Bits & bobs

My mom came to town this weekend and helped roll my found coins (we also did other things of course, like go to the Leonard Cohen exhibition at the MAC). The total came to about 70$, most of which was found in the last six months.

I gave her some garbage in exchange for helping me out, like this vintage tin I found in Rosemont a while back (she loves ships). She also went home with an old laptop and some portable phones. We went on a couple garbage runs too, though we didn’t find anything super amazing. Here’s hoping it’s a little warmer next time she’s to visit!

Last week I happened across a big trash pile in one of the rich neighbourhoods. I was running a bit late so I threw the most intriguing bags in the car for later sorting. They ended up being filled with an almost incomprehensible amount of cosmetics, many of which were used or expired. Unfortunately, used cosmetics are a tough sell because of legitimate health concerns. I expect the risk is actually fairly low, but it’s high enough that I don’t want to bother selling them at yard sales. eBay won’t let you sell them either, so even if they were made by Chanel they’re probably best left on the curb.

Regardless, I was able to fill a plastic tub with stuff I can sell or use myself.

My most notable save was a collection of quality perfumes, my best in some time. The Annick Goutal and Prada have already been reserved for a total of 35$. Four others are on eBay, while the rest made their way into the yard sale bin. They should earn me a couple hundreds bucks after all is said and done.

This place also tossed a collection of broken or obsolete cellphones. The total of eight from one household might be some kind of record! They’ll go to the e-waste bin.

I found this 160gb iPod Classic later that night. It has a busted screen, but fortunately the market for iPods is still pretty strong. It sold quickly on eBay for 61$.

These boots were the crown jewel of a big collection of rich people clothes I found a while back. They’re 20-eye boots by Doc Martens, and this model (1B60) sometimes sells for over 200$ on eBay. The boots look barely worn, so I’m hoping they sell for around that amount. There was lots of other quality stuff inside those bags, which for whatever reason were often placed in the recycling bin. I donated a lot of it to charity, and will try to sell the rest (including other nice boots) at a yard sale.

I found these Wedgwood platters late last fall and just got around to taking pictures of them. They look pretty old, and the signature on the bottom is pressed which is something I haven’t seen before. They all have “3DL” stamps as well, which appears to be a date mark from 1883. If true, they’re in pretty good condition for their age! I’m definitely not an expert in pre-1900s china, so if you happen to know their value please let me know in the comments.

While cleaning out this jewelry-containing pouch from the Very Rich People series I saw some small golden beads (mostly around the top in this pic) that I hadn’t noticed previously. They seemed heavy for their size, so I set them aside to show to my gold guy when the time came to melt some scrap. As it turns out they were 18k gold, and a little handful of these beads earned me around 170$. Not bad eh? I love gold!

Speaking of gold, a couple weeks ago I saved this coin on a chain. I didn’t think much of it at the time, in fact I don’t even remember where I found it. But I later noticed a 14k gold mark on the chain, and thought the coin and frame (though unmarked) could be gold as well. Well, the coin was gold – nearly pure gold in fact – while the frame that held it in place was 18k. The coin is an Austrian 4 Ducat, dated 1915 but almost certainly a restrike from much later. They’re pretty common and don’t have much value beyond their gold content, so I sold the coin and chain to my gold guy for nearly a grand. That’s a great payday!

This is probably the most valuable thing I’ve found that I can’t remember the origins of. I can narrow it down to a couple of spots, but I don’t think I’ll ever remember with confidence which one it came from. I can say though that the people who tossed it were pretty well-to-do. Maybe someone got it as a gift, and didn’t appreciate it or understand its full value. Regardless, I’ll bet I spend the profit better that they would have.

It’s been a bit chilly recently, but should warm up again in the coming days. Hopefully it’ll feel like spring for real in time for my birthday on March 30th. I have an idea for a little garbage-related video I’d like to make, but I don’t want to do it until the weather is solidly above zero.


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26 thoughts on “Bits & bobs”

  1. Happy early birthday, Martin! Love your blogs and LOVED the Podcast. You are a celebrity in my house down here in California. My 12 year old son and I love seeing your finds. The trashed gold and actual money are just so shocking. Thanks for keeping the e-waste out of the landfill.

    1. Hmmm, could be. The other site said that pieces from that time usually had “Made in England” or “England” signed on them, which this one doesn’t, but it could just be an aberration. Either way, they’re pretty old and cool!

  2. Was floored by the Doc Marten boots. Hope you get a ton of money for them. You didn’t mention the size, but hope it’s a popular one. I’m a big fan of Leonard Cohen and now your mom for going to the art show with you. Shoo Goo is very helpful in repairing shoes, but don’t know if it was hardened or not. Love your blog and echo your other commenter about thanks for putting stuff in e-waste for the lazy ones. I pick up their street trash in my community. Lots of laziness, rich and poor. Happy Birthday to you! S

    1. I think they’re a US size 8. I’m not sure if that’s a common size… so far the listing has had a lot of views, but no buyers. I’m a fan too, I forgot how much I enjoyed his music before going to the show. The Shoo Goo seems fresh, so that’s good! Glad you like the blog!

  3. Hi, Martin: As usual, I’m both entertained by and envious of your finds. (I read the blog regularly and drool regularly, but don’t often comment. This time, though, I was gobsmacked not only by the precious metals, but by the Doc Martens and the Wedgwood.)

    And best regards to your mother! The photo of her is delightful.

  4. I love chilling (and getting busy) with my hardworking family garbologist. Glad I was part of much of the doings in this post. And I’m really looking forward to watching that intriguing little video you’ll be putting together! *hugs*

  5. Happy early birthday. 🙂 Isn’t it crazy how much money you can make from collecting coins for a while? Never underestimate the power of small things.

    1. Yup, I find most a few at a time, at the bottom of bags that otherwise held “junk drawer” type stuff. I put them in a box and forget until the time comes to roll them, usually when my mom comes to town, lol.

  6. HI – Martin – Love the finds!!! Did you have the jeweler take a look a the broken pearl strand to see if the pearls were real. They look hand knotted

  7. Thank you for another terrific post, Martin. How fun to see a photo of your supportive and participatory mom!!! I agree with Mrs. Picky Pincher that we must “never underestimate the power of small things” whether they are a smile to a passerby on the street or little gold beads (which turn out to be worth a pretty penny!!!) I also applaud that you were willing/able to get all of those cell phones recycled correctly.

  8. Hooray for Mom! Hope she’s proud of you, because you are a true entrepreneur and a very interesting person too. Enjoy all of your posts!

  9. Wow on the little gold beads and especially on the coin on the chain … Not only is the money great but it makes an excellent story! Glad you lucked out on those.

    Sounds like both you and your mom enjoy your work and had a good time. I kind of wish one of my grown up kids would do this so I could help 😀

  10. Marty, You can list lots of vintage cell phones, flip phones and Blackberrys for parts repairs. They sell. There are many people who are dedicated Blackberry users and need parts.

    1. It’s true, perhaps truer in the US where shipping prices are lower (and thus it makes more sense to ship lower value items like this). I looked at the sold prices and found it wasn’t really worth the effort, in large cost because of the shipping. I have enough stuff to sell, so I’m happy to put them in the bin (and I expect some parts of the phones will end up in Chinese re-use markets).

  11. I’m always happy to read of your successful sales of other’s “trash”. Hope the temps warm up for you soon.

  12. Well you have your Dear Mother to thank you,for without her,you wouldn’t be able to show your pickings.You are further blessed that you know the rich picking areas. By the way,there is also gold in those cell phones.A guy I know has been collecting for 10 years,the amount of gold collected is staggering. Keep posting

  13. Regarding the Wedgewood platters,, this website says that After 1891 ENGLAND will appear with the mark., so your plates are probably prior to 1893 even. Are you sure there is a #3 in front of the two letters, as the website has lists of 3 letter codes for dating purposes.

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