Site icon Things I find in the garbage

The muck pt.2


I had planned on going to Ville St Laurent this past Sunday for their heavy garbage day, but the cold weather as well as some general fatigue reduced my motivation to travel very far. I wanted to get out of the house regardless, partly because there’s some great radio shows to listen to on Sunday nights (“This American Life” at 11pm, and “The Sunday Edition” at midnight), so I did a run a little closer to home, covering neighbourhoods I don’t usually go to.

This pile was in Saint-Michel, one of Montreal’s more diverse neighbourhoods. I haven’t explored it enough to say much else, though most of the buildings I’ve seen there look to have been built between the 50s and 70s. There was lots of sewing related stuff inside the bags, mostly old fabrics and scraps that didn’t look special enough to bother with.

There were a few different items as well, including this charming embroidered handbag; …

… a seemingly unused (or perhaps just carefully used) bible, in what I presume was its original box;

… this weird, furry liquor bottle with shot glasses hooked to the sides;

… several old tins and containers;

… a bag filled with vintage nightlights;

… and a bag stuffed with buttons.

I like looking through these collections because oftentimes other small items will end up in with the buttons. Also, sometimes the buttons themselves can be pretty cool. I emptied the bag into a shoebox, and sorted out the pieces I found most interesting.

Several Catholic pieces emerged from the buttons, including a nice Pope Pius XII cross and a vintage St Christopher medallion. The chunky crucifix near the middle top gives off the now familiar smell of bakelite, as does the belt buckle next to it. The bakelite crucifix might be worth listing on eBay. Otherwise, there were several buttons that look to be made of mother of pearl, a few vintage metal buttons likely from Canadian military jackets, and several buttons that are either amber or faux amber (bottom left).

Most of this will end up in my yard sale “junk box.” The rest of the buttons I’ll likely leave on the curb for another scavenger to find.

Otherwise, I returned to a place in Ahuntsic that provided some interesting finds about a month ago. I had given up on the spot after striking out there in three successive garbage runs, and was genuinely surprised to this accumulation of bags on the curb.

Again, the bags (at least a few of them) held a lot of small items. This time around though the quality of the items was generally better, with less rusty or ruined crap to filter out. Still, there was a lot to sort through; I spent a good hour or so out there on the curb, missing the entirety of “This American Life.” Oh well.

I hope you like the small stuff, because there’s a bunch of it coming up!

The bag on the right holds a whole bunch of old Catholic charms. There were a few more vintage rulers, as well as some kind of food-related tool from Montreal’s once popular Kon Tiki restaurant. There’s a tooth (I think fake, but I’m not sure) to the right of the pen, which looks to contain a bit of gold. There’s plenty of other stuff too, but I’ll leave you to look at it as you please!

On a side note, the camera I bought recently (a Sony Nex-5N) is much better at these sorts of group shots. These photos are a lot more crisp than the ones I would have been able to take with my other camera.

The items that stick out most to me here are the old chisel bit, the bus ticket from 1974, the Loto Canada keychain (proudly stating a figure that is now nothing to write home about), the orange box (which contained some apparently unused vintage earplugs), the bag filled with what looks to be porcupine quills, and the cross pin to the right of the Dow bottle cap, which commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Lourdes Apparitions.

These items were the “cream of the crop,” or at least interesting enough to add to this last photo. On the right are two gold pieces, one a pin probably given to an employee by a small company somewhere, the other a 10k gold ball chain by Birks. I was surprised to see a gold mark on that piece, as I’ve never seen a chain of that style made of any precious metal before. Together they weigh 9.79g, making their gold scrap value about 200$.

On the right is a “souvenir of pilgrimage” from the St John’s the Divine Cathedral in New York. Below it is an old Hickok silver plate belt buckle. At center bottom is a medallion oddly marked with just a picture of a bear. On the back is marked “C. Lamond Montreal,” a company that made a lot of small metal items back in the day. If you have any idea what the bear is meant to represent, let us know in the comments!

The coolest piece though is at center top. It’s a pin featuring Henri Bourassa, apparently made in celebration of his wins in the 1908 Quebec Election (“vainqueur” means winner). Bourassa was a prominent politician in Quebec from around the turn of the century to WWII. He’s probably best known for fighting against Canada and Quebec’s involvement in what he considered Britain’s imperial wars, and the use of the draft to force individuals to fight these wars. He was one of the first people to promote Quebec nationalism, though his brand was not at all like the type that now exists. He founded Le Devoir, a Montreal-based french-language newspaper that is still active to this day. In Montreal there is a major road named after him, as well as a metro station and an electoral district.

I have an interest in politics, so I enjoyed finding this button for that reason alone. However, it also seems to be a pretty uncommon thing – I’ve had no luck finding anything similar to it online. Vintage political buttons can go for a lot of money on eBay, and I suspect this button will sell for at least 100$ and likely a fair bit more.

I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on this spot again over the next few weeks!

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