This & that

The weather has not been cooperative of late, making it hard to pick and impossible to do yard sales. It’s supposed to be nice this weekend, however *knock on wood* so maybe it’s finally time for my first sale of the year! I think I’ll take it easy and just deal with the stuff I have in my basement and plastic bins out front. If you’d like to see some of my junk, come to 147 St Joseph Ouest near St Urbain on Sunday between 12-4pm.

Otherwise, don’t fret if you can’t come to that one – I’ll also be selling at a vintage market all next weekend. I’ll bring some of my fancier stuff there, as well as the usual collection of interesting if often useless junk. Hope to see you at one or the other, or both!

The past two weeks haven’t been amazing for picking but I still managed to find some decent stuff. My Monday evening run was a total write-off before I happened upon a pile of old renovation and fireplace stuff. These vintage andirons should make me a bit of money, even if there aren’t as many fireplaces as there used to be.

I also saved some nice old door knobs and door plates. My favourites are the bubbly glass ones on top.


I’ve never found one like this previously. A single similar looking knob sold for 45 USD on eBay, so I should do well for the pair!

Around a week ago I happened upon a neat pile of trash not far from home. At the bottom right is a set of five Alcoholics Anonymous tokens – I’ve seen individual ones before, but never this many at once. There’s a token saying “think before you drink” as well as one each for the three, six, nine, and twelve month milestones. At the top is a vintage lockpick, an old metal comb, an interesting clay brooch (top left), a Catholic medallion, and a small collection of small photos. I’m not sure what that ruler thing with all the metal sticks is (top right), do you?

I also found jewelry, perfume, and watches. Most of the watches are yard sale quality, but I think that Bulova will sell for around 40-50$. The Caravelle would be nice as well; alas, it doesn’t run. That curvy brooch looks to be sterling silver. It’s a cool piece but it’s unfortunately unsigned. That bracelet is signed “Clara” but I can’t find any relevant information about that person or company online. The (busted) earrings in the bag are by Nina Ricci. The miniature YSL Opium and Egoiste are the best of the perfume finds.

I didn’t see anything here last garbage day, but I’ll keep an eye on the situation in case more treasures emerge.

I was dumbfounded to find three different generations of iPhones – a 5s, 6, and 6+ – all in the same bag in NDG. They’re all in really good cosmetic condition as well. Unfortunately, when people toss their iPhones they rarely turn off the “find my iPhone” feature, and as a result the two smaller phones are currently bricks good only for parts. I have hopes that the 6+ might not have had the “find my iPhone” activated, but I’ll need to figure out what provider it was on before I can know for sure. If it does end up working, the 16gb 6+ seems to sell for around 225$. My previous best iPhone find was a 5s with a cracked screen, so this haul blows that straight out of the water.

Another spot in NDG provided a bit of old toolsy stuff, including this old cigarette tin.

Inside was a neat collection of locks and keys, some of which are of the skeleton variety. Unfortunately none of the keys seem to fit the padlocks, but so it goes. This stuff should do well at a yard sale. I’m sure it could sell on eBay as well, but there’s just not enough time in the world to list everything I find!

I found these things outside of a recently sold house in Ahunstic a couple months back. The necklace on the right might be the most valuable piece here – it’s signed by Anne Marie Chagnon, a local jeweler whose work seems to do well on eBay. Based on recent completed listings (looking through these is the main way I research my finds) I think it could sell for three figures, though I’ll lower the price if it takes a while to sell. I really like that chalkware lion in the middle – I might keep that for myself. The Sheaffer and Armani cases are empty, but still useful for shipping out similar items.

The folks who tossed this stuff were pretty nice. They came out and offered me and my friend some other stuff they were parting with, including some cute embroideries, an old clock, and a large framed class photo that includes a picture of the multitalented Gratien Gelinas. If only people were this nice all the time!

I found a bag of jewelry elsewhere in Ahunstic. The first piece I noticed was the silver bracelet on the bottom which got me excited as to else was in there. Unfortunately, the rest was pretty junky though some was good enough for the yard sale pile. That other bracelet could be silver as well; there’s some marks on there but I can’t make them out.

In Rosemont I saved a large collection of old paper bags. My favourites were these oddly tall and narrow Maple Leaf potato chip bags. The company labels itself “Pioneers in Canada” – pioneers of what, I have no idea. The weight is written in ounces, so this bag dates to at latest the early 70s. Does anyone remember this company? I also saved a bunch of Steinberg bags. I hope they sell at a yard sale, but at worst I can bag people’s purchases in them!

I found this cute little shoeshine box in Rosemont. I also met the previous owner, an older lady who told me that her dad made it when she was just one year old. I’d guess that she was about 80, making this box quite vintage! Many of the things I find are stripped of their history, so it’s always nice when I get to learn even a little bit of their backstory.


Here’s a video of me opening the box via an interior latch (her son showed me how). It appears that the wood was repurposed from old butter crates. I might have to hold onto this, at the very least it’s a fun cubby hole.

Otherwise, people keep throwing out stamps. Some rich folks tossed these two packs (minus one stamp), good for close to 20$ of shipping goodness. I’m also almost finished using that huge haul of stamps which for me was like incrementally finding 100$. Here’s hoping I don’t have to pay to ship things via lettermail anytime soon! (I ship most of my parcels with Paypal labels, so stamps don’t come into play for those).

I’ve been finding more stuff at the gold ring spot. No more gold as of yet, but a decent amount of interesting junk (and also a whole bunch of useless crap). I’ll save those finds for a future post.

I was planning on taking today off from picking as I’ve been feeling a bit under this weather. I decided to go on a quick run at the last moment, however and ended up finding some great spring cleaning “junk.” I’ll share that in a future post, but for now let’s just say that it involves round, sometimes shiny objects.

I’ve been re-tooling the site a little bit. Some of you might have noticed that the old “resources” tab is now called “how to…”, which I think is a better way to phrase it. I also re-wrote a lot of the sections inside that tab, though I still have some work to do on the “how to garbage pick” section. Now that I’m looking at it, the “about” tab is totally useless and has been for some time… I’ll have to work on that as well. I guess you could say I need to do some spring cleaning on the blog!


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19 thoughts on “This & that”

  1. I like that you found a lock-picking tool at one site and a bunch of old locks at another… I also love the blown glass door knob. Thanks for embedding that brief video so that we can all enjoy the beauty of the air bubbles. And three iPhones discarded at once?! What an odd species we are… Bless you for finding and then (hopefully) selling them — at least for parts. Thank you for another great post!

  2. The metal ruler with pins, is a contour gauge, used to duplicate moulding shapes and many other things. Love your site, always fun to see what you come up with!

  3. Interesting finds. It’s hard to imagine a shoe-shine box made by their dad so long ago not being handed down in the family. I’m glad at least the lady saw it go to an appreciative person. Re the iphones, I’m not too knowledgeable about technical stuff but wouldn’t a factory reset override any settings inside?

    1. I guess she figure it was time to move on for whatever reason. Nope, the iCloud lock sticks around even after a factory reset. It’s annoying, but pretty effective I suppose as an anti-theft device

    1. Interesting, thanks for the link! Assuming my math is correct I’d guess that mine is from the late 30s or early 40s.

  4. Just knowing the history of that shoe shine box makes it even sadder that it was thrown out 🙁 I’m so glad you were able to save it, it’s such a great piece!

  5. Good luck with your mini-sale. I’ll be thinking of you out there, having a great time. It’ll be a great warm-up to next weekend’s vintage market.
    Maybe not “amazing” finds … but certainly interesting ones. Lots of variety! From andirons to a shoe shine box. High tech and low tech. All good!
    “Variety’s the very spice of life, that gives it all it’s flavour.”― William Cowper
    Love your mini videos. They add a nice touch to the occasional post.
    Could I buy that lock pick from you? And a few of the skeleton keys?

  6. dear martin, don’t throw out the paper bags !! frame them in any old found frame,(with glass)
    there’s a whole class of people who go NUTS for these, being paper, they were throwaways,
    & today are a class of collectibles unto themselves ! 😉

  7. I believe the squiggly silver pin is Paloma Picasso design, desirable, although there were similar ones after hers. Looks like silver which hers was.

    1. It does look like her design, but I don’t think it’s hers. Mine has no markings, and the pin is in a different place. I’d bet on it being a nice, perhaps locally made knockoff. Still a good item to sell at the vintage sale.

  8. Paloma Picasso for Tiffany & Co….maybe you have an empty Tiffany box? It also came in 18k gold. Examples on eBay, called Scribble.

  9. Oh my! The door knobs made of bubbles & that shoe shine box!! Always happy to see your found treasures.

  10. Such wonderful watches you have found.So wonderful that the family in Ahuntsic gave their treasures to you in such a friendly manner.You should go to Ahuntsic more often.Lots of houses in Ahuntsic.

  11. I work in customer service and I read your blog.I admire frugality and not wastefulness.Let me tell you that I am saving $75 every month since I stopped buying coffee from Tim Horton’s or Starbucks on a regular basis.Before I used to buy coffee outside 4 to 6 times a week.Now I buy coffee outside only twice or thrice a month.I brew and drink my own coffee at home and carry it to work in a thermos.The money saved is significant.

    1. I am frugal in a lot of ways but convenient / fast food is a big expense to me, perhaps my biggest vice at this point. I’d like to cut down but in the end I’d rather spend my time working on other things and not cooking. Occasionally I will cook up a big batch of chili, spaghetti sauce, or curry, which I can freeze and feed myself for a few days with.

  12. The shoe shine box with the paint and the hinges and the words on the inside. Oh my! Might be the cutest thing ever and such a good find. Wish I lived closer so I could come to one of your sales.

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