Pass-pour pt.2

Let’s finish up with this stuff. I found a lot of old electronics here, including a whole bunch of vintage calculators. I always have a soft spot for those, even if most aren’t worth that much. That Grundig radio is pretty nice, and that SeaRanger weather radio is kind of cool. It also worked when I found it, indicating that it was used relatively recently (many portable radios I find have dead or corroded batteries inside). For some reason this person owned a whole bunch of those pens with digital clocks on them. None looked to have been used.

I saved three of these old Nokia cell phones. I was surprised to see that they actually held a charge after all these years. Also, I was surprised when the lot of three sold quickly on eBay for 45$. I guess this model is a “classic” at this point, and one of the phones was in basically new condition.

Here’s a couple more calculators, a toy gun of some kind, and some engineering tools. I wonder if the previous owner worked in the field.

Those old parallel rulers are kind of cool, as is the slide rule (a Diwa 913). At top right is a nice brass A.W. Faber “Mentor” pencil sharpener, which should sell for around 25-30$.

I really liked this old wooden toy CPR train, which I imagine was hand made. I’m sure it has a bit of value, but I’m tempted to keep it for myself.

At top left is a nice silver baby rattle. When I was digging through the bags I spotted that mother of pearl end piece, but left it because I assume it was broken off a manicure tool or something. Once I got home I researched the rest of the rattle and realized what I had left behind. So, I drove all the way back to find it again, which is something I rarely do. However, I knew it would bother me if I didn’t complete the rattle. Anyways, it was made in Birmingham, England in 1930 and is worth about 100$.

Otherwise, we have a nice Waterman pen, an old wood & brass slide caliper, and a J&R Weir Marine Engineers pin.

These buttons, stored in an old cigarette pack, were not to be thrown out (but were). They’re from the Lower Canada College, a private school in NDG, and look to be silver plated. I found a few more LCC buttons in a small plastic bag.

I found a bit of jewelry, mostly cufflinks. The Fenwick & Sailors silver gun cufflinks at top right are probably the nicest ones in this collection, they should sell for 60-75$. That grey and red stone thing is silver too, but it looks to have broken off of something.

My favourite cufflinks were the gold ones. I found around four pair, each of which were 9 or 10k gold. With the price of gold where it is (over 2000 Canadian dollars per ounce), this small collection is worth around 450$ for scrap.

However, my coolest find here might have been this silver plated nutcracker, which appears to be from the RMS Lusitania.

The Lusitania was sunk by a German submarine in 1915. 128 Americans were among the dead, which influenced their decision to join the war effort in 1917.

The Lusitania was only in service between 1907 and 1915, and I doubt they decided to switch the silverware in that length of time. My guess is that someone stole this from the ship way back in the day. I wasn’t able to find any others like it online (or Lusitania silverware in general, besides souvenir spoons), so it must be kind of rare.

It’s definitely a cool piece. It’s hard to research, but I’d guess it’s worth a bit of money, and might even be a worthy of a retroactive add to my best of 2019 list. If you can help me appraise it, please share your wisdom in the comments!

In other news, I decided to start a new Instagram account where I trace old business cards and other ephemera (most of which I found in the trash) back to whence they came. It’s a fun way to explore the history of the city, and is also a good excuse to get out for a walk. If you’re interested in such a thing, check it out!


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: – note that it might take me some time to reply, and that I am unlikely to be able to fulfill requests for items

24 thoughts on “Pass-pour pt.2”

  1. That Lusitania find is smashing! She was such a famous ship at the time, so I bet that’s worth something. I read a fascinating history about the ship’s sinking by Erik Larson.

    I love your new ephemera card project. I’m always on the lookout for old biz cards related to two of my Manhattan-based family businesses, c. 1900-1950. I think paper ephemera is very cool. Keep up the good work, Martin!

  2. Keep the train! You’ll never find another one and if times get tough you could always sell it then.

  3. I love every single post! What are you doing with the slide rule? I might add it to my math class old stuff museum!

    1. I have it in my future flea market pile (I hope to do a church sale sometime this winter). If you could come to that maybe we can make a deal

  4. Great findings! I love cuff links and yours are beautiful! I kept my dad’s and wished there would be more shirts made to wear them, but I don’t want to spend big money just on one piece of clothing. Keep up the great work. I love reading all your posts!

  5. Another inspiring post, Martin! I am touched by the poignant irony of you salvaging buttons which were clearly labeled “do not throw out.” Hurrah for everything that you recovered… and can now sell in various ways. The Lusitania nutcracker is a very thought-provoking find. There are probably many more which have been resting on the bottom of the ocean for the last century…and this one was destined for a landfill or an incinerator until you re-claimed it. Well done!!! I always feel uplifted by reading your blog posts. Thank you for all of the work you do!!!

  6. Love the items in this post!
    The nutcracker is truly amazing…and kinda stops you in your tracks for a moment!
    Following your new instagram page now….

  7. What an interesting assortment, Martin!
    Love those old hinged rulers! My dad would have dug around in the trash snapped them up too, for sure.
    You found a C.P.R train! … Our local P.P.J. line was taken over by Canadian Pacific in 1902. My dad worked as a section man on the railway for five seasons between the ages of 15 and 20 (from 1925 to 1930). He always loved trains! When his maternal grandfather came to Canada from Manchester, England as a young man, he found a job on the railroad when the railway as was first being built. So there be trains in your blood, young man!
    You found a “DO NOT THROW OUT” box that was unceremoniously thrown out … the irony! Hahaha.
    There be gold in them thar bags! Another “Treasure Island” of quick $$$ gold trash for you.
    And as for that sweet Lusitania nutcracker … even without the Lusitania name, the nutcracker could fetch a fair sum as per … but add the name, and you could get some major-league bidding happening, for sure. Apparently, the ship had a shop (hahaha) where such souvenirs could be bought, so maybe the owner simply bought themselves a souvenir from their trip abroad. See
    Love your new Instagram account where you trace old business cards and other ephemera to their original “homes” in Montreal. Such a cool idea!

    1. It’s an interesting piece for sure. I’m not sure the nutcracker would have been a souvenir, otherwise I’d probably have found more of them when doing my research. For example, there’s a number of these Lusitania spoons online, so I suspect that those were probably more common souvenir items:

      On the other hand, the other side is monogrammed, which is a personalized thing more likely to appear on a souvenir piece vs a piece of regular silverware used on the ship. Then again, the nutcracker is a fairly fancy thing that could have been used in first class, or presented to a particularly prestigious passenger.

      So, many questions remain! But I do enjoy finding things that don’t appear anywhere else on the internet.

  8. Yes, some amazing finds in this batch! I’m tempted to ask if you might sell the small brass caliper and how much it might cost to send to the states.

    1. I think it’s worth about as much as it would cost to ship. My plan is to sell it at a local flea market (especially given the company that it was made for is in Montreal). Sorry, though if you look on eBay you can find similar calipers at decent prices.

  9. Great finds! I love that you rescue things! The silver broken piece you mention looks like Scottish Victorian agate jewellery. Which wouldn’t be to odd for this family since the cufflink to the left say Scotland. Lol. The two colours of granite are the ones used in the jewellery actually made in Scotland I’d guess it goes the other way up and is a thistle missing it’s leaves.
    If you haven’t already scraped it the gold T bar in with the cufflinks might sell over melt value. They are somewhat in demand right now.

    1. You’re likely right about the agate piece. It seems that these folks were pretty Scottish, so it makes sense.

      I haven’t scrapped the gold yet, I may take your advice on the t-bar.

  10. I found a brass and wood caliber ruler thing like yours in Moms sewing supplies. Maybe she used the sliding ruler part to measure hems. The watch chain with safety pin at one end would be an easy repair and might bring more than gold value if you list it.

  11. PLEASE do a follow up to let us know what becomes of the Lusitania nutcracker. I agree with Diane about enlisting a high end auction house for an expert appraisal, esp. with such renewed interest in WWI.

    Have you ever seen Winsor McCay’s animation of the sinking of the Lusitania? Really moving, and a reminder of all the famous historical events that were never captured on film, but lodged in the public’s imagination thanks to artists’ recreations.

    Love your new side project!

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