I'm a professional scavenger making a living selling curbside garbage. This blog details my finds and sales. It also acts as an archive for things beautiful and historic that would otherwise have been destroyed.
Before we start, I should mention that my friend and I decided to postpone the last yard sale of the season by a week. It gives us a bit more time to prepare, and it’ll also be nice to take this weekend mostly off. It’s a bit of a gamble not yard sailing on what will be a unseasonably warm day, but the next weekend should be decent still, and the cooler weather might help sell some of the nice fall fashion clothing I’ve found recently. For now, the plan is to do the yard sale on Sunday October 1st, but if the weather turns sour the date could be changed again.
These photos came from that multi-million dollar house I’ve mentioned in three previous posts. Those guys just threw out a little bit of everything! All in all, I saved enough photos to almost fill up your average sock drawer.
The oldest were probably these old cabinet photos.
These were taken on the Saturnia and Homeric steamships in the early 50s. Presumably, these folks were travelling in first class.
My favourites though were probably the ones from WWII. Click and zoom in for a better look! There’s a lot of neat details you’d miss otherwise.
This message was written on the back of the one colourized photo.
Some of the pictures look to have been taken in the desert. Maybe they were taken during the North African campaign, in which Canada played a significant part.
I thought the guy at the center of this picture looked a bit like Winston Churchill. This person does have a similar collection of medals, and Churchill did make an appearance in North Africa in 1942, so in theory it could be him. What do you think?
There’s one more part of this series to share! Otherwise, I hope to come across some more big rich people hauls soon.
I’ve been too busy lately. I did a yard sale on Saturday, and those are always a lot of work (roughly nine hours without a real break in this case). On Sunday I organized my storage area, which was a disaster zone, and did a purge of junk I didn’t think would ever sell or was just sick of looking at. I also went on a garbage run that night, and filled the car with more stuff.
On Monday a friend and I did more organizing, and dealt with some of my finds from Sunday. In the evening I went on another trash run, and again filled up the car with more quality junk.
At this point I’m slightly burnt out, so a car full of stuff doesn’t conjure up the same amount of joy it normally might. If anything, part of me is annoyed that I had to take time today to make room in my garage for these recently orphaned items. I’m not completely burnt out, but I will need a real day off sometime soon.
Most of my finds last night came from a wealthy street in Cote-des-Neiges. I almost skipped it this week, but at the last minute I reversed course, remembering that one specific household looked to be getting ready for a move.
I saved a bunch of decent stuff, including two vintage folding chairs; two enlarged prints of vintage 1960s Couture magazine covers; a set of what I now know to be Roto-Toms; a hockey stick, driver, and putter (there were more golf clubs, but I left them for others); a mid-century looking cushion; a pinball game; a signed photo of Patrick Roy; and some other things.
I also saved a couple decent pieces of furniture. I particularly like the cabinet on the left, which has some great mid-century pulls. Neither are in perfect condition, but they’re definitely worth yard sailing. I also found a miniature chair and a pen holder thing. The latter looks kind of fancy, and has a powerful magnet that holds the ball in place. The plastic bit is busted, but that could probably be replaced.
Inside the large “Montreal 1986” folder was a nice screen print of the Eglise Notre-Dame. The artists involved don’t look to be famous, but it’ll definitely sell at a future sale.
I also found a few things in Villeray, like this vintage wind-up toy clock by Westclox. I’ve been finding a lot of good stuff at a spot there recently, but most of that will have to wait for a future post.
I’ll finish up with some other bits and bobs I’ve found recently. St-Michel has been productive of late, and one spot in particular has produced some excellent finds. My collage friend will be happy to receive this batch of National Geographics, most of which date from the late 60s and 1970s.
I also found a vintage enameled bedpan. I’m not sure anyone wants this kind of thing, but I do like having a few funny items at my yard sales!
Edit: just checked eBay and people do seem to want them, though they’re not super valuable or anything.
A bin in TMR last week provided a large collection of vintage wristwatch bands. Some of the bags had gotten a bit moldy but most were fine. They were all made by a company called Meillon in Paris. I can’t find any reference to them online, but I’m sure they’ll sell regardless. They might even be worth eBaying, since the cost of shipping would be very low, basically lettermail + bubble envelope.
The bin also provided this very cool mid-century perpetual calendar. I love the globe design, and it should sell for between 10-20$.
I picked these up on a local heavy garbage day. I’m not sure what they were made to do, but I thought they were cool and potentially useful for some interior design project. They remind me of the inside of a confession both, though I doubt they were used for that purpose. If anyone has any ideas, let me know in the comments!
That’s just the tip of the iceberg really. I’ve found so much recently, and unfortunately a lot of it will never make the blog. I already have a load of photos to post and stories to tell, so some things unfortunately won’t make the cut due largely to circumstance. A recently acquired storage cabinet is full of these things – here’s a look inside. There’s a lot more, and unfortunately I would need an unpaid intern and more storage space to get it all on the blog.
Although I’d love to take next weekend off the weather is supposed to be great, and Sunday seems like a perfect time to do a final yard sale. Mark the day in your calendars if you want to check it out! If all goes well I’ll do a couple more posts this week, one featuring a couple bags of cool vintage clothes I found a couple days ago and one featuring recent furniture finds. Assuming I get the posts done in time all the items within will be available at the sale.
I did a little yard sale a few weeks back and returned home to a message from a reader. It contained a screenshot of a post on a local Facebook page informing people about an apartment being emptied in St Michel. I got the message many hours after the fact, and figured I was probably too late to find anything good. In the Plateau an obviously interesting trash pile (ie: one that attracts attention even from casual pickers) will often be ripped to shreds within a few hours.
I had planned on doing a trash run in the area regardless, so I went and checked it out just in case. As you probably expect by now, there were indeed still things to be found and the pile itself was surprisingly intact. The trunks in the original picture were long gone, but most of those bags and milk crates remained – and seemed largely untouched.
Maybe the pile survived that long because there’s less foot traffic in St Michel as compared to the Plateau. But it could also be that the stuff didn’t look all that interesting at first glance.
A lot of what I saved was stored inside old binders, the kind I would have used back in high school. But instead of containing old school notes these mostly contained old slides and photos.
I should be able to make a few bucks off the one binder of Expo 67 photos.
It contains about eight pages of slides, most of which look well shot and well captioned.
I think my photos of the slides came out pretty well all things considered. Some turned out better than others, but unfortunately I couldn’t spend too much time on them. If you want to zoom in on the photos below, click on them and find the “view full-size” button on the bottom right hand side of the screen.
My plan at the most is to auction them on eBay. I don’t usually do auctions, but I figure that Expo 67 market is reasonably hot right now, and auctions make it so that I don’t have to think too hard about pricing.
Otherwise, a lot of the photos feature various flora, fauna, and fungi. His knowledge of plants looks to have been pretty good, as many of them are captioned with their latin names.
These slides were the most usual. They were taken in Africa in the 50s and 60s …
… and this particular page features multiple elephants being butchered. Unfortunately (or fortunately, if you have a weak stomach) my photo of this page didn’t come out as clearly as some of the others.
I wonder how common photos of Africa are from that era. I suspect they’re still common enough, but I’m sure they’re less common than tourist photos of Europe and North America. Personally, I’ve found photos from the north of Africa before (like Egypt and Tunisia), but never from the area around the equator. Most of these photos look to have been taken in Gabon, Cameroon, and the Central African Republic. It wasn’t immediately clear, from my brief study of the photos, what the photographer was doing in the area.
I also found binders of developed photos, including some of birds …
… and a few smaller albums filled with photos of local pow-wows. The location of these photos is unclear, but the other ones were taken in Kanesatake near Oka. They were all taken in the mid 1990s.
I found one film, a 16mm reel that was captured in Gabon in the 1950s. It could be interesting to digitize.
I also saved a pillow bag full of negatives that were taken in Nepal …
… and some smaller items suitable for the yard sale pile. The 80s watches are kind of neat, I’ll throw a battery in them and see if they work.
The coins were mostly from France in the 50s and 60s. The tokens on the right are for old French public telephones. None of these are worth much, but they’re good yard sale material.
All in all this was a pretty interesting pile. I would guess that the person who took the photos has passed on. If he was in Africa in the early 1950s that would make him at least 85 years old today. That’s not too old of course, but I have a hard time seeing someone deciding to throw away their life’s work like this. It’s a bit sad to find these things on the curb, but I like to think that he might have been happy to know that others are appreciating his work.
I owe thanks to the reader who informed me of this spot, as otherwise it’s unlikely that I would have happened upon it. If anyone else knows of an intriguing garbage pile, feel free to send me an email.
I plan on doing a yard sale tomorrow at 4096 Coloniale near Duluth. My storage space there is a total mess and I want to get it organized while it’s still warm out. Hope to see you there!