored. I forget if this was one of the days it was unseasonably warm, or one of the days it was once again very cold. Either way, there wasn’t much snow in the way. I stopped at this odd pile of furniture and tires and opened the recycling bin.


Inside was a beautiful collection of vintage silver plate cutlery. There are a few nice sets here too. It was all inside an old clear plastic bag near the top of the bin.


One of the odd pieces out was this old Gerber baby spoon. The image of the baby is one part cute, and one part terrifying. The set is going to Sarah in exchange for car privileges.


I was planning on going to Mount Royal on Wednesday morning, but decided I wanted to sleep in and went out the night before instead. I’m trying to get back in the habit of going out in the morning, as there’s generally a bit more out and it’s way easier to see. I didn’t find much outside of this nice old suitcase, which is apparently made from real leather (presumably from an alligator). Inside, true to a note taped to the outside of the case was a collection of “divers sacs pour cadeaux” (different bag for packaging gifts).


Also inside the case were these old Montreal Expos pennants. Neither are super valuable, but they’re also sure to go quickly at a yard sale. I might keep one myself, as I was a big Expos fan before they moved away. I’ve found surprisingly little Expos stuff since I began this line of work.


My last trip of the was Thursday morning, when I did a run around Cote St Paul, Ville Emard, and Verdun. I didn’t find much except for at this one spot in Verdun.


Inside the recycling bin was a collection of old songbooks and other music-related publications, many of which were from the 20s, 30s and 40s. I had to sort through them and see which were in good enough shape to be worth taking. Many of them have pretty cool covers, and would look nice in frames. They’ll definitely make good yard sale material!



My favourites might be the ones most distinctly Quebecois. I was unable to discover any information about the Radio ’49 magazine online, though I may have just been Googling the wrong things. It was published 1949 in Montreal.


I also liked this old “The Etude” music magazine from 1942. It’s in great condition for its age. I otherwise saved a 1974 Guide to the Carribean (featuring Colombia), a 1950s paper Christmas decoration, a paper fan that folds out into a 1970s menu for the Ron of Japan restaurant in Chicago, and a cute vintage lamp.


Photo by @tball365

The weather turned sour after that. A snowstorm followed by an ice storm made the roads and sidewalks treacherous. I feel bad for the garbage collectors as it’s really not fun to be outside right now. I’ve had a slow start to this week as a result, hopefully things pick up!

Last week’s garbage sales (December 29 – January 4)

Last week was a surprisingly good one for sales. I’m a bit behind on mailing stuff out though, and will have to catch up in the next couple days.


1. Set of C.I. Fall drill bits: on eBay for 87$. I’m glad to see these go, as they had been listed for a while. Found late February in Glenmount.
2. Giorgio Armani Acqua di Gioia (85% used): on eBay for 38$. Found sometime this summer in the Plateau.


3. 1941 RCAF wool cap: on Ebay for 145$. A great piece of history, and sadly not mentioned anywhere in my 2014 end of year summary. Found mid July in Mount Royal.
4. Lot of old stock vintage batteries: on eBay for 40$. I’m not sure what people do with ancient batteries, but I’m definitely glad they sold. Found early October in Ville St Laurent.


5. Lot of 10 25 cent shinplaster bills from the early 1900s: on eBay for 117$. Another nice sale! Found mid September in St Henri, and featured in last week’s “best of 2014” post.
6. Grundig dictation record for parts, repair: on eBay for 10$. It’s not much, but it’s nice to find someone that want’s to fix it up. Found this summer in Mount Royal.
7. Sterling silver ring: sold on Etsy for 32$. Found sometime early last year in the Plateau.

Total: 469$, 9477$ since May 18, 2014. A great and surprisingly busy week! I should probably start keeping a new tally for 2015.

New listings

Vintage EIG Cutlery Soligen Hunting Knife (the handle is a deep hoof)
Lot of 1950s Israeli Phono-Cards
Lot of 18 Vintage Jack Nicklaus “Golden Bear” golf balls
Vintage art deco sterling silver eternity ring
Vintage Opera glasses (I may list these on eBay as well)

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 reading your comments!

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My 123 eBay listings
My Etsy store

21 thoughts on “Radio ’49”

  1. Some people may just collect old batteries, though perhaps as an adjunct to a radio collection.

    Old radios are collectible, and they often need replacement parts to get going. YOu can try to find old components (which may suffer the same problems as the parts that need replacing) or use newer components. The new ones probably work better, but they aren’t “original”. So in at least some cases, people may take the old components, remove the contents, and put newer components inside the old casing. SO they look original, but actually work.

    For radios that work off batteries, they often used battery types that are no longer. There are easy workarounds, but they aren’t “authentic”. SO some may want those old batteries to use the casing to cover up new batteries or battery replacements. I’ve even seen people talk about scanning old batteries and printing new labels, in cases where the old batteries may not even be available used. So these batteries may be a source of the old labels.


  2. again, lots of good finds, and again, it amazes me what folks chuck. Don’t understand why they don’t pass them on/give them away. At least I am hoping, that possibly they know/suspect folks are checking the binds for goodies, and are passing things on in that manner. What do you think? Is the goods in the bin a purposeful re homing, or thoughtless discards?

    1. Mostly thoughtless discards. I think if someone puts something in a bin or black bag on the curb, they’re not thinking anyone will find it. People who want others to find their stuff will put it out in open boxes (and generally with a “free” sign). I see this a lot, especially in the summer, but usually none of that stuff is too exciting (or maybe the best stuff is long gone by the time I get there), possibly because they already gifted the coolest stuff to people they know.

  3. You’re starting the new year off on a great foot. You got a nice variety of interesting finds.

    Music notation books can be expensive, even thin ones. I’m sure there must be collectors for this kind of thing.

    That a nice little set of enamel pots. Are the interiors in as good condition as the outside?

    Sarah got a nice set there, and well deserved too.

    Wishing you much prosperity! 🙂

    1. Thanks for the info, very helpful. This week has been dry so far, let’s hope I can conjure up something to post about next week!

  4. Just joining as a reader! I share your tendencies to pick things out of the trash (though without the same dedication), concern (environmental and human (what’s lost of our art/history/stories!)) about the amount of stuff we (North Americans) throw away, and interest in this window into being human (both in terms of the variety/beauty of items and consumption/waste patterns).

    I’m in Minneapolis, Minnesota (similar climate) where I think we have a decent culture of recycling/donating/thrift stores/curb-picking but with a lot of room for improvement. There’s definitely a group of people who do trash picking professionally and it makes me think about how natural of a human role that is (though sadly often socially maligned). It’s so beneficial for all of us! I tend to be a casual picker (i.e. I do it for items for myself or friends/family and occasionally stuff to drop off at the thrift store, but not for resale), but I’ll also move things to be more visible, try to find homes for things that can be reused (for example, posting items to Craigslist when I walk by them, getting felted wool sweater scraps to an artist, large banners to be remade into bags, vintage books getting recycled to artists and book charities, partially used candles to art teachers), and the clear overabundance of items has definitely impacted me as an artist/designer.

    All sorts of things are on my mind after reading back to the start of your blog and I’d love to hear your thoughts on them, given what you’ve shared so far. How do we scale these efforts up? And how do we do it when (as for you), our income is dependent on the waste? Could you (or I, or others) be also educating people about toxic waste? Places to donate still good stuff? What about what you’ve mentioned, which I’ve also seen, the sheer volume of stuff overwhelming thrift stores? What’s the low-hanging fruit here and how do we communicate it? Is the barrier a lack of understanding about value of items or impact of waste? lack of time? cultural sense that things shouldn’t be reused or fears about the “private”? What cities do better and what do they do differently? Is it about reinventing the current trash model to go back to a pick-and-sort model? Are we undercharging for waste disposal (if people were being charged by the pound, they’d be happy to see you, right?)? Are there technologies we could be taking advantage of more effectively?

    Anyhow, really enjoying your blog and thank you!

  5. Still following along. Best wishes for you in the new year, and I hope your pickings are grand!

  6. The enamel work on the sterling silver locket/pendent is called “Guilloche”. It was popular is the Victorian era. Pendents like that can get some good money!

  7. Gorgeous opera glasses. Bit of useless information for you that candle lamp is by Partylite! Nice finds.

  8. Martin, I can’t believe the amazing things you find. All the best for 2015 and I am following you from Calgary. I went to university in Montreal and love following the neighborhoods and streets where you find things – it brings back fond memories for me. Best wishes to you and hugs, Terri

  9. Happy New Year Martin!!! I am always amazed at what you find!! Wishing you a wonderful year on your finds!! 🙂 Jacki from Mississippi

  10. I think the smooching kitties are a parody of Rodin’s “the Kiss”. Who knows why someone would do it, but anyway. Also, if you can’t find paying customers for the Radio 49 publication and/or the “chants populaires” pictured next to it, the folkloric organizations like AQLF or SPDTQ would know whom to give it to, or I think Laval has a collection.

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