Gold rush

I had some success last week despite finding little on three of my five runs.

The pile of bags above provided my first quality finds. They were a bit of a challenge to dig through, however. One of the first things I found was a box full of old soup bones, which was a bit unusual.

I also saved a couple of these doohickeys, which leads me to assume that someone living there was a doctor.

There was a lot of dirty old junk in those bags, including tonnes of old food, medicine bottles, and cosmetics. I also saw a couple of syringes, but they weren’t in “poking” position and thus not dangerous. Still, I prefer not to see them in the first place. I took a bunch of the older bottles (I’m a sucker for old containers) and left the rest for the truck. The little vials in the middle are filled with demerol, a fairly strong opioid. I’d guess that most of this stuff dates from between the 50s and the 70s.

I also got lucky while sifting through the pill bottles – one of them contained a bit of jewelry.

The watch was an old Birks Challenger, which I’d guess dates back to the 30s or 40s. It’s dainty and glamourous, featuring a set of stones that could be small diamonds. It worked when I first wound it but it has since stopped ticking, indicating that it needs some servicing (but probably isn’t totally busted).

The bottom case is marked as being 14k gold. I’m guessing that the rest of the watch is as well, though there is some light discoloration around the sides that make me wonder (ie: I can’t tell if it’s supposed to be white gold or yellow gold, especially considering the bottom is white and the top is yellow). I might have to get it tested to be sure. If it is gold, it’s a nice if not super valuable find – ladies watches are generally less valuable than mens, and it’s not particularly heavy (and thus not worth much for scrap).

Each of these rings could end up being more valuable than the watch. The middle one is marked as being 18k gold – the design isn’t exceptional though (or maybe it’s worn out) so I’ll likely sell it as scrap. It weighs about 3.4g, making it worth about 144$ minus the cut my jeweler takes. The ring on the left is marked as 14k gold, it’s pretty but the band has a break in the back. The one on the right (which has a sort of art-deco look) is marked “Pall.”, which I think means palladium, and also features a little arrow stamp.

I’ve learned a lot via trash picking, but I still don’t really know anything about stones. In this case I have no idea if these rocks are diamonds or an imitator like cubic zirconia. If you have any tips or suggestions please let me know in the comments!

I’ll definitely be returning to this spot next week. Each house has a “brand” of trash, and though the stuff here was pretty gross overall I still saved some interesting and valuable stuff.

I went on quite the trek on Thursday. I started in Ahuntsic and found this neat old Laurentian Spring Water contraption (but not much else). The crate is well made, in particular the four pieces of wood on springs which help protect the bottle – you can see more pictures of a similar crate on this message board post. I imagine it was designed for local delivery via flatbed truck, but based on the red stain to the inside I’d guess that the carboy was more recently used for winemaking.

After Ahuntsic I flipped a coin to decide between Cote St-Luc and Verdun. Verdun won, but almost all the trash was gone by the time I got there. Garbage used to be collected pretty late on that route, but I guess the schedule has been changed around a bit.

From there I headed to Côte-Saint-Paul.  There was garbage, but I had no luck. Same with Westmount.

On the way home I decided to cover the last few streets of Outremont. It was there that I found this mound of trash – it looked like junk, but there was a lot of it. Plus, I remembered that there was a “sold” sign out front not long ago.

The bags contained lots of food and pantry items, totally uninteresting papers that should have been in the recycling, old and often abused electronics, and an assortment of other crapola (I’m surprised I’ve never used that word on the blog before…). However, I did save some yard saleable stuff, as well as a couple minor treasures.

The most valuable piece here is probably that little doohickey in the middle. I’m not sure what it’s supposed to be, but it features an image of a building with a chet (a Hebrew letter) cut out of the middle. Zoom in for a better look! It’s marked 14k on the back and is worth about 250$ for its weight in gold. However, it could be worth more if there’s a market for whatever it is. If you’ve seen anything like it, please let me know in the comments!

Otherwise, I found a single gold earring (probably worth between 30-50$, depending on the karat which I can’t make out), a funny penguin pendant, some attractive but probably fake (they aren’t signed on the back) Chanel earrings, and a nice little bracelet. The pearls seem real and the metal is sterling, so maybe it’s something fancy.

Here’s the hallmark on the back of the ribbon charm, as well as the back of the Jewish thingamajig. If you know who designed it, please let me know!

It’s been a good few weeks in terms of finding gold. It really depends on luck – sometimes I’ll go a while without finding any and other times it’ll come in waves. I love finding gold (as I’ve mentioned many times now) and I hope it keeps coming my way!


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39 thoughts on “Gold rush”

  1. Maybe someone was going to make jewellery with the bones. Who would throw out three rings that surely are a married woman’s set?

  2. Great finds! Love the jewelry. Your jeweler friend who buys your gold should be able to tell you what kind of stones they are. Good luck! Hope they’re high quality diamonds! Stay safe out there.

  3. When I was a kid, my Mom would buy packages of bones like that from the butcher counter for our dog. She’d take them home and cook them and then give them to her (the dog) one at a time, from there refrigerator. Maybe someone had them stockpiled for a dog.

  4. I bet someone was hiding the rings in the medicine bottle, and a maybe died, and then a different person threw out all the medicine crapola and didn’t realize they were in there. I have a friend who hid her mother’s valuable jewelry in a baking soda box in the refrigerator, and her husband threw it away when he cleaned.

    1. I don’t know what left me more astonished – rings being hidden in the fridge or a husband that cleans!

    2. That’s what I think too. I didn’t see any regular food waste and the house didn’t look “lived-in,” which makes me think that someone is clearing out an estate and maybe didn’t notice the jewelry. It’s also possible they saw and didn’t care, though.

  5. I love that you used “doohickey” twice in this post. 🙂 And “thingmajig”.

  6. The wedding rings you found remind me of my grandmother’s set and make me sad. Judging by their wear someone wore them for a long time. How and why they ended up in the garbage? Either someone didn’t know what they were doing or just didn’t think they had any value or just didn’t care.

    1. It makes me sad too. I actually have my grandmother’s set, and it’s worn thin like that from decades of wear. I don’t wear it because I don’t want it to break and get lost, but I keep it because it’s sentimental. Hopefully someone just didn’t realize it was in the bottles and tossed it unknowingly.

  7. Old jewelry like this has old mine cut diamonds in smaller sizes than currently favored.

  8. I agree about “doohickey” and “thingmajig.” Terrific words. Also enjoyed debut of “crapola.” The rings hidden in medicine bottle which were then thrown out remind me of something that recently happened in my family. My dad died two Novembers ago, and he did not possess many things of value. But somewhere during his life he either inherited or bought a bunch of small silver goblets. My siblings and I vaguely remembered them, but had not stopped to wonder what had become of them… Many months after he had died, one of my sisters spent time cleaning out his few possessions — recycling/donating what she could and throwing out other items which she did not think anyone would want to re-use or re-purpose (including a small portable toilet one might use on a boat that she found in the back of his closet) The portable toilet sat outside the back of her house for many days, waiting until she took a load of trash + recycling to her town’s transfer station. The day she loaded it into the back of her truck, however, she felt something move around inside the toilet — and it proved to be his cache of silver goblets, which we are guessing he hid there many years ago. May you continue to find many surprises like this, Martin, in the days/weeks/months/years ahead!!!

    1. Glad you like them, and thanks for the interesting story. I suspect similar things happens on a regular basis. I’ve heard several stories about people hiding large amounts of cash in their couch, for example. It’d be fun to find something like that, though at some point (for example, if I found 10k in cash or something like that) I’d wonder if it was right or moral to keep the money. With an amount that size, it would definitely have been an accident. This collection of jewelry, on the other hand is something that could have been thrown away on purpose. Either way, I don’t have the time or energy to hunt these people down to ask them if they meant to throw away their valuables. It probably wouldn’t be good for my profit margins anyways, haha.

  9. Interesting jewellery! If the watch needs servicing it will probably be quite expensive to have it done, just FYI.

    Those old medicines are something else!

    1. Yes I won’t be doing it, that’s for sure. I only repair watches if they’re quartz movements or just need batteries, otherwise I’ll sell them “as is, for parts or repair” (as I do with most broken stuff).

  10. I think the pink bracelet may be rose quartz beads. The charm is a symbol for breast cancer research.

    1. I thought it looked like the breast cancer ribbon as well, but is it a “pink ribbon” if it’s not pink?

  11. An old trick that a dealer friend taught me about watches that have stopped running: hang or hold them near a light bulb for a few minutes, it can soften the grease inside (which may have hardened) and get things working again. It’s worth a try, right?!!

    1. That seemed like a good idea so I gave it a shot. Now it’s ticking again, which is good, though it still gets stuck a lot. But that means that the mechanism still works, which is better than a mechanism that doesn’t move at all. Thanks for the tip!

  12. I would love the chanel earrings when u decide how much u want for them.. nan jan

  13. For about $20 you can buy a Diamond Tester on Amazon. Handy to have for your finds. We used one at a flea market stall where my husband did simple repairs. If it was a diamond we had the person stand there and observe him – didn’t want anyone saying he switched the stones.

  14. Such great finds! I’m always happy when you find gold. My husband says you do better than the treasure hunters out here (we live on the ocean in an area where treasure hunting boats look for shipwrecks)!

    1. Lol, probably. They’re more likely to find a million dollars, but I’m more likely to make a consistent if humble income.

  15. Dem bones dem bones dem dry bones. (couldn’t help myself, hahaha)

    Medicine for “Falling Hair” … I love it! Are you keeping any of the medicine relics?

    Those Birks Ladies Challenger watches seem to sell for a nice little sum, working or not. Hope you make a “nice little sum” from it.

    More precious metals … yay!
    There’s gold in them thar hills (sorry, couldn’t help myself, again. My bad. Hahaha.)

    Lots of cool stuff and things. Carry on carrying on, Martin.

  16. You should show the gold thingamajig to a Rabbi. Looks like it was meant go hang on something. The building probably depicts a local Jewish temple. As a collectible it is probably worth more than just its gold value. I would love to know what you find out.

    1. I wish I knew one, ha ha. I’ll try posting it to reddit, they’re usually good at identifying things.

  17. Morning, I like the stuff you found as in the picture with iodine,powder etc. What do you want for all of it? Thanks,.,Herb


  18. i love what you do.its really is amazing what people will throw said that you found the bones at the same place you found the stethoscope.and that a doctor probably lived there .im kind of kidding and not kidding when i say this .what kind of bones are they?

  19. Such fun seeing what you come up with! I wish I had the courage to do what you do. The “diamond” rings–a mystery as to why they got into the trash. I hope they bring you some nice cash.

  20. Martin,I read your blog and love this Gold rush post.
    In a previous post,readers mentioned that Craigslist now charges $5 per ad for advertising in the services and odds job section.Guess what?Craigslist US has banned the personal ads section in all American cities on the grounds that some people abuse the section for sex trafficking or attracting minors.Craigslist also previously had an erotic ads section which was canned.Now even personals are targeted.This in response to a sweeping sex trafficking law passed by Congress.
    In Canada Craigslist still has a section for personal ads and sexual encounters.But things seem to be changing fast with Craigslist.The loss of choice and free posting bites me.

  21. Kijiji also is terrible and they overregulate everything.If you are not a licensed massotherapist and put an ad offering a massage,they delete all your ads and they prevent you from putting any ads in any category from that account.
    I know clients in Montreal and Toronto who love going to unlicensed masseurs and masseuses because these unlicensed ones are open to experimentation.
    I also think there is too much regulation.If one or two sex traffickers abuse a website,must the website take drastic measures?
    Massage-giving must not be too regulated.I am against it.You should stand up for freedom,Martin.Freedom.You work in a domain which many.,many people turn up their nose at and disdain in a big way.

  22. I wonder if the rectangle with the chet was supposed to be a torah cover decoration. It definitely has two spots for a chain.

  23. those rings are likely Birks too…look very similar to the wedding set my mother had from the 1950’s . if they’re 18k gold, the diamonds are likely very real and may be good quality. you don’t normally put CZ in real gold…

  24. Great finds as usual. Wikipedia tells me that cubic zirconia did not start to be used in jewellery until 1976-I also think there’s a good chance those are diamonds.

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