The windowknocker

This spot provided some great finds over a couple of months in the late spring / early summer.

As I was picking one night an older guy knocked loudly on his window, presumably to get my attention. I looked up but he didn’t give further direction. Windowknocking is a passive aggressive way of telling me to get out of the garbage – It happens semi-regularly, usually in the evening, and it’s always a little awkward. Fortunately I was just about done with the pile by the time this happened so I took my finds and left.

These folks had tossed some great stuff though, so I wasn’t going to be deterred that easily. I just made a point to go to that spot nearer to the end of my trash run, instead of close to the beginning. That seemed to work, and I was able to avoid further contact with the windowknocker.

I take photos of most of the trash piles I frequent to prove that I was there and that there were things on the curb. When I find something really cool, I might try to get a shot of the object inside the bag as proof that it was indeed in the trash. I do get paranoid that someone will accuse me of stealing, particularly when people throw out literal gold. It seems like an unlikely scenario, but if I’ve learned anything in life it’s that people can be quite stupid! Anyways, because of all that I’m actually happy that Apple tracks all my movements, and that all my photos have the specific locations attached to them.

Those iPhone photos aren’t always that great, especially at night with the flash on. But above you can maybe make out an intriguing blob wrapped up in old sheets.

It was a heavy soapstone carving in pretty much impeccable condition. It’s funny when people throw things out with care (I guess they thought it might have torn through the bag otherwise?). It weighs about 3.77kg (or 8.3lbs) and measures about 10″ tall.

A tag was taped to the back, which noted that it was made in the Belcher Islands (in Hudson’s Bay off Quebec) by a J. Emiko Loar. I had no luck finding any reference to this person, but if you have any ideas please let me know!

A number and a couple of letters that are probably Inuktitut are etched on the bottom. I haven’t looked too much into those yet, but if you know anything about them please save me the effort! It’s a very nice piece, and should be worth somewhere in the three figures regardless.

I found another soapstone figure here. This one’s much smaller, maybe 5″ tall, and doesn’t seem to be signed (the bottom is rough / not polished). Still, it’s pretty well done.

These guys must have had quite the art collection if this is what they were throwing away. This bronzed steel sculpture fit pretty awkwardly into the trash bag as you can probably imagine. The “wingspan,” or whatever you want to call it is about 15″ in length.

The piece is signed “Gord.” It’s a simple signature reminiscent of what you’d see on amateur art, but I figured out that it was by Gord Smith, a noted Canadian sculptor who created the “Canada Screen” at Expo 67. It’s a pretty cool object, and it seems like it should sell easily for hundreds of dollars, maybe a thousand if I’m lucky.

I’ve never seen anything quite like this vase, which is aluminum (I think) and covered in bits of curved coloured glass. It’s very nicely done, but I don’t see any signatures or other identifiers. If you’ve seen something like it, please let me know!

This spot wasn’t big on jewelry, but I did save an Italian silver bracelet and an old silver band. I doubt the stones are diamonds, but I should get them tested.

This prayer necklace is probably more valuable than either of those. The beads smell like Bakelite, and I’ve had great success selling the reddish stuff before. I still don’t know much about the market (ie: what qualifies as “faturan“), so maybe I’ll let an eBay auction figure out what it’s worth.

On the last day I met a younger guy, who told me in a sort of whiny voice that he didn’t care if I took anything as long as I didn’t make a mess. Fine by me. I saved a lot of small stuff that night, including a coin collection (nothing super exciting, but still), several bills including a ripped 5$ (I think it’s still worth 5$ but I have yet to bring it in), some patches, a Nintendo Game & Watch (ie: an easy 50$+), and a collection of Bruce Springsteen tour pins. The house looked empty the week after, and there was no more garbage to be found.

Over the weeks I also saved some old photos, clothes, canned food, and other useful if unexciting stuff.

The weather’s looking pretty good this weekend so I’m planning on doing two garage sales. It’s also that time of year when university kids make their way here for the fall semester, and I figure it’s a good time to unload some quality junk. Sorry for the late notice, but at least they start a little late as well!

Saturday: 924 St Gregoire near Mentana, starting around 1pm and going until 7pm.

Sunday: 4096 Coloniale near Duluth, same.

Links

1. Facebook page
2. My eBay listings, Sign up for eBay, Search for something you want / research something you have (I’m a member of the eBay Partner Network so I make a bit of money if you buy things [even if they’re not mine] or sign up for an account via these links)
3. Help me pay off student loan debt / Contribute to the blog
4. Follow me on Instagram
5. Email: thingsifindinthegarbage@gmail.com

Please note that I am hopelessly bad at responding to emails & Facebook messages.

Recent sales (May & June)

eBay sales

May: 12 sales for 1521.50$

June: 18 sales for 1357$.

Total: 30 sales for 2878.50$. With fees at around 10%, my profit on that is roughly 2590$.

Macbook Pro: 175$. I found this while biking in Outremont back in the spring. It worked but slowly, making me think that the hard drive was an issue. Still, a MacBook Pro in nearly any condition is worth selling on eBay.

Pal Kepenyes yin-yang necklace: 375$. As seen in the last post!

Isamu Nogachi vintage paper lamp: 325$. Ditto!

14k necklace clasp: 150$. I would have scrapped this in the past, but I found out that there’s a good market for jewelry findings on their own, especially a fancier looking piece like this. It ended up selling for over twice its value in scrap.

Gulden prism set: 100$. An optometry doohickey, part of a larger optometry haul that I didn’t get around to mentioning here. However, one piece in particular is very cool, and I’ll show you a picture eventually.

Speakman Anystream No.1: 210$. I’ve found two of these now, and both sold fairly quickly for 210$. They date back to the 50s (you can see some of the patent info in the middle) and are very heavy, made with chrome plated brass. It needed a good cleaning with CLR but was definitely worth the effort.

Silver George Jensen bracelet, No. 142B: 350$. Georg Jensen is one of the finest names in silver, and I made sure to get top dollar for this piece.

Local auction sales

3693$ – 923.25$ (commission fees) – 166$ (listing fees) = 2603.75$

Dualit toaster: 65$. Found at the bottom of a recycling bin in Cote St-Luc.

10k gold heart pendant: 40$. A piece from that Rosemont gold haul. I’m happy with this price. After fees I’m still getting around 1.5x the scrap value, and I doubt putting the work into listing it on eBay would have provided enough extra value to make the process worthwhile.

2 Nintendo DS Lites + games: 85$. I actually tested these ones – they worked fine. Found not far from Dawson College.

19.2k Portuguese gold ring: 95$. Another piece from that Rosemont haul. Again, I’m happy to have gotten above scrap here. It had diamonds and a pearl, but none were exceptional enough to be worth much on their own. I included a nice Birks box, I find them fairly regularly and they’re great for displaying the item.

90.70 in Euro coins: 130$. My collection of Euros got too big so I dumped them off on the auction house. It’s largely a symbolic victory but I was happy to get a little above a 1:1 exchange rate after fees. 1 Euro is worth 1.50 CAD right now, but finding someone to pay the exchange rate for coins is pretty difficult. I had similar results with a smaller lot of British pound coins.

Antique English semi-porcelain serving dish: 38$. Old china is a tough sell in general right now but this piece did pretty well. It made it to the curb unscathed! Found while walking around the Mile End.

Vintage exit lamps: 140$. I found this box full of them outside of a big apartment building near downtown when I was driving around with my mom. We didn’t go on a long trash run, but this find made it a profitable one!

Pineapple light: 36$. These spent a lot of time in my garage before I brought them to auction. I figured I should pair them with some other vintage light fixture, but all along they were cool enough for a lot of their own. Pineapples are in right now.

Peanuts garbage can: 20$. This isn’t a terrible price, but I’m kinda wishing I had just kept it!

Pokemon cards: 46$. With the help of family I was able to process a bunch of cards from that massive haul in the winter (I still have that horseshoe in my car by the way, it seems to be working!). This is just one of several lots, but they all sold for between 32-46$ (other than the Cardfight!! Vanguard ones, which were closer to 20$). There’s definitely money to be made but I decided it’s not worth driving myself crazy trying to find a valuable Charizard or whatever. These cards aren’t that old anyways, so it’s less likely that any particular one will be super valuable (most of the ultra expensive cards are from the early editions). Even after selling about 12 thousand cards, I still have huge boxes full of unsorted ones under my bed. That might end being a good winter project.

Vintage Fisher Price hospital: 42$. Found in Cote-des-Neiges.

Jacques Cartier bridge plans: 55$. I think this one had something to do with drainage. I had some others, but most were more technical. Still, the drawings were pretty cool!

Untested console lot: 65$. I hate testing electronics. Fortunately, they do pretty well at auction even when I don’t.

Copper fish cooking pot: 140/2$. I split the profit with a friend because we found it together and he helped clean it up. It was a real pain making this thing look shiny, but I guess it was worth it – it sold at the high end of what I was expecting.

Silver necklace: 40$. I found this several years back and wasn’t able to sell it on eBay or Etsy. I’m happy with the price I got here. The stones were probably rough rubies, and the necklace was probably Indian.

Lot of gaming controllers: 38$. Untested, but probably fine.

Big lot of glass chandelier dangles: 34$.

Glass case with old junk: 48$. I’m pretty happy with this price! Oh, and I didn’t include the coins with the lot. I have more research to do before I feel comfortable selling those.

Total

5193.75$, 18263.95$ halfway through 2019. At this pace I will easily beat my previous records!

 

 

 

 

Little boxes of treasures / Restlessness pt.2

 

Today I continue my quest to finish sharing my spring finds so I can get to some more recent ones. This spot was great for a few weeks around the beginning of May, and it provided some “trash” that will compete for a spot on my end of year top-ten list. I still have lots of research to do though, and these folks could also end up making my list of all-time top providers (which is one that could make the book someday).

It’s also funny knowing that I found this stuff largely by accident. I was feeling bored and restless one night and decided to go on a run mostly as an excuse to get out of the house. The garbage on this particular street is usually picked up very early in the morning, and normally I don’t get there in time to see any of it – I focus on the other streets instead. So, I was definitely lucky to be in the right place at the right time.

Of course, I’m sure I’m in the right place at the wrong time often enough, but there’s nothing or nobody to tell you when that is the case.

Anyways, the boot in the video above is actual garbage. However, it goes to show that this stuff was probably packed away in a basement or attic for at least a few decades. I’d never before seen a rubber boot that crunchy!

Most of my best finds were packed away in little boxes like this one.

Here’s a look at all that stuff. There’s a lot of quality junk here, so zoom in for a closer look!

It’s always exciting finding a goodie box like this. I think the first piece that struck me was the fish brooch in the middle. It has a brutalist look to it, and indeed it’s signed G. Vidal on the back. It’s an unusual piece, and I wasn’t able to find any others online (he does have a different fishy design, however). The signature is also different as he typically used stamped symbols, but maybe it’s an early work. Either way, I think he made it as the quality is excellent and it seems to be made from pewter, his material of choice. It should sell for around 150-200$.

The snake bracelet was also a little different. It was hallmarked “333,” which is 8k gold that’s likely of European origin. It was pretty busted unfortunately, so I removed the gold from the steel coil and sold it as scrap. My gold guy told me it was more like 5k gold, but I had 19 grams of it so I still came away with a little over 100$. I did keep the head, which looks to have little rubies for eyes.

Next up on my most intriguing list is that chain like piece on the left. I’m not sure what it’s for, so please let me know if you do! It’s hallmarked with a star and the word “silver.” I especially like the details on that bit in the middle, it reminds me of “Arts & Crafts” designs but I’m no expert. Either way, I wouldn’t be surprised if this thing dates to the turn of the century.

That enameled brooch near the top is also cool. It’s signed with a tiny picture and the word sterling, and the design looks like a modernist alligator. Any info as to who might have made it would be appreciated. To the left of that you can see a wooden hair pin type object with a horned deer-like animal on top.

Otherwise, I found a Bakelite bangle; a Mexican sterling ring with a rough turquoise (?) stone; a pair of silver cufflinks marked “Hand Made in Greece”; a cigarette holder that looks to be made from ivory; a couple of bits of earrings for the scrap gold pile; a locket signed “K&L 835” (silver from Germany); and three gold-tone & enamel pieces that were probably part of a modernist necklace (none are signed, unfortunately).

You can see better picture and some of the hallmarks in the gallery below. (Note that you can click on the picture to make it bigger, and then within the gallery viewer you can make the picture zoomable by scrolling down and clicking the “view full-size” button on the right hand side).

As for the coins, there’s a few old ones in there, the oldest of which I’ll mention again later on.

One day I saved several wallets, all of which had foreign currency inside.

None of them were super exciting, but I did spot a Canadian silver dime. Also, a few of the wallets were still in good enough condition to sell at a yard sale.

There were lots of curiosities tucked away in this little box, including a bit more natural stuff.

That big Parthenon pendant (which is probably bronze) is covered with what looks to be sealing wax. That should come off pretty easily, though I still haven’t gotten around to doing it. I think the other pendant is a hunk of silver. A couple of those coins look pretty ancient, and you can see close-ups below.

I’m guessing that these coins are legitimate old, and not reproductions. The one on the right looks Roman and silver, while the one on the right looks bronze but is hard to identify. The middle coin is from that earlier collection – it’s dated 1601 and was made by the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth that existed at the time.

I don’t know much about coins, so any advice would be appreciated. Zoom in for a closer look!

Occasionally the treasures were stored in little plastic bags. I took this shot at my garage before I got my new lights, but you get the drift.

That bib necklace is pretty awesome. I’m not sure what it’s made of, but based on the occasional green tarnish I’d guess that it’s got a lot of copper inside. Either way, it’s very pretty and all those pieces bouncing together makes a very nice sound. The clasp is missing which makes it a little harder (for me) to date, but if you have any ideas let me know. The amber necklace was busted, but I put the beads in a nice wooden box and sold they sold at auction for around 20$.

The ring at bottom left is pretty cool as well. It’s designed like a lion and is hallmarked “950.” That silver standard isn’t in use anymore, and likely indicates that it was made in Europe some time ago.

This was the last treasure box I found, outside on a day when there were only a few trash bags out (a tiny number when compared the hoards I stumbled across on previous trash days).

The wicker apple contained some of the best stuff.

There’s a bit of silver here, but the piece that really sticks out is the large yin & yang necklace.

It was signed by Pal Kepenyes, a Hungarian-Mexican sculptor whose work is pretty sought after (though you should never believe any price seen on 1stDibs). I listed this on eBay and it sold pretty quickly for 375$. Can’t complain!

A couple of smaller boxes inside that box held some nice beads, a crystal necklace, and another necklace that’s probably faux ivory.

I saved some unboxed treasures as well. There was a fair number of doctor-related ephemera, including a large selection of Clinical Symposia magazines from the 60s and 70s. My favourite is the one with the nuclear blast, which was published in 1963 not long after the Cuban Missile Crisis.

I found a whole bunch of art. This piece is the one that most stood out, it’s got an interesting look and seemed to have been signed in 1946.

I also found this neat poster, which uses the image of Tintin on the Moon but rebrands it something like: “The Sciences, they’re also for girls”. I think it sold for about 8$ at auction.

One of my other most valuable finds (that I know of) was a vintage Isamu Noguchi Akari ceiling lamp. Made from washi paper, these lamps are very popular among mid-century enthusiasts.

This one was still in original box & in pretty good condition. I listed it on eBay and it sold extremely quickly, maybe even within the hour, for 325$. Not bad! When something sells that quickly you always wonder if you should have priced it higher, but I think my price was just “fair” and the buyer very passionate.

So, two things on this post have already sold for 700$. Let’s call it 850$ after counting the scrap gold from the snake bracelet and earring parts. There’s a lot of treasure still to sell, however, and lots of research left to do (and I hope you can help me out a bit!). Hopefully there’s a good amount of money yet to be earned…

Considering all the treasures I found here I can’t help but wonder at the value of some of the junkier looking stuff. For example, these pretty but seemingly useless crystallized bits of orange, red, green, and blue whatever in a small jar. I doubt they have any value, but if you know what they are please share in the comments!

I’ve been having decent luck later, in large part because I’ve been finding jewellery. For example, last week I didn’t have any luck at all before coming across a small bag of the shiny stuff on Friday. That definitely made up for a thoroughly mediocre Monday thru Thursday. The weeks before that were also helped by jewelry. I’ll get to sharing that sometime in the near future.

Links

1. Facebook page
2. My eBay listings, Sign up for eBay, Search for something you want / research something you have (I’m a member of the eBay Partner Network so I make a bit of money if you buy things [even if they’re not mine] or sign up for an account via these links)
3. Help me pay off student loan debt / Contribute to the blog
4. Follow me on Instagram
5. Email: thingsifindinthegarbage@gmail.com

Please note that I am hopelessly bad at responding to emails & Facebook messages.