Site icon Things I find in the garbage



There’s been so much good trash lately that it’s been impossible to keep up. Finds that I’d otherwise have mentioned (particularly in the winter when things are slower) are now being left aside. Regardless, I still have a whole ton of stuff from the last week or two that I definitely want to post here, so if everything goes well I should have a few new posts for you soon.

I was pretty busy yesterday. I found some neat stuff in Rosemont in the evening (I’ll post those finds sometime soon!) and at night went to check out the place in Westmount that I featured in my last post. Along the way however I stopped at this spot in Cote-des-Neiges. I saw a few interesting things here on the previous trash day, and the items being thrown out (including old sewing stuff, a portable record player, and many full expired cans of food) indicated that someone was probably clearing house. I made a mental note to check back in the future, and it paid off big time.

I love seeing cases like this because there are usually cool old machines inside. It was hiding underneath a black trash bag at the center of the pile.

This case contained a cool old portable Singer electric sewing machine! I tested it and it works great.

I just looked this up on eBay. I was thinking that it might be worth a hundred, maybe two hundred dollars. However, it might actually be worth closer to 600$. That’s a lot of money! It’s a beautiful machine, and it’s in really great condition for its age. It also comes with a bunch of accessories. It’s marked as being made in 1951, which was Singer’s 100th year in business.

This cool Vervant’s Oriental Rugs ashtray was the only non-sewing related item inside the Singer’s accessory tray.

There was more sewing stuff too.

None of it was particularly exciting, but I did think this thimble was cooler than most others, even if it’s missing all but one spot of its red enamel.

In one bag there were several books and some records.

Another bag contained some old letters, postcards and photos. Oddly, some of them were ripped to pieces, while others were not. A significant amount of the photos were related to swimming and probably from the 1940s. The letters look to have been written in a Slavic language.

One bag contained a bunch of newspaper clippings, most of which looked to be from the 1940s and relating to swimming competitions.

I found a stained navy-style hat …

… that was apparently made in Montreal by a Principle Cap & Sportswear in 1952.

I also saved some cool cat-eye sunglasses by Martin Wells. These are pretty hip right now and should make me at least 50$. I sold a different pair of Martin Wells frames not too long ago.

I looked in one bag and saw one of my favourite garbage-related sights: a collection of baubles! Thankfully, they were all inside this one smaller plastic bag, so I didn’t have to rummage around the bottom of the bag as I usually have to.

There were several key-chains and some pins. The Aztec key-chain on the left is marked as being sterling silver.

However it was the collection of cufflinks that truly made the collection great. Most are classic vintage pieces, but it was the pair on the bottom right that stuck out most to me. I instantly recognized them as the work of Guy Vidal, the renown Quebec brutalist jewelry designer. I found a bunch of his stuff a few months ago and a reader helped me identify the pieces as his before I sold them at yard sale prices. I sold a pair of earrings by him for around 100$, and I expect the cufflinks to go for a similar amount (though I will be tempted to keep them for myself! I really like Vidal’s work). The things you learn in this business!

These cufflinks are marked 750, or 18k gold. They weigh around 6.6 grams, so if they’re indeed 18k gold (they do look the part) they’re work around 200$ in scrap gold value. Not bad!

I’m not done yet though! These two bags had labels on them indicating that they were full of silverware.

True to their word, they did contain a bunch of nice silver plate cutlery. A few average stainless pieces were mixed in as well.

A few of the smaller pieces were particularly nice. The tongs (presumably made for sugar cubes) on the far left are marked Heirloom Sterling; the spoon second from the left is marked Birks Sterling; and the spoon third from the left is marked 800 silver. A few others have confusing, foreign, or no markings, so they could be sterling too. The spoon third from the right is an odd one – it has a sort of art deco-y design on the underside (bottom right photo below, click for a better view).


This might be one of the nicest silver pieces though. It’s a tea strainer with a matching crystal drip bowl, both of which are marked as Birks Sterling. I found them in the blue felt bag in the background.

I found a similar one on eBay that sold for close to 100$. This one looks a bit nicer though, and I think if I sold it at a Buy It Now (or set) price instead of at auction (as this one person did) I could get a bit more for it. Again, I’m tempted to keep it as it’s very beautiful and I love loose-leaf tea.

I probably gained over a 1000$ in stuff in just one night here. I’m excited to go back in the next weeks and see what else gets tossed! If this is what someone thinks of as trash, I can only imagine what else they might throw out…

I went to my spot in Westmont after searching through the trash of Cote-des-Neiges. There was nothing there that wasn’t already out when I drove by on Tuesday, long before trash day. I presume these people have finally cleared out.

Most everything there was junk this time around but I did save a few cool things. I found another rock collection, though this one’s not nearly as interesting as the one from the week before …

… an antique pewter baby rattle

(it’s marked W.E.B. Pewter, and seems to sell for around 10$ on eBay)

… and a cool box of shells!

The shells are nice, but it’s the box that makes this a cool find.

I’m not sure how old it is, but from the design I’d guess it was made around the turn of the century or maybe a bit before. I could be wrong, though. What do you think?

I’ve been finding so much stuff these days, and It’s not even the end of the month! Either way, things will be okay if I can keep cranking out blog posts. Things seem to be going a bit faster since I switched to this new format, as this post took only 4-5 hours to finish. It might also help that I’m switching my coffee for tea, as my brain seems to work a bit better (and write a bit faster) when I drink the latter. Anyways, more posts coming soon!

Exit mobile version