Double Pro Fighter

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I’m a little behind on my summaries, so let’s make this one quick! I’ve been frequenting this spot in Villeray for close to a month now.

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On my first visit I saved a cute set of pink glass dishes, which I gave to a friend.

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One my second I found a collection of vintage food and medicine tins, including four cans of salmon and mackerel that look to be from the 1960s. I’ve mentioned before how food expiry dates, particularly for canned good are mostly meaningless. However, I really don’t want to know what tinned salmon looks like after 50 years. It might actually still be technically edible, but it sure ain’t fresh. Regardless, I took them because I love their labels.

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On my third week I came away with a nice silver hair barrette. I think it’ll clean up well and sell for a decent price on eBay.

I didn’t find anything interesting there this week, but I’ll be sure to keep my eye on the situation going forward.

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I found some more interesting stuff in front of the house in Mount Royal that produced the silver coin and tobacco pipes a few weeks back.

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A small white plastic bag held a bunch of interesting vintage junk, including rulers, magnifying glasses, pencils, thumb tacks, and a St Christopher medallion. The fountain pen at center right is quite nice, and has a 14k gold nib.

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The “good luck” horseshoe clip is marked as being made by an M. Myers & Sons, apparently in 1870. It’s a cool, if not particularly valuable piece. It sold at my recent art market sale.

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I also liked the Coca-Cola ruler. It features the golden rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” A lot of vintage Cola-Cola stuff is pretty valuable, but these rulers are fairly common and don’t sell for a lot. I sold it at the art market for 3$, which a good deal for both parties in my book.

A lot of people tell me I under-price at yard sales. However, I think my prices are based on a savvy understanding of cost / benefit analysis. My motto for yard sales is “there’s always more garbage.” I bring home lots of things each week, but most isn’t really valuable enough to bother listing on eBay or Etsy. Yard sale stuff accumulates quickly, and the more it piles up the more stress it causes me. So making sure these items leave my life as soon as possible is a benefit, because I never have to think about whatever it is ever again, let alone having to bother with packing it and unpacking it, potentially multiple times.

Lower prices also have the obvious pro of encouraging more shopping and repeat buyers. Many people have told me that my yard sale was their favourite one ever. Low prices make things more fun for everyone involved. I like giving good deals more than I like haggling for a high price, and customers obviously prefer this tactic as well.

It helps that I have few expenses associated with my finds, so even making fifty cents from some random thing is more or less pure profit. That’s the beauty of selling garbage! With yard sales, I’m happy as long as I can make my usual 200$ (give or take) a session.

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I otherwise found a couple musical instruments, including a vintage c. 1920s xylophone …

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… and a collection of buttons.

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My best find though came from this spot in Cote St Luc. There were only two bags on the curb, but they looked a bit angular and sat out front of a recently sold house so I stopped to check them out. It was a rainy night, but thankfully the black trash bags (somewhat ironically) generally do a good job protecting their contents.

Inside one of the bags was a whole bunch of old gaming stuff, including a working Super Nintendo, three controllers (and some others for use with different gaming systems), a Multitap (which allows for four controllers to be connected to the Super Nintendo), and an Double Pro Fighter game duplicator.

It all adds up to a nice payday overall. The Super Nintendo and controllers are together worth around 100$. The Multitap goes for around 50$. The Double Pro Fighter is an odd case. Apparently they were very cheaply made, and it is nearly impossible to find one today that actually works. Nonetheless, they sell for decent money, presumably to the collectors market. One sold for about 60$, even though there were no guarantees made to it actually functioning. I listed mine for a bit more, because I suspect the right buyer is willing to pay extra for this piece of gaming history.

Tune in soon for a summary of last week’s finds!

First class pt.2

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Part one

Today we finish with the things I found in Westmount a couple months back. A lot of the papers were related to a family owned chain of department stores. It was a pretty successful business from the looks of things, operating locations in several different cities in Eastern Canada. The business appears to have disappeared off the face of the earth in the 70s (I can’t find any information on it through Google), which I’d guess is a result of it being bought out by a bigger chain.

Most of the papers weren’t very exciting – old tax papers, receipts, blueprints, that kind of thing – but I thought these old internal business letters were cool. They provide an interesting window into what running a business was like in the 1950s. To clarify, the recipient was the President of the business.

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Here’s a 1961 Montreal Alouettes season ticket card. 1961 was just the fourth season of CFL. The Alouettes weren’t very good that year, finishing last in the division.

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This card, issued by the Anti-Tuberculosis League indicates that the holder was tested for the disease. Tuberculosis is still around but is not the killer it once was, thanks to antibiotics and other public health endeavors.

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There was a bunch of stuff related to Canadian federalism, including a collection of speeches and essays on national unity and these flyers promoting a “no” vote in the 1980 Quebec referendum.

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There were a whole bunch of these “Share in the land of Israel” certificates. They (and similar ones regarding planting trees in Israel) seem to have been common anniversary and birthday gifts in Jewish households. I’ve seen a fair amount of similar certificates in the trash over the last year or so. This one is the oldest though – it was purchased in 1937 when the area was still known as Palestine. The shares were part of a National Fund Project that aimed to promote “Jewish colonization in Palestine.”

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A collection of mostly 1980s magazines. One calls Ronald Reagan the “Man of the Year,” while another announcing “the second coming” of Pierre Trudeau. The latter is pretty funny, as we’ve just elected another Trudeau.

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This poster was made to promote Dreamstage, a 1977 Harvard project that combined science and art to produce “an experimental portrait of the sleeping brain.” The poster is very cool, and I expect it to one day sell for a decent amount on eBay.

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A pamphlet promoting the Chargex card, one of the first credit cards aimed at Canadian consumers (1968). Here’s an interesting story about how the Chargex was actually a tough sell at the time.

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A photo of Johnny Jellybean with four happy children. Johnny Jellybean (Ted Zeigler) was the host of kid’s show that was very popular in Montreal in the 1960s.

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One time the trash bin was full of old dishes, the vast majority of which were cracked or smashed. Some was really nice uranium glass that would have been worth a pretty penny in nice condition.

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This small flag (around one foot wide) looks to be a Pearson Pennant. Canada decided in the 1960s to replace the Union Jack / Red Ensign as the national flag, and this was the preferred choice of Lester B. Pearson, the Prime Minister at the time. He didn’t get his way. I’d never seen one of these in person before, so it was kind of a neat find. Here’s a classic (at least for Canadians) heritage moment about the “Great Canadian Flag Debate”.

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Some cool scout badges. The one on the far right is Hebrew, though I think I have it spun around the wrong way.

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One of my favourite finds was this medallion commemorating the 25th anniversary of Montreal’s Jewish General Hospital. The design in very cool, combining Jewish elements with Canadian symbols, most notably the Beaver. It looks to be plated silver, though I haven’t tested it to see if it’s sterling. Usually sterling is marked, but sometimes not.

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I’m not sure what you call this thing. Does anyone know? It’s made to go around the neck, as was presumably worn at some kind of event.

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Finally, this piece of fabric was in the same little box as the piece above. It looks very old, and parts of it are worn in a similar way as you’d see on an old teddy bear. I have no idea what it is or what it might have been used for. If anyone has any ideas, let us know in the comments! It’s about 7″ tall.

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Recent sales (November 23 – December 6)

This period was a little quieter than I was expecting but I still made a decent amount of cash. I’m off to a hot start this week, so perhaps the Christmas super rush is just beginning.

I’m pretty confident that I’ll reach my goal regardless. I have an ace in my sleeve: a batch of scrap gold and silver that I can cash in at any time. It’s not the biggest collection, but I’ll definitely trade it in if I’m just short of the mark. I last sold my scrap in July.

Also, just a reminder that I’ll be selling my wares at The Plant Holiday Art Market tomorrow from 12-6pm. There will be 24 other vendors, all selling locally made arts and crafts. There will also be coffee, tea, and snacks. It will take place at 185 Van Horne in the Mile End.

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1. Guy Vidal pewter bracelet: On Etsy for 185$. Part of a treasure trove of modernist and brutalist jewelry I found in NDG back in March. A reader helped me identify three pieces – this bracelet, and two pairs of earrings – as being made by Vidal, making them fairly valuable. All three are now sold, netting me nearly 400$.

(To clarify for anyone new: these prices account for shipping expenses, but not eBay and Paypal fees which amount to around 10%).

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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.

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3. Canadian Tire money: Redeemed for 10.25$. Not really a sale per se (I won’t add it to my tally) but I did use this to get a discount on new windshield wipers. Found in TMR back in October.

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4. Harricana by Mariouche recycled fur aviator hat: On eBay for 105$. I figured this would sell once it got colder. It was in great shape, like it was never worn. Found late July in Mount Royal.

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5. Crucifix and other Catholic pieces: To a reader for 15$. I underestimated the shipping on this, but I still made a bit of cash. Included a St Christopher medallion and a St Famille wall hanging. Found late August in Lachine.

6. Apple remote: On eBay for 12$. Found in a bag of electronic bric-a-brac late July in TMR.

7. Laptop adapter: On eBay for 23$. Not at all exciting, but it made me some money. From the same spot as the remote.

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8. Sterling silver earrings by Tiffany: On eBay for 102$. Found in front of a massive house in Westmount back in May. That spot was one of my most profitable of the year.

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9. Dug American civil war items: On eBay for 30$. These came from Fredrickburg, if the writing on the box is accurate. I think this is the only item from Pierrefonds that’s ever made this section (it’s too far to go to regularly). Found January 2015.

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10. 916 silver brooch: To a reader for 20$. Found late April in the Plateau.

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11. Collection of letters from the 1920s: On eBay for 22$. I underestimated the shipping a bit but I still made money. I’m mostly glad they’ve left the house. Found this summer in Hampstead.

12. Kodak slide projector: On Kijiji for 50$. Found around a month ago in TMR.

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13. 1946 University of Sudbury school ring: On Etsy for 30$. Found April 2014 in the Plateau.

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14. 1930s Morze (Polish, meaning “the sea) magazines: On eBay for 80$. This was maybe my favourite sale of this period. I found these magazines in a Cote-des-Neiges dumpster back in May. They’ve been sitting around since then, waiting for me to figure out what to do with them. I finally got around to listing them on Sunday and they sold within 15 minutes.

When things sell that quickly (actually, I’m not sure anything has ever sold that quickly before) I often wonder if I could have charged more. However, I’m happy with the price I got. I’m also happy that they’re going to a good home, and that they’re out of mine. But perhaps most of all, I’m happy I’m finally dealing with stuff from six months ago. That means that I’m approaching something resembling an organized life.

Total: 729$, 18780.25$ since the new year began.