Site icon Things I find in the garbage

The liquidator pt. 2


I returned the next trash day to the spot that provided the great ephemera from my last post. It was then that I met the estate liquidator who was throwing the things out. He told me to take what I wanted but not to make a mess, and that these were items that didn’t sell.

I found this old folded up sketch. It measures around 2′ x 1.5′. The style is reminiscent of the turn of the 20th century. It has some mildew-related damage, but the actual sketch is in decent shape.

It’s signed by this person. Any ideas as to what the name is? I doubt it’s anyone famous but you never know.

My most valuable finds (assuming that artist isn’t super famous, of course) came from a box stuffed inside the black garbage bin.

(FYI: This shot is the precise moment that my old camera bit the dust. Apparently it’s some kind of sensor issue. I had dropped it earlier, and while it was in the protective case I guess it just fell on the wrong spot. I bought a new point and shoot – a Canon ELPH 160 – at Costco a couple days ago, which while nothing fancy will certainly provide better images than my backup camera did).

Inside the box was a great collection of oddly well polished silverware. I guess he had it shined up for the sale.

All the pieces were quite nice, but the stemmed candy dish and two egg cups were pretty much money in the bank.

They were all clearly marked as being sterling silver.

The liquidator was smoking and reading on the porch while I looked these items over. I acted nonchalant, like I wasn’t finding anything particularly exciting. However, I knew I could easily make some nice cash from his refuse and was secretly wondering what he was thinking when he threw it all out.

The sterling pieces weighed 323 grams. I did some research and found that they wouldn’t sell for much more than their weight in silver so I brought them (and some other random scrap gold and silver) to a local antique shop to trade it all for cash. I got 45 cents per gram of sterling, meaning that these pieces alone netted me an easy 145$. I’m not sure why the liquidator didn’t think to do this himself but it sure worked out for me!

There was another nice sterling silver piece in that box, one that I’m definitely not going to sell for scrap.

It’s a beautiful cigarette case. There’s a small dent in the back but otherwise it’s in very nice condition.

It’s usually easy to tell when a piece of silver is from England; there’s always lots of little pictorial stamps featuring lions, shields, people and other things. The symbols look intimidating but they’re pretty easy to decipher once you find the right websites. The lion means that the case is sterling silver while the anchor means it was made in Birmingham. The Q represents a date: each new year a different letter is stylized in a different way for each individual silver-producing city. This particular version means that the case was made in 1940.

Some of the marks are repeated. The only new one here is the A.W mark, which means that the case was made by the A Wilcox company. They don’t seem to be particularly noteworthy but still produced some fine items. Another slightly smaller case they made recently sold on eBay for 150$. I’m guessing I should be able to get around that amount for mine, which is a fair bit more than the 75$ (~170 grams) that I’d get selling it for scrap.

I’ll share some Hampstead finds with you fairly soon. I’ve been taking it easy with the trash picking but I’m still keeping an eye out on recently productive locations.

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