Timing

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The garbage collection schedule has a pretty huge impact on what I end up finding (or not finding). For instance, while the trucks generally start their rounds at 7am some streets aren’t covered until 3pm or later. This effects when people put out their trash. People are way more likely to put out their bin the night before if their collection is at 7 or 8 in the morning, while those with late pickups are much more likely to put theirs out the next day.

For example, the garbage at the spot that provided the old leather coat, silver cigarette holder, and vintage bullets from a couple posts ago is only picked up around 2pm, and the people at that particular place only put out their trash around noon.

I’m not usually out picking at that time, but I just happened to be in the area that day and got lucky. Of course, as they say you have to be good to be lucky, and my knowing that the trash on this street was not collected until late certainly contributed to my good fortune – I went out of my way to check it out, after all.

I’m very loyal to places that provide interesting trash, so I started doing a late morning run (starting around 11am) to see if any other treasures were being tossed. One time I got to the house too early, so I ended up covering a few other streets that were also later on the collection schedule. As a result I found a couple of sweet things that I never would have come across on my usual picking itinerary.

Two nice finds came from this spot in Westmount. These people seem to be slowly clearing their basement or something, as I remember finding some neat books here many months ago.

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I found this cool board game amongst a bunch of otherwise uninteresting business-related books and papers. It’s called “L’attaque!“, which was apparently a precursor to the more well known Stratego.

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The game was made in France sometime in the 1910s or 1920s, which was a bit unusual as most others I saw on eBay were made in England. I listed it on eBay and it sold fairly quickly. Check out my next sales summary to find out how much it went for!

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I also found a 1980s Casio data bank computer. It was made to be portable, and is roughly the size (a little taller, and a bit less wide) than your average scientific calculator. This is a great example of why it’s good to research the going rates for vintage items. I’m not sure who’s buying them, but one recently sold for 43$ and another for 65$. The latter should be an attainable price for my PB-110, especially considering the fact that it looks unused and comes with a leather pouch. I just have to get a battery in there.

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I came across another spot in Westmount the next trash day. I took a slide projector (in a box near the back) and sorted through the bags, taking a small trinket box and some art supplies. Before I finished a woman came out of the house and asked me what I was looking for. I showed her the box and the supplies as an example, hoping to alleviate whatever concerns she may have had. Unfortunately she was not comfortable with my looking any further and asked me to leave.

I didn’t think I saved anything particularly exciting at first, but it turns out I underestimated one of my finds!

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I figured this little box was silver plate when I saw it. I gave it a quick look over and saw no markings, so I tossed (well, gently placed) it in the car, thinking it was a good yard sale item if nothing else.

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However, I looked it over again later and noticed some British silver marks on the side. When I saw them I said “this thing is sterling!?” out loud to no one in particular. Indeed, the trinket box is sterling silver (92.5% silver) and was made in Birmingham in the 50s.

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eBay prices vary a bit. Boxes that are put up on auction usually sell for a bit under 100$ (always a bad idea to do auctions for this kind of stuff in my opinion) while others have gone for 200$ or more (around 600$ for one!). Mine’s a bit different than most – it’s by a different maker (I’m not sure who exactly) and doesn’t have wood on the top section which I think makes it less attractive to cigarette connoisseurs. It think 200$ is likely a fair price considering it’s otherwise free of dents and other damage. However, if anyone has any advice regarding pricing let me know in the comments!

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Otherwise, I took a few days off from picking to focus on listing. I also switched up my routes, checking out Verdun on a Wednesday night and trading my usual (but currently dry) Monday night NDG / Hampstead run for Villeray. Villeray is not quite as good of a garbage day, but it’s sometimes better to try and find the “hot hand” rather than stick with a poor producer.

As for miscellaneous finds, I saved some vintage soda bottle holders (Verdun);

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… some change from a box in NDG (from the garbage day before the switch!);

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… an unopened Stella McCartney “Nude” perfume gift set that sold as I was writing this for a nice 55$ (Villeray);

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… a framed moth (Villeray);

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… and a couple cast iron doohickeys (TMR).

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If anyone knows what these might have been for let us know in the comments! Just to clarify these aren’t connected (as it sort of looks like in the photo) but they do match. I figure they’re legs for something, but for what I have no idea.

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27 thoughts on “Timing

  1. Pat says:

    They are fire dogs, a type of metal holder for wood logs which are placed in fireplaces, pretty cool and differnt design

    • martng says:

      Someone else say they have an art deco (1920s – 1940s) look, which I’d agree with. My guess is that they’re from the early part of that era.

  2. jaydedman says:

    I believe those are log holders for a fireplace. You set them apart about a foot and start a fire under the logs. The elevation helps air surround the fire.

  3. What an interesting post! It’s great to “see” your thinking, re: your approach to the job.

    Your doohickeys are fireplace andirons. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andiron

  4. Jane says:

    I was thinking they looked like andirons and I see that’s what others say too! Another interesting post!

  5. Yann Bordeau says:

    The lady in Westmount who was asked you to leave while you were looking through her trash does not surprise you probably.But since you scavenge regularly in the neighborhood,don’t some homeowners recognize you and accept you?Do many people still look in shock or discomfort at you in other neighborhoods as you scavenge?Have most homeowners not seen scavengers before?Your thoughts?

    • martng says:

      I don’t think anyone recognizes me. For all the trash picking I’ve done there I still haven’t spent a significant amount of time looking through trash in 98% of the neighbourhood. More like a house here, a house there – I’m good at not stopping to look at bags of household waste. If I’m going at night I’m rarely seen at all, and even if I go in the morning people are generally doing other things or have already left for work.

      Some people may be watching me, but I generally try to focus on the trash when I’m picking, blocking out the outside world to some extent as it’s just a distraction. Even if I know someone’s watching I’ll try to ignore them and keep going (unless their stuff looks junky, then I’ll just leave). Of course, if someone actually comes out to talk to me I’ll engage with them.

      I’d say Westmounters are only vaguely familiar with pickers. I haven’t seen can pickers or anyone else for that matter in recent times. This might be in large part due to them having a neighbourhood security service, which if they’re anything like the guys in TMR intimidate anyone who dares to scavenge in the area. Fortunately I’ve to this date never had an issue with Westmount security, maybe they’re more “chill”, who knows.

  6. The Casio is actually a pocket computer, despite the name. You can see the BASIC functions next to the keys. They appeared in the eighties, generally with not much memory, at a time when computers weren’t generally portable. Expensive for what you got, I’m sure some got them to sample “computing”, others may have had an actual need. Of course, there were programmable calculators, but some needed to be able to run BASIC programs.
    But I suspect many were bought as gadgetry, neat things but the limited potential meant they got little use.

    I got a Casio organizer at a garage sale about five years ago. That had a better display, had way more memory, had about five functions and was more useful to the average person. But no ability to program, or to add programs, so stunted in a different way. But that later Casio is more of a “data bank” than the one you found.

    People do collect computers, and these came early enough tat they couldn’t have sold in large quantities, so probably you can get a reasonable return on it.

    Michael

    • martng says:

      Interesting, thanks. I suspect collectors are the one’s buying these old things. I think the Casio is pretty neat too, just not 60$ + shipping neat. I wonder what these people are like in real life!

  7. Susanne g says:

    Those andirons are fantastic!

  8. joe says:

    they look,the andirons,very art deco,might be original? joe.

    • martng says:

      Definitely original. They don’t make them like this anymore. I agree that they have an art deco feel. My guess is that they’re from the 1920s

  9. I see others have IDd the andirons – they are worth a good amount but are really heavy and costly to ship. It might be something to take to an antique dealer locally to see if they would have interest or try Craigslist, not sure which you would get more money from.

    • martng says:

      I’ll likely try Kijiji / Craigslist. I’ve been having good luck on there recently. Then I don’t have to worry about packing them and all that.

  10. mary jo says:

    l love garbage picking !! i call it treasure hunting !! where i live there is garbage pick up mon thru thursday in different towns and its always a true treasure hunt !! you had a great treasure hunt !!

    • martng says:

      Yup it’s a lot of fun. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of it, though maybe someday I’ll return to being a “casual”. Good luck on your future treasure hunts!

  11. Great finds. Love the sterling cigarette box and the framed moth. – Karen

  12. Mike Freshley says:

    Municipalities like Town of Mount Royal should make scavenging household waste legal.They should only make it illegal to look through containers of toxic waste or industrial waste.I cannot understand as a former Montrealer who lives now in Vancouver how you people can allow so much waste to continue.It shocks me,but you are doing a great job.

    • martng says:

      Maybe I’m wrong, but I tend to think most cities are more or less equally bad with waste. I think Montreal just looks worse because I’m out there showing what’s being tossed, ha ha. I’d bet you’d find some pretty great stuff in West Vancouver, for example.

  13. The leather coat might be of interest to the folks at the McCord Museum. Even if not of interest to them for their collection, they might be able to tell you more about it.

  14. […] 2. L’attaque! (1920s board game): On eBay for 128$. Another quick flip! Found in Westmount and mentioned in my last blog post. […]

  15. […] 2. Stella McCartney perfume and candle set: On eBay for 55$. I think this is the first Villeray find to ever make a sales summary. Found about a month ago. […]

  16. […] (at least the pieces with really stubborn tarnish) is one of my least favourite activities. Found early November in […]

  17. […] year of the silver. I found nice pieces or big hauls of sterling in several locations, including: a silver box in Westmount; a silver guilloche compact, tea strainer, and utensils in CDN; a box of miscellaneous […]

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