I haven’t posted in a while. Mostly I’ve been busy, but I’ve also had a bit of writer’s block, which was likely partly caused by all the work I was doing.
The garage sale two weekends ago was great. I ended up doing a two-day sale, and I made about 850$ total (600$ the first day and 250$ the second). Afterwards came my biggest purge to date, and most of what was left over from the sales went into open boxes on the curb. I pitched a lot of quality junk, interesting junk, and some actual junk. The main thing is that I didn’t want to store it for the whole winter, and I wanted a fresh start in the spring.
I put ads on the Craiglist & Kijiji “free” sections telling people about the free boxes. By the morning most of it had been taken, and what remained was the actual junk. I consider that a pretty successful purge!
I probably should have taken a break at this point, but I really wanted to get the storage organized. I did a second, deeper purge, and reorganized everything. I now have a pile of empty suitcases (I store a lot of my yard sale junk in found, usually vintage luggage), and the storage is as empty as it’s been in years. I’m pretty happy about that! However, all this extra work, on top of my usual garbage runs, probably led to a mild case of burnout and subsequent writer’s block. Oh well, it was worth it I think.
Yard sale season is more or less over, thus putting an end to that source of income. Fortunately, eBay sales are now picking up. I’ve sold nine things in the last week or so, which is my best pace in some time. Also, I’ve started getting feedback more regularly. For a while there I wasn’t getting much at all – I guess people in the summer have better things to do. My plan now is to focus on getting my junk listed on eBay for the usually busy winter months.
I haven’t been posting, but that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped picking. This week started off very well. On Sunday it was very windy and rainy, but I went out anyways to check on some productive spots. None of those provided anything, but I did find some sweet stuff in the Plateau. My best finds there were probably these four vintage 80s tour shirts, all of which looked to have barely been used. I found one from The Police’s Synchronicity tour…
… one from a 1985 Bryan Adams tour;
… one from John Cougar Mellencamp’s Scarecrow tour in 1985/86;
… and one from Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA tour (1983). Tour shirts do pretty well on eBay, and based on my research these should sell for between 75-100$ each.
I also found some other neat stuff here, like a vintage boudoir lamp and some quality wool blankets. I’ll put those in a future post if I have time.
The next night I happened upon an intriguing pile and found this plate inside a trash bin. I censored out the family names, but you can see that it was given from one family to another to “commemorate fifty years of personal and business friendship” in 1968. Right away I felt that it was something special, unlike the usual junky (if attractive) silver plated stuff I usually find.
My instincts were confirmed later on when I noticed the nicely stamped British silver hallmarks just north of the years. I know at this point that the lion means sterling. However, I did some extra research on 925-1000.com (a great resource for researching silver, FYI) and found the picture of the cat meant it was made in London, the “M” is a 1967 date mark, and the “AC Co.” stands for the producer, the Alexander Clark Company. They made some quality stuff, but I don’t think the company was particularly well known or noteworthy.
Anyways, this dish weighed 850 grams, so it was almost like finding a medium sized silver brick in the trash. I brought it to my silver and gold guy, who pays 50 cents a gram for sterling silver, and netted a quick and easy 425$. I’m pretty happy about that! I’ve found some nice solid silver pieces before, but this was easily the biggest and most valuable in terms of weight.
That bin also contained lots of cool frames. Some had varying degrees of water damage on the bottom (some just damp, like this one, and some were totally ruined) while others were perfectly fine. My favourite was probably this framed photo of a fine German Shepard who apparently came first place in a 1933 dog show.
Another favourite was this old photo, which was hidden behind another photo. It was damp and water damaged on the bottom, and it looked like someone had previously tried to peel off the old image. However, the way it’s damaged is kind of perfect, if you know what I mean. I wonder if this stuff was tossed out due to a flood in the basement – it’s a reasonable guess as there’s been lots of heavy rain lately, and the damage didn’t look to be super old (I saw no mold, for example).
There were other cool photos and frames here, and I may share some in a future post.
A friend of mine recently moved back to Montreal and needed kitchen stuff. Fortunately, I happened upon some rich people trash in Hampstead. They threw away a tonne of nice kitchen stuff, including several stainless steel pans by quality brands (most were JA Henckel or Wolfgang Puck), some mixing bowls, a selection of lightly used cutting boards, muffin trays and baking tins, oven mitts, and a whole bunch of quality cutlery, among other things. I put it all in this giant box; my friend took was she needed, and there’s still a fair bit left over. Anyways, the timing was great for what was one of my best ever kitchenware hauls.
I found a “vintage” 2004 4th generation iPod Classic in NDG, alongside some junky watches. It worked fine and looked to be lightly used. It came with a charging dock, and sold pretty quickly on eBay for 50$.
I’m keeping an eye on another interesting spot in NDG. I found some extremely dusty clothes, as if they were stored in a basement while renovations were going on in the same room or something. A couple of those pieces were still good nonetheless. I found a bit of other cool stuff, like some cute old food jars, a little depression glass dish, and a like-new pet carrier but nearly everything so far has been extremely dusty and tough to look through.
The only stuff that isn’t dusty are the old papers, which appear to have been stored in boxes. It don’t think this person threw much away, as I saved a lot of mundane stuff that’s nonetheless fun to look through like old brochures, grocery flyers, magazines, and so on. The most eye-catching were four tabloids from the 1970s, like this National Bulletin from 1971 claiming to out “secret homosexuals.” The article is pretty horrible to read – let’s just say the word “perverts” is thrown around a lot. Regardless, it is an interesting piece of history and certainly a good window at where North American culture was at in the 70s. Someone on Instagram offered to buy the lot, and if they don’t follow through I assume someone else will.
I thought this old marble ashtray was a cool find. It was made in 1979 on the 25th anniversary of PT Bank Bali, an Indonesian bank that was merged into today’s Bank Permata in the early 2000s. I’m not sure of its value, but it’s quite large (I’m guessing about 7″ long and wide) and unusual. I didn’t find anything like it online, but maybe I’d have better luck if I spoke Indonesian.
I found this fez a few weeks ago in NDG. I hoped it was the beginning of a productive spot, but I haven’t seen anything good there since. It was made for the Ancient Mystic Order of Samaritans, which is apparently a private club that only higher level Odd Fellows can join. From what I can tell this hat was probably made in the 50s or 60s. It’s in nice condition for its age, but I still have to figure out how much it’s worth.
I saved this cool vintage Aiwa 950 boombox elsewhere in NDG. It was super dusty when I found it, but I think it’ll clean up pretty nicely. I still have to test it, but this is the kind of thing that’s worth money even if just for parts. From what I’ve read, the Aiwa 950 was a quality machine, and the boombox market is a healthy one. If it works, I expect it’ll sell for between 150-200$. If it doesn’t it should still be good for 50-100$.
Let’s finish with a rare picture of me looking silly with my friend Kelsey, who happens to be a very good artist. These days she’s making lots of tapestries (click on her username “Sumwut” in the picture above to see some examples!) and I told her I’d find her some yarn. Thanks to yet another spot in NDG, that promise came true and I was able to give her a decent sized bag.
I figured this would be a good time to call-out to any readers, local or otherwise (since yarn could probably be shipped pretty cheaply, at least from the States) who have yarn sitting around doing nothing. Good yarn is pretty expensive and Kelsey can put it to good use! If you’d like to donate some you can contact Kelsey through Instagram. If you don’t have Instagram, you can send me an email or Facebook message and I can put you in touch.
She also does work on commission, so if you have any unique ideas you want turned into a tapestry let her (or me) know! I’m commissioning her to make me a small tapestry of a garbage can – when it’s done I’ll share it here on the blog.
That’s all for now, but I do have lots of older photos of quality junk that I want to share before they get “stale.”
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. I often fall behind on emails, so I apologize in advance if it takes me a while to get back to you.