Mars Technico

I’ve been keeping an eye on this spot in Saint-Michel for a month now. I found some clothes and vintage junk there, and while none of it was super exceptional it was evidence that someone might be cleaning out a house. I didn’t see anything there the next few weeks (perhaps due to Christmas, and the bad weather) but there was a big pile out on the curb this time around!

There were four bags of clothes, all of which I threw into the car. It was too cold to bother sorting through them on the spot. I looked through the bags yesterday at the garage, and from what I could tell (my knowledge of fashion is pretty limited!) it seems like a good batch, featuring lots of 80s fashions in nice condition. I don’t have any pictures, but if there are any particularly noteworthy pieces I’ll mention them in a future blog post.

Otherwise, I found some quality vintage junk, which you see below!

I took these pictures using my new garage setup. My goal was to show a lot of different stuff at once, including things that probably wouldn’t have made the blog otherwise. You’ll be able to see a lot more detail if you click on the picture and zoom in. I’m reasonably happy with how the photos turned out but I think there’s room for improvement, whether by tinkering with my camera or upgrading to something fancier. If you have any relevant photography tips let me know!

I found a small collection of dolls here. I don’t think any are particularly desirable, but maybe I’ll start a doll box and see what happens when yard sale season comes. There were plenty of Staedtler Mars Technico lead holders here (perhaps the most I’ve ever seen in one spot) as well as drawing leads. I think those are used for drafting, and they seem to sell for around 5-10$ a piece on eBay. I think I have eight, and I’ll probably try to sell them as a lot.

There were a couple of really old photos. One is captioned “1931” and was probably taken at a school.

I thought that vintage flyswatter was a fun find; it’s not something I find very often. It was made for “Les Produits Myst-Air Inc.” The metal doohickey near the top-right is a vintage fry press. I almost threw out the parts (they were thrown in a different bag) but I figured out what they were just in time. The Expo 67 souvenir map is quality yard sale material. The box at the bottom left held a bunch of keychains and office supplies.

I like these vintage plastic boxes. The logo on the top says “Hole in Head” and “Don’t Bite,” which is a little odd. This old cigar box was the only thing I found when I searched those phrases on Google, so maybe this colourful box held cigars at one point.

My favourites things here are the two vintage Calgary / Stampede Beer labels. I’d guess they’re from the 40s or 50s and they’re lucky to have survived their trip to the trash bag unscathed. Some beer labels go for pretty good money, but I’m not sure what makes a particular label more collectible than another – perhaps an auction is the best way to get them out the door. That typewriter paper is mostly there and mostly empty, as are those vintage bank notebooks on the bottom right.

I’m excited to go back here next week. This place provided some interesting old junk, some of which was new to me. Of course, I’ll let you know how things progress!

What’s it worth?

Sometimes I’ll save something but wonder if there’s actually a market for the thing. I don’t like holding onto to junk that’ll never sell and takes up space until I figure that out (ie: after a few yard sales). I thought it’d be fun and maybe helpful to post these questionable items here and ask you readers what you think.

Today’s item is a Le Creuset dutch oven I found in Westmount. It has a bit of chipping to the enamel (mostly around the edges) and the inside shows some discoloration and wear. Otherwise it seems like a solid piece. However, I’m not sure if people buy cast iron with worn out interior enamel. What do you think? Let me know in the following poll, and in the comments below!

In other news I started a few more auctions this week. Those bakelite beads (minus the red ones – I’ll explain later) are for sale again, as are those fortune cookie boxes I mentioned in a recent post. I’m also auctioning off a whole bunch of vintage batteries, for which there’s a surprisingly strong market. Anyways, check them out if you’re interested!


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35 thoughts on “Mars Technico”

    1. Thanks for the info. I’ve never been a cigar guy, so I wasn’t aware of that. The phrase “hole in head – don’t bite” makes sense in that context… without the context, it sounds kind of strange! Glad we figured it out.

    1. Thanks for the info! The thing is pretty heavy so I won’t list it on eBay as shipping costs would reduce my profit. I’m thinking yard sale, maybe for 10-15$ (just so that it’s more likely to sell in one yard sale, I don’t like when things hang around for too long).

  1. Le Creuset has a lifetime warranty. It might be worth your while to contact them. I can’t imagine what that piece was used for to be as worn as it is. If it can be replaced under warranty (and if you cook), I’d keep it!

    I live in the US (Wyoming specifically) and enjoy reading your blog.

    1. That’s a good idea, though I’m loath to go through the steps of contacting companies and so on, ha ha. I’m a sell and move on kind of guy generally, it stresses me out when I have too many projects on the go.

      I haven’t been cooking much lately, but it wouldn’t be too hard to make a stew or something using a nice cast iron dutch oven.

  2. I usually stay away from enameled cookware where the inside is worn like that.
    it’s become porous, so it’s unusable as cookware now.

  3. Google “bleach soak Le creuset” or ask on /r/thriftfinds

    Stainless steel scrubbie and baking soda paste for outside

    But LC w patina is lovely. So homey.

    Home bread baker would still use in this condition and be happy to have it

    List for $50 at Yard sale and let them haggle you down

  4. Nice collectable finds!

    Re photography tips: if your computer has any built-in simple photo-management capability it is fairly simple to make some light and colour adjustments. I often take photos at night with an ipad and it’s very easy to increase the exposure and adjust the colour or shadows. Same if taking camera photos and transferring them to the computer.

    The two “bank notebooks” on the bottom right look to me like scorepads for card games.

    1. Thanks, I already do a lot of photo editing actually, mostly using a free program called, which does the basic stuff okay. I change the brightness/contrast/”curves”/saturation to make things pop out more, but not too much (these ones are on the edge of over-saturated, but I think they’re still good).

      The thing I really want to do is make sure you can zoom in and see as many details as humanly possible. I realize it’s probably impossible, at least without a really fancy camera, to make everything totally clear and readable (especially with these large group shots) but that’s my goal. For example, in these shots it would have been nice to have better detail on those old photos, and on the text of the flyswatter. I hate when things are blurry, but maybe a bit of that is inevitable.

      They do look like scorepads, lol. Maybe they are, I just saw the Royal Bank logo on front and assumed they were for banking. I hadn’t seen anything quite like them before.

      1. For reading things, without a real expensive camera it might possibly be done if the item was photographed individually close-up under optimal lighting; in a group setting, not so easy. I’m not familiar with but in the Apple photo app “brightness” is different from “exposure.” Exposure throws more light on the subject and makes it clearer while brightness does not really make it stand out more. But your app may vary.

        1. I probably should get a better photo program, even an early edition of Photoshop would probably be an improvement. I’ll do that maybe when I get a newer laptop, at some point in the future.

          1. You should consider the program gimp. It runs on Mac, Windows and Linux, and best of all it is free and supported by a very large community of users and programmers. I’ve been using it for many years for my eBay photos and I probably use less than 5% of its features.

            1. I think I used that at some point, I’m not sure. I like The one thing it doesn’t have is warm / cold adjustments (ie: photo looks too blue or red) which I do using a program called Photo POS Pro, a program that largely sucks outside of that feature. For batch processing I used something called XNConvert which seems decent. I probably won’t switch anytime soon because I’m happy with what I have, but I’ll think about it more when I get a new computer at some point.

  5. I also vote contact Le Creuset or google some info on how to restore/clean them. I’ve heard of boiling with hydrogen peroxide and baking soda method, but there might be other ways also. It’s probably worth your time trying to clean it up or seeing if the guarantee still applies.

  6. I have several Le Creuset items in simialr condition and contacted the company a few eyars ago concerning cleaning them and their lifetile warranty. Here is the repsonse I received –

    “Thank you for your e-mail and photo concerning your pot. It is difficult to say from the photo whether this is burnt, or if it is a stain that can be removed. We have a wonderful Cookware Cleaner available through retailers who carry Le Creuset products which may be helpful in your situation. As well, Sometimes the white enamel on the bottom of the pot gets stained and regular dish soap just doesn’t cut it. Here is a way to clean your enamel and get it looking like new:

    1. Fill the interior of your cooking vessel with one part laundry detergent with an enzyme (such as Tide or Gain), to 3 parts water. On medium heat, bring the pot to a boil for 5 to 7 minutes.

    2. After that time, please turn the stove off and allow the pot to come to room temperature. Then proceed to clean your item with your normal dish washing liquid. You can also use a nylon or plastic type scrubby to assist with the cleaning of your item, but please make sure it says non-abrasive.

    3. To bring the sheen back to the glaze, you can use white distilled vinegar on a soft cloth or a paper towel and rub on the interior and exterior of the pot. It can be stored this way until its next use, but please clean the item before using it.

    If the cleaning and stain removal suggestions do not remove the discoloration, it is possible that the enamel itself has been burned. If this is the case, although accidental damage is not covered by warranty we would be happy to offer you the opportunity to purchase a replacement through our Canadian Consumer Assessment Department at 40% off the Suggested Retail Price.

    Please give the suggestions a try let me know how they worked at removing the discoloration. If indeed the enamel is burned and you would like to take advantage of the courtesy offer, please let me know and I’ll send you the information you’ll need to return the pot to the Assessment Department”

  7. I see you found some vintage 1970s fondue forks. (They’re great for pickles too.)
    Some of those older planters have value.
    Interesting tidbit about the cigar box … yours is a great blog to learn new things. And your followers can be so helpful too. 🙂

  8. Hi!

    My mom had her Le Creuset cookware re-enameled at a shop near Marche Jean Talon…I can’t remember their name, but they are not hard to find.

    Considering the price of new Le Creuset cookware, re-enameling chipped pieces is quite sensible…and just so, there is a healthy market even for chipped cast iron cookware!

    1. There was a place up around there with a name like “Clinique de Casserole”, though I can’t remember the exact location. I got sent there once to get a replacement piece for my pressure cooker.

      But it was at least thirty years go, I don’t know if it’s still there.


  9. You’re going to think I’m crazy, but… put the LeCreuset through the self-clean cycle in your oven. It will come out looking 5000% better.

  10. I have a suggestion for finding the possible value of things or for watching the trending of a great many items. I’ve been getting silly(!) with an online auction house called “MaxSold”. They do business all across the States and Canada and believe they are available in Montreal and/or area. (I’m from London, ON.) MaxSold is a great resource both on their website as well as their Pinterest page. I’m strictly a buyer but am thinking seriously of using their auction service as I start to downsize.

    As you know with online auctions, buyers go in blind when bidding – there are no Previews. We rely strictly on the quality of the photography and the language in their catalogs. The team who works London and SW Ontario are excellent in both aspects so we are very lucky. The team who works the Golden Horseshoe area (Hamilton) is not very good in either aspect so have never purchased from them.

    I also use another online auction house called “Timewell” which is only in SW Ontario and on towards Hamilton. Don’t like it near as well as MaxSold. Their photography and catalogs, as a rule, are not very well done so rarely use them.

    Re Le Creuset: it generally sells very well. Like everything, though (and I probably don’t need to tell you this given your experience), any article is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it.

    All the best,

  11. Le Creuset is big on Reddit’s r/thriftstorehauls, so if you search there, you can probably find what people are paying. I didn’t zoom in on the pic to see how rough the enamel is, but if it is beyond it’s usefulness, I’d probably drill a few small holes in the bottom for drainage and throw some succulents in it 🙂

    1. Thanks, I’ll subscribe to that actually. It seems like a good resource for yard sale info (I’m still learning a lot about what people will pay for things).

  12. I have a french fry cutter just like yours in the photo. Yours seems to be missing the grid cutter to press the potatoes through, unless it just isn’t shown in the photo. Great gadget if intact.

    1. I do have the grid cutters, I almost threw them out accidentally but I realized in time what they belonged to (they were stored in their own separate bag)

  13. Good morning, Please put aside the following for me, and I’ll come by once we have a large group..: fry press..,lighter flints…Shick lube and Shick oil….let me know if this is ok.. Herb


    1. I’m not sure where the latter items are now (maybe deep in my yard sale stuff) but I can set aside the fry press.

  14. Hi Marty – You seem to be missing out on a lot of “smalls” to readers. Try the basket idea on your shelving and label the boxes for toys, jewelry, trinkets, etc. Should make it easier to find the stuff

    1. I’ll be doing that soon thanks to the new garage. Previously I didn’t really have the space to organize things well. Still, I often prefer to sell these things at yard sales as it saves me the time of organizing deals, payments, and so on.

  15. Le Creuset anything is going to be worth $$, so I voted “more than $20”. I would maybe try it at auction with an ambitious buy-it-now attached.

  16. Try a bleach cleaning spray on the pot first. That is easy and a lot of that discoloration may come off with something that simple.

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