The end of summer is near. Maybe that’s a good thing, because I haven’t found much of value since it began!

I consider an average week to be one where I find around 500$ worth of stuff – that would give me an income of 26000$ for the year. I looked back at my recent blogs posts and found that I’ve had maybe two such weeks (out of a possible 16) since mid-May, and that’s assuming my Sonneman lamp and vintage US military posters make me as much as I think they can. I’d guess that over the summer I’ve averaged maybe 300$ of finds a week, or 1200$ a month.

That’s just not very good, and it’s hard not to overthink things after such an extended poor stretch. I start wondering if I’m doing something wrong, if people just aren’t throwing things away like they used to, if I’ve inspired a legion of pickers who are finding my stuff before I get there, if this cat I found eating garbage in St Michel is somehow to blame, and so on.

However, the most likely explanation here is that I’ve just run into a stretch of bad luck. Overall I can be expected to find a certain amount of garbage over a full year. Sometimes I’ll have a really good week or month (for example, this January was pretty good mostly thanks to one great pile, and it felt like I couldn’t stop finding great stuff last May) while other times will be more like this summer. I have to assume that at some point my finds will regress to the mean, or in other words my luck will switch to neutral or good instead of bad. Let’s hope my luck improves in time for the holiday season!


The week before last was actually pretty horrible. The only noteworthy thing I found was a collection of cute vintage dishes and ashtrays. At top left is an ashtray made to promote the unfortunately named Squaw Valley ski resort.


Last week was a bit better, though still mediocre from a value standpoint. I also found some disturbing old papers as I’ll explain a bit later.

I fished this little jewellery box out of some bags on McLynn in NDG. Inside was mostly junk or broken jewellery, but also a few bits of scrap gold and a nice pair of vintage screw back ballerina earrings that were tied together by a muck of twisted chains. The earrings are adorned with marcasite and small turquoise stones. I later noticed that the earrings were marked as sterling silver, but I haven’t tested them to be sure. The scrap gold (including a busted chain, a small pendant or charm, and a ring that might or might not be gold) will probably make me around 50$ when I bring it to be melted.


Someone in TMR put their entire 90s JVC stereo setup (except for the speakers I suppose) on the curb. I tested everything (receiver, cassette deck, CD player, and record player) and it all works fine. They look very lightly used, and I expect that I can sell the entire collection for close to 200$.


Rosemont was my most interesting (and also unsettling) run of the week. I came across a few different productive piles, one of which provided me a collection of vintage “Made in Japan” figurines and wall decorations. Most are repaired or slightly broken, but I think most are still cute enough to sell at a yard sale.


I found a 10k gold pendant at the same pile. It’s probably worth about 30$ in gold content.

That’s it for the nice stuff though. Not far from that spot lay some papers that you might find downright disturbing. I won’t say much about them now except that they advance far-right, fascist, and Neo-Nazi political views. I feel that I should share them because they represent a very real part of our culture, but if you prefer not to see this kind of stuff I would suggest skipping my next post. It should be done tomorrow or the next day, and will be called “Hateful Things.”

Recent sales (August 15 – September 11)

I’ve been doing a good job lately listing or otherwise dealing with things from my “death pile” (ie: a collection of stuff that sits around doing nothing and makes flippers feel overwhelmed). That’s a good thing because more listings means more profit. A lot of these items (like an Apple TV remote) are of low value but it all adds up. My overall earnings for the period were just okay, but considering how slow my sales (particularly eBay sales) were at this time last year I’ll take it.


1. Vintage 1960s Cronel divers watch: On eBay for 55$. This was a nice looking piece. Found in the Plateau not long before my move in June. It didn’t make the blog, largely because I was so busy at the time.


2. Lot of 1930s Canadian National Steamships menus: On eBay for 25$. Found last year in NDG.


3. Vintage B-D Yale syringe: On eBay for 25$. It’s the one at bottom left. Found last year in Cote-des-Neiges.


4. Anime DVD sets: On eBay for 70$. One set called Tactics (5 discs) sold for 30$, while one called Nadia – the Secret of the Blue Water (11 discs) sold for 40$. I know nothing about anime, but the huge collection I found last year while walking with my sister in the Plateau sure has made me a lot of money – I’d guess around 750$ so far with more yet to sell. They were all in black garbage bags, which goes to show how profitable it can be to open those things up.


5. Pratt & Whitney enameled plaque: On eBay for 25$. From what I understand this plaque was taken from a WWII fighter jet engine. If the enamel was in better condition it would have sold for closer to 100$. Found in Villeray a few months ago thanks to a tip on a Facebook trading group I follow. Apparently a man had passed away and his apartment was quickly cleared out. The pile was largely picked through by the time I got there, and unfortunately some of the pickers left a hell of a mess. Still, I was able to find a few things of value.


6. Antique metronome: On eBay for 65$. Found earlier this summer in TMR.


7. WWI pennant – 40th Battalion: On eBay for 110$. One of many very cool old pennants I found in Montreal West earlier this year.


8. Vintage UFO-related publications, most of which were printed by Gray Barker / Saucerian publications: On eBay for 50$. There was indeed a market for this old UFO stuff. In fact, from the buyer is a university librarian and writer whose current project is a bibliography of Saucerian publications. It’s cool that these might contribute to something interesting! Found about a month ago in Rosemont. I also sold two pieces (the vintage National Enquirer and another piece) to a friend for 5$.

9. Apple TV remote: On eBay for 20$.


10. Casio G-Shock watch: On eBay for 50$. Found on one of my bike rides in the Mile End.


11. Silhouette Titan eyeglasses: On eBay for 55$. Found a while ago in TMR.


12. Original iPod Nano: On eBay for 75$. This is the model that was recalled and can be returned for a new iPod. I didn’t feel like going through that process again so I sold it as it was. The profit is pretty close to what I would have made from the replacement iPod anyways. Found in Rosemont early in the summer.


13. Vuarnet Pouilloux Skilynx sunglasses: On eBay for 70$. These were actually given to me by an old guy who was clearing out his apartment in the Plateau. He had lived there for about 40 years. They were part of a larger collection all of which he found in the park over many years. For a few weeks I made a habit of dropping by every trash day to see what was on the curb, and occasionally he’d hand me stuff like this as well. It was a pleasant experience all around. It happened around the time I moved, so unfortunately none of this was ever mentioned on the blog.


14. Vintage cast iron door back plates: On eBay for 100$. The same guy who gave me those sunglasses threw out these door plates. They ended up going for a nice profit.


15. Vintage Napier silver plate toothpick holders: On eBay for 65$. I was a bit overzealous when packaging these, which bumped me up a shipping weight class and cost me around 8$. Still, I don’t mind making the occasional mistake when the overall profit is good. Found earlier this summer in TMR.

Sterling silver spoon - 1909 50th Birthday, 30 years in confectionary business

16. W.H. Luden souvenir sterling silver spoon: On eBay for 22$. This find dates back to the beginning of the blog. It was by far my oldest listing, and now it’s finally gone. I overestimated its value at first, and it only sold after several price revisions. Still, the spoon sold for about twice as much as it would have earned for scrap metal. It was made in 1909 to celebrate W.H. Luden’s 50th birthday and 30th anniversary in the confectionery business. Apparently he was the guy who invented cough drops way back when. Found in the Plateau way back in October 2012.

17. Vintage Sharp Calculator: On eBay for 15$.


18. Canon Powershot S3 IS camera: On eBay for 55$. This is one of the nicer product photos I’ve ever taken. All it took was some natural outdoor light, a sheet of poster board, and a decent camera. Still, I bought a light box (I have yet to set it up) so that I can more consistently take photos like this. Outdoor light is pretty inconsistent, and that can be frustrating. Found a few months ago in TMR.

19. Lot of 6 (mostly) silver Navajo button covers: On eBay for 50$. I can’t find the pictures on my computer but you can check them out here. Found with lots of other great stuff this January in TMR.


20. Lot of 4 East Carribean Authority notes: On eBay for 25$. I sent these untracked to India. It’s somewhat risky, but they had gone unsold for a while and I was happy to see them go. So far I’ve had good luck sending low value items overseas untracked.


21. Sennheiser noise-cancelling headphones: On eBay for 40$. They look to have never been used. Found around a month ago in Glenmount.

22. Yard sale: 100$. It was a pretty slow day for foot traffic, likely because people were taking end of summer trips. Still, a few regular customers came and made the day worthwhile. I’ve had a bit of a dry spell lately, so it’ll be at least a couple more weeks until I do another sale. I really just don’t have much left to sell right now.


23. Perfumes: To a reader for 80$. The Guerlain at right was the more profitable, netting me 40$. I found that one in the Plateau. Otherwise, a bottle of Le Male by Jean-Paul Gaultier I found in Cote-des-Neiges went for 20$. A few others were part of the deal, but I can’t remember which ones.

24: iPod: To a friend for 25$. It’s the grey one in the picture above. Found in the Plateau.

25. Loose change: Exchanged at a machine for 20$. I used bring my coins to TD Bank because they offered a free coin counter service to customers. However, they have now retired the machines due largely to a lawsuit claiming that the machines were shortchanging their users. I couldn’t care less about the miscalculations to be honest – I would have been perfectly happy to take home 97% (which seems to be around what they were actually paying out) for the privilege of not having to count my own coins. Besides, the only competition seems to be those Coinstar machines which take over 10% of the total. That just feels like a bad deal. If anyone knows of any alternatives that don’t include rolling let me know!


26. Marantz 2225 Receiver / Tuner: To a friend for 200$. My roommate ended up buying this off me, which was convenient because I didn’t have to worry about shipping the thing. None of the lights work but it functions very well otherwise. This specific model is of interest to collectors – one refurbished 2225 tuner sold for 550$ on eBay. Found this July in Outremont.

Total: 1497$, 16548$ since the new year.

Last step


Last week got off to a quick start. I had just finished writing my last blog post at a café, and as I was walking home I came across this profitable pile.


I saved a bunch of great stuff, including my third working iPad of the year, a Zoom digital recorder that I should be able to flip for 60-70$, and a bag of small change. The hair dryer and straightener likely work too, but since they have European plugs I can’t test them.


I’ve found so many iPads this year that it’s almost passĂ©. I guess these first generation iPads are old enough now (6 years about) that those with disposable income don’t think twice about tossing them out, especially when they move.

That’s a bit disappointing, because even though they’re “old” I wouldn’t say they’re obsolete – they’re still very useful for a lot of stuff. In addition, these sorts of electronics shouldn’t be thrown out even if they’re broken. They contain lots of toxic stuff that shouldn’t be dumped as well as materials that can be recycled. That’s why they have this “no garbage” logo on the back. Anyways, the practice benefits me because a working iPad sells easily for around 70-80$.


Otherwise, they threw out a couple of nice art pieces. On the right is a cute vintage print of a Winans “Camel” steam engine, and on the left is a drawing of Tattershall Castle that looks to have been taken from an antique book. I’d have to take off the back to be sure of its age, but if you look closely you can see that there looks to be writing on the other side of the paper. Also, on the back is written in pen: “Tattershall Castle, Stimson & Cole 1722.” My guess is that this references the original book.


The rest of the week was actually pretty slow, but I found some stuff in Outremont that might end up making me some good money. It was a good night for bottles, as I managed to collect several dating from between the 50s and 80s from two different places. I have a little collection of bottles myself, but most of these will end up in my yard sale box.

My personal favourite is the Resdan anti-dandruff shampoo. It was probably made in the 50 or 60s and still contains a bit of the original (and pretty stinky) shampoo. I’ll be tempted to keep that one.

This is the first time I’ve come across the unfortunately named “Eskimo” soda. I can’t find any similar bottles online, does anyone remember it?


My most profitable find though was a collection of US Army recruitment posters from the 1970s and 1980s. Specifically, they were made to promote the 82nd Airborne Division based in Fort Bragg, South Carolina. The middle one makes a bold statement in saying that the “last step towards becoming a man” involves joining the paratroopers! I listed these three together for 100$, and while I may have to lower the price a bit I’m sure they’ll go for a nice profit.


Apparently the poster on the right was pretty popular with the 82nd Airborne at the time. If you google the name of the artist (Mike Mangiameli) you can find a few old newspaper articles describing the poster, and photo of the artist holding one. It was created because, according to one of the articles, “the members of the 82nd Airborne [preferred] a ‘blood and guts’ approach to recruiting to the softer lines the Army’s advertising agencies [were] using.

I found 23 near-mint copies of the one on the right. That’s great for me because I get to list 23 items for the same amount of effort it usually takes to list one. Very time efficient!

Also, I priced the posters at 40$. Assuming they do eventually sell I’m looking at a profit of about 920$. Pretty good for a night’s work! It remains to be seen whether or not they’ll move at that price, but even at 30$ (which I’m confident they’ll sell at) I stand to make close to 700$ which is still very good.

It wasn’t really the busiest week for trash, but thankfully it’ll probably end up being a profitable one anyways.