Odds & ends

I’ve been going to moving and estate sales fairly regularly of late. It’s always interesting to look through old stuff, and I’m often able to snag a good deal thanks to the time I’ve spent researching prices online.

I went to one particularly fun sale a few weeks ago. A couple of people (who also happened to be quite pleasant) were clearing out their aunt’s apartment, which was packed full of old trinkets, tools, kitchenwares, clothing, lamps, and furniture. It was the kind of sale where the sellers were cleaning and organizing as they went – they didn’t necessarily know what was in every corner. For example, I got a good deal on some Federal milk glass teacups and saucers that I found in a small closet that seemed to have been previously unexplored.

A lot of good stuff gets tossed leading up to estate clearouts. I often notice advertisements for sales at houses that produced quality trash in the weeks, or sometimes months beforehand. These folks were pretty good at redistributing the stuff they didn’t want – towards the end of the sale they had set aside a big pile of stuff to bring to a charity shop – but a few bags still made their way to the dumpster. To me that’s totally understandable, as dealing with an estate is often a really big and sometimes painful job. Since garbage is my business, I went back the next garbage day to see if there was anything good inside those bags.

I expected to find more to be honest, but I still saved a bit of decent stuff. I brought home some cassette tapes, which I gave to my archiving friend in case there was anything cool on them. One was marked “Olympic” and could be a radio recording from the 1976 Olympics, who knows. I also saved some nice vintage light switch covers, some rivets & nails, an old geometry instrument tin, a few wooden hangers, a big vintage container of floor wax…

… some drawer pulls & other metal doohickeys, a heavy duty label maker, a collection of instruction manuals for ColecoVision games, and a couple of old health insurance documents from Denmark. Those are pretty neat, and date back to the late 1940s.

I’ll keep my eye on the curb in case more stuff gets tossed in the coming weeks. From what I remember the apartment had to be emptied by the end of February.

A recently sold house has produced some interesting finds of late. I opened one bag and saw some junk drawer type stuff, so I threw it in the car and did the sorting when I got home. I’m sure some of your eyes gravitated towards those bills, which I found folded up in old plastic wallet sleeves. Whether the tosser didn’t see them or didn’t care, I have no idea. The bill on the left is a 5$ note from 1954, which is worth approximately 5$. The American dollar bill is worth around 1.25$, while the Italian Lira is now worthless outside of its value as a collectible (probably 50c-1$). The Netherland’s Halve Gulden note was made between 1949-1959 and is probably worth around a dollar.

Fans of brutalist jewelry might have first noticed the necklace, which was made by Montreal-based designer Robert Larin in the late 60s or early 70s. A couple of the links are broken, but it’s still a striking piece in part because of its size – it seems to be one of the collar necklaces described in this article (a good resource for info on Canadian brutalist designers). I’m not sure what it’ll go for, but I’ll see if anyone bites at 40$ on eBay.

Otherwise we have a vintage Jewish National Fund coin bank (probably worth 20-30$), an Ionic Mason coin, 11 bus tickets from 1986, a vintage battery, and a metal doohickey that might be a vintage credit card (bottom right).

I found some decent costume jewelry here, as well as some good crafting items. That bag at the top left is filled with vintage “Made in Czechoslovakia” clasps, for instance. There was no gold or silver unfortunately, but this stuff should make me a bit of money nonetheless. There’s an old TTC token at the bottom right which you probably can’t see due to the glare.

Otherwise, I found a vintage soap dish, a YM-YWCA book of some kind, a map of Israel c.1967, and two old ticket stubs, one of which is from an October 1 1978 Neil Young concert at Maple Leaf Gardens.

I found some more stuff here last week, but that’ll have to wait for another post. Here’s hoping this spot provides quality junk for the foreseeable future!

A spot in NDG has been producing some fun vintage stuff the past couple of weeks. Here we have some vintage Nestle Quik (which I’d guess is from the 80s or 90s), a brass turtle magnifying glass (which I might keep myself), a collection of unused Snoopy greeting cards, some fibreglass repair gunk from the 60s or 70s (I’m not sure if anyone will want it, but I thought the box was cool), and a Parker ballpoint pen.

That hammer at the bottom might be the most unusual piece. On it is written “Mission St Xavier, Caughnawaga.” It’s probably not that old, maybe from the 60s or 70s, but I’ve never seen anything like it before. If you have any insights please share them in the comments!

Here we have an old electric knife box, a copy of Windows 3.0, a patch from Camp Minogami, and a cheese grater. That old French vocabulary book is cool too – it has a lot of cute pictures inside, which should make it appealing at a future yard sale.

I’m guessing the watercolour markers in these tins aren’t much good anymore, but the tins themselves are kind of neat. Those intercoms should sell at a yard sale for a few bucks, and that metal gymnast is pretty fun. Those wooden necklaces look to have been made at Camp Minogami.

This house has provided a lot of fun kitchenwares, most of which you’ll have to wait until the next post to see! The most valuable piece here is that silver plated thing on the left. Most silver plated stuff isn’t worth a heck of a lot, but that’s an old cocktail shaker made by Birks under their “Primrose Plate” moniker. I found one on eBay that sold for around 60$ plus shipping, but I think that it could be worth a bit more than that.

Otherwise, these finds salvaged my Tuesday night run. I went out with a friend and we found very little, but at one stop we noticed a bag that had a nice jingle to it. Most of the contents were gross, but at the bottom was a small collection of junk drawer type items, of which the above were the cream of the crop. The pens are either incomplete or broken, but might still have modest value to a collector (the one on top features the logo of the Montreal Bar Association).

On the bottom, from left to right, is an old sterling silver class ring from 1962, a silver pendant, an Egyptian cartouche pendant that looks to be 12k gold, and a single cufflink designed by Georg Jensen. I found a similar cufflink that sold for 35$ on eBay, and I think the little Egyptian pendant could fetch around 70-80$. So, all in all that trash run was a modest success, despite the fact that my good finds could have easily been measured in grams.

That’s all for now, but there’s lots more finds to come!


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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.

18 thoughts on “Odds & ends”

  1. Wow on the gold finds! I still can’t believe that people toss gold, although I’ve also found it on dumpster diving so it happens everywhere I guess. One other (kinda gross, but lucrative) thing that you might want to grab if you see it is vintage women’s panties. I find them at estate sales and thrift stores, and I’ve sold them pretty regularly on Ebay for over $50 a pair. Some brands go for hundreds, although I’ve yet to come across those. You seem to come across really old stuff in estate cleanouts fairly regularly, so perhaps you will find these while looking through curbside items. Gross as it seems, they are very lucrative.

    1. I love finding gold. It might be my favourite actually because it’s so easy to liquidate. I’ll keep that in mind about the undergarments, lol. I’m focusing more on clothes these days (I used to pass them up, mostly due to disinterest and paranoia about bedbugs, but now I’m trusting my bug sniffing instincts more, and also have come to appreciates clothes more as well) and that kind of stuff has popped up on occasion. I don’t personally find it gross, since the clothes I take are always clean, and were probably just waiting at the back of the closet for however many years.

  2. Do you think the collar could be repaired? I might be interested in it. Couldn’t seem to access the EBay listing. Could you contact me?

    1. Someone actually bought it a few minutes after this post went up. I’m not sure if it was a reader, or if it was just a coincidence (it went up the night before). The previous owner had repaired one of the links using metal wire, but I think the collar would have been painful to use like that! I expect it could be repaired somehow, perhaps by soldering new links in there.

  3. Hahaha … I noticed the Jehovah’s Witness book in the second pic, “Our Incoming World Government: God’s Kingdom.” A theocracy … now that’ll fix everything that wrong with the world!

    Interesting bunch of jewelry you’ve found, and I always marvel at the money you make from old pens.

    The turtle has a prominent position as a symbol of steadfastness and tranquility in religion, mythology, and folklore from around the world. I vote you keep that turtle magnifier yourself. 🙂

    1. Lol, yes that was some vintage Jehovah’s Witness literature. Maybe someone at a yard sale will want it? If not it’s a fun curiosity at least.

      I think I will keep the turtle. Currently it’s on the windowsill in my office.

  4. Love the old $5 bill. Takes me back….good times. It was a lot of money to me way back then!
    Do you have a card that you could drop off at these clear out sales …would you be interested in whats left over? Basement prices?

    1. I should have a card. I don’t really have enough space to buy massive quantities of stuff, but maybe someday it would make sense to do something like that.

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