Tuesday in Rosemont pt.2

Last week I returned to Rosemont in hopes of finding more neat stuff. There wasn’t much at that spot this time around, though I did find a little box of threads and a decent, if slightly rusty pair of vintage scissors. Kudos to the reader who noted that the figurines from the last post may have been bingo-related good luck charms, as the box also contained some bingo game pieces.

I also found a ziplock bag full of aluminum pull-tabs. I remember various people, including my grandmother (she still does it, in fact) saving these thinking that they could be donated to a charity which would then turn them into wheelchairs. I’m not sure there are actually any charities that do this in Quebec, though I did find a couple that collect them in the Toronto area. Either way, though pull-tab collectors certainly mean well it doesn’t seem like a particularly effective way of raising money for charity. According to Encorp, a beverage container management nonprofit, you need around 12,000 pull-tabs to get about 5$ worth of aluminum, the same amount you’ll receive if you return 100 small cans. Apparently it’s also a lot easier in modern recycling plants to recycle an intact can versus just the tab. Overall, it doesn’t seem to be worth the effort, though it’s nice to see that people care enough to do it in the first place.

This find made me wonder if this pull-tab thing is a specifically central Canadian phenomenon. Is anyone in BC, or the US, or anywhere else collecting pull-tabs, or have heard of people doing so? Let us know in the comments!

Though I found little of value at that last spot, I was luckier at another familiar location.

You may remember these nice perfumes I found a while back, which came from the same recently sold house. That was around a month ago.

In subsequent weeks I found some lightly worn, and sometimes unused shoes and bags. Also a nice jewelry box, a few unspectacular watches, some nail polishes…

… and another nice perfume. This large 100ml bottle of YSL Opium Fleur Imperiale is worth around 100$.

I also happened to meet the lady who was throwing these things out. She drove up in her car and seemed mostly fine with my picking but asked me to close the bags. She looked mildly irritated, perhaps because someone else (maybe a can collector) had torn a hole in one of them. She went inside, but eventually came out and asked if I wanted some stuff. I ended up with a bunch of extra junk, nothing super exciting but decent yard sale items (a box of picture frames being the best get). The lady seemed nice enough, but I think the gift was more a result of her being sick of the moving process than it was an act of generosity.

I went back the next week and saw nothing on the curb. I figured that she finally moved, and that there would be nothing left to find. I was surprised when I passed by last week and saw a large collection of bags on the curb. Inside was my best haul from that spot to date. I have to wonder if she threw it out knowing that someone like me would find it, though she also threw out some nice stuff before our encounter. It’s possible she didn’t care one way or the other.

I found more lightly used items, including a pair of leather Blondo boots, a North Face bag (which I sold to a friend for 5$ at my most recent yard sale) …

… and a pet carrier, which I sold to the same friend for another 5$. He just got a kitten.

Otherwise, I picked up some more quality junk, including some mirrors, pictures frames, decor boxes, change purses …

… other stuff, some of which still had price tags attached;

… as well as a vintage pencil sharpener and silver plate thingy. Both of those sold at my most recent sale.

This jewelry box was one of my better finds. The latch was stuck so I had to pry open the top.

Inside was a lot of junk, but some quality stuff as well. There’s a bit of silver (like the chain on the left, at least) and some gold (the broken earrings near the bottom right, and the tangle of chains and pearls on the left). The spotted gold and black metal jewelry on the right is all signed Laurana, and may fetched a decent price because it’s a set. The earrings near the middle with the spiky things are pretty cool but unfortunately unsigned. The black, white, and bejeweled brooch looks Pierre Bex-y, while the pendant near the bottom left may be a chunk of raw silver with a real pearl set in.

There’s a few cool earrings that unfortunately don’t have a match, but I’ll try to find them a home regardless. If anyone knows what that star brooch with the numbers is supposed to represent let me know!

My best single find however might be this cute ring box, which appears to be British sterling silver.

The inside is in nice condition as well!

The stamps on the bottom indicate that it was made in Birmingham in 1928, if I’m reading this guide correctly. Unfortunately I can’t make out the makers mark, though it might be easier to read if cleaned of tarnish.

I found a British sterling silver box, also from Birmingham once before and sold it cleaned of tarnish for 195$. We’ll see what I end up getting for this one.

Otherwise, I also found a little bag filled with change and change rollers (as well as a silver chain with a Star of David pendant). I’ve been needing to roll my found coins for quite some time, but I refused to buy coin rollers because I knew I would find some eventually. Garbage picking makes me cheap in some ways, but the strategy worked out and I saved a few bucks.

Don’t get too excited by that bag that looks like toonies, they’re only Mexican pesos! They don’t have much value, even if you do happen to be going to Mexico.

My mom was in town this past weekend and she helped roll all my found coins. Here’s what I found that day all or partially rolled up. I forget the exact total, but it was somewhere around 25$.

While on the topic of change, here’s my accumulation of found change in rolled form. I’m very grateful to my mom for helping me tame this beast! This collection is around a year and a half old, dating approximately to when TD Bank removed all their free change counters (which were very convenient at the time). The total came to nearly 110$, and I’m sure I spent a few quarters or dollars along the way. This 25$ haul was been my biggest in some time, so this collection grew largely little by little, thanks mostly to people ditching some layabout coins as they moved or cleaned.

A new collection has already begun to grow. I found a roll of pennies in NDG the other day, and found some other coins last week that didn’t make it to the rolling party. In case you’re wondering, my biggest single haul of coins is still the 56.85$ I found in Westmount a few years ago. It’s hard to believe that someone would throw out that much change, but I guess that’s chump change when you’re a multi-millionaire.

I returned to both these spots yesterday but found nothing. Perhaps these sources are extinguished now, though I think I’ll return once more next week. If I find nothing again I’ll retire the route for a bit and focus my energy on other areas.

Relevant links

1. Facebook page
2. My eBay listings
3. Etsy store
4. Kijiji listings
5. Contribute to garbagefinds.com
6. Follow me on Instagram

Email: thingsifindinthegarbage@gmail.com. I often fall behind on emails, so I apologize in advance if it takes me a while to get back to you.

43 thoughts on “Tuesday in Rosemont pt.2”

  1. Those pull tabs from aluminum cans are collected down here in the US for jewelry and craft making. I’m in California. I have bracelets made out of those, made by high school students for a fundraiser. I also have a beautiful expensive purse made from those, made by a craftsperson. Also, in a local gift store, I have seen jewelry made from those, selling for high prices. I used to collect them, thinking I would make a bracelet.

    1. At least twice in the past decade I’ve seen stories in the paper here in Montreal about it, I certainly intended to write a letter but I can’t remember if I did. But since it’s treated like a good thing, it perpetuates it, others getting the idea. One story even quoted the person “the tabs take up less space”. Yes, but you need more tabs than cans to get the same amount of money, and cans can be taken back any time. Scrap metal , ie the tabs, have to go to some metal dealer.

      Either there was some program a long time go that offered a premium for the tabs, or someone thought there was, because that’s how it travels.

      About 20 years go, someone online wrote about a campaign to collect Canadian Tire money (the chain gives a small percentage back in this “money”). People get small amounts, and it just sits around, too little to do much. But together, it could have value. It made me realize that piles of coins could be donated, actual value to them. And I did that a bunch of times. When the Canadian penny was taken out of production, some non-profits made the point of asking for those piles of pennies, which were worth more than pull tabs.


      1. Not sure about Quebec, I am directly involved in the collection of pull tabs in a medium sized Ontario city. It is not the value in weight of the tabs at the scrap price; it is that donors will “sponsor” organizations for the effort and pay a price per volume as a donation. Same thing for collecting labels of certain brands or grocery receipts from certain stores.

  2. My grade school in Ontario used to collect those little tabs for fundraisers. Funny you mention it here because just last week I saw a collection jar for them in Saint-Jerome, for a kid who has a disability. Hadn’t seen those in ages.

  3. I have got to say ; you find the most awesome things !! Love reading your posts and seeing all the wonderful photos !!

  4. Rats, I guess I missed seeing that silver ring box. It’s going to be a beauty, polished up.
    Coin rolling always goes better (not to mention quicker) when you’re doing it with someone. 🙂

  5. People do crafts with those pull tabs. I think you might find interested parties for those. People also do crafts with pieces of jewelry that don’t have mates. I have no idea what the star-shaped thing is, but I recognize the pair of triangular shaped things above it, which are collar tips used in men’s western wear…specifically Square Dancing. You might already have known what they were.

    Otherwise…great scores! Some great perfumes there.

  6. Over 40 years ago this tab collecting fad took over my office. Not until years later did I discover via Snopes.com that it’s an urban myth. As you pointed out, it’s value is a small bit of aluminum, whose price is way down now. So if you can craft with them, go ahead, but they are not effective for dialysis time, Ronald McDonald house stays, or any of the myriad fundraisers I have seen. A real urban myth. Now that’s a good discovery!

      1. Cool. I guess if some local organizations deal with them it’s a good thing. It might not be the most effective way of raising money but it could have some other benefits, in terms of getting the community involved and having something fun for kids to collect.

  7. Don’t polish your silver (maybe around the hallmarks so you can see them). Lots of people like the patina.

    1. I’ll try listing it as is. I also like the patina, and don’t particularly enjoy cleaning really tarnished silver.

  8. My nephew’s school here is the US collected them and I think someone provided donations based upon the number collected.

  9. Back in the day (80’s?) I remember large Plexiglas boxes in McDonalds in the states that were used to collect the tabs. Not sure if they were related to Ronald McDonald houses or not but I don’t think collecting the tabs is a total urban myth. I also remember my cousin who worked at McDonalds talking about the surprising weight of a large number of the tabs.

  10. I live in California and I know a lot of frugal people and collectors of all sorts and I have NEVER heard of anyone collecting pull-tabs. Not for wheelchairs at least. I have seen them used in crafts on occasion. Do you turn bottles and cans that you find in for money? I wonder how much that bag will get you. Might just be 12,000 in there!! Love your photos.

    1. I picked cans occasionally way back in the day but not anymore. Not enough money in it, and it would take away from the people who rely on it. Glad you like the pics! Some are better than others, but I think they’re all good enough.

      1. There was a story in recent years about a guy on the West Island who collected cans. But it was a hobby, an excuse to be out walking. So he collected lot of cans, but the money went to charity. Can collecting has the advantage that it’s simple, so as a hobby he doesn’t have to deal with pricing and selling. So in his case it’s a tradeoff, raise some money but it doesn’t have to take up all of his time.


  11. You find amazing things, In Sydney this week I sold a few items on Gumtree .i now have a dog and it is amazing what is put out for collection at the last minute…I walk at 5.30 am .Just find lawn shopping fun.

    1. Australia or Nova Scotia? I guess walking the dog would be a great way to get out there for some trash picking.

  12. The star pin may have something to do with Job’s Daughters or other Shriner type group.

  13. Not sure if this works in Canada, but down here in the states, if you have a bank account just ask the teller for some coin roller papers. I’ve done it at a few different banks here and they are always happy to provide them for free.

  14. I remember collecting pull tabs some time ago, here in S.A, but haven’t heard about it for ages. Now we collect the small plastic tags which hold bread packet closed. Apparently, they’re a high grade of plastic. I never buy commercial bread, so I pick them up in the street for my son’s school (he earns ‘stars’ for taking in recycling).
    Also, here in S.A. we count change into small Ziploc bags, available from the bank. I think it may be more effort than rolling!

  15. In the UK 30-40 years ago ring pulls were collected for ‘dialysis machines’ and/or artificial limbs for people in third world countries. I couldn’t understand it at the time as the whole cans were aluminium not just the tabs. Also, no one could ever tell me where they were going to send their collections/who was ultimately organising the whole thing!

    I love the way in Canada everyone seems to put their rubbish out in plastic bags so the stuff is not too difficult to get at. Here in Western Australia rubbish is put out in big wheelie bins and everything, except recycling like glass, etc., is put in with household/kitchen waste so far too smelly/unhygienic to go through! My equivalent would be going for a good scavenge at the local tip! We do have periodic larger waste collections when people put out furniture, larger household goods and various boxes of stuff. That’s often worth a cruise by to check out if there is anything suitable for recycling.

    Thank you for your blog – I really look forward to each post.



    1. Yes the big wheelie bins are a pain to go through, especially when you want to see what’s on the bottom. A few boroughs here make you use them (like Ville St Laurent) but most don’t force you to. I do end up getting my hands dirty with household and kitchen waste still, but it’s not too bad most of the time because people will often put all the kitchen waste in one bag, the good stuff in another, and so on, though occasionally they will mix or I’ll open the wrong bag.

      Glad you like the blog!

  16. You had 5902 followers until your last post.Now you lost five followers and are sitting at 5897 followers.I am disappointed.

    1. Martin, I love reading about your adventure on your blog. It’s mind blowing, the stuff people throw away! Coins and money?!

      1. Glad you like it! I especially like finding gold in any form, even broken earrings and such because it’s just as good as money.

    2. I wouldn’t worry about it, some of them could be from people deleting or deactivating their Facebook accounts (which is becoming more common, maybe especially with many school semesters starting soon). Overall, it seems to be slowly but gradually rising

  17. I love your combination of faith and resourcefulness: “I’ve been needing to roll my found coins for quite some time, but I refused to buy coin rollers because I knew I would find some eventually. Garbage picking makes me cheap in some ways, but the strategy worked out and I saved a few bucks.” Well done!

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