Site icon Things I find in the garbage

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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