I found some decent stuff last week. It was probably my best stretch since I moved in July. I wouldn’t say it was mind-blowing or anything, but I won’t complain about an average week at this point.

I salvaged some nice stuff from a recently sold house near Westmount. I took home some canned food, much of which wasn’t expired. I’m most excited about the three cans of maple syrup – I love the stuff and these cans sell for around 7$ a piece.


I haven’t had to buy soap for a long time because people keep throwing it out. I found this one shrink wrapped in its original box. It cost 5.99 and probably came from Winners. I’m now three bars of garbage soap away from actually having to buy any. I’m currently using a fancy avocado-shaped soap I found in Westmount.

I saved a bunch of other good stuff from that place, including: a bunch of acrylic paints, some of which I sold at my most recent yard sale; a silver plated medallion from the 1972 Olympics; some screws and other toolsy stuff, which I gave to my roommate who’s studying woodworking; a silver necklace; a bottle of Donna Karan perfume that I sold at my yard sale for 20$; and a single Fire King mug that sells for around 30$ on eBay.

I suspect these folks have already moved (and thus the sourced depleted), but I’ll check again this week just in case.


I keep going back to a spot in Villeray that’s produced some excellent kitschy junk and hockey cards in weeks past. Every week there’s bags and bags of stuff, 99% of which is ruined or just total junk. Occasionally though I do find something worth taking. These religious things aren’t anything more than yard sale stuff, but I thought they were interesting nonetheless. Particularly the vintage Saint Joseph’s Oratory holy water font.


I went on a pretty fruitful bike trip through the eastern Plateau. One person threw out a bunch of change along with two working 2nd Generation iPod Nanos. I sold one (the grey) to a friend for 25$. The other is a little more beat up (the “hold” button on top is all busted up), and I’ll probably put it in a yard sale for 10$.

Someone else threw out a nice bottle of Guerlain Aqua Allegoria “Cherry Blossom.” It seems that I can find nice perfumes no matter where I pick, I guess because they’re often given as gifts. This bottle I was able to flip quickly for 40$.


Outremont produced a couple HP / Google Chromebooks. They look nice but both have busted AC inputs, indicating shoddy design on the part of the manufacturer. Still, they should end up selling for around 40-50$ each.


My best find though was probably this lamp. When driving (as opposed to biking) I often only have a split second to figure out whether or not I should stop. This pile looked pretty unspectacular otherwise, but I did get a glimpse of something potentially neat. It took my brain maybe five seconds to figure out that I should take a closer look, at which point I reversed about 50 meters in order to satisfy my curiosity.


At the end of the five seconds I concluded that what I saw might have been a lamp, and a nice one at that. Ie: not the Ikea ones that are always broken when I see them. Indeed, it looks to be a mid-century piece by Robert Sonneman – you can see some similar lamps on this 1stdibs pages. I again owe Reddit’s MCM subreddit thanks for helping me identify it!

The lamp is in mostly great condition. The only issue is the cast iron base (other sellers have called it steel or slate, but I think they’re wrong) which has a bit of surface rust. I know how to remove the rust, but I’m not sure how to “re-season” it so that the whole slab returns to its former dark tone. Currently there are a few splotches of silvery iron, which I think happens when you clean off the rust. If you have any tips let me know!


Some of the prices listed on that page are pretty ridiculous – I see a range of 1000 to 4000$. I think the upper range of that is pretty much unattainable, and even the lowest price unlikely. But I wouldn’t be surprised if this lamp ended up making me 500$ or more, especially if I can clean up that base.


Otherwise, here are some miscellaneous finds from weeks past. I came across a huge roll of bubble wrap in a recycling bin. It’s not too exciting, but it’s very useful when selling on eBay!


I’ve found a whole bunch of these trunks recently, and I’m finally at the point where I don’t want any more. They’re useful, but I only need so many. This one will be at my next yard sale.


Let’s finish with some last bits and pieces from a spot in Ahuntsic which has unfortunately dried up. It may go down as my favourite source of the year – it provided me lots of interesting old junk, some of which was silver and gold, and has so far netted me several hundred dollars. There’s a bit of scrap silver here again, including a bracelet made of silver 25 cent Dutch coins minted between 1939-1941. The watch is nice looking but actually is quite corroded on the back and on the face.

Let’s hope the good finds continue this week!

27 thoughts on “Sonneman”

  1. wow,dude,just the food,who the heck throws out 18$ worth of maple syrup? (i’d keep it !) & the smoked oysters? damn dude,i’d keep ALL of it,the wickedest found brunch imaginable!!!!
    as for the iron lamp base,unscrew it,polish it off,(to silver if possible) to return to original dark finish,after cleaning,canola oil (cheapest solution) wipe on with cloth,season as if cast iron,stove at 300 for 20 mins.;) (other found oils would do as well,as long as light,clear).

    1. Another way to re-season cast iron is to put a thick layer of vegetable shortening on it and put it in a bonfire and leave it there until the fire is out.I like this way because it’s cheaper than running the stove.

  2. Try experimenting with “Evaporust”. Wipe on a bit to the bottom of that lamp base to see what it does. I have cleaned up a bunch of steel and cast iron with it and it can leave a blackish finish.when you get it to look the way you want, give it a waxing (Johnson’s paste wax works)

    Check the finish of that base, if it looks a bit rough and is magnetic, it is very likely cast iron.

  3. That’s a nice haul of food. Maple syrup and oysters … food for the discerning scavenger. πŸ™‚

    I loved the personal nugget about the soap. Keep those nuggets coming.

    Cool lamp. I found yours on that link $4,427 … wow! Here’s the same one on another site (says 1970)

    Are a couple of bits on the right in that last “group” pic bakelite?

    Lots of good stuff!

    1. The figure of a woman maybe, I’d have to look at it again. The other bits are bone though.

      I expect the lamp to go for a nice price, though 4000$ seems a bit much.

  4. If you add a set of nice rolling wheels to the trunk a lot of people buy them to use as coffee tables.

    1. I wonder if they are sturdy enough to transport equipment? You comment about wheels remind me of equipment cases for sound systems and musicians. Perhaps that’s a specific market o sell used trunks to.


      1. I think this was made for shipping stuff, or maybe to bring to camp or something. When I found it there was a list of things to bring to camp inside, clearly written by a kid. There are no wheels so I doubt it was intended for musical equipment (I know the ones you’re talking about), though maybe someone handy could repurpose it.

    2. I don’t really fix things up like that but it’s a good idea. I actually have a coffee table that’s a trunk without wheels, works quite nicely.

  5. All great finds! As an Ebay seller, I am digging the bubble wrap. That’s $15 bucks at Staples all day long. Nice work, keep doing what you’re doing!

    1. I do well for that kind of stuff. I never have to buy it, thanks to a local store that throws it in the recycling regularly as well as the occasion random person who tosses huge rolls like this. It’s obviously beneficial to my bottom line!

  6. Re. the base, I would try brushing on oven blackening, as in the old cast iron pot belly stoves, ovens etc.

  7. Thank you for this excellent post.I am glad you shared your food finds with us.I found an unopened jar of maple butter in the trash this July and used it on French toast for me and my boyfriend.I am particularly happy that you rescued the lamp,the steam trunks and the loose change.Just how much cold,hard cash/change in total have you found in the trash over the last four years,approximately?More than $500?More than $1,000?Want to know.Keep up the superlative work.

    1. Thanks, I’ve probably saved under 500$ in actual cash (I’d guess around 350$) over the last few years. The most I ever found in one place was about 58$, which was in Westmount to the surprise of no one. That doesn’t include random, mostly worthless foreign coins which I sell to collectors, the occasional silver coin that I usually toss into the scrap heap, or the nice haul of old coins I found in Verdun a while back, one of which sold for about 300$.

  8. Since its not a cast iron pot that you are going to eat out of, stove blacking is what you want to use. That way you don’t need to go thru all the trouble and mess of taking it apart and using grease. Hope that helps.

    1. That does sound like the best idea. I haven’t heard of stove blacking before but it makes sense. I’ll have to get some strong steel wool to get the rust off before doing that though I would assume.

      1. if you have a power drill ,you can get a variety of wire wheels at rona’s or elsewhere for pretty cheap,killer for cleaning or stripping metal.careful of your fingers or joints though,they scratch quite a bit πŸ˜‰

        1. Haha. The rust doesn’t look too deep so I’m thinking that good old elbow grease will do just fine. I just need to buy some stronger steel wool because we only have the “fine” grade stuff here now which just won’t do.

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