Last week was reasonably productive. A house on my Monday night run provided several wall decorations including four framed antique postcards and photos, two Bradford Exchange clocks, an Irish family coat of arms, and one of those glass things that look nice in windows. As you can probably tell I’m not sure what to call that last piece (which you can see at top right), so if you know what words to use to describe it let me know in the comments! I figure the clocks and the coat of arms might be worth listing on eBay, though I expect they’ll take a while to sell.


I also found a little silver skewer (or toothpick?) with a cute dog on top. I always enjoy finding odd bits of silver! There are two hallmarks around the bottom – one is a five pointed star while the other is illegible, at least to me.


Later that night I saved an Egyptian themed 1962 Northmount High School yearbook as well as a Birth Control Handbook that was published by McGill University’s Student Society in the late 60s. There’s actually an interesting article about the latter on Atlas Obscura. Abortion was still illegal at the time, as was disseminating this kind of distinctly pro-choice information. This handbook was apparently one of the first of its kind, and over three million of the various editions were printed and distributed to schools in Canada and the United States.



In the same pile were a batch of Fortran coding forms. I don’t know anything about Fortran except that it had to do with old computers. If you ever used such a thing please share your Fortran related stories in the comments!


On Tuesday night I found a small collection of necklaces. I’m not sure what the beads are made of but the top three are quite heavy. As well, the necklace at top left has a 14k gold clasp. My most profitable find though might be the two small bits at the top – I’m not sure what they are, but the bottom sections are marked as 18k gold and are pretty hefty for their size. I suspect they’re worth about 80$ for scrap.


Our old racist friend also threw out more stuff last week. I now have a lot more far-right ephemera, including some from Belgium (Parti des Nouvelles Forces and Agir) as well as many more issues of Le Flambeau.


I’ll leave much of it to the imagination, though I will share this flyer printed by a guy named José Steppe (a candidate for Agir) in the mid 90s. It’s not particularly effective from a graphic design standpoint, and the huge block of text (see below) seriously affects my will to read it. However, from what I gather Steppe was no fan of the mafia or freemasonry.

Curiously, when I researched (ie: googled) Steppe I mostly found people positing that he and many others was killed because they knew too much about Marc Dutroux, the notorious Belgian serial killer. Apparently the case was a big deal over there and many thought there was some kind of cover up involved. I had never heard this Dutroux guy previously, which is probably a good thing.

If you feel like reading more of Steppe’s ramblings check out the other side of the flyer below. Also, if you happen to have any expertise in Belgian politics maybe you can tell me who the strange little Hitler in the drawing above is supposed to be.



That place also provided more UFO literature and an issue of La Nation from 1966. The latter was printed by the Ralliement National, a right wing Quebec Separatist party that existed from 1966 to 1968. It later merged with René Lévesque’s Mouvement Souveraineté-Association to form the Parti Quebecois.


Otherwise, my bike rides were again reasonably productive. I found two more working iPods on the curb in the Plateau, including one 80gb iPod Classic that should sell for around 80$. That makes five iPods in the last few months! It’s worth noting that I found every one of those five in the Plateau or Mile End. It’s probably somewhat of a coincidence, though I imagine the younger demographic living here has something to do with it.

I had a productive pretty run last night and you’ll hear about it sometime next week. However, I think for the next little while I’m going to make eBay a priority. I want to make sure I get as much as possible listed in time for the holiday season! That doesn’t mean I won’t post, I just probably won’t be quite as thorough.

36 thoughts on “Footprints”

  1. I would describe the glass piece as a “reverse painted glass sun catcher”.

  2. Hi – the necklaces are pretty – did you ever follow-up on the link I left re Dr. Oberbach & his biotensor?

    1. Yes I looked at it, I can’t read German but was able to understand some of it using Google Translate. It seems he was an inventor of sorts.

  3. You were skewered … of no!
    I saw some of these things in person … lucky me!
    Nice batch of beaded necklaces.
    I’ll be keeping a close eye on your ebay store. 🙂

  4. picker alert! 1:30 a.m. mon-fri ; global t.v. : canadian pickers ! 😉 😉 (all you need is a cheap antenna & a screen 😉

  5. Martin, check all the red beads to see if they’re faturan, a highly desirable bakelite-like material. There are videos on Youtube that explain how to test. Nice finds as always!

    1. Interesting, I’ve never heard of faturan before. I’ll look into it. Although, I’m pretty sure most of the beads (other than the bottom ones) are made of some kind of stone.

  6. The dog on a stick is a swizzle stick for mixed bar drinks. The give away is the twisted stick.

  7. It’s not a swizzle stick. It is an old stick pin, probably worn by a person who owned a retriever type dog or was a member of a dog club.

        1. If its short, my next guess is a hors devours stick for serving finger food

          1. Actually, cleaning a drawer, found I have a set of 6 with polished semi precious stones. They are for serving hors devours. Mine are short with a twisted stem, but are forked at the end.

  8. I love paper ephemera and books and admire many of the things you find.I am a millennial,born in 1990,but I love reading print newspapers,catalogues and real books.I even subscribe to a paper that is delivered to my apartment every morning.Paper gives books and ephemera a special feel;going digital is so boring in many aspects,even though it is convenient.It is not true that all millennials do not like paper magazines or print newspapers.I wish pundits would stop generalizing about millennials.

  9. How can anyone in their right mind throw out a working ipod in the trash like that?I have poor friends on welfare who can’t even afford one.

    1. I think the simple answer here is privilege. When you don’t have to struggle whatsoever to buy something, you attribute less value to that item. An iPod (especially an old one) is chump change to someone with a million dollar house for example. But laziness, ignorance, and stupidity are also factors I’m sure.

  10. I am happy that you have started touring the Plateau and Mile End on bike or foot again and that many of your finds are coming from this borough.Do you find more treasures in the northern Plateau just below Rosemont or in the southern Plateau,south of metro Laurier?
    I walked on Carmel,Maguire,Boucher and a few other streets north of Laurier recently and stumbled upon a bottle of unopened white wine sticking out from a black trash bag on the pavement in the trash?I took it home and enjoyed drinking it.Is the northern Plateau less rich than the southern part?So which part of the Plateau do you find the most treasures in?

    1. To me it’s pretty random. There are no consistently good spots, though I will make a point to check on wealthier streets more often.

      The Plateau / Mile End wasn’t at all wealthy until very recently, so finding things there is still a bit like looking for a needle in a haystack. Sometimes the gentrifiers will throw nice things away when they move (I would guess that the iPods came from these types of people). The areas you mentioned are largely populated by these folks, which makes it a decent bet for good trash. Not far away, on Gaspe south of Maguire outside of a relatively new Condo block is where I found those silver Olympics coins earlier this year.

      But you never really know where the best stuff will be. Sometimes an entire apartment will end up on the curb after someone ditches rent or passes on, and these places might not be on the wealthier streets. Sometimes a house will be slowly cleared out for sale, and the contents, which may have been collected over a hundred years are put to the curb. Most of the Plateau is quite old, so these places can be pretty much anywhere.

      1. In the U.S., (Twin Cities) we have a company called Empty the Nest which does what you do on a much larger scale. I think it is a great business model that should be replicated. You can find them on Craiglist/Facebook and their webpage. They empty estate and after estate sales, defraying the cost to the estate by the value of the items they pick up. They have a thrift store that sells furniture and household goods that is open part time and employs about 6. This week they picked up 14 estates. They have a bookseller who picks up all their books. I don’t know what they do with clothes. Occasionally they hold a $5 everything you can put in a bag sale that is great fun.

        1. It’s a good idea, though I’m not sure I’d describe it as doing what I do. I’d say there’s probably not that much overlap between the stuff I find and the stuff they receive, in that someone in their case has chosen not to throw their stuff out or has actually made the effort to redistribute it. I often find stuff even before the estate sale happens (so it’s different than the stuff they would receive after the sale), and I get things from people who don’t want to bother having a moving or estate sale for whatever reason.

  11. Look at this shocking ad on Montreal’s Craigslist ad I found in the Creative gigs section:I am cutting and pasting it.

    Need a suicide note?cacher cette annonce

    © craigslist – Map data © OpenStreetMap

    (google map)

    Compensation: $

    Thinking of ending it all? At a loss for words?

    If you’re thinking of committing suicide due to terminal illness or something of the sort, and need help solidifying your auto-epitaph, look no further.

    I’ll help you craft the perfect, most effective departure note you can imagine.

    In terms of price, well… you can’t take it with you. •Aucune sollicitation

    IDannonce: 5817349806

  12. I recently sold a similar coat of arms plaque for $35USD on eBay…you should have no trouble .

    1. Good, I figured a market would be there. I expect it’ll take a little while to sell, but I don’t mind holding onto these smaller things for a bit.

  13. FORTRAN is/was a computer language, originally desired for math and science applications. Not used as much now as it was in the 1960’s and 1970’s (when I learned it). The name stands for FORmula TRANslation.

    The reason for the columnar look of the form is that FORTRAN is a positional language, meaning the placement of characters on a line is significant, namely, the right character must be in the right position in a line. Put an incorrect character in the wrong column and a wrong result is likely. When I learned FORTRAN, we typed the program line by line onto punch cards (remember them?).

Comments are closed.