Reading material


A couple of weeks back I stopped at an intriguing trash pile in Westmount. I quickly noticed that two of the boxes at the bottom of the pile were filled with old magazines. I started moving away the junk on top when a young boy, maybe 8 or 9 years old, who was playing with a soccer ball nearby walked over and asked what I was doing. I said I was trying to get the magazines at the bottom. In response, he told me (in an attempt to be helpful) that the magazines weren’t actually very good because the “stories weren’t interesting.” I told him that I actually wanted them more for the pictures, because my collage artist friend (who I mentioned in my last post) would love to have them. He seemed to appreciate that, and he actually helped me bring the magazines to the car. All in all it was a fun interaction!


I originally figured I’d be selling these magazines to my collage artist friend. I did sell her several of them, including the magazines that were in poor condition or were simply less known. But it turns out a lot of these vintage magazines are worth decent coin.

Most of the magazines (maybe 30-40 in total) are Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, and the majority are issues from the 1950s and 1960s. The going rate for a run-of-the-mill issue is about 20$ on eBay, but some are worth a fair bit more than that because of their covers or contents. For example, I sold the Harper’s Bazaar magazine at bottom left to a reader for 50$, which was actually a good deal! That issue contained some product drawings by Andy Warhol, which I unfortunately forgot to photograph. I have the Audrey Hepburn issue (bottom middle) listed for 85$, and I expect it to go for around that. All in all I expect to make around 500-600$ from the collection. Not bad!


Otherwise, I stopped at this pile alongside one of Montreal’s major arterial roads. There was a mound of bags on the curb, most of which contained books.


The recycling bin was also stuffed to the brim with books. I mainly saved the ones I thought could be easily sold or appeared somehow unique. The car was already loaded with finds (some of which I may share in a future post), so taking all the books simply wasn’t an option.


There were a few older books dating back to the turn of the century. Most of these were Polish, and I suspect their previous owner was of that heritage.


Most of the books though were related to science, and the previous owner was apparently a big fan of Science fiction. I’m not super familiar with sci-fi but I did spot some names I recognized, including: Isaac Asimov, John Brunner, Piers Anthony (who I learned about through this great episode of This American Life), Frank Herbert, and Robert Heinlein. There were also a few books by Carlos Castaneda, which when combined with some of the other titles indicate a general interest in mystical experiences.


It’s a great collection. None are valuable enough to bother selling on eBay, but they make for great yard sale material!

On that note, I plan on doing my next sale this Saturday at 4100 Coloniale. I’ll probably be out from noon to six or so. These books will be there, as will lots of other stuff! I feel bogged down by “things” at the moment and want to unload as much as possible, so prices will be even better than usual.

15 thoughts on “Reading material”

  1. Hello! I’m from the Montreal area and stumbled upon your blog. It’s really cool to see stuff that all this cool stuff can be found in garbages close to where I live!

  2. Brilliant.Your finds are ingenious.Keep doing this,but expand and have a partner to help you out more often.Those magazine finds are very interesting.

    1. I forget now, they’re all viewable in the pictures if you zoom in. To be honest though they’re now packed away in the storage, so it’s more effort than it’s worth to dig them out again before the next yard sale.

  3. Nice you had a helper with those magazines. Just from a cultural history perspective, some of the contents of those magazines can be very interesting. Nice score. Likewise the books which are, as you say, great items for your next yard sale. Saturday looks lovely, weather-wise; I wish you great success in unloading a heaping-helping of stuff ‘n things. 😀

  4. I often stumble across textbooks and religious studies books. You may want to run some of your books through to see if they have some direct resale value. I’m in the States though. Not sure if they do buybacks from outside the US.

    1. I think the cost of shipping them would remove a lot of their value. Sometimes for textbooks and such I’ll check McGill’s book buyback program to see if they’re buying that specific book.

  5. Do old mass market books sell at your yard sales? I always admire them but rarely buy them but I am hardly representative!

    1. Yeah, classics always do well and people like the vintage editions. Students especially will buy them I find. They’re not worth a lot, but I can get a buck or two a piece.

  6. I hate to see books thrown away, but I know that we can’t save them all. Thank you for putting aside some of them.

  7. I like Fonda Rush’s comment.But a dedicated team of 5 or 6 book lovers can save most of the books being thrown out.But most people just don’t care.Too bad.

    1. I’m sure some would disagree but I think some books should be thrown out (preferably recycled. For example, Wayne Dyer’s “Your Erroneous Zones” had 35 million copies printed, and we certainly don’t need nearly that many today. I don’t mean to pick on him specifically – there are lots of books like this – but it’s an example I remember. I’ve found three of those personally. If we recycle 34 million of those books and turn them into newsprint or toilet paper or whatever the world would probably be better off, and book sales less cluttered.

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