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!

35 thoughts on “Home”

  1. It is a star sapphire. They were extremely popular in the 1980’s. (I worked in a jewelry store then, to pay for college). It should be worth more that $60.

  2. I think correct re the pin

    and my friend bought a ring several yrs back, that had a rather small stone, plain gold band,
    and pretty sure she paid many hundred.

  3. wonderful dish’s they are art nouveau..check with a rep dealer you should be able to get more than 80 for them..they are stunning..

  4. Wow, nice haul!
    Good work! Thanks for all you do.
    I really enjoyed reading the information about Côte-Saint-Luc, and am looking forward to seeing illuminating tidbits about other Montreal neighbourhoods. 🙂

  5. Hello Martin, I really enjoy “Things I find in the garbage”. It is well written, seriously researched and very informative. I, too, am looking forward to “illuminating tidbits” about the neighbourhoods you visit. You save so many precious and interesting things that would otherwise end up in the garbage dump. I wish I have the courage of doing what you do, I am sure that here in St-Lazare and Hudson there is lots of seriously good stuff that ends up in a garbage bag. Good luck.

    1. I’m sure there is. I’ll never make my way out there, as it’s way too far to be worth the gas (unless of course I happen to be there on a garbage day).

      What scares you about picking? If it’s the social element, going at night is generally a lot better.

  6. That Waterman is exactly like the one I used to own before it broke. Loved the way it wrote.

  7. the 800 (as opposed to 925) silver plates mean they’re european,possibly quite or reasonably old,(antiques roadshow PBS 😉 joe.

    1. Thanks for the link! Mine is more or less the same. I’m surprised to see that it sold for 125$ USD. That one might be slightly heavier, and there’s an extra stamp on that it for whatever reason. Regardless, it looks like it’s easily worth more than scrap.

  8. I love this blog! It’s always interesting. The notes about the neighbourhoods you visit really help set the scene. I live in the UK, I could probably find Montreal on a map (!) but have no idea about the areas. Keep up the great work.

  9. That waterman pen was a good find. I have sold a couple of Waterman’s of the same vintage (in the same box as yours) for over $US100 on eBay nd I recall that the fountain pens were even more valuable than the ones I sold.

    1. I have it listed at 180$ Canadian. We’ll see if it sells for that much, but I do think it’s worth about that.

  10. the large dice , this is something we use to do when i had my machinist course , so it probable come from someone who hade a machinist course too

  11. I used to work for 1-800-Got-Junk in town. It was incredible what people would not just throw out, but PAY somebody to take. I scored a pair of Ray Bans which I wear as my everyday glasses. A Miele road bike which I use every day. Your ‘privilege” post is spot on. These people could care less about throwing away hundreds of dollars, never mind the symbolism of their penchant for waste. A woman once had us clear out her entire house, computers, kids toys, furniture, and about 20 silver dollars. There is a severe amount of cowardice involved in having somebody else deal with your products.

    1. I figure those guys are my primary competition. Still, most people aren’t willing to pay for the service, and prefer to deal with the items themselves. I can’t imagine why someone would want to clear out a whole house like that (particularly their own).

      1. The company is a franchise and the one on the island was up to some suspicious things. They “donated” all of the valuable or saleable goods to a warehouse next door, called the Montreal Mega Reuse Centre. This donation centre was “owned” by the franchisee’s wife. Everything was kept in the family. Looks like the MMRC is now closed.

        1. Hmm, interesting. I considered applying for a job with them a long time ago, but I decided to do this instead.

        2. I never thought of “go-junk” as anything but a commercial operation, so what they did with the junk never seemed to be a consideration. There are other operations that seem shadier, giving an illusion of doing good so they get the “donations” but actually being for profit. Anything that uses a 1-800 number as their name is too obviously commercial.

          That said, I had wondered. That Mega Recycle place was right next to the “got-junk” place, so it seemed like an obvious place that Mega Recycle got stuff from. I didn’t think their prices were high, I got some interesting junk for fairly little, but I had wondered where the stuff did come from. Yes, they did pull out some things and put high prices on them, but “everyone” does that.

          Yes, the Mega Recycle did close down 2 or 3 summers ago. Not much fanfare, but in retrospect they did issue some “clearance sale” ads.

          But they seem to be back. A few weeks ago, I saw a Craig’s list ad for something, and it had the same address as the Mega Recycle place. I forget the name they were using this time. But I suspect it’s about the same as before, why else start up a similar type operation in the same address?


          1. I imagine most franchises around the country donate to legitimate charities. A lot of employees here would grab things for themselves, just one perk of a rather grueling job. The boss tried to prevent us from doing so, instead offering a “discount” from items at the MMRC. As for garbage, the Montreal franchise is one of the only ones to actually sort everything ourselves into shipping containers. They had to pay to remove the ones full of garbage, but the metal container basically covered rent for the warehouse. Containers full of paper/cardboard would be dropped off at Domtar. Most franchises head straight for the city dump.

    1. That guy’s getting famous now, that story’s been shared on quite a few websites now. It’s cool to see the video this time though.

  12. Wow! Jackpot! (that’s what we say in Sherbrooke when we hit that kind of $luck$) … I was just wondering, being freshly relocated in the Montréal area but aching to do some scavenging, how do you deal with those loose black bags and the such… without things getting too messy or awkward with the tenants… my question might sound dumb, it’s just that in Sherbrooke all garbage/recycling is contained in big bins so you can just tear the bags appart in the bin to see if there is loot… thanks.

    1. I just try to untie them, or rip the knot at the top open in a way that makes them easy to re-tie. I also often transfer items from one bag to another, less interesting and less full bag (you could also just bring an extra bag), which makes it easier to see what’s at the bottom without making a mess.

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