Asprey pt. 2


These finds actually came a while back, originating from the same place in the Golden Square Mile that provided the great art deco era Asprey catalogue I’m trying to get big money for. I thought the catalogue was a one off find, but when I came across this stuff the week after I thought it best to hold off on sharing until the source had dried up. Perhaps it’s more paranoia than anything, but certain details in these posts could have made it possible for someone supernaturally good at researching to discover the location. I’ve been a bit more careful about this since losing my monopoly on a spot (and probably a lot of money) due to my posts a while back. Anyways, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen anything of value in these bins so I figure it’s now safe to share what I found.

There were a bunch of books in the recycling bin this time around.


I saved 15 books, all of which were in essentially mint condition. They were printed by the Franklin Library, a company that published very fine editions of classic books between 1973-2000. Their books, particularly the ones bound in leather are sought after by collectors and sell for nice prices on eBay.


However, my favourite finds were inside this box marked “knive blades & handles.”


True to its word, the box was loaded with knife blades and handles.


There were also a few other things, including this book about testing precious metals. On the inside cover is a ex libris bookplate bearing the same name as the one in the Asprey catalogue. It was printed in the 1930s but I suspect that gold and silver testing hasn’t really changed that much over the years.


For instance, Aqua Regia (which translates from latin to royal water) is still used to test gold today. I haven’t really figured out how to test gold yet and perhaps this book can help me. I have testing for silver more or less down pat.


Back to the blades and handles. These were definitely vintage pieces.


Some pieces were in great condition, like a very nice silver plate fork (near the bottom of the picture above) that was made by Mappin & Webb.


One handle and one blade (at top in the picture below) were sterling silver.


I thought several of the handles were made from ivory. However, upon further research they appear to be made from celluloid, a plastic invented in the mid 1800s that was once commonly used to imitate ivory.


This page is great if you’re looking to distinguish between ivory, bone, and celluloid. I don’t think I’ve found any ivory yet on my journeys.


There were also several handles made from what looks to be mother of pearl. I don’t think they’re worth much but they look nice and make a cool sound when you hit them together. They were likely part of a fancy silverware set (such as this) back in the day. Now these handles will make a great addition to my yard sale curiosity box.


This metal stamp was my favourite find. It’s the kind of thing I add to my personal curiosity box. The side is marked “W.D. Armstrong Maker Montreal.” W.D. Armstrong was a Montreal engraving company that was founded in 1915; it seems to exist today as Montreal Stencil. It measures just over an inch long and wide and is quite heavy for its size.


The actual stamp reads “Mappin’s Ltd Montreal.”


It was likely used by a Mappin & Webb operated boutique in Montreal. The store would have sold very high end luxury items. This postcard on eBay is the only evidence of such a store that I could find offhand.

I really enjoy finding items that were born from old school opulence. This stamp, which was probably made sometime between the 1920s and 1940s, isn’t luxurious at all, in fact it is purely functional (outside of the fancy handwritten script, which I assume wasn’t easy to do). However, I find it interesting because it was probably used in the day to day operations of this highly distinguished company, and because the design of the stamp is very characteristic of the time it was produced. I also suspect that this stamp may be one of a kind – it’s far more ephemeral than any of the luxury items Mappin’s would have sold. I couldn’t find anything like it on eBay, though the search was quite preliminary.

I plan on having a yard sale this Saturday – check out the Facebook event page for more details!

Mini-post: The Hampstead Slugger


I opened a familiar recycling bin in Hampstead last week and found a nice surprise. This guy either doesn’t understand or doesn’t care about the concept of recycling. The bin was filled with obviously non-recyclable items, including the bag of kitchen scraps that’s visible in the background.

One particular non-recyclable item was noteworthy though. You can see it poking up from the bottom left-hand side.


It was a really nice, apparently unused Louisville Slugger!



It’s a beautiful bat that bears the signature of Johnny Bench, the great Cincinatti Reds catcher and first ballot Hall of Famer. You can see some highlights of his playing career on Youtube. If I understand this highly detailed (and intense) guide correctly the bat is legit vintage and was made in the late 60s or early 70s.

I’m a big baseball fan and would love to keep this for myself. However, a pretty similar bat recently sold at auction for 100$ + shipping. This website is selling another one for 150$. I can’t turn down that kind of money!

Recent sales (June 22 – July 5)

Despite my preoccupation with moving houses during the end of June and the beginning of July, I managed stay organized enough to locate and ship out sales on time. I sold four pieces of jewellery on Etsy (after not selling anything on that platform for the previous two months), and the other nine sales were made on eBay. I detail these sales below:

(Note: the prices listed are the gross profit after accounting for shipping expenses. I haven’t subtracted eBay / Paypal fees, which amount to around 10%).


1. Paragon tea cup and saucer: On eBay for 100$. This was one of my favourites from the collection, and am quite happy with the price it garnered. Found with a large collection of teacups in Ville St Laurent.


2. Vintage Tiki-bar “Coconut Snow” tin: On eBay for 42$. It was a beautiful tin but I’m glad to see it go. Found mid January 2014 in Rosemont.


3. Vintage St Joseph’s Oratory tray (made in Occupied Japan): On eBay for 35$. Found January 2015 in Verdun.


4. Jaguar XJS steering wheel: On eBay for 210$. A nice sale! Found mid April in Hampstead.

5. Lot of four newspaper pictorial sections: On eBay for 28$. Found alongside other great ephemera August 2014 in TMR.


6. Stanford 5-second razor blade sharpener: On eBay for 20$.

7. Lot of 3 Merkur “Tribes of Israel” pens: On eBay for 45$. Found alongside two great silver pens August 2014 in the Plateau.


8. Vintage Canadian League baseball postcard: On eBay for 115$. A great sale, but one I’m sad to see go. I love baseball and baseball history, but I can’t turn down that kind of money. Found mid April in TMR.


9. Vintage Atala hotel key (Paris): On eBay for 75$. A nice price for a nice key. Found mid December in NDG.


10. Jonette Jewelry earrings: On Etsy for 10$.

11. 10k gold Italian horn pendant: On Etsy for 40$. Found in Ahunstic May 2014.


12. Black bakelite bangle: On Etsy for 80$. Found with some other great stuff October 2013 in Park Ex.

13. Vintage silver bracelet: On Etsy for 55$. Found with a bunch of great jewelry September 2013 in the Plateau.

Total: 855$, 10687.5$ since the new year began.