Recent sales (February 29 – March 13)

What a week! Well, two weeks actually. This was definitely one of my best sales periods ever. I sold 20 items on eBay, an average of about one and a half items a day. I usually do half that, and sometimes less. These weren’t all small sales either – 8 items went for 100$ or more.

I wonder if the time of year has something to do with it. The warmer weather seems to energize people, perhaps leading to more sales. However, the fact that I had (not anymore!) more listed on eBay than ever before surely had something to do with the hot streak as well.

Aside from that, I also received a very generous donation of 500$! It came totally out of the blue, and was obviously much appreciated. The donor felt inspired by one of my recent posts and decided to pay it forward. It’s good to know that people like what I do, and moments like these more than offset the bad ones (such as the occasional negative comment on a message board).

And now, without further ado …


1. Anime collection: To a reader for 120$. To clarify I did not sell the entire collection, just the titles I decided not to list on eBay. The buyer got a pretty good deal, and I no longer have to store them. Found with my sister last October in the Plateau.


2. Marcin Zaremski sterling silver and inlaid amber cufflinks: On eBay for 81$. These were made by a Polish modernist designer. Found in Westmount in June 2015.


3. Lot of vintage MIT audio cables: On eBay for 125$. These MIT cables are apparently fairly desirable – check out the prices some are going for on eBay! Mine weren’t the super valuable ones, but they still netted me a nice amount. Found last fall in TMR.


4. Vintage Doxa watch, 14k gold case: On eBay for 175$. This took a while to sell, largely because my starting price was too high. I’m happy with the final outcome though. It may have been worth more if the innards were original, but the old mechanical movement had been replaced with a quartz which made it less desirable for collectors. Found March 2015 in Hampstead, in what was one of my most profitable spots of the year.


5. Vintage Ski Hawk Club pin: On eBay for 20$. This sold shortly after I mentioned it on the blog, so I expect one of my readers got it! Found a few weeks ago in Montreal West.


6. Vintage enameled pill box, made in Siam: On eBay for 22$. Found in Westmount in May 2015.


7. Texas Instruments PC-100C print cradle, with calculator: On eBay for 150$. This was a neat find, one I made just a few blocks from my house. It came with a TI-59 calculator, which was one of the first programmable calculators to reach the market. It worked fine, and after a bit of cleaning with a microfiber cloth I listed it on eBay. It sold within a week, and the buyer just left me some nice feedback. I love old electronics, and get a kick out of finding them – especially when I can flip them for a nice profit. Found a few weeks ago in the Plateau.


8. WWI-era CFB Valcartier pennant: On eBay for 165$. This was one of the more valuable pennants from that collection I found early January in Montreal West.


9. Vintage 1950s Speakman Anystream shower head: On eBay for 210$. It took me a while to get this thing listed, largely because I wanted to clean it up with some CLR first (and was hoping to find some in the garbage). I finally got around to doing it a month or so ago, and now it’s out of the house for a very nice price. Found April 2015 in Hampstead.

10. Faberge perfume: On eBay for 45$. Found in Westmount in May 2015.

11. Tenjho Tenge DVD set: On eBay for 50$. Another anime DVD set from the batch I found back in October.


12. Riley & McCormick 1964 Cowboy Catalogue: On eBay for 42$. The buyer was from Calgary, and had the same last name as one of the store founders. Found last summer in Westmount.


13. 1980s Ray-Ban Wayfarer II sunglasses: On eBay for 100$. Found a little over a month ago in TMR.


14. Lacoste sunglases: On eBay for 70$. Tossed recently by the privileged folks in TMR.


15. 1950s ALPS “Flutter Birds” tin toy birdhouse: On eBay for 100$. This was in nice condition, but the birds needed to be re-strung. I didn’t have the patience to do it myself, so I sold it “as is.” Found late fall in TMR.


16. Michael Birch cat-eye glasses: On eBay for 55$. Found maybe nearly two months ago in NDG.


17. Lot of Expo 67 publications: On eBay for 80$. More of the lot can be seen here. Found mid December in TMR.


18. Ford Anglia toy car: On eBay for 17$. Found last fall in NDG.


19. Collection of tobacco pipes made by Shalom of Israel: On eBay for 85$. Found in Cote St-Luc back in December.


20. Telephone Pioneers of America charm bracelet: On eBay for 15$. Found amongst a large collection of miscellaneous baubles a few summers ago in Rosemont. Also a great example of how much better my photography has gotten over the years.


21. Audio Hex bluetooth speaker: On eBay for 27$. Found a few weeks ago in TMR.

Total: 1754$, 5355$ since the new year. If I could somehow keep up this pace for the full year I’d make over 40k. Not going to happen though! Regardless, I am currently on pace to meet my goal of 24k for the year.

Relevant links

1. Facebook page
1. My eBay listings
2. Etsy store
3. Kijiji listings
4. My donate page

Email: I often fall behind on emails, so I apologize in advance if it takes me a long time to get back to you.

The muck

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The warmer weather makes me more adventurous. I decided to check out Ville St Laurent’s heavy garbage night for the first time since November.


There wasn’t much there, but I did find a copy of Rolling Stone from when Janis Joplin died …


… and a bag full of marbles.

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I took a different way home, driving east on Cote Vertu and Sauve before arriving in Ahuntsic. I covered a few streets there, which is where I found this intriguing if mucky pile.

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Inside most of the bags were boxes, inside of which was a mix of total junk and interesting miscellany. It was actually quite the hassle to sort through this stuff. Usually trash on the curb is more compartmentalized – you have your kitchen crap in one bag, the basement stuff in another, the garage junk in yet another. This makes it fairly easily to quickly determine if the contents of a bag are of interest. Here though nearly every box held something vaguely interesting, like an old jewelry box, which was mixed in with a bunch of bric-a-brac, making it necessary for me to rummage around the bottom in case there was more of interest inside (like silver or gold). It didn’t help that there were lots of old, rusty pieces of metal in these boxes, making the contents look more like the embodiment of tetanus than something of potential value. As a result, much care was needed when sorting through the rubbish.

Sorting is actually an exhausting process. It takes a lot of brain power to figure out what to take, what not to take, where to put the stuff you don’t want, how not to make a mess, and so on, especially when you have to work quickly. I ended up spending nearly 3 hours sorting through this stuff, and by the end I was starving but too tired to really do anything about it. I got home at close to 4am, which is much later than I usually stay out til.


Anyways, I did save a lot of small vintage items, many of which are pretty cool. I won’t go into much detail describing them. Click on the picture if you want a close-up!





This Woodstock patch might be original, though it’s not worth much regardless. The stain I think is from rust, so it might clean out in a wash.


This etching looks a lot like Robin.


I expect this carpenter’s apron was made in the 1950s, given the fonts used. It needs a wash, but should clean up alright.


I was hoping to find some old bits of gold or silver but had no such luck. Still, these unusual tools were interesting to find.


The tools might be made from ivory. If so, it’s the first time I’ve found vintage or antique ivory in the trash. The bottom piece looks like a toothpick, which were often made from ivory back the day. I’m not sure what the one on top was made to do, but there are four different “blades” all of which are partly serrated. If you know what this was made to do, let us know in the comments!


Also let us know if you have any idea what these bracelet-like objects are for!

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A few of the boxes (and the bottom of this garbage bin) were filled with old papers. Much was unfortunately ruined by years of moisture, but some pieces were salvageable.


I wish this booklet, which commemorates the 25th anniversary of St Joseph’s Oratory (1936) was in better condition.


This old railroad brochure also would have been neat.


Still, I was able to save several photos and postcards.



A Dominican priest by the name of René Groleau wrote a message on the back of these 3d postcards. Apparently whoever received them donated to their mission.


This Christmas postcard (which I’d guess is from the 20s) is a little creepy, especially once you notice the weird, upside-down doll at the bottom right hand corner like I just did.


On a less disturbing note, I found some blueprints to a charming old house. I’d guess they also date from the 20s.


I didn’t read this pamphlet, but the artwork is interesting – as well as its claim that over one billion people are infidels.


Among my favourite paper finds was this old 1 cent bond (coupon?), which was to be used at Pharmacie Toupin. Apparently the bond could be exchanged for War Savings Stamps, which is a bit confusing because it looks to have been made in the interwar period. Maybe War Bonds were issued then as well, I’m not quite sure. Regardless, it’s a pretty neat, if not particularly valuable thing to find. For reference, it’s about a quarter of the size of a regular bill.



On the right is a copy of the constitution of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), as it was conceived in 1927. That leads to my favourite ephemera find, …


… which was this IBEW application card.


I very much like the cover image, the symbolism of which is characteristic of early labour movement art (another similarly themed image can be seen on this blog post). A strong union member pulls his near broken unorganized brother up from “the muck of low wages and bad working conditions” – a grim looking existence to say the least. The strong man offers his help (in somewhat awkward wording) and a vision of a brighter future: higher wages, better working conditions, and a pretty nice looking factory.


The application (which is roughly the size of a postcard) is a great window into the labour movement as it existed in the early 1900s. Unions deserve a lot of the credit for pulling workers in developed countries out of wage slavery, not to mention improving safety standards. For a quick look into what factory life was like in the 1800s check out this BBC historical summary. Unfortunately, with globalization and the decrease in transportation costs it’s now easy for companies to ship jobs overseas where regulations and trade unions are more or less impossible. The working conditions in Bangladesh for example are just about as bad as they were here in North America or Britain in the 1800s, which is depressing to think about. I could rant about this for a while, but I’ll leave it at that!

I’m not sure it has a lot of monetary value, so I’ll likely just add it to my personal collection of intriguing objects. Regardless, one of the cool things about blogging is that the things I post often become searchable via Google and other search engines, so someone researching this topic will be able to find something when they might not have before. I tried, but failed to find any cards or images exactly like this one on the web, which in my mind makes it extra neat.

I returned to this spot the two subsequent garbage days and found nothing. Maybe I’ll give it one more chance next week, but it’s possible that the basement (or wherever these items were stored) is now cleared out.

Winter is good


Many people have asked me what time of the year is best for picking. The answer is definitely the summer, perhaps May more specifically (it was probably my best month last year). Still, some assume that it’s slim pickings in the winter and that couldn’t be further from the truth. Fewer people move in the winter but there’s still a lot who do, and people clearing out houses don’t stop because it’s cold out.

This winter has actually been really productive! Thus far I’ve found a gold watch, a Macbook Pro, a collection of WWI-era pennants, a silver trench art cigarette case, and lots more… including the finds I mention today. Don’t get me wrong – I can’t wait until summer. There’s nothing better than picking in short-sleeves. But winter is good too, so long as you can stand the cold.

I went on a morning run a couple weeks ago because it coincided with some errands I needed to get done. This change of schedule worked out nicely, as these boxes were tossed by some folks who don’t put their trash out at night. The house was for sale, and my guess is that the boxes had been in the basement since their last move. A lot of the contents were musty, though most of the items were totally salvageable. Strangely, it seemed as if the previous owners didn’t even open the boxes to see what was inside before tossing them. They probably knew generally the contents, and decided they didn’t care to move them again.


Inside one of the boxes were a bunch of well-wrapped, mostly decorative items. These weren’t musty at all.


A couple of ruby red vases stuck out to me.


They look to be very well made. The clear parts have been given texture somehow – I’ve never seen this sort of design before.


This one is much smaller, and still very nice. If anyone knows anything about this style of glass, let us know in the comments!


This oil lamp is in pretty nice condition, and should make for a good yard sale piece.


This bell looks to be pretty old.


Based on the way it tarnished I’d guess it was at least partly made of copper.


Also in the box were a few goblets, two of which I think are uranium glass; …


… a beer stein from Luxembourg;


… a neat plaster scuplture, marked “Austin prod” on the back (their sculptures of famous people are worth pretty good money, the others not so much);


… and a carved wooden rhinoceros. There’s a bit broken off the end of its horn but it’s still pretty cool.


Another box contained nicely packed stemware and vintage clear glass Arcoroc plates. The stemware is blueish and looks to be well made. I don’t know much about stemware, so if you have any potentially useful information be sure to mention it in the comments!



Two smaller boxes (which were inside another box) held personal effects, many of which were related to high school and university sports.


The box on the left contained a pair of musty Converse shoes, a few jerseys, and some bits of memorabilia including this old Coke bottle that I think is from Israel. These sell for around 30$ on eBay.


Two jewelry boxes held miscellaneous knick-knacks. Underneath this collection is a nice Ski Hawk Club pin I have since listed on eBay.


Both of the little boxes held one 1970s dog tag. I looked up “Tween set” – apparently it was a kids show that aired on the CBC in the late 1960s and early 1970s.


This large patch collection came from the box on the right. They mostly date back to the late 60s and early 70s, and originate from Beaconsfield Quebec. My favorites are probably the 1972 Loyola football and National Baskethon patches.


One of the boxes (at the bottom in the original picture) was huge, heavy, and full of goodies. It was also the mustiest box of them all. This old brass weight set is pretty cool. It smelled pretty bad, but is now much better after I washed it with soap and water.


Also inside the box was this drill (and several bits) …


… and this wooden box. This is kind of a neat story actually. The box was locked, and I didn’t have the key so I posted on the Bunz Trading Zone Facebook page in search of someone who could open it. The thread was very popular, and lots of people were excited to see what was inside. I was excited too, as I’d never seen a box like this before. Anyways, someone who works as a locksmith agreed to come by and unlock it in exchange for beer. If you’d like to take a guess as to what’s inside, do it now as the reveal is below.


Inside was a vintage Microscope! It was made by Spencer of Buffalo, probably in the 1930s. It smelled very musty, but again the odor mostly cleared up after a soap and water wash. It’s otherwise in great condition.


If I can totally remove the musty smell this set would be worth easily 200$, and possibly more. Still, my favourite find of the week is something I nearly threw out myself.


This Heinz soups sign (which is about 20″ long) was standing up on its side in the box. From that view it looked like total junk, and I didn’t pay it any attention while sorting through the rest of its contents. A fair bit of the stuff inside the box was ruined (like a couple of old leather baseball gloves and a giant atlas) and I ended using the box to hold the things I didn’t want. The metal piece stayed in place while I sorted, and just before I moved to bring the box to the curb I noticed the cool decal on its front.

The sign dates back to the 1930s or 1940s. I consulted “whatisthisthing” on Reddit and was told it was likely a part of an old Heinz electric soup kitchen. You can see one at the bottom of this Heinz history page. From the website: ‘In the 1930s, to cater to the growing lunch crowd, Heinz began manufacturing special equipment for heating its products in restaurants. The “electric soup kitchen” heated single serving size cans of Heinz soup in two minutes. The soup could then be served in bowls, also furnished by Heinz.’

The inclusion of Purée Mongole as a soup option is another hint to the age of the piece. The creamed split-pea and tomato soup was most popular from the 1920s to 1940s.

It appears to be a pretty uncommon piece. I was unable to find anything quite like it on eBay or elsewhere. That of course bodes well for its value. Signs and displays from this era can go for a lot of money, sometimes in the thousands of dollars if it features a well known brand name like Coca-Cola. This sign isn’t worth that much, but I do think my starting price of 650$ is within reason. It’s a great find regardless, and I imagine it’ll someday make a great decoration in a cafe or restaurant somewhere.