Parker 51


In my last post I said I was saving my best find for later. In the end it wasn’t so conclusively my best find, though it was still a very good one regardless.


Basically, I opened up one of those bags and found a MacBook Pro and an older Macbook.


At first I thought the MacBook Pro would earn me an easy couple hundred bucks. It looked clean, and other than a busted screen looked to be in good condition. However, the value of the MacBook Pro depends greatly on how old it is. This one was made in mid-2008, and to be honest I didn’t know Apple made MBPs before 2009. Apparently they made them even further back, starting in 2006, but those ones are more obviously older.

Despite it being older than I expected, the MBP still had some value. I listed it “for parts or repair” on eBay and it sold quickly for 125$.

The old MacBook didn’t have a hard drive, and may have had other issues that I couldn’t test. I had another old MacBook sitting around, so I listed the two as a lot. They sold pretty quickly for 85$. Overall, the two computers together earned me around 165$. Not bad!


I’ve had some success recently in the traditionally working-class areas of Montreal. I happened upon this collection of bags in Rosemont, the sector east of Iberville.


I got excited when I looked in the box at the end of the mass and saw a vintage IBM Model M keyboard. I love old tech because it makes me nostalgic, but it’s also true that mechanical keyboards often command good prices on eBay.


This one was in fantastic cosmetic condition, and with a little cleaning it looked even better. The keyboard also worked great, which might be more important. I listed it at 200$, which is a bit high as compared to similar keyboards but I figured I’d try for a top dollar price – I can always lower it later. I had a hard time finding other French mechanical keyboards on eBay, so I wonder if that might make it more desirable to some. We’ll see how it goes, but it’s a nice find even if it sells for “just” 150$.


Otherwise, I looked through all the bags and saved a whole bunch of junk. My household was a little short on Tupperware before this, but we definitely aren’t now! If anyone knows what that leather thing at the middle bottom is supposed to be let us know in the comments. It looks like it’s made to be hung from something.


I found a lot of small things too. These were my favourites, though some other cool photo-worthy stuff didn’t get documented because I was busy at the time. The flashlight was the most useful find, as it’s a bit smaller than most and thus quite suitable for bringing on future trash runs. The wind-up clock works fine. In the pill bottle was a bunch of push-back earring pieces and three small elephants, two of which are plastic and one of which is older and probably made from bone or ivory. If you know what that old metal comb at top-right is let me know. It’s marked “Clauberg & Sons” but I can’t find any similar things online. I think it’s way too intense to be made for human hair.


The best piece of that bunch was probably this old Stanley carpenter’s rule. I’d bet that it was made sometime between the 20s and 40s. Old tools can be pretty collectible, and I think that I could sell this rule on eBay for around 40$ + shipping. It’s in great condition for its age.


My mom was in town last weekend and we had a nice visit. I dropped her off at the bus station on Monday, and on the way home happened upon this trash in the Plateau. It was pretty cold out, but I spent a good 30-45 minutes searching through these bags anyways.


I saved a bunch of stuff, including four black bags full of old clothes and fabrics. I didn’t have the time or motivation to look at them much, as clothes aren’t really my thing (especially when I have to look through them in the cold) but I took a chance anyways. They looked decent, and I figured I could examine them further when the weather warmed up a bit. For now, they’re stashed at my storage spot. I’m not expecting any Chanel coats, but I saw a few hand-knit things that might appeal to a certain demographic, and some vintage stuff that might be desirable if in good shape.

For the record, because of bedbugs I’m pretty careful when it comes to taking garbage clothes, especially from somewhere like the Plateau where infestations are more common. However, I didn’t get a bedbug vibe from this place, and even if I were wrong the cold would kill any potential bugs before spring. There are benefits to the Canadian winter!


I saved a few tins that were stuffed mostly with sewing brac-a-brac. We’ll see if anyone at a yard sale wants it.


This is the “best of” from that pile, basically the things that caught my eye. I found three utensils in a Laura Secord box that I think are solid silver (they have markings I can’t make out, and I tested them with acid which seemed to indicate a strong silver content), a Superman belt buckle, a collection of thimbles, a small silver Notre-Dame-du-Cap pendant, and two vintage Parker Pens.


The pens were in nice condition for their age. The more valuable of the two was a blue Parker 51 with a gold-filled cap. This model seems to be a classic of sorts, and while its value is a bit lower because the previous owners name is inscribed on the barrel I still expect it to sell for around 70-80$ + shipping. The other was a Parker 21, which isn’t quite as desirable but still worth somewhere between 25-30$ in its present condition.


I found a bit more neat stuff last week, but I’ll wait until it gets warmer before documenting it. It just sucks to sort through stuff at my storage right now. One notable item though was this repoussé silver picture frame I found in CDN. It’s marked “Lisham Art 925” (you can see this at the bottom right corner). It features a relief of Jerusalem and the Wailing Wall, as well as some Hebrew phrases that I don’t understand. If anyone can help me translate them I’d appreciate it!

I looked it up and found a similar one that sold on for 201 US$. That listing made it sound as if the frame was pure silver, but my frame (which I assume was made in a similar way) is actually a layer of silver on top of a resin mould. I wonder if that influenced the eventual selling price. I listed mine at 250$ CAD (which is less than 201 USD). I’m not confident at all that it will sell at that price, but I figured I’d give it a try anyways.

Next week should be warmer, but there’s plenty of snow on the way. Hopefully I can find some good trash regardless.

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23 thoughts on “Parker 51”

  1. I think Martine is right about the leather item. The first yard sale of the season is shaping up to be a winner! 😀

  2. The comb could be for animals. It also reminded me of the closed toothed combs they use to comb nits from human hair. I’m not sure one of those would have a wooden handle, though.

  3. Hi Martin,once again a great post! The leather item you ask about has been seen often by me in the middle east,I saw it attached to a hanging scale and fruit and vegetable merchants used it.Leather is used because it is hard wearing,The comb as one person pointed out is used for animals,back years ago it was used for tufting up sheep’s wool,the wooden handle was for a strong grip.I remember my mother using such an item,too soften the sheep fleece when she use to lay my siblings upon it. I tend to carry a few spare garbage liners with me,as I open some bags they tear open,so I turn the rubbish bag upside down and check what is
    going into my new bag,tie it up after I get some items and put the old plastic bag inside,it is just a what I do.Best wishes and glade you haven’t had problems.

  4. Hi Martin. The comb is a “hot comb”. There is a heating element that goes with this, and you use it with pomade on extremely coarse and curly hair to straighten it. They probably don’t make them anymore.

    1. I agree that it is a hot comb. African American used it to straighten their hair. They are still made, but I’m not sure about that brand.

  5. I’m your biggest fan. 🙂
    Nice finds. And I had the joy of looking through them in person … always fun!
    Judging from ebay sales and scavenging finds, things seem to be picking up for you.

  6. Wowza! Great find with those Macbooks! It’s weird because Apple has a recycling program for those computers. I wish people would take advantage of that instead of tossing them to the curb. But hey, if they didn’t toss it, you wouldn’t find it. 😉

    1. They’re probably just lazy or completely disorganized. Works for me in this case, but I’m sure many go to the dump every year. They shouldn’t be thrown out, as they’re stuffed full of heavy metals that pollute.

  7. The comb has very fine teeth, so I think it would be used as a flea comb on dogs, cats etc.

  8. Hi. I love all your posts. I believe the comb is for thinning a horses mane. Older combs used to be metal and although you can still purchase them in metal, they are also available in plastic.

    1. I thought that too!! but I think other ppl had the answer in it being a hot comb, for straightening ppl hair

  9. @Best Bun. >>I believe that plaque is the ten commandments. You have it upside down

    Almost right.

    Yes, the contents of the frame is upside down but the frame is not. Namely, rotate the inner saying and then things will be upright.

    No, the contents are not the Ten Commandments. I’m a little too rusty, but it looks like a saying or blessing about visitors or travelling.

  10. I stumbled upon your blog via another and I just wanted to say hello! I added you to my favorites list and look forward to following you.

    We live in a town that has an annual week long clean up where people place their trash on the sidewalk for pick up. It’s for “large” trash like furniture, appliances and such but many people put out all sorts of treasures.

    My husband takes great pride in the staging of our stuff. For example, when we set out furniture, he staged the driveway to look like a living room. Nothing pleases him more to see our stuff go quickly.

    Why do we have so much stuff? A consolidation of two homes as well as my father’s possessions that we are gradually releasing. We also bought a cottage contents included. It’s been a process and it makes me feel good knowing people can either use it or profit from it.

    1. Glad you like the blog! Some more suburban neighbourhoods (Montreal West in particular) in Montreal have similar days, but many do not. I don’t expect people in Westmount or TMR to try anything like this anytime soon.

      In my neighbourhood, the Mile End (very dense and urban) people do this on an informal basis. If you leave anything at all nice on the curb it will often be gone in 5 minutes or less, so there’s no need for a specific day.

      I do this myself as well. I bring a lot of stuff home, but some of it isn’t worth selling even at a yard sale so I just leave it in a box on the curb. By the end of the day anything worth taking is gone. Seems like a pretty effective system if you ask me. I could also donate the stuff to charity, but based on what I’ve seen a lot of it would get thrown out.

  11. Ah, loads of people have already commented but the comb is a “hot comb”! You might’ve already seen this, but it looks like Clauberg & Sons made other related items like

    And… I found a sword?

    Do the logos match the one on the comb?

    1. They’re basically the same. There’s no mention of a “W” on this hot comb but it also states the location as New York, and that it was made in Germany. Thanks!

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