White Owl

Let’s go back a couple of months to this pile I happened upon in Cote-des-Neiges. I met a woman involved in the tossing and she told me they were clearing out an apartment that had been empty for years.

A lot of the stuff in there was pretty old. I found a few interesting radios, including these little transistors. The Sharp sold for 13$ at eBay auction, which was a bit disappointing as I know I could have gotten more using a set price. The market for some transistor radios is pretty good overall, but I guess there’s a lot of models to choose from, thus making an auction for any individual radio a bit risky (unless it’s one of the most collectible models of course). I added the Zenith to a portable radio lot that did well at the local auction house.

This old Candle 12 Transistor is pretty neat. It works, though the controls are very quirky. I’ll likely bring it to the local auction once their vacations are over.

This portable tube radio is definitely the oldest of the bunch – it probably dates to the early 1930s (“Patented 1916-1932 inclusive”). It was made by General Electric, but the exact model number was erased by the rust. It was probably high tech for its time!

I couldn’t find anything quite like it online, so if you happen to recognize it please let me know! To view a close-up of the photos below, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click “view full-size.”


A few of these pictures aren’t great, but at some point I figured crappy photos were better than none at all. I still have to replace the photography umbrella bulbs that were stolen during that crazy yard sale, and it’s harder to take photos outside in the winter. Anyways, this is a beautiful mid-century portable record player made by Philips. It didn’t work at all, but still sold for 44$ at the local auction. It’s very much in style at the moment.

The eBay auction result for this VW beetle was also disappointing, perhaps for the same reason as the transistor radio. It didn’t help though that I misspelt “Volkswagen” and forgot to add the VW keyword. Oh well! I guess another good thing about Buy It Now listings is that they give you more time to fix your mistakes – eBay doesn’t let you change much once an auction starts, and they don’t like you cancelling auctions that have bids on them.

This Tri-Ang electric Jaguar seems to be worth around 30$, though I’ll probably use it to sweeten to future toy car lot at the local auction house.

This awesome poker chip caddy was made from solid Bakelite, which was the first plastic made from synthetic compounds. It was very popular from the 1920s to early 1940s, and is now pretty collectible due to its solid nature and excellent color. This piece sold pretty quickly on eBay for 120$ + shipping.

This Parker 75 “ciselé” ballpoint pen & mechanical pencil set was also pretty collectible. The pair sold pretty quickly for 150$ + shipping.

I also saved a stash of Canadian Tire money, which looks more impressive than it is (I’d guess there’s about 3$ in there) …

… a collection of 8×10″ racetrack photos (there were four in total, and they’ll soon be listed at the auction house);

… a receipt from 1920 (one can only wonder why the previous owner thought this was worth framing!);

… a vintage fan;

… and some miscellaneous junk. The clock goes with the marble pen holder, it just needs to be glued back on. I’ve never found smelling salts before, and wouldn’t have expected them to have been made by a traditional perfumer like Yardley.

This spot was most notable for providing neat old junk boxes, most of which once held cigars.

One held some less interesting papers, as well as several pennies and a well worn 18k gold ring.

Another held old business cards, some old stamps, and a silver dime. I’ve found a lot of vintage business cards recently, many of which were made for establishments that once did business not far from my home. I’m thinking it might be fun to walk around and match the business with the building, taking a picture of both and sharing them on Instagram. Could be a good excuse to get out of the house at least! What do you think?

This box held the most valuable item of the bunch.

Inside was a collection of interesting paper ephemera, including this dollar bill and a bunch of old bus tickets.

There were a few old photos inside, most of which featured this dog.

Most of the papers were sports-related, however. Here’s some old horse-racing tickets & schedules …

… some Canadians & Alouettes schedules;

… a bunch of tickets stubs, mostly from minor hockey and Expos games;

… and a collection of Expos schedules. Most of these weren’t worth much, with the exception being the 1970 Expos schedule at bottom right. It was made for the 1970 season, the 2nd of the Expos, and appears to be fairly uncommon. I listed it at 95$ and it sold very quickly – perhaps I could have gotten more for it, but oh well.

This spot didn’t produce for very long, but my finds here still netted me at least 500$. Not bad! However, in my next post I’ll share some junk from an even more profitable pile.


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16 thoughts on “White Owl”

  1. F
    December 28, 2018
    1:59 am
    Généalogie Lily-Garden Gagnon – Mes Aieux
    Translate this page
    1890, Montreal, Qc, William-Antoine Polette, Lily-Garden Gagnon. 1925, Riviere- Du-Loup, Qc, Jean-Paul Chauvin, Lily Gagnon. 1946, Cap-Chat, Qc, Adeodat …

    From your last post, the picture of the baby with the name listed on the back has a substantial number of hits on genealogy websites. . Don’t read French. but its an easy google.. Someone on the page, would probably love to buy a baby pic of their grandmother.

    December 28, 2018
    8:56 pm
    I found her on Ancestry: Lilly Garden Gagnon was born about 1865 (presumably in Montreal); she married William Antoine Polette in 1890.

    1. Thanks, I might just hold onto these for a while and see what happens. Now that Lilly’s name is on the blog someone searching it may find my site, so maybe I’ll get an email about it at some point…

  2. Hi Martin,
    Love the interesting finds, especially the ephemera! Perhaps you could list business cards on eBay. I bought one for my great-grandparents’ biz, circa 1920, and was thrilled to get it; still hoping to find others. Things like old biz cards and brochures etc are a real find for those working on family trees.

    1. There is a market for old business cards, unfortunately they don’t sell for enough to make it worth my while (though some niches can be valuable). I wish I had more time to list these sorts of things as I know that people appreciate finding them.

  3. If you made a lot of the four racing photos, the racing tickets and the belt buckle (shown in your photo with the boxing gloves) would you be able to get more at the auction for the group. Also, sometimes old boxing gloves have pretty good value – as you probably know already.
    Great Finds and keep up the great work

    1. I’ve assembled many different auction lots now and one thing I’ve learned is that less is sometimes more. For instance, having the buckle in with the photos would blur the focus of the listing and make the pictures look more cluttered. Plus, I expect most bidders would be interested in one or the other and not both, so adding the buckle wouldn’t liking drive up the bidding much. The tickets maybe, but I thought they went better with the other small bits of sports ephemera. I think these gloves are worth about 20$, they’re a kid’s size but nice for display.

  4. Interesting finds! I’m curious about the framed receipt also. Maybe it was the first purchase made with someone’s first paycheque or something similar.

  5. Such fun reading about your finds! Even the not-so-valuable ones. Just interesting what people throw away. I hardly ever throw anything away according to my daughter! So you wouldn’t find much of interest in my garbage! I do wonder about my neighbors, though. I wish I had the nerve to check on trash day! But we have these huge trash carts that you’d almost have to crawl into to see what was there. Somehow that doesn’t appeal! I have an image of a cart with two legs poking out of the top!

    Good luck on your next outing. I’ll be anxious to see what you find!

    1. Is it an apartment building? I don’t like looking in those kinds of bins either if it makes you feel better – 99% of the time they’re just full of regular house waste and by digging in them you end up smelling like actual garbage. I only look at those if they have something interesting poking out, like old furniture or other vintage looking junk. I prefer the bags out on the curb as it’s easier to judge their contents (via their shape, quantity, smell, whether or not squirrels are interested in what’s inside, etc.).

  6. Interesting post! As usual. I always find great ideas for items to look out for at the Goodwill Bins for resale. Like the Bakelite chip caddy! Good find. VW keyboard?? What is that? You comment makes me think I am missing something with my eBay listings. Yeah, you get more with the Buy It Now but with some items I am happy to have them sell quickly and not clutter things up rather than wait for the “right” buyer.
    I love the idea of the old business cards with a photo of the current situation in the same location. Recently I found a cool old temperature gauge with a local building supply business. I Googled the image of the new business and it was an ugly apartment building now. Still interesting to see. I bet you will have better luck!

    1. Oops, VW keyboard was a typo., lol. Should have been “keyword.” I’ve learned a lot about collectibles over the years just by looking up what I find in eBay’s “completed listings.” The blog has taught me lots as well, readers have helped me identify many things I would have otherwise overlooked. I now consider myself pretty knowledgeable, though there’s still a lot out there to learn (for instance, I don’t know much about high-end antiques (especially glass / china) or furniture because they rarely appear in the trash!).

  7. Ok, at least I am not missing something. VW keyboard had me confused! lol. I think it was you who taught me to check the ‘sold/completed listings’ awhile back and it has been super helpful.

    Happy New Year, Martin. My son and I love your blog and we have learned so much and made more “travel fund” money thanks to you. We are off to Thailand in 3 days.:)

  8. Fascinating, as always. I just love those old-fashioned cooking fans. My parents had one very similar to the one you found, and the same make. My brother used to sell those Candle transistors; they weren’t exactly high-end back in the day … but sometimes the value of a thing has as much to do with survival. 🙂

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