Recent sales: December

After my recent auction success (which turned out not to be much of a success, but whatever) I decided to change a bunch of my older Buy it Now listings to auctions. I wondered if the auctions would get more exposure and clicks, and hoped that it would help clear out some old stock.

So far, it doesn’t seem like the listings are seeing much, if any more interest than they were beforehand. A couple have bids, so at least I’ll get rid of two things, but they’ll probably end up selling for less than I would have earned if I stuck with the Buy it Now.

Either way, it was a worthwhile experiment that goes to show the value of the Buy it Now listing, especially for niche stuff that’s unlikely to get a lot of views. My auctions end tonight at around 8pm EST so check them out if you’re interested! They’re almost certain to finish at a bargain price. If they don’t sell, most will end up in my yard sale pile.

December was a pretty good month for sales. I also calculated my total profit in 2017, which you can find at the bottom of this post.

1. Maruyama courting couple figurine: On eBay for 60$. One of the last pieces from that china collection I found a few years back. It was in great condition. Found in Ville St Laurent.

2. Vintage transit documents: On eBay for 15$. Found in Rosemont.

3. Vintage Paratrooper poster: On eBay for 25$. Four down, around 15 to go.

4. Christmas light lot (tested): On eBay for 45$. Testing all this stuff was a hassle, but the profit wasn’t bad. Mostly found in Westmount.

5. SAP textbook: On eBay for 40$. I’ve sold a few of my SAP textbooks now. Hopefully I sell a few more, but if not I’ve made a bit over 100$ for my efforts. Found in the Plateau.

6. Montreal Olympics slide lot: On eBay for 200$. The buyer seemed most interested in photos of the gymnastic events. Found in TMR.

7. Three brown bakelite light switches: On eBay for 60$. These were more valuable than I originally expected. Something else to keep an eye out for while picking!

8. Aurora Hastil pen with 14k nib, for repair: On eBay for 40$. It needed some fixing but still sold for a good price. Found in the Plateau.

9. Phillips LFH9600 digital memo recorder: On eBay for 120$. Found in TMR.

10. Krieger tidal watch: On eBay for 515$. It cost 35$ to get a new battery in there, which I subtracted from the profit. Krieger isn’t a particularly well known company, but they make quality watches and their tidal wares satisfy a niche market. Found in Outremont.

11. Superscope (Marantz) TDR-830 8-track player/recorder: On eBay for 90$. This machine needed some repairs, but Marantz stuff always does well on eBay. Found in Rosemont.

12. WWII Vickers ammo box: On eBay for 80$. This sold pretty quickly. Found in NDG.

13. Birks silver picture frame: On eBay for 40$. Found in Hampstead.

14. Birks silver picture frame #2: On eBay for 30$. This one was bigger but had no glass. Found elsewhere in Hampstead.

15. Ed Levin silver bracelet: On eBay for 80$. Found in the Mile End.

16. Boston Pops 1952 program: On eBay for 10$. I’m just glad this is gone! It had been on eBay for an eternity.

17. Zassenhaus 532 coffee grinder: On eBay for 250$. I would have loved to keep this for myself, but I can’t afford to own a 250$ coffee grinder. Found in Westmount.

18. Expo 67 construction photos: On eBay for 20$. Found in NDG.

19. Christmas light lot #2: On eBay for 40$. These sold on boxing day. Found in Westmount.

20. Christian Dior Poison soap bar: On eBay for 50$. Not bad for 30 year old soap! Found in Outremont.

21. Schuco Fex windup car: On eBay for 60$. I got neutral feedback for this because I forgot to mention in the listing that the winding mechanism probably didn’t work. My bad. If the buyer had contacted me directly I would have offered a partial refund, but I guess it didn’t bother them that much. Found in Westmount.

22. Round bakelite light switches: On eBay for 25$. More old bakelite switches. These were a little beat up, so I didn’t ask for much.

23. Yearbooks: To a reader for 100$. I gave them a deal on the yearbooks I had on eBay, as well as a beautiful art deco era “Old McGill” yearbook I haven’t posted here yet.

24. Drewrys bottle opener: On eBay for 15$.

25. Sherman bracelet: On eBay for 35$. I ended up giving a partial refund because I didn’t notice an issue with the clasp. A 15$ discount resolved the issue, however, and the buyer left good feedback. Found in Outremont.

26. Vintage Micronta alarm clock: On eBay for 30$. This had very big numbers!


1. Secret Dakini oracle tarot cards: -60$. These sold to someone in Germany but apparently they haven’t shown up. There’s no tracking number (tracking anything going overseas via Canada Post costs at least 40$) so there’s no way to say where it is. I can only hope that it shows up eventually, and that the buyer is honest enough to pay me again. Regardless, the occasionally refund is just a cost of doing business.

Total: 2015$, 27152$ in 2017. This bests my previous record by around 5000$. I credit an extremely successful yard sale season, as well as my consistently improving eBay skills for the great year. I hope to cross the 30k mark in 2018!

It’s worth noting here that my stated sales totals are the gross profit, and don’t take into account the eBay / PayPal / Etsy fees I pay for my online sales. So, my actual earnings are about 8-10% less on the things I sell on eBay and about 6% less on the things I sell on Etsy. I’d guess that I paid around 1800$ in fees in 2017 – I’ll figure out exactly how much when I do my taxes. No matter, I did pretty well for selling trash!


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4. Kijiji listings
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Email: I often fall behind on emails, so I apologize in advance if it takes me a while to get back to you.

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19 thoughts on “Recent sales: December

  1. Susanne says:

    I love your final statement. I have to keep reminding myself that all your sales came from trash picking! Not thrift store resales, etc. You are awesome and thanks for sharing your treasures with us. I don’t know if you know how enjoyable it is to read about your sales, but it is!! Thanks!

    • martng says:

      Yup, it’s a humble income still but it’s more impressive when you consider that. I have no idea how long I’ll do this “full-time”, but I’m glad I’m able to make a living wage doing so. Glad you like the blog!

  2. pamela j says:

    Do you have a pinterest or instagram account. I’ve found that once I list something on ebay if I also post it on pinterest, twitter, instagram, etc. it gets much more exposure. More people are able to see my stuff and maybe buy it. Just a thought for you going into the future, Your stuff is so unique that it needs to be advertised for the right buyer to find it. Thanks for taking us along on your journey!

    • martng says:

      It would probably help to promote it elsewhere. I can’t see myself doing it as is (I have a hard time staying on top of my work and emails as it is, lol) but maybe sometime down the line I’ll do it.

  3. You’ve been making garbagefinds posts for almost 6 years now, Martin, and not one of them has been commonplace or boring. I’m glad you’re able to get by financially doing something you (and we, your audience) find so interesting.
    Three cheers to another (even more) successful year! Here’s hoping you attain that 30k mark in 2018!

    • martng says:

      Yes, it’s been an interesting ride. I never would have thought at the beginning that I’d one day be making a reasonable living via trash picking!

  4. Todd says:

    I rarely saw such a beautiful china piece such as the Maruyama courting couple figurine that you sold.It is extraordinary.You could have sold it for more than $60 ,I think.
    I am happy you are putting up new posts at a very rapid pace in January 2018.I hope the pace continues.

    • martng says:

      It was very well done, and pretty delicate in places (especially the flowers). I had it on eBay for a while, often for more than 60$ so I’m sure that I got around the right price.

      I hope so too, that would mean that I’m making some good finds, lol

  5. Joane says:

    Congrats on the yearly total! Thanks for taking the time to share a host of interesting finds throughout the year. I always look forward to news from the garbage front and I particularly enjoy the posts where readers are asked to help identify items and people chime in with all kinds of valuable and interesting information. There are lots of supporters for the work you are doing. Best wishes for success in 2018!

  6. Sarah says:

    The comment about not being able to afford to own a $250 coffee grinder made me laugh. I was wondering, what’s the most potentially profitable thing you’ve ever kept?

    • martng says:

      Hmmm, good question. I think it’s probably a lamp, ha ha. I have a cool yellow mod light, which might be worth 100$, a hanging green shell lamp (maybe another 100$?), and that pinecone lamp from a while back (though I could still elect to sell it). My primary radio is a cool vintage one that might be worth another 100$. I guess my espresso machine might be the most valuable actually, it was probably worth 2-300$ in its prime (the frother seems to have stopped working so its value is lower now, but it still makes a good cup of coffee).

      Maybe I can do a blog post on the things I’ve kept sometime…

  7. Hilaire says:

    I like your blog and admire your work.I saw a recent photo of yours and saw that you had facial hair,a goatee and sort of beard.I would encourage you to be completely clean-shaven except for a small goatee when you scavenge in wealthy neighborhoods like Westmount,TMR,Outremont,Hampstead,etc.If you look like a bearded old philosopher or a ‘hippie’ more homeowners are likely to bother you.(Pardon the free use of the word ‘hippie’;it is overemployed—-but the perceptions remain in some quarters).

    • martng says:

      Lol, where was that photo? The ones on some of the old articles embarrass me now, ha ha. I didn’t use to put as much importance into maintaining my appearance. Now I’m a bit better, I try to keep my beard well trimmed at least. I can’t be bothered to shave entirely, it’s too much of a hassle. I agree that keeping it trimmed does help make me look like a respectable young man or whatever, and might endear me to older people.

  8. Joyce says:

    I am endeared by you. Like everyone, I am ASTOUNDED by how much good stuff gets tossed. Who throws out gold or silver or money?

  9. barb says:

    Are slow sales part of a post xmas slump?

  10. joe says:

    the zassenhaus is certainly vintage ! but if it’s any consolation i picked up over the years,2 braun (electric) coffee grinders, one i just plug*unplug,the other has a working on-off switch,both are killer ! 5$ for one,10$ for the other,(at yard sales 😉 still grinding both of them after over a decade ! 😉

    • martng says:

      I’m using one I found in the trash, the basic whirly blade deal. I would love someday though to find either a lower value hand crank grinder, or one of those fancier electric ones that actually grinds instead of chops. Apparently, coffee tastes better when you have a consistent grinds, which the spinning blades can’t really accomplish.

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