Site icon Things I find in the garbage

Blue-collar junk


I’m picking regularly again after taking it easy for about a month. I haven’t been getting particularly lucky though, with no real “big ticket” or otherwise mind blowing finds.

Most of my interesting (if not especially valuable) finds have come from traditionally blue collar neighbourhoods. I came across this pile on Monday night in Villeray.

I stopped when I saw these two vintage drink crates. I’d never heard of Pisa before; apparently it was a soft drink manufactured in Montreal in the 1960s. Here’s a pic of some of the bottles that would have been in the crate. The brand seems to have been largely forgotten. Crates like these are always popular, and I think they’ll look great after a bit of a clean.

I rummaged through the nearby bags. Most of the contents were damp and musty. I’d guess that they’d been in a garage or basement. I was able to salvage a bit of neat stuff though. There were four large chalkware figurines that were probably made in the early 40s, two of which were these super kitschy poodle ashtrays. They’re actually pretty big (about a foot tall) and in surprisingly good condition – chalkware is pretty fragile and breaks easily.

They look similar to this one on Etsy that sold for 35 US$, though that one was in a bit better condition.

The matador and bull go together well! The bull is the most damaged of the bunch, but with a fresh coat of paint you wouldn’t really notice the imperfections.

This fish is also made of plaster. I can’t find a maker’s mark on any of them, though the bottoms of the last four are all covered in a green fabric that might be covering up the signatures.

Otherwise, I saved some vintage hockey cards.

They’re all from 1980 and made by O-Pee-Chee. They were a bit musty and damp, but I put them under a small but heavy box in hopes that they’ll stay flat as they dry. From my experience, damp papers will warp a bit as they dry unless you give them reason not to. They’re in pretty good condition otherwise, they just smell like basement. I’d appreciate any tips on getting rid of the smell!

As for value, I’m not expecting much. But from my limited knowledge 1980 is before (if only just) the point where sports cards became totally worthless. I’ll probably end up listing them as a lot, and we’ll see what happens.

Elsewhere in Villeray I came across a VHS tape box filled with old papers.

Most were Catholic prayer cards made between the 30s and 60s. There were a few miscellaneous booklets in there as well, one of which was an instruction guide on how best to communicate with your partner via telegraph.

The best piece though was this Expo 67 passport. I’ve saved several of these over the years but this one is particularly nice. There are lots of stamps (87!), and also a hand-typed itinerary that was tucked in the back. The guy had a strong attention to detail, that’s for sure. I sold one for 40$ in the past, and I expect this one could sell for around that amount.

This place in Rosemont provided some odd finds. The garbage truck started clearing the street not long after I got there, so I had to throw a few bags in the car for later sorting.

Inside those bags I found a sizeable collection of UFO-related documents. This included a 1967 National Enquirer, a copy of “Lumieres dans la nuit” (a French UFO journal) from February 1970, a copy of “Saucer News” published by the Saucer and Unexplained Celestial Events Research Society, and several book catalogs from Saucerian Books. That company was run by Gray Barker, a seminal ufologist who pretty much invented the concept of the “Men in Black.” I also found a small collection of UFO-related newspaper clippings.

I’m not a UFO guy but I do find these documents interesting from a sociological perspective. I’ve also never seen anything like them before!. I expect I’ll be able to make some money here selling the collection as a lot, as there’s certainly a passionate niche market for UFO-related items. A collection of 15 UFO publications recently sold on eBay for 1300$. My stuff isn’t nearly as desirable, but I bet some collector will have an interest in it regardless.

The guy seemed to have a general interest in space. He saved the front section of La Presse from January 28, 1967, the day after the fire that killed all three crew members of the Apollo 1.

Also of note was a 1973 Playboy calendar, a smutty magazine from 1964; …

… and a vintage poster making fun of Richard Nixon.

Let’s finish up in the Plateau! I came across this spot while biking around on a Friday.

I was able to salvage some old tools and miscellaneous, yard saleable bric-a-bric from the bags. Also some nunchuks, which are apparently illegal in Canada.

My best find here was probably this old knife. My research tells me that it’s a WWII sailor’s rigging knife. The pick tool is called a marlinspike, and is used for working with ropes and knots. The blade is of the “sheepsfoot” variety, which means that it’s blunt at the end to prevent injuries. The can opener was apparently a standard tool on any government issued knife.

Apparently the little broad arrow stamp means that the knife was issued by the British War Department. I think though that Canada, and other Commonwealth countries also used that mark. The knife is probably worth around 50$.

Last but not least is this old frame with a secret. I found it about a month ago in the Plateau and put it out at my most recent yard sale. The image is of Brother André, but it’s not a particularly fancy one – just something cut out from a magazine.

It went unsold. At the end of the day I took a closer look at the frame and checked the back. Sometimes, especially among poor folk frames would be re-used and the old contents left inside.

As it turned out there was something else inside – this old military group photo. I’m guessing it’s from WWII, but I can’t say for sure. If you know when and where it might have been taken let us know in the comments! The photo is fairly detailed, so click on it and zoom in if you want a better look.

It’s no Declaration of Independence, but it’s still pretty cool!

Exit mobile version