Miscellaneous finds / Bunz trading experiment

Sad tv. Last night in #ndg #mtl #montreal #garbage #garbagefinds

A post shared by Martin (@garbagefinds) on

Over the past couple weeks I’ve tried trading some of my finds on a Facebook bartering group. I’m pretty happy with the results so far. I’ve managed to unload a bunch of stuff, often the same day I post it, and always get a decent return for my efforts. It’s also a cool way to meet new people, some of whom are very passionate about the random items I’ve been posting. That being said, trying to organize and keep track of all these trades can be exhausting, so it’s important I don’t overdo it.

Most of what I trade is stuff that isn’t super valuable (ie: not eBay worthy, or at least not worth the hassle) but still very cool, or items I just want moved as soon as possible. I always ask for consumables (like food, coffee, tea, or beer) because I really don’t need any more stuff!

This post features a collection of miscellaneous finds from the past few weeks, some of which have since been traded. I’ll let you know what I got for the items when applicable!

I came across this vintage TV while out on a run in NDG. For whatever reason I have a fair bit of nostalgia for old televisions; I took it in spite of the fact that it had been snowed on and I didn’t think it was likely to produce any value.

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The TV ended up working fine and I traded it for a cool musical instrument called a melodian. I consider that a pretty good exchange! In general there was a lot more interest in vintage TVs than I imagined there to be, and this experience will encourage me to pick them up on a more regular basis going forward.

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Another spot in NDG produced many interesting, trade-worthy items. These old reels contained old 1930s cartoons (primarily featuring a character named Scrappy) and also a few silent movies.

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They weren’t all in great condition, but someone was happy to come by and give me a 6-pack of beer for them regardless.

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This old (but still soft) paint set netted me two bottles of homebrew …

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… while these unopened film canisters, which expired in the 1970s brought in another 6-pack.

You may have noticed a lot of these trades are for beer. I’m not an alcoholic, I swear! It’s often just the most convenient thing to trade for. Beer takes a while to go off, so I don’t mind if I have more than I need. I’ve also done trades for home-cooked food, but not everyone likes to cook.

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The same spot produced a cool Freemason medal, given out for fifty years of service …

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… and a very old Tiffany box. I wish there was something in the box, but I should be able to make some money from it regardless. I’ll be keeping an eye on this place going forward.

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In Montreal West I came across a vintage Strombecker road racing set …

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… inside of which was a bunch of old die-cast toy cars, mostly from the late 60s and early 70s. These can have some value – I’ll clean them up and likely sell them as a lot. The track might be worth a bit of money as well.

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In TMR I found a bag stuffed with three vintage hanging shell lamps. They need a little love but are very beautiful regardless. I look forward to setting two of them up in my room.

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Otherwise, I saved a collection of small objects in NDG; …

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… an old cigar box full of mementos from that same spot;

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… a large collection of student newspapers from the late 60s and early 70s, which a local archivist was more than happy to take off my hands (Plateau);

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… some junior pilot wings (Plateau);

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… a tupperware container full of pennies (TMR);

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… a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles serving tray (TMR, traded for 6 beer);

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… a vintage aluminum grease holder, which looks to sell on eBay for around 40$ (Westmount);

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… and some cool brass items (Westmount).

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The nicest of the bunch was an early 1900s bookend by the Frost Workshops of Dayton Ohio. That company was a notable part of the Arts and Crafts movement that was prominent at that time. I was vaguely familiar with the movement thanks to an episode of Antiques Roadshow I watched back in the day but learned a lot more upon researching this piece. Apparently practitioners had anti-industrial leanings and emphasized the value the craftsmanship over mass machine production. I suspect these artisans of times past might turn in their grave in they knew what kind of junk we were producing today!

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I saw that a similar single bookend sold for around 70$ on eBay and priced mine accordingly.

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33 thoughts on “Miscellaneous finds / Bunz trading experiment

  1. Debi says:

    I enjoy your blog!
    As to the old TV, some are taking out the insides and turning the outside into fish tanks, bars, hamster cages, etc.

  2. boyd hussey says:

    Hi. The tin Sweet Caporal tin box is, i think, for cigarettes not cigars. they were a brand that was around until at least the late fifties and they were sold in these boxes of fifty and were known as flat-fifties. all the brands had them

  3. Nancy says:

    Good luck with the trades..interesting concept! The Sweet Caporal tin is what we called a ‘flat 50’. It held 50 cigarettes but this one looks like it would hold a double layer..flat 100? I remember my parents had them and they made a great gift for friends or the milkman at Christmas time…wouldn’t be welcomed today, lol. Love the bookend..Arts and Crafts things are very collectible. Good luck!

  4. Matt says:

    Great finds my friend! Especially liked the freemasonic medal.

    I found a 14K pink gold pocketwatch this weekend at a fleamarket for like $5. Stoked!

    • martng says:

      Damn, lucky. I don’t know who would miss the fact that a watch is made from legit gold. Then again, I make my money exclusively from people like that so it’s not that much of a surprise!

      • Matt says:

        Same here I guess ๐Ÿ˜‰ The lady I bought it from told me she got free stuff from people in her neighbourhood that she sold for a charity.

  5. Sarah says:

    I just started reading your blog and it’s wonderful. What’s up with all the pens and spare change? So odd that someone would toss out money and pens.

    • martng says:

      Often people pack things like pens away for year, and then when they move or when someone inherits their stuff these things are unceremoniously tossed because it’s not worth the effort of redistributing (at least to the person throwing it out).

      As for pennies, people got sick of owning them years ago. It’s quite possible someone just decided it wasn’t worth their time to return.

      Still, tossing change is a privilege of wealth. I’m not super well off, and can waste maybe 2$ buying something useless like candy without worrying too much about the expense. I keep all my change (including the stuff I find) and make a point to trade it in at the bank when it accumulates. I do this because 10$ is an amount of money worth working for.

      However, someone making two or three hundred thousand dollars a year (or more) can afford to spend 100$ or more and not really stress at all about the purchase. In that context, 10$ of coins might not be worth the effort of returning. They might be making 100$ an hour at their job already.

      To clarify, I don’t think that excuses the throwing out of change. This person could have left those pennies on any street corner downtown and they would have been gone within minutes to someone who actually needs the money. They just didn’t care to, or they’ve become so detached from true financial deprivation that they can no longer imagine anyone else valuing that collection of pennies. Even if I somehow become rich, I’ll at least put in the basic amount of effort to get my small chump change to someone who needs it.

      The most ridiculous collection of change I ever found came from a massive house in Westmount. There was a whiskey container that held over 56$ in change, including some loonies and toonies. The house was easily worth 3 million dollars, so to those people this amount was actually “chump change.” They probably make that much in 15 minutes of one day, maybe even less!

      Here’s that post, for the record: https://garbagefinds.com/2014/12/02/nova-eborac/

      I think about that house in Westmount when I hear people complain about taxes. Stuff like that, at least in my view proves that people (at least the elites) have more money than they need already.

  6. Another great post! In future you might try selling old film reels to decorators – people are using them (minus the film) to tack to the wall in their movie rooms. Another bunch of items saved from the landfill – thanks so much!

  7. Sarca says:

    Love those Bayer pill cases – reminds me of my Granny. You find such cool stuff.

  8. willedare says:

    I continue to love reading your blog. A friend recently threw out a functional B&W TV from the 50s which had been in his family since its original purpose. I wish I’d known that there are folks who collect/re-purpose old sets so that I could have told him about that option… Hurrah for a time when we built products which would function for 50+ years!

  9. Les says:

    Love your blog and look forward to each installment..what is the butter scotch coloured tube with the red design..is it a tube with a cap..and how much do you want for it…Les

    • martng says:

      I forgot to mention that piece specifically. Inside are a few little makeup applicators (I think that’s what they are anyways). It’s definitely vintage, made from one of those vintage plastics like bakelite or celluloid. Send me an email if you’re interested and I’ll try to figure out a price. thingsifindinthegarbage@gmail.com

  10. cathymik says:

    Hi, As always I find your site extremely addicting and always very informative. I am curious about something, though. You seem to go out mostly at night and yet your pictures are all relatively well lit. Are those your car lights (I don’t think so)? Just the flash from your camera? Or, I was thinking one of the lights you put on your forehead?
    You could always give us lessons. I wouldn’t be infringing on your territory as I live in London, ON. I like when you give lessons such as explaining why you prefer weekly trash pickup rather than twice a week; mornings or evenings pickups. Also when you explain about people coming out and trying to get you to move on because “it’s just junk”. That man wasn’t very nice.
    All the best in this new year and congratulations on meeting and exceeding your goal for 2015.

    • martng says:

      Ask and ye shall receive! It’s just the flash from the camera. I try to make sure no one’s looking when I do this, because it might understandably sketch people out. Glad you like the details I mention in some of my posts. Sometimes I wonder if anyone reads that stuff.

  11. cathymik says:

    Hello again,
    I just followed your link to the article on your bartering group. Quite interesting and a great idea? Do you have the contact information for the Site Administrator? If you would prefer not to give it out you could give her my information. As far as I know we don’t have something like this in London and I think it’s a great idea.
    Thanks for any help you can give me,
    Cathy (London, ON)

    • martng says:

      Nope, no idea. The FB group is private at this point as well. Try finding the Toronto version of the site, apparently there is one and maybe they can help.

  12. Great post, with a bit of a twist. I love how much variety your posts have. They’re never boring, and always informative in some way.
    Those old black-and-white TVs were nice; they left a lot more to the imagination.
    Sorry I didn’t get that track together for you. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

  13. Dana Gerber says:

    Do you find more treasures in western Town of Mount Royal or Eastern TMR?A broad question,but I want to know.You see,I lived near Canora a while back.Back then,I never thought of checking the trash randomly in the burg,but I lived there today,I would.

    • martng says:

      It’s hard to say, but if I had to choose one or the other it would be the side west of Canora. It’s a little bit older there I think. A lot of the east side was developed in the 50s I think, replacing a former golf course. Both are good though.

  14. Leonard Craybas says:

    I am fascinated that you found some reels of silent films.Which silent films did you find?Did you scan and view them and note their titles?You should because about 70% of silent films are considered lost forever.Even though several lost silent films are found every year,most lost silent films may never be found.If you found lost silent films,your name and your blog could get mentioned in hundreds of print newspapers,blogs and magazines.You would receive a lot of media attention.The Library of Congress and other film archives might thank you.Private film collectors,wealthy silent film buffs and film historians might compensate you monetarily too.I appreciate you rescuing several valuable pieces of Expo 67 memorabilia from the trash heap over the years,but you must be on the lookout for silent films and other old films for their historic significance.Finding a lost silent film could be the biggest find you ever make.

    • martng says:

      From what I can tell these particular silent films were mass produced at one point, making them not exactly common but not rare either. I’m not sure which movies they were, but the production houses were focused on making movies for households. I do think it would be very cool to find a long lost movie of some kind. I have one that looks to be a documentary about a 1960s African breakaway state that I hope to get digitized at some point. I can’t find any reference to it online, so maybe it’s rare.

  15. Idella Burmester says:

    I just discovered you and your blog recently thanks to Ryanne and Jay of Scavenger Life. So love the details you share on your finds and I too think that homebrew is a perfectly great trade. ๐Ÿ™‚ A really special treat today reading about your Frost Workshop bookend find. I live “just down the road a piece” from Dayton in Springfield, Ohio, so I was a tad bit giddy that you found these treasures so far from their home of origin. I must admit that I’d be hard-pressed to let those bookends go if I were to have found them. You lucky, lucky fella! Thank you for rescuing them from the neverlands-of-no-more.

    • martng says:

      That’s cool. I quite like the bookend, but I don’t really have anywhere to put it at the moment. Regardless, I have to avoid becoming too attached to things, lest I actually become a hoarder.

      • Idella says:

        I totally get that, us resellers really need to reign in any impulse to fall in love with our finds. The cash garnered helps with this immensely. Hope you make a pretty penny on the Frost bookends.

  16. Scrappy is such a good name. I’m going to steal it!

  17. The Hot Wheels box looks promising. If any of those cars are original “Redlines” which means red walls on the tires, you may have some very nice finds on your hands.

    Great blog. Keep doing what your doing…Dude!

    • martng says:

      I still have to deal with those. I plan on giving them a bit of a clean (they smell a bit musty) and doing a bit more research. I suspect that as a lot they’d do quite well. Thanks for the info, I’ll keep an eye out for that as well.

  18. Helen says:

    Didn’t anyone notice TV in snow plays snow when plugged in…

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