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The Oracle


My sore foot slowed me down for a lot of the week. Walking was difficult, particularly over uneven and snowy surfaces. I had a friend help me on my Monday night run, and we came across a place that provided a good weeks’ worth of finds. I’ve already made nearly 200$ from stuff I found here, and I expect there’s a lot more money yet to come!

In one of the bags were two old scrapbooks.

It was a kid’s school project about Expo 67. The books were filled with newspaper clippings …

… and some official Expo ephemera. I like the wheel (below to the left) that shows the location of each pavilion.

This map is the coolest piece, however. It’s some kind of master pavilion plan for the Expo, published in 1966. It’s signed by Gilles Gagnon, one of the head engineers of the project. I posted some pictures to the Expo 67 Facebook group and a few people seemed genuinely excited to see it.

This map likely isn’t very common since it wasn’t public domain and wouldn’t have been mass produced. I imagine someone would have had to have had some connections to get a copy. It might be worth a bit of money, but first I’ll get a nice quality scan to share on the Expo 67 Facebook page.

I found three old business card holders, full of business cards from the 1950s to probably the 1980s.

One card belongs to a familiar name, at least to those who follow Canadian politics. It’s the card of Justice John H. Gomery, who became known in 2004 when he headed the commission that investigated the sponsorship scandal. Later, after the conclusion of the commission, a federal judge determined that Gomery had displayed bias and judged issues before all evidence was heard.

It’s a bit funny, as I just saw Jean Chretien speak at Concordia last week and might not have remembered Gomery otherwise. This business card was probably made in the early 1970s, and will likely go into my box of garbage keepsakes.

I found a yearbook from 1944.

It was published by the Strathcona Academy, a high school in Outremont. From what I can tell it closed back in 1956.

This piece of paper, which (attempts to) talk humorously of all the changes that happened in the lifetimes of these graduates, was tucked inside the pages. It was probably given out at a reunion. The tone of some of the statements are bizarre, a great example being: “In our time closets were for clothes, not for ‘coming out of'”.

There were a lot of old photos and large-format negatives.

I saved a collection of buttons, cufflinks, jewelery, and baubles. The bird pendants are a part of a set that was made in Japan.

I thought the Star of David pendant on the left was interesting. The front surface (but none of the rest) seems to be rusty. I’m not sure if that’s part of the design, but it looks pretty cool. The pendant on the right is marked “e-sterling”. I’m not sure that means, but it’s definitely not pure sterling.

Two 10 Commandments charm bracelets …

… and a 1952 Town of Mount Royal curling club pin were part of the collection.

There were a whole bunch of vintage sunglasses and frames, which should do well at a yard sale.

One oversized pair by Christian Dior was particularly nice. I expect to sell them for close to 100$. The were probably made in the 60s or 70s.

In terms of miscellaneous stuff, I found a 1940s-era plastic ring box, some vintage ear plugs (unused of course!), a Dunhill lighter case, a little music box mechanism (which plays the “Happy Birthday” song), two very beautiful miniature perfume bottles, and an old Canadian military patch. The lighter case and bottles are already up on eBay, for about 50 and 60$ respectively. The patch (below) has already sold for 23$.

My most valuable finds though were watches and watch parts. This 1940s Nova watch unfortunately doesn’t work, but looks very attractive. I may be able to sell it for parts.

This Art Nouveau-era (~1910s) watch also doesn’t work, but looks awesome.

The gold-plated Mount Royal on the left is also just for parts, but the newer Anne Klein on the right probably just needs a new battery.

Here’s the first truly valuable piece. It’s an old Exacto (apparently Rado before it became Rado) in a 14k gold case.

I already sold this watch for 160$, and received positive feedback to boot! It worked, but was missing the crown (the piece you use to wind the movement).

This Doxa also has a 14k gold case. Its band is made from lizard and calf leather.

The mechanical movement was replaced with a quartz. The watch was dead when I found it, but it only needed a new battery to work again.

I have it listed on eBay for around 600$ (Canadian, with shipping included). I may end up lowering that a bit, but I figure it’s better to start too high than start too low! Regardless, I’m sure I’ll make at least a few hundred from it. It’s a very attractive watch, and it’s worth a fair bit in gold alone.

However, this watch band may be the most valuable find of them all.

The band is by Patek Philippe and it has a signed 18k gold buckle. I originally figured it was just a piece for my scrap metal collection.

Patek Philippe is a prestigious brand, and some of their watches sell for over 100k on eBay. As a result, watch collectors (who tend to be a passionate bunch) pay good money to get authentic parts for their watches. Buckles of this type regularly sell for between 400$ and 600$!

I have mine set at 700$, in case a collector is looking for a buckle of that exact variety (specific markings of this type, and their desirability can be difficult to research). I may end up lowering that price, but it’ll certainly be a nice payday either way!

This just shows to show that trash picking even casually has the potential to make you some good cash. I gained over a thousand dollars in stock (and that’s a conservative estimate) in just one night. Obviously this kind of thing doesn’t happen every day, but the potential is always there.

My foot is feeling better this week, so I hope to do a bit more exploring in this suddenly pleasant weather. I hope the good luck keeps up!

Last week’s garbage sales (March 2 – March 8)

1. 14k gold Exacto watch: On eBay for 165$. This sold to a guy in Ontario within a day of being listed. I already received positive feedback, so this transaction is a done deal. It’s fun when transactions are completed so quickly! This is one of the watches I found this week, just to be clear.

2. Canadian Officer’s Training Corps patch: On eBay for 23$. Another one of this week’s finds.

3. Tag Heuer F1 watch: On eBay for 105$. This is a nice watch, albeit one that needs some love. Found mid December in NDG.

4. N.E. From sterling pin: To a reader for 30$. Found mid February in Cote St-Luc.

5. Baby cup, silver ring, and book: To a reader for 15$. The shipping was a bit more expensive than I expected, but through my error I learned a bit more about how Canada Post’s prices work. The cup was from Outremont, the ring from Verdun, and the book from Mount Royal.

6. St Christopher medallion: To a reader for 1$. This also cost me a bit more to ship than expected, since it had to go over the border and was subject to customs even though it fit in a regular letter envelope. I was expecting to make just 4$ anyways, so it wasn’t a big loss. Found last week in Verdun.

Total: 337$, 12905$ since May 18 2014 and 3222$ since the new year began. Another good week! I’ve been doing a good job keeping on top of my listings, which has definitely helped make my income more consistent on a week-to-week basis.

New listings

1. Exacto 14k gold watch (SOLD!)
2. Canadian Officers Training Corps patch (SOLD!)
3. Patek Philippe 18k gold watch buckle
4. Vintage Christian Dior oversized sunglasses
5. Vintage 1950s Shell key finder
6. Vintage copy of “Through the Looking Glass”
7. Orientations (WWII-era magazine)
8. Hillbilly Cookin’ cookbook
9. Romanian Jewish theatre book, 1956
10. Vintage Brass book holder
11. Vintage La Castillere miniature glass perfume bottles
12. Dunhill lighter case

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! Keep in mind that I frequently get behind on emails, so I apologize in advance if I take a few days or weeks to get back to you.

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