Site icon Things I find in the garbage



I decided to go on a run to Côte-Saint-Luc last week despite the fact that it was raining, occasionally heavily. I have a fondness for the neighbourhood, which is mainly composed of humble single-family homes and duplexes built between the 50s and 80s. It’s the location of a big rail yard, which makes a lot of noise even late at night. It’s largely Jewish – nearly 40% of the population as according to the 2006 census – but there are also pockets of Russians, Poles, and other nationalities. In the 2011 census 42% said English was their mother tongue, making it much less French (only 17.52%) than most other neighbourhoods here. About 36% reported a mother tongue that was of a non-official language.

I like to mention the neighbourhoods in which I make my finds. To me it’s big part of the story behind each item, as each area has its own specific character and attracts a certain kind of person. If you like to imagine the past lives of some of these objects, knowing what neighbourhood they came from can make that fantasy a little more vivid, or at least more accurate. I know most people outside of Montreal probably aren’t familiar with any of these places, so I’ll make a point going forward to describe any new neighbourhoods as best I can.

My trip ended up being more of a success than I expected. This spot in particular provided some nice finds.

I found a bunch of small items near the bottom of the first bag I opened, and spent several minutes sifting around making sure I didn’t miss anything good. I saved some Israeli coins, a cool retractable pen pendant that’s likely silver plated, a silver pendant with “Jerusalem Israel Sterling Silver” stamped on the back (with what looks to be some dried glue discoloring the front), a probably silver Israeli tag of some kind, and a nice little pin.

I suspected the pin was gold because it was heavy for its size. I didn’t see any markings at first, but later I noticed a faint “14k” on the side of the pin. It’s worth about 60$ for scrap, but it’s nice enough that I might try selling it on Etsy. If anyone recognizes the stone, let me know in the comments!

I also found two small trays or dishes, both of which are marked as being 800 (80%) silver. If they are indeed silver (I can’t personally test them, since I realize that my acid test kits are now expired) they’re worth a bit of money even if just sold as scrap. Together they weigh about 190 grams, making their silver value around 80$.

Otherwise, I saved a seemingly never used Waterman fountain pen, which someone on Reddit helped me identify as a first generation “Expert” …

… an also unused Teepak Colonial “melon tester” knife;

… and a large collection of vintage brochures, most of which looked to be from the 60s and 70s.

Here’s what came out of the New Zealand package.

Later on, a recently sold house produced some nice toy cars; …

… a pair of unnecessarily large brass dice;

… and a busted Domar vase, similar in style to this one I found on eBay. It was adorned with a sterling silver overlay which I was able to tear off. The silver weighs about 70 grams, making the scrap worth about 30$. There was lots of silver out that night!

Towards the end of my run I opened a trash can which contained that person’s flotsam.

I saved a few cool things, including a vintage slide rule. There seems to be a healthy collector’s market for old slide rules – I listed mine on eBay for 100$. The price might be a bit high but I expect it’s worth at least 70-80$.

Otherwise, a bag under all those doodads held a collection of banners, pennants, and patches, all of which look to be sports related. Some are from the Olympics, which might make them somewhat collectible.

I returned to CSL this week, but wasn’t able to reproduce the same level of success. We’ll see if next week is any better!

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