Character study


I’ve been visiting this spot in Hampstead every week for a little over a month. Some people were apparently preparing for a move. Because I got behind on posting after my own move, and because the trash here came a little bit at a time (on the most part) I figured it best to wait until it was all done and share it all in one post. I think that format is interesting – it’s sort of like a character study of this specific household.

The biggest pile was out the first time I drove by, around the same time as the liquidator was doing his business. I always wonder if I missed out on something great in the weeks prior. It’s one of those niggling questions that I can’t help thinking about. There’s no satisfying answer, and the only thing I can do is hope the best is yet to come.


I knew the trash was going to be interesting as soon as I peeked inside that first bag.


There were several nice old tins, my favourite of which is the set of mathematical instruments at bottom center. It was made by a M.A. Coombs of London, probably in the 1910s or 1920s. I also really like the Edgeworth pipe tobacco tin.


I had to sort through a bunch of rubble and junk to get to the my other finds. Another bag held a cool vintage ruler. It was made my Acme in Canada, probably made around the same time as the Coombs tin.


I saved a collection of pencils, many of which advertise different companies. Believe it or not some vintage pencils can be quite valuable. The Eberhard Faber Blackwing 602 might be the most valuable vintage pencil out there – a lot of 12 recently sold on eBay for almost 400$. The discontinued model has a cult following and many believe it was the best pencil ever made. It even has it’s own wiki page. I doubt any of mine are super valuable, but I’ll definitely look them up before giving them away on the cheap.


There were also several nice pens. Two are Parkers with 12k gold filled caps (bottom). A few others advertise different companies, including Texaco, Allied Chemical, Huyck and Hoeganaes.


Otherwise, I saved a couple old bottles; …


… two tickets to a 1987 Black Watch parade, which was also attended by the Queen Mother;


… and a 1965-66 curling club events calendar.


Finds were a bit harder to come by the next few weeks but I always came away with something. I had to dig through some food waste to save these items, which include: a collection of Champlain Bridge tokens, a vintage Heather Curling Club pin, a souvenir dollar from the Calgary Stampede, and a pin commemorating the 100th anniversary of the recently closed Royal Victoria Hospital. The latter is marked as being sterling silver. I gave them all a good wash later.


I also found a couple old Gillette razors, one of which was dated 1932 (left);


… a working art deco era Solar watch;


… and this small tin full of bric-a-brac. The most interesting piece is the thimble, which is made of aluminum and advertises a “Cafe ‘Victoria’ Coffee.” It was likely made around the turn of the century, if not a bit before. I did a bit of research but couldn’t find any similar thimbles or other information about the company. If you know anything about Victoria Coffee let us know in the comments!


The vintage B&L (Bausch and Lomb, at bottom) Ray Bans were probably my most valuable find. The glasses have some mild wear to the 12k gold filled finish, but the lenses are in excellent condition for their age. Similar pairs sell for a pretty penny on eBay – check out these realized prices. Mine should sell for around 150-200$. The other frames are Polaroid Cool-Ray 987 sunglasses. They make for fun yard sale material.



Let’s finish things off with this hand-made stuffed animal. It has a face that only a mother could love.


The frog (?) definitely has some character. I’m not sure why I felt compelled to save it, but it probably has something to do with my appreciation of things hand-made. Maybe I can find it a new home.

This house hasn’t put out any trash the past two weeks. The bins (and one extra bag) sit up on the driveway, tempting me to trespass and see what’s inside. I don’t think that’s a good idea though, so for now I’ll just keep passing by on trash day and hoping the bins get put to the curb. If they do, and there are interesting things inside I’ll let you know.

9 thoughts on “Character study”

  1. As a young college student, I essentially single-handedly designed a local museum exhibit about Parker Pens. Those look like 51s to me but I’ve tried to block that time out of my memory!

  2. I wonder if you could become friend w/ the clean out companies and they would give you a heads up where they will be?

  3. Mirado (originally Mikado) and Mongol and Turquoise are venerable pencil brands. No great value there, but dear to anyone who loves pencils.

    If the Paker has an aerometric sac, it might be good as new after a cleaning. A great find!

  4. I love the “frog” I would have saved it as well. I love sad looking stuffies. 🙂

  5. I’m sure someone will love the frog! He may just go on Etsy. Definitely worth rescuing. Thanks for all the other info. I learn somethething every time you post.

  6. Interesting start-to-finish study of one treasure source. 🙂

    Thimbles have been made for more than 1,000 years and are a popular collectible today. Thimbles by known makers sell for the most money. Some collectors specialize in a particular type of thimble, like advertising, commemorative, political, souvenir, floral, scenic, cities or states, or by material. Thimbles have been made in aluminum, brass, gold, pewter, plastic, porcelain, silver, wood and other materials. Some have a maker’s mark on the band or inside the cap. Thimbles made in the late 19th century or later may be marked with the size. Advertising thimbles were made beginning in the 1800s. Early advertising thimbles were made of brass, silver or aluminum. Later, they were made of plastic. There is an international club for thimble collectors, Thimble Collectors International, Yours is an advertising thimble. Here’s a page of them on Etsy

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