Miscellaneous finds from the past six months

I happened upon this outwardly unexceptional collection of bags when there was still snow on the ground in Nouveau Bordeaux. My finds here were some of the oldest languishing in my garage, and I considered moving the stuff to the yard sale bin so that I could focus on documenting more recent junk. However, after looking over it all again I decided there were definitely things worth sharing.

I found a fair bit of old Catholic stuff here, but it was the tobacco products that inspired more memories. Apparently my dad used to smoke Erinmore Flake, and my mom has a Player’s tin just like this one which once belonged to my grandpa. He also liked using those Vogue rolling papers.

My favourite find here was the Player’s tin, because it came with contents.

Most of the contents were junk, but that brass J.D. Irving employee badge was pretty cool. J.D. Irving is active in a lot of different industries (mostly in New Brunswick) but given some of my other finds here I’d guess that it was forestry related. I expect it was made in the 30s or 40s.

I found lots of photos, and here’s a small selection of my favourites. At top left is an old lumber camp (probably in the 1920s). Otherwise, there’s a picture of a forest fire, two separate car crashes, and a cat with a distortion on its head. Zoom in for a closer look!

Here we have some 1940s French kids books, a couple of religious things, and a Pioneer saw instruction manual.

Here’s some more old Catholic stuff, a Simonds saw catalog, and a Christmas card from the 20s or 30s.

I saved a whole bunch of these cards, the kind you often see bookmarking pages in the bible (I think there’s a specific word for them, but I can’t think of it right now!). Most date from between 1920 and the late 50s, but a few are older than that.

Most interesting to me were these little cards, which I’d guess were given to someone who donated to a Catholic missionary group in the 30s. They feature pictures of kids who were baptized and given Christian names as a result of the person’s donations.

Let’s just say they definitely belong to another time. This one was the most obviously “vintage” though, saying (my rough translation): “I am black, but thanks to you my soul is white.”

I was hoping to find more old stuff here, but I only saw trash outside on one other occasion over the next few months and at some point you have to give up.

I stumbled upon another briefly exciting spot in Cote-des-Neiges. On my first day I found this jewelry box and a few other vintage doodads, but after that the garbage was mostly junk.

A lot of the jewelry in that box was quite dark or tarnished. I found a nice Italian micro-mosaic brooch; a pair of dangle earrings that look to be silver or silver plated (they seem to be stamped with a “32”, not sure what that means); a 935 silver brooch from Israel featuring a very black glass or stone, and a maybe silver brooch with what looks to be an eilat stone.

I also saved this nice bottle of vintage “Amour Amour” by Jean Patou. I look at this now and wonder if I missed the top of the box… but so it goes.

The curb out front of a big house near downtown was exciting for a few weeks. On day one I found a coffee tin full of pennies – that and the “for sale” sign made it a spot I had a hunger to pick at.

Day 2 was mediocre, but on the third garbage day I did pretty well.

I’m always happy to save your bag full of coins, especially when there’s jewelry inside!

Most of the coins were foreign and not particularly valuable, but they’re easy money in bulk quantities.

Here’s a picture of the standouts. I found three Mexican peso coins from the 60s, which are apparently 10% silver. That’s so little silver that you have to wonder why they even bothered, but based on that forum (linked) it was done basically to keep with tradition while dealing with monetary issues. Either way they’re pretty cool coins that are fun to collect. The other coin is an old nickel, which isn’t too exciting other than being damaged in an unusual way.

Otherwise, we have a very nice and fairly large brass crucifix pendant, a few unexceptional Mexican silver tourist pieces, a nice Creed sterling silver Catholic necklace, a 10k gold fraternity pendant (if you know which fraternity please let me know!), and a vintage 40s/50s 10k gold ring. There was also a single silver cufflink with “FP” (Financial Post?) marked on the front that was made by Tiffany.

Around a month after my coin haul I noticed that an estate sale was being held at the same house. That marked an unofficial end to my good run (I rarely find anything once those listings go up), but I’m left to wonder who decided to throw out the bag of coins. I have a hard time believing a liquidator to do that, so I assume someone in the family decided it wasn’t worth trying to sell.

Here’s some stuff I found in front of an apartment building a month or so ago. I started out saving these old tools, and then spotted some nice housewares inside a black garbage bag.

The two candlesticks were International sterling silver, so that was a nice get. Otherwise, I saved a piece of art glass (it has a smooth glass bottom, which is usually a sign of quality, but no signatures or stickers), a set of silver plated sherry glasses, and a nice Russian enameled (and probably silver plated) sugar bowl. There’s a name on it somewhere, but I forget what it says. Regardless, it’s an attractive piece.

At one point in my rummaging I spotted a paper bag full of Vitamins and medicine cabinet type jars. I ripped open that bag, which was inside a black garbage bag, just to see if there was anything good at the bottom. Sometimes I’ll find cool vintage jars or perfumes alongside that kind of stuff, but instead, I found a change purse with a good hunk of change inside. I’d say there was between 15-20$ in there!

Last but not least is this haul of jewelry from a briefly productive spot in Cote St-Luc. (In retrospect I should have taken this picture in my garage, but oh well). I saved a few bits of gold, including an Italian horn pendant, a Taurus pendant, a heart pendant, and a couple of broken chains. There’s also a bit of silver and several decent watches. My favourite is the Sutton skeleton watch – it needs some maintenance (the movement works, changing the time is a bit of an adventure) but should still sell for around 50$. I also like that enameled brooch (marked “Joop Schilt Holland” and seems to be reasonably collectible) and the old necklace with the odd bulbous green and clear beads. There was more junky stuff I didn’t photograph and gave to a friend to sell.

Cote St-Luc was very good to me over the course of a few weeks, and I’ll be sure to share some of those finds soon. Otherwise, some of my best recent finds have come from a place where I got yelled at (I now just take the bags and leave). It’ll be a while before I share any of that stuff though, however, as the best finds usually take the longest to document!


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15 thoughts on “Miscellaneous finds from the past six months”

  1. I don’t know if you ever listen to podcasts, if you do, you might find ‘ephemeral’ interesting.

  2. Some fun finds there Martin! Hope you get more when people do some fall cleaning. Love all the jewelry bits you find..and coins! Wow!

  3. Yes, those baptismal cards are bothersome, in several ways! Martin, I think your finds tend to document history, and, I hope, how we have hopefully evolved since those times—how we now question those black-white dynamics and the assumptions many more used to carry.

  4. I am not a button collector but that seems to be on the rise. If you just drop all your miscellaneous buttons in a jar you might get someone who is interested in it. Just thinking…

  5. I love the stuff you find and seeing the pictures. Dumpster Diving has been a hobby of mine for a long time but I don’t have the energy at to post everything. It’s very cool and awesome how much you show us all, the waste is ridiculous.

  6. I cannot believe what people throw out, It is amazing that you can salvage so much before the landfill.
    For as long as you have your health, continue as you save historical items which someday will be more important.
    Brilliant posts to read and you put in great effort and detail in your posts for many items.

  7. Wow! Some great finds here!
    Vogue papers, Erinmore pipe tobacco and Player’s cigarettes … woot, another mention. 🙂 *hugs*
    Re: the cat in the picture … I think maybe it’s possessed??? 😀
    Those baptismal cards are a great find. These “snapshots” along with other evidence you’ve chanced upon that document our species’ less “humane” history would make a great chapter in that wonderful book you’re going to write.

  8. Hi Martin, I always learn something from your posts, like the smooth glass bottoms of quality pieces! I love it when you find money. Money!? Who throws money out? But with foreign coins, how can you tell if older coins have any value? Do you know of a good website to check on that?

    1. I usually check on eBay completed listings for older coins. But most aren’t worth much, so I don’t think about individual coins that much unless they look really old or look like they’re made of silver. For the ones I don’t think are worth much, I put them in an old McCoy cookie jar until I have enough to bring to the auctionhouse.

  9. The key/pin looking thing is for Sigma Iota Epsilon, which is a national honorary and professional management fraternity (that is straight from google). Strangely, I didn’t see any on eBay for sale or in sold listings. The Pioneer saw instruction manual should go for quite a bit if its old. A lot of people are into collecting chain saws (yes, it is a thing) and are actively searching for old manuals. Same goes with the Simonds saw catalog. I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I thing sometimes you find better stuff for free than I do buying it at estate sales.

    Happy Hunting

    1. I never really thought about it but I guess identifying the organization is as easily as figuring out what letters those are. Thanks for the info!

      The nice thing about “garbage” is that it often doesn’t have a professional looking it over. Estate sales will generally have better things, but the liquidators usually know what they have and you have to pay good money for them. The family run sales tend to be more of a mixed bag, sometimes overpriced sometimes underpriced and sometimes both. I enjoy going to sales, but mostly to browse as I don’t need any more stuff. Occasionally I’ll get a pretty good deal though as well!

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