I’m a bit behind on my blog posts. Thankfully it’s because I’ve been finding lots of great trash! It makes me wonder if fall is a good garbage finding season, and if summer (perhaps counter-intuitively) actually isn’t really all that great. I don’t have enough data yet to say one way or the other, but over the last two years that has been the case.

I started the week of October 3rd by finding this Tascam 4-track recording device in NDG. My roommate happened to be looking for one, so if it works (unfortunately I didn’t find the power cable) he’ll buy it from me. These go for around 150-250$ with shipping on eBay, though having to buy a power cord will cut into that profit a bit.


I was up pretty late the next night, partly due to the Blue Jays game that went long and the fact that I had to do a lot of sorting on the street.


There was jewelry in a lot of those bags, and it took some time to make sure I didn’t miss anything good. Most of it was costume stuff that should do well at my next yard sale. I did the hot water test on those large plastic beads to see if they were Bakelite but they didn’t emit any funky scents.


There were a few silver pieces as well as one pair of 14k gold earrings. The nicest of the bunch was probably that brooch in the middle which has a modernist look to it. On the back is marked “AIE 925.” I couldn’t figure out who AIE might be, but if you have any ideas let me know! Regardless, it should do well on Etsy.


This pile required even more sorting. There were a lot of bags on the curb, and the stuff I found in the first few made me want to look through them all. I spent over an hour here, which is a big part of the reason I ended up getting to bed at 4AM.

There were a lot of cosmetics in the bags. Most were undesirable, like old lotions and oils that don’t age well.


The big score here was the perfume. Two new-in-box vintage bottles of Yves St Laurent “Opium” are the most valuable – one is even still in its original plastic with an Eaton’s (a Canadian retailer than went out of business in 1999) price stuck to it. Bottles in this condition go for as much as 200$, though I might have to wait a while at that price. Regardless, I think 150$ each is the “floor” here, which is still awesome.

I found other quality scents as well including a few bottles of YSL “Paris”, one of which is nearly full, a “Je Reviens” by Worth in a bottle made by Lalique, and plenty of miniatures.


Oh, and a whole bunch of samples. I assume many of these are vintage too. I’ll see if I can sell them at a yard sale.

If you like perfumes then you’ll be happy to know that this is just the beginning! This spot last week produced my biggest ever perfume haul, which I’ll show you two posts from now. I think that collection will end up making me a nice chunk of change.


On the next night I came across a bag full of vintage 1970s reel-to-reel porn. I like to keep this blog PG-13 so you definitely don’t get to see any of the covers, but be assured that they’re very graphic. It appears that there’s a decent market for this stuff and I expect it’ll sell as a lot for around 100$. However, I probably shouldn’t sell it from my usual eBay account.


In Outremont I came across a bag with a bunch of photos inside. Unfortunately though most of the photos were ripped up. I see this happen on a regular enough basis, and I assume people do it for a variety of reasons. Still, seeing it is always a bit disappointing. Who knows what kind of cool history is lost this way?


Fortunately several photos didn’t get torn up for whatever reason, and a few of them are kind of neat. In the bottom right photo is a guy named Pierre Mollet (left), a Canadian opera singer who’s apparently worthy of a Wikipedia page. I’m not big into opera so I’ve never heard of him personally.

Otherwise, the picture of the guy on the horse is pretty cool. It’s a real photo postcard that’s probably around 100 years old. The guy looks to be wearing a uniform, so it might have been taken during WWI. If anyone knows more about the origins of the photo let us know in the comments! I’d be interesting to know in what country it was shot, for example. The sign in the background could be a hint, though you can’t really read it. Click on the picture and zoom in if you want a better look – it’s a pretty high quality scan.

That’s all for now. Here’s hoping the good finds keep up!

22 thoughts on “Opium”

  1. Hi,I hope you make more than $40,000 next year just doing this.Great,great work.Keep going.Congratulations for saving those photographs.

    1. Thanks. Who knows, maybe I’ll get lucky! Perhaps someone will throw out some Group of 7 artwork or something.

  2. You are always an inspiration. I am glad things are picking up! Thank you for taking the time to write and share photos of some of what you have found.

  3. I’m new to this kind of stuff, and I’m surprised you would sift through home garbage bags like these. I thought diving was more of a dumpster thing?

    1. Dumpster diving is a different thing entirely in my mind. That term usually refers to commercial garbage picking, ie: from dumpsters behind stores. It often refers to food but people also dumpster dive at other types of stores.

      I identify more with the generic term “trash picking.” Or garbage picking, whatever. Dumpster diving doesn’t really make sense for what I do because I rarely go into dumpsters. Plus, my focus is on residential waste.

  4. Hey,great job on saving so many bottles of cool perfumes.Also the photographs you saved in Outremont seem fascinating.Why were they dumped in the first place?I walked in Outremont this weekend with my dog.I live in the Plateau and decided to walk from one end of St.Viateur to the other.Though St.Viateur in the Mile End has gentrified greatly over the last decade and a half,once you go to St.Viateur west in Outremont,you realize that the Outremont part of St.Viateur is far more rich.Outremont is still a lot wealthier than the gentrified Mile End.But Outremont seems to be mostly Jewish,at least around those streets.You should do Outremont more often.It is just a stone’s throw away.Do not neglect your backyard.What other treasures you may find in wealthy Outremont?

    1. As to why they were thrown out, God only knows. And I guess the person who threw them out.

      I do Outremont sometimes, but to be honest I find it a bit of a hassle. For one, there are lots of alleys (which people are required to put their trash in) and it makes driving around a pain in the ass. Secondly, most people put their trash out in the morning while I prefer to go out at night. Thirdly, though not the biggest factor Outremont is probably one of the more picked over rich neighbourhoods. I’ve seen a few people patrolling the area by bike. So, while I do check it out sometimes I don’t visit it as religiously as I do other places. I still find some good stuff there, as you can see if you check my last few months of blog posts.

  5. I hope you can identify the artist of the silver “swoosh” brooch. I think it is a really cool piece.

    1. I don’t know if anyone would take them. To be honest, unless the photos look super exciting (ie: if they were all 100 years old, and with interesting content like that guy on a horse) I will just leave them if they’re ripped up. Too much effort to repair, and I’ve seen so many photos get tossed out that I’m a bit numb to it now.

  6. Hi,
    I like to pass by your well detailed website and I have to say that my fiance and I are doing the same thing as you but in a less professional way. 😉
    That said, I was contacting you regarding these photos. I am French and also Canadian and I think the picture with a soldier on his horse was taken in France (see the way thw windows are shaped) 😉
    Hope this will help U a little bit.
    Have a great day.

    1. That’s cool. I’m glad when people do it, even if they just go out once in a while. At the very least it can be a fun hobby, and maybe you’ll find something sweet too.

      Thanks for the information as well! There are a lot of France ex-pats here, so it’s quite possible that the photo is from France.

  7. Hey Martin,
    Those big chunky beads are in fact Amber. You scored real big this time. I’ve sold all mine and prices now are higher than ever! You have Cherry and Butterscotch Amber. I’ve seen the beads sell for like $50- to $100. each US $$.
    Good luck you lucky dog!
    Cheers, Bill

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