Miscellaneous finds from weeks past


Here’s some assorted finds from the last few weeks! A bag in Cote St-Luc produced a small coin collection, an old Romanian bill, and some other doodads. I also found a light meter, but this light meter collector (who seems to know their stuff) described it as “junk.” Apparently Sekonic made some good meters, but this is not one of them.


The oldest coin was a beat up 1905 Canadian silver quarter. I added it to my scrap collection, which I recently exchanged for a nice payday.


In NDG I found a neat photocopied drawing, titled “The Monetary Maze,” which looks to extol the virtues of unfettered free-market capitalism. According to the artist, economic management of any kind causes inflation, hurts economic growth, and “will ultimately seal the death warrant of all other freedoms as well.” I disagree entirely with the premise, but the maze itself is pretty well drawn and the idea behind it is interesting. The paper was a bit too large for my scanner, so the title as well as a hand-drawn heart below the initials “FRO” are cut out of the picture.


This note was once stapled to the front of the drawing.


I came across this cool “Cirque du Soleil” watch in Outremont. It has a distinctive look, owing to the fact that the clock arms have been replaced with colorful hoops. I found it new in its original wooden box, which was still sealed in plastic. I replaced the battery and now it works great, though I’ll have to find someone to press the back on again. One just like it sold on eBay for 130$, and I expect mine to go for a bit more.


Otherwise, I saved two 1978 tax guides in Montreal West (love the graphic design!);


… an antique metronome (TMR);


… a roughly half-pack of Viscount cigarettes, on the back of which is written the date June 12, 1978 (Montreal West);



… a cool chalkware wall hanging (CSL);


… a well-used vintage cast iron dutch oven (Point St-Charles);


… an old cheque for the grand sum of 1000$ (or, as written here, “ten hundred” – NDG);

… this figurine, which I actually found on my birthday (CSL);


… and what looks to be a stuffed baby crocodile (TMR). The skin looks pretty real, as do the teeth. It’s sewn up the bottom, and looks to have been filled with some type of straw. I’ve certainly never seen anything quite like it before, and I wouldn’t mind if I never saw anything like it again!

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!



I’ve made some nice finds in the past couple weeks, the majority of which came from two different million dollar homes. The wealthy neighbourhoods they reside in have local security and by-laws against trash picking, meaning I had to be careful not to get caught lest I be fined again.

This first pile was troublesome for that reason. I stopped and quickly identified that the contents of the bags were worth investigating. However, I saw the security SUV coming around the bend soon after I started sorting. I got inside the car, which appears to be a sort of safe zone that repels security folk, unless of course you were obviously picking beforehand. The officer stopped next to the car and leered inside, effectively creeping out my friend Sarah who was a passenger at the time. However, he otherwise made no effort to confront us. We left the scene, but I was determined to come back later after the heat had died down. We ended up killing some time checking out Cote St-Luc’s recycling day, where I found a cool high school yearbook from 1969 that I wouldn’t have saved otherwise.

I returned maybe 30 minutes later, but again saw the security vehicle not long after I arrived. I was near the car and empty-handed at the time, once more in that safe zone that seems to exist. (I also make a point to play with my cell phone at these times, which I theorize makes me look more like I “belong”). He didn’t stop that time, but suspected that he might have had a plan to catch me in the act so I decided to leave the scene once again.

At this point it was getting pretty late and I had to drive my friend home. I was also quite tired. However, I had the feeling there might be some good stuff left in those bags, and in the past I’ve regretted not being more tenacious in the face of this kind of adversity. I decided to go back and this time no security officers were around to get in my way. I worked quickly, putting bags in the car and then sorting through them elsewhere. The last two bags I just threw in the car to sort through the next day.

I’m glad I went back, because one of my best finds was in one of those bags!


The first thing I put in the car was this large vintage hanging lamp (you can see it in the back of the first picture). None of the glass is broken, but it could use a good cleaning and a bit of TLC.


This vase looks fancy. The glaze has a marbled look to it, which I think is a bit unusual.


The bottom is stamped “Made in Czechoslovakia.” If you know anything about this vase, let me know in the comments!


I found a few cool vintage bottles and canisters. I’ve never seen a “fire alarm” like the one on the right before – were these common once upon a time? The drink mixer is pretty neat, but I can’t get the lid off.


This funky electronic lighter was made by Pierre Cardin. One like it recently sold on eBay for about 100$.


It seems that many Jewish households possess items commemorating Israel’s various military victories. This medal is a particularly nice example of such a piece. It expresses gratitude to the United States for their help in the Yom Kippur war. It’s quite large (58mm in diameter) and well designed.



My best find though was likely this watch, which I wouldn’t have found if I hadn’t returned that third time. The strap is 70s or 80s junk, but the watch itself is very nice.


It’s made by Longines, a renown luxury watch maker. It’s not in perfect cosmetic condition, but the movement works nicely and the case is 14k gold.


According to the serial number the movement was assembled in 1940.


This is the second gold watch I’ve found this year, the first being the Omega I happened upon back in January. I expect this one will sell for between 300-400$, making it well worth staying up past my bedtime for!


I came across this pile last week, around the time the clock turned and it became my birthday! Thankfully I didn’t have to worry about security this time around.


There was a bunch of good stuff inside the bags, but this pile was most notable for the large quantity of eyeglasses it produced. Here, a pair of Christian Dior frames sits perched atop a loaded wastebasket.


I saved probably two dozen pairs in all. Most are nice, if not particularly valuable. I’m going to put them out at a yard sale and see if they sell. Several are eBay worthy, including those Christian Dior frames and four designed by Dolce & Gabbana.


Otherwise, I saved a bottle of Hermes “Eau de Merveilles,” which I sold to a reader for 40$; …


… two vintage mixers, one of which worked nicely;


… a nice vintage sewing box;


… and a junk box, which contained several watches, a 10k gold ring, and for whatever reason, a bullet. The watches aren’t too exciting, but they should do well enough at a yard sale. Three are by Timex, and one even has a working battery. The box itself was made by Armani.


This plain and well worn 10k gold band might have been my favourite find here. It’s the epitome of junk gold; no one would pay me more than scrap value for it. In a way this is freeing, as I don’t have to worry about listing this stuff on eBay or Etsy. Scrap gold is about as good as cash – I can just bring it to the jeweler and get paid without much effort. This ring weighs 4.37g, which makes its value in scrap about 92$. I get about 85% of that value when I trade it in, so finding this ring makes me about 78$ richer. Not bad! After a long drought of scrap worthy gold, I finally have enough to justify going on a scrap run.