I recently received an email from someone writing a book about Gord Smith, the creator of this sculpture I found back in the spring (and which came in at #5 of my “Best of 2019” list). She was browsing the web, doing some research when she came across my blog. She was pretty excited to see the sculpture, and asked me if I still had it. She shared some details about the work that I didn’t know previously, which you can see below:

“The piece is made of cor-ten steel and bronze was braised on top of it to create the beautiful texture. This sculpture is from a series Gord did between 1961 and 1969 called Growth. These sculptures were inspired by plant and animal life i.e. seaweed, flowers, birds…etc.”

Eventually, she showed the pictures to Gord, who she meets with regularly, and he offered to buy it back for 750$. That seemed like a very fair price, so I went for it. A friend of Gord’s came to pick it up, and the transaction went off without a hitch. I quite liked the sculpture, but I need cash more than I need art, considering all the student loans I have yet to pay off.

This sale also shows how letting things sit around for a while can occasionally be a good selling strategy. My blog is popular enough now that the things I write about appear in Google search results (not right away, but they get indexed at some point), which makes it more likely that interested buyers will find my wares. Of course most items won’t sell themselves, but these days I’m finding so much stuff that a few things are bound to collect dust for a while anyways.

Given the nature of the sale and the final price I think I’ll unofficially move this sculpture up a few notches on my “best of 2019” list. I think it could easily move into the #2 spot, and you could definitely make an argument for moving it all the way to #1.

That Inuit sculpture (#4, and which I found at the same spot) is going up for auction soon enough. Depending on where that ends up, I may want to unofficially change its positioning as well.

I’ll fill out this post a bit by sharing some miscellaneous one-off finds from the past few months. I passed by a huge pile in NDG the week before Christmas and found a fair bit of stuff, including these chairs.

They were vintage Eames / Herman Miller fiberglass chairs. They needed a bit of TLC, but I was still able to sell them very quickly via Kijiji for 180$. This was the first time I found an Eames chair of any kind, hopefully more are in my future!

Other things I saved from that pile included: a NAD CD player, a number of junky brass decorations, a few books and magazines, a pair of lamps, some kitchenwares, and a few little bits.

On the bottom right is a cute brass lock, which was probably made in India. At bottom left is a pendant that looks to be made from silver and bone or ivory. That bracelet (or maybe anklet) at top right has little bells on it and makes a very pretty sound.

I didn’t see anything else here in subsequent weeks, so I guess it was just a case of someone clearing out their garage or basement.

In late October I found a bag containing the remnants of a jewellery box. There wasn’t as much in there as I’d hoped, but I still found a few nice pieces.

On the right is a bunch of gold. The pearl earrings are pretty nice, as are the ones with the shiny stones. The rest was scrap quality, other than the platinum ring. It’s quite old, and comes with two of three diamonds. It’s a tiny ring, a size three, so maybe it was made for a kid. Regardless, it should sell “as is” on eBay, perhaps to someone interested in repairing and resizing it. The Mount Fuji medallion is pretty cool, my guess is that it’s a tourist piece.

Here are my best finds from another nearly random trash bag near Vendome metro. Those medals are likely gold and both date to the early 1930s based on the engravings on the back. If they are gold, at 8.5 grams they’re worth between 200-400$, assuming the carat is between 10 and 18. The brooch is cute, it looks like silver but I haven’t tested it. No signatures, unfortunately.

I did a lot of trash runs this week. I wasn’t particularly successful on most of them, but I found a few intriguing spots that could provide dividends someday. The “part x of a million” person is still tossing lots of stuff, and has been my primary source of late. I’ll probably share some more stuff from that spot in my next post.


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

16 thoughts on “Growth”

  1. Sometimes your outcomes are as surprising as your finds. The shiny stones in the earrings are opals. The size 3 diamond ring is an unusual size, but there are adult women with that thin of fingers. It is a beautiful art deco piece that should sell quickly. Great finds and stories as usual!

    1. Perhaps one day I can afford to keep a few fancy things, but until then money / paying off debts is my main priority. That’s ok though, I appreciate amateur art a lot, which is easy to find free or cheap.

  2. Your spectacular finds leave me speechless. I can’t believe what people throw into the trash!

  3. Another great blog post!!! It appears that the folks who discarded the vintage Eames / Herman Miller fiberglass chairs knew that they were of some value/worth because they took the time to wrap them with plastic bags (unless that was your handiwork…) Hurrah that someone is doing a book about that particular artist and found your blog! And that the artist wanted to buy his sculpture back! And that you were willing to part with it! I continue to be amazed (pearl earrings! opal earrings!) by the things that you find in the trash. Thank you, thank you, thank you for all the work you do — collecting, cleaning, researching, appraising, transporting, storing, photographing, selling, packaging, writing, hosting yard sales, etc. etc. etc.

  4. It’s great that your finds are being uncovered in Google searches! You’re developing a wonderful sense of the value of a thing, even when you may know nothing, or next-to-nothing, about it. There is often a virtue to waiting. (As the proverb goes: Good Things Come To Those Who Wait.)
    Congrats too on the sale of the Eames chairs. I’m thinking the buyer got a pretty good deal there.
    Awww … such a cute little brass lock! Did it have a key with it? Can I relieve you of it? Name your $$$.
    That jingle-bells anklet if great too! Walking with a jingle in your step sounds like a very happy thing to do.
    My little fingers are a size 3. Not too unusual for a woman. Maybe the original owner liked to wear rings on many fingers?
    That flower brooch is very pretty. Did you use your new diamond tester on the stones?
    As always, I enjoyed reading your post immensely. They are always a high point of any day they sound their arrival in my inbox. 🙂

    1. I think the chairs went for a fair price. There were some bolts missing from the bottom, and the fabric needed a good cleaning, so some TLC was required.

      The keys to the lock are the flat things above it. The lock doesn’t actually seem to “lock”, instead you just use the long metal bits to push the clasp open. So definitely more decorative than secure, lol.

      I suppose you’re right about the ring. I can’t even get it on my pinky, but I have seen fingers smaller than mine.

      The stones on that brooch are definitely rhinestones, but fairly nice ones.

  5. Martin – Similar 3 diamond art deco rings sell for about $750, depending on the size of the stones. If you have the diamond engagement ring you found in the pill bottle or another piece of jewelry you can salvage a diamond from, it might make sense to replace the stone.

    1. Thanks for the info. I sold that other ring a while back. Either way, my usual strategy is to sell things “as is” and let the buyer figure out how to repair it. Saves me a lot of work.

  6. It’s great that you sold the sculpture back to the artist … back into the hands that created it. I wonder how he must’ve felt, knowing that some dolt threw his work in the trash. If not for you, with your (i) great instincts and eye for value; (ii) diligence and painstaking research; and (iii) impressive photography and blogging skills, it would have been lost forever. What a happy outcome for everyone, except for the knuckle-dragger who tossed it.

  7. I work near Vendome metro but live in LaSalle.I will check the trash near Vendome metro discreetly following your lead.Only a nutcase can throw out so much valuable stuff in the trash.Is the city not worried about so many actual Treasures” ending up in the dump?It is extraordinary you found and sold the sculpture back to the artist.Wish you continued good luck.With so many great finds,you should pay off your student loan debt fast.

    1. The city doesn’t really put any resources into inspecting trash & recycling. They’re probably more concerned about people putting things that are obviously not recyclable in with the recycles, which can ruin the value of an entire batch (and which happens constantly). Nonetheless, I’ve never seen any city workers inspecting what people put in their bins, and even questionable looking recycling bags usually make their way into the truck. Basically the system doesn’t work very well.

      Near Vendome metro can be good… but you can find cool stuff anywhere if you’re in the right place at the right time. I wouldn’t underestimate Lasalle, either. It’s kinda out of the way for me, but it definitely has potential.

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