Legal tender


On Thursday I went to Cote St-Luc. I stopped at a place that provided a few nice knockoff designer bags last week. This time around there was a bunch of clothes and …


… a working tablet! It’s an Ainol Novo10 Hero, which despite being a relatively cheap model has received positive reviews. Brand new the same machine sells for between 110-190$ on eBay, shipping included. From the looks of it this tablet was never used.

I’m always a bit surprised when people throw out perfectly functional electronics. I’ve now found several iPods, a few working laptops, and two totally functional tablets. I guess these devices are just so cheap to make these days, and some people aren’t happy unless they have the most recent model.

Cote St-Luc wasn’t particularly productive otherwise. This week I’ll check out a different neighbourhood, maybe Rosemont or St Michel.


I traveled all across the city on Friday. I started in Montreal West but found little. After that I moved on to Ville Emard, a historically working class neighbourhood. To succeed in these blue collar neighbourhoods I have to get fairly lucky – most people living there can’t afford to throw out stuff like working tablets. Once in a while I’ll find great stuff though, mostly when people clear out houses.

I stopped at this spot in Ville Emard because of the old box of bottles at the front of the pile.


They were from a Centre de liqueurs populaire in St Hubert. I took them because they were vintage (likely 1970s) and cool looking. I googled the brand and nothing came up, I guess the company wasn’t well known. I ended up leaving them on the curb near my house for someone else to find.


I opened the recycling bin and found a plastic bag full of ceramics. Another bag held a few art glass pieces. The bird at left and the fish vase at center survived the trip without any notable cracks or breaks. The bird at the right wasn’t so lucky.


This well-worn sticker was barely stuck to the bottom of the broken piece. It looks to have been Murano glass, which is a fairly collectible type of art glass. (You can see an undamaged sticker here). I suspect the fish is also Murano glass – it looks pretty similar to some of the Murano glass pieces seen here. I think it will sell for around 30$ + shipping.


I found my best stuff though when passing through Westmount on my way home. I stopped at a place I had made a note to keep an eye on having made a few minors finds there the week prior. A woman came out with another bag of trash while I was looking around. I said hi, she said nothing back and looked mildly displeased. She didn’t ask me to leave though so I continued on with my work.


One bag contained a bunch of tinned food. One can was bulging, a classic sign of spoilage. The rest was fine.


This wooden case held three sealed jars of honey. Honey is apparently one of the only foods that never goes bad. Still, I’m not sure how I feel about that espresso-flavoured jar…

A couple of the black bags held some particularly interesting items. In one bag was a booklet, likely some kind of agenda. Tucked away in that booklet was …


… a big collection of foreign bills!


Unfortunately, due to various currency changes most of these are no longer legal tender. The Italian lira is long gone, replaced by the euro back in 2002. The Belgian franc and Dutch gulden suffered the same fate. The Brazilian cruzados was replaced by the real. Other currencies, like the Polish złoty and the Mexican peso underwent redenomination, making these bills mostly obsolete.

I brought these to my bank and local currency exchange to see if any could still be traded. They weren’t able to buy any, but they did suggest that the bills were (or would become) collectible and that the serial code might make some of them more valuable. Both tellers seemed to quite enjoy looking through the old bills.

So, I have a bit more research to do. I may end up stashing these away in hopes that they become more valuable with time. No matter what, they’re cool pieces of paper history!


More instantly valuable were the coins I saved. I found several at the bottom of the same bag. I picked them out, putting them in a nice stainless steel container. There were six British one pound coins in the collection. I brought them to the currency exchange place along with a few other coins I had found previously and made 16$ in all. Not too shabby! I had forgotten that the currency exchange accepted certain coins. It’s a good thing to note for the future, as people collect (and then throw out) foreign coins on a fairly regular basis.


I also found a collection of glasses; …


… two stone Chinese stamps, apparently made out to spell Western names (these were stored inside a glasses case for whatever reason);


… an odd pendant (any ideas as to what it’s supposed to be?);


… and a nice collection of cufflinks. I should be able to make some decent cash from these, particularly the ones second from the left on the top row.


The cufflinks are by Marcin Zaremski, a Polish modernist designer. They’re made of sterling silver and feature a piece of inlaid amber. They’re quite beautiful and I expect they will sell for around 100$. The sterling silver Aztec calendar cufflinks (to the right in this photo) are also pretty cool and should sell for around 30$. I’ll definitely be checking this place again next week in hopes that they toss more valuables!

I anticipate there being a lot of stuff on the curb this week. The famous moving day is quickly approaching, and many people are already packing up, moving out, and tossing their undesirables. As usual I’ll let you know when I find something good!

Folwark Zwierzecy


After all that talk of switching up my schedule I ended up doing my usual Tuesday and Wednesday routes. I guess I’m a creature of habit. I returned to the spot in NDG that produced the trampoline patch from a few posts back and found some cool stuff. Maybe it’s good that I stuck with the old tried and true. There was some nice furniture on the curb but I wasn’t able to fit any of it in the car.


A framed image of Jesus graced the front of the pile …


… while a few framed museum posters waited for me at the other end.


I found several other posters in the recycling bin. A few were from various Motocross events of the early 90s.


This poster, which features a Lotus Elan SII might be worth a bit of money. It’s like new, and other posters by the artist (Shin Yoshikawa) seem to consistently sell for around 30$ on eBay.


My favourite poster is this one from a 1980 Harvard vs McGill rugby game. Apparently these teams play every year, which is something I hadn’t heard of previously. This poster is a great example of ephemera and I doubt there are too many others left. For the record, Harvard won this game 27-9.


Also inside the bin was a large map of Newfoundland, which was published by the Canadian Department of Energy, Mines, and Resources.


Otherwise, I saved an odd looking wheel that looked to have been hung from a wall. Any ideas as to what it might have belonged to?


However, it was this old Leak Trough-Line 3 tuner was likely my most valuable find. The Trough-Line was a milestone in tuner design, at least according to a post on a audio enthusiast forum. I can’t claim to understand why it was a milestone in design, so if anyone else can let us know in the comments!

It’s hard to find any others like it for sale online, though one that was being sold as a restoration project went for nearly 100$.

These people seem to be tossing some interesting stuff. I’ll be sure to keep an eye on the situation going forward.


I went to Mount Royal last night. I came across some good stuff in front of a house for rent.


One box was full of records. That’s always a welcome sight – records sell pretty well at yard sales!


Here’s a selection of my favourites. Most of them are classic rock, which suits me just fine as I have a soft spot for the genre. Artists include David Bowie, Neil Young, Simon and Garfunkel, Madonna, Huey Lewis & the News, and Bob Dylan, just to name a few. The one I was most excited to see though was Boston’s first album (top right), which for whatever reason is one of my favourite albums of all time.

I think I’m going to back into record collecting after I move, so many of these will probably end up in my collection.


One black trash bag was filled with books.


I took a selection of the ones I thought were most likely to sell.


Otherwise, I saved two good perfumes; …


… a Teac A-170 cassette deck;


… a nice dining room table (I also have the legs);


… and an abstract art piece. It’s signed “Elyday.”


I came across this spot later on in my run.


I took home the rug you can see rolled up in the middle of the pile. It’s a bit worn but still looks great! I think it’ll look nice in my future room. I didn’t take exact measurements, but I think it’s around 6 x 3.5′.


I find big recycling bins really annoying to sort through. Unlike trash bins, which people usually fill up with garbage bags (which can then be looked through individually), recycling bins are usually stacked with random junk. If you want to see what’s at the bottom you have to sift through a lot of crap to get there.

It’s not usually worth the effort. I have a technique though where I sift things up from one corner to at least see if there’s anything interesting closer to the bottom. I did this here and saw that underneath the broken-up boxes and other refuse were some old books.

After seeing the books I took the boring recycling from the top and put it in the neighbour’s bin, which make it easier for me to get to the bottom. I snapped this photo after moving a good amount of rubbish.


I took a selection (over half in this case) of what I found. They’re all old Polish books, most of which were published in London and dated between 1945 and 1952. I don’t understand what most of these books are about and I doubt they’re worth much, but I like the cover art a lot.

I’ve been finding a bit more Polish stuff recently. I found a similar bunch of old books and newspapers back in early May.


Once in a while I can understand a little bit of Polish. I was able to ascertain that this book was about Polish emigration to Canada. It was published in 1951.


My favourites are the Polish translations of English books, perhaps because I can at least figure out what they’re about. This is a Polish copy of Animal Farm, published in London in 1947 by the League of Poles Abroad. I like how the cover is unlike any other edition of Animal Farm. It doesn’t seem to be a common edition – it was challenging enough just to find another copy mentioned on the internet. I did find one that was listed on some Museum’s website. This specific book was the first Polish edition, according to a Google translation of the passage there. I think that might give it a bit of value.

I plan on going out early tomorrow to check out Cote St-Luc and some other places along the way. Hopefully I come back with something good!



The past couple of weeks have been slower than I expected. I saw some renovation materials outside my Cote-des-Neiges spot last garbage day. That’s usually a bad sign for me; it most often means that the powers that be are done clearing the house and are now fixing it up. I’ll keep my eye on the situation (there’s a first time for everything), but I’m not optimistic that I’ll find anything there again.


I’m thinking about switching up my route in hopes that I come across productive spots in different neighborhoods. It’s good not to be too attached to any particular neighborhood, as even the best have dry spells where you won’t find anything at all.

Thursday morning is a good example about how a route rotation can work. Many different neighbourhoods in Montreal have trash pickups at that time, including: Ahuntsic, Cartierville, Roxboro, Dorval, Ville St Laurent, the McGill Ghetto, Golden Square Mile / Downtown, Cote-des-Neiges, NDG, St Leonard, St Michel, St Henri, and Hochelaga just to name a few. However, my personal favorites are Westmount, Verdun, Rosemont, and Cote St-Luc. I like those best because they’re close to home and provide good quality garbage on a reasonable schedule.

(That list makes me realize how little ground I’m actually able to cover on a day-to-day basis!)

To clarify, a reasonable schedule means that there are only one or two garbage days a week (including recycling). In Verdun, for example there is only one garbage day a week and the recycling is picked up that same day. That makes one trip more productive and complete. NDG is slightly worse but still decent: there are two garbage days a week, but one of them is also a recycling pickup. Montreal’s worst case scenario can be seen in Ahuntsic, where there are two garbage days and also a separate recycling pickup. This means that the waste is spread out over three days, which really isn’t good for my odds of finding anything worthwhile. The Plateau is also like this, but since I live here I will sometimes explore it very casually.

Montreal has plans to reduce garbage pickup to one per week in all boroughs, which would make some of these places more attractive destinations. Unfortunately this plan is still years away from being realized.

I chose to go to Verdun a couple Thursdays ago and came away empty handed. Last week it was Cote St-Luc’s turn to (hopefully) provide.


I came across a large collection of books at one pile. Many of them were Hebrew and about Jewish topics.


There were a whole bunch of documents as well. It looked like they belonged to someone who did a lot of research on various topics of Jewish history.


It rained pretty hard the night before. This ruined several books and damaged others, including this Talmud (?) from the late 1800s. The book will dry but the pages will be water damaged near the edges. Others were mostly undamaged, particularly the books on the bottom of the boxes. Still, it’s a shame that they were put out in such poor weather.


I saved several books, many of which dated back to the late 1800s and early 1900s.


I picked up a nice set of dictionaries from the late 1800s. There was one book missing, though (maybe I didn’t see it) so I left it on the curb for someone else to appreciate (they did get taken, for the record). The fact that I’m moving soon makes me want to keep a bit less than I otherwise might.


There were a bunch of old newspapers, some of which were from the late 60s and early 70s.


This one has an interesting headline: “Has The Moon Been Ghettoized?” I can’t claim to have any idea what that might mean. I’ll have to read the article to find out.


Some of the books were interesting. This is a summary of the archives of the commune of Orange (France) that was printed in 1917.


This one might have been my favourite. It’s called “La question juive vue par vingt-six éminentes personnalités” [The Jewish question as seen by twenty-six thinkers] and was published in 1934, one year after Hitler’s appointment as Chancellor of Germany. The middle of the cover features a swastika. I haven’t had the time to look at it much yet (my bad French makes it even more difficult). I wonder what these people have to say about the controversial topic.

I found two for sale online. One is going for 100 Euros while the other is selling for 60 Euros. Books often take forever to sell (it can be hard to know which ones will sell), but eBay accounts for this by allowing you to list books for a fraction of the price of a normal listing.

These finds make it a bit more likely I’ll visit Cote St-Luc again this week.


Otherwise, I came across this pile in Westmount.


I found a few things here the week before, including a box of vintage circa 1940s Crown mason jars. (I’d be happy to get 20$ for them, if someone wants to come pick them up. There are 11 jars in nice condition).

While I was looking around a man came out of the house and told me there wasn’t anything good inside the bags. I was holding a fan I had found, which he said sparked up and wasn’t good anymore. He didn’t seem overly concerned about my looking around – my guess is that he legitimately believed there was nothing of value inside.

He got in his car and drove away. I looked through a few more bags before the garbage truck came and took the rest away. I wasn’t able to see it all, which is always disappointing.


I saved a few things, including a handmade pencil holder …


… and a worn but attractive Birks silver plate tray.


It was this little box though that held my most valuable find. It contained a little audience measurement device …


… and a small collection of change. I could tell right away from the jingle of the coins. There are a few bigger denominations, including two toonies and three loonies that bring the total to a decent $12.23.

I make a lot of money from people who don’t pay enough attention what they’re throwing out. I’ll be back here again to see what else gets tossed. A box full of gold would be nice!

Hopefully I find more to talk about this week. If not I’m also working on an analysis of my sales from the past year, which I should have for you sometime soon.