First class

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Before we begin I’m going to advertise my last sale of the year! I’ll be at the Plant Holiday Art Market on December 12th between 12-6PM. Come by if you want to see an eccentric collection of garbage finds, including knick-knacks, jewelry, buttons, baubles, books, records, ephemera, bric-a-brac, and etcetera. There will be 24 other vendors as well, selling locally made prints, soaps, jewelry, perfumes, cards, knits, and lots of other great stuff. There will also be coffee, tea, and snacks. Check out the Facebook page for more information. The event will take place at 185 Van Horne in the Mile End.

And now, without further ado, your regularly scheduled programming…

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I visited this spot in Upper Westmount each garbage day between June and September. Nearly every week I found loads of big black bags on the curb, most of which were stuffed with old papers. I saved a great collection of ephemera that altogether represented the life of an entire family. I doubt much was ever tossed in this household.

I keep an eye on garage sale listings. I’ll sometimes check to see if the people at these addresses toss things the week before or after the sale. This practice isn’t always fruitful but once in a while it pays off. I saw an ad for an estate sale at the house in September, a couple of months since I first started picking there. The pictures showed rooms full of antiques and other treasures, evidence of a life lived luxuriously. There was a bit out on the curb after the sale – mostly large, unspectacular furniture – but the best was long gone, and within two weeks there was no more trash to be found.

I found a nearly overwhelming amount of stuff, and plans to do a thorough cataloging of items were foiled by the reality: that I just didn’t have the time. Nonetheless, in this post I’ll share a selection of the coolest travel ephemera. I’ll show the rest in a not to distant future.

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I very much enjoyed finding this old train ephemera. “The Canadian” still runs to this day, traversing the long and beautiful distance between Toronto and Vancouver. I actually took this train on two different occasions, though both times I missed out on what is likely the best part – the stretch between Jasper and Vancouver.

I found a program, a ticket holder, a ticket book, and a postcard, all of which are from the early 1960s. I’m pretty sure they’re still using the same train cars today.

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Once there the family went to the Calgary Stampede. I saved a bunch of related ephemera, my favourite of which was this 1964 Riley and McCormick “Cowboy Catalogue.” It features Western styles and other cowboy related accessories.

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I also rescued a paper hat and two cardboard fans made to advertise Calgary TV and radio stations.

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They also went on at least one trip to Europe in the mid 50s. Here’s the travel insurance …

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… and the International Driving Permit.

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They crossed the ocean in the S.S. Liberté (first class, of course) and amassed a nice collection of mementos.

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I saved a bunch of magazines (L’atlantique) that were apparently printed on the ship. They must have been a lot of work to put together.

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One section is titled “latest news received by radio.” This edition features a bunch of Cold War era geopolitics, and also a story on the development of the wildly successful Polio vaccine.

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I love finding old menus. This one is for an August 13, 1955 dinner on the Liberté.

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While this one is from a restaurant in Nice.

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There were tonnes of cool vintage maps, many of which I sold at yard sales. This one is my favourite though, because the artwork is excellent and because it conveniently folds out into the size of a nice poster (making it potentially cool as a decoration).

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It was made by British Railways and portrays the British Isles. The artist was a guy by the name of Cecil Meyer.

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I’ll finish with a couple of things from stores. This is a catalogue for Gubelin, a prestigious jewelry maker and retailer.

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Unfortunately I didn’t find any fancy watches here! Though I did come across a certificate of authenticity for an 18k gold watch.

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This is the 1950s equivalent of a promotional corporate email. The P. Marechal company (to which I can find no reference to on the internet) is offering their past customer a free bottle of Replique de Raphael.

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Here’s the actual gift card …

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… and this is their perfume price list. I figured the perfume aficionados among us might be curious to see what was on sale in 1956! I assume these prices are in based on the now defunct French franc.

I’ll share part two sometime in the coming weeks!

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13 thoughts on “First class

  1. Let me guess … you’re in ephemera heaven. 😀

    There sure are a couple of wild and crazy cowboy shirts in that old 1964 Riley and McCormick catalogue.

  2. Debbie says:

    Wow!! Amazing stuff you find!! I am a huge collector of ephemera. I just might go to the Plant Holiday Art Market. Will you be selling ephemera at your table?

  3. Hera says:

    The old perfume price list is great. Can you keep that for me? Can I share it on the perfume forums?

  4. Wow, beautiful ephemera, I especially love the train stuff! Will you be listing it? I’d love to watch the listing and see how it goes 🙂

  5. Adonis says:

    There was a wonderful ,flattering article written about your mission on the blog http://www.mtlblog.com on November 27,2015 .I hope more people do what you are doing.You can’t do everything by yourself in Montreal.The population of Montreal,if you add the North Shore and South Shore is over 3 million people.Too much good stuff goes to the garbage dump even now.More people should be scavenging everyday.

    • martng says:

      I saw that, it was good. Got some new followers from it for sure. I hope the blog does inspire more people to pick, particularly in neighbourhoods I don’t already cover, ha ha

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