This spot was pretty productive for me last summer. I got a few pictures taken right away, but a lot of the most interesting stuff – including a large collection of old photos – ended up on a shelf in my garage, waiting for me to sort & document them. I finally got around to it a few days ago, and here we are.
On one of those first nights I picked through a collection of hardware-related bric-a-brac, saving the things I thought were most interesting or saleable. All this stuff is long gone by now, via yard sales or free boxes. In the middle is a big piece of lead, which was wrapped up with masking tape. I brought that to the scrap yard.
I kept a few of these things for personal use. That ice pick looking thing has come in handy, for instance.
I saved a cool vintage late 40s / early 50s Superhealth aluminum turkey roaster, which I later sold to someone in Newfoundland via eBay for 75$. It was still in very good condition, but more than anything its design was extremely “of its time,” giving it lots of appeal to fans of that aesthetic.
I also found a nice typewriter here. The Groma Kolibri was an ultra-compact typewriter made in East Germany from the mid 1950s to early 1960s. Typewriter enthusiasts seem to love it, and you can find lots of fawning reviews (like this one) online. They usually sell for around 200$ on eBay, more if it’s in exceptional condition or is an unusual colour. This one’s still kicking around the house. I tried listing it on Kijiji, but no one local was willing to pay what I wanted for it. eBay is the best way to get that top dollar, though shipping typewriters (even small ones) is a bit of a hassle.
This big tin toy car was in great shape, and did very well at auction. I forget exactly what it sold for, but I’d say it was somewhere between 65-90$.
This old Beacon camera is pretty cute, but I don’t think it works quite right (the shutter doesn’t seem to move properly). Either way, old cameras are easy to sell at yard sales, even when they’re broken (at least here in Montreal).
I found a bit of jewelry here. I saved several nice mid-century rhinestone pieces, mostly necklaces. None were signed, but they should sell for decent cash at my theoretical future flea market sale. Unfortunately, I don’t have pictures of any of those. Regardless, my most valuable jewelry find was probably this single gold earring, featuring four old (probably mine cut, though I’m not an expert) diamonds.
The hallmarks are a bit hard to make out. There seems to be an “M&S,” and then a picture of some kind of animal facing leftwards (maybe a boar?). Another mark on the clip is unintelligible, probably worn down with age. Either way, it’s worth a bit of money for the diamonds, not to mention the gold. I want to figure out the carat before listing it, though.
I’m pretty sure this is an old recipe book. It’s all handwritten in a language I don’t understand, but I occasionally see words that look like “minutes” or “liters,” as well as the occasional French culinary term (à la Normande, à la Cardinal).
Google translate thinks “Kucharske Mudroslovi” means “curly wisdom” in Bulgarian, but I’m guessing that’s a bit off.
It seems to have been written between 1939 and 1941. It’s fairly long, I’m just guessing here but it’s probably around 50 pages.
I’d love to know more about it, so please share any insights you might have in the comments!
The person who owned a lot of this stuff apparently immigrated to Canada from Czechoslovakia sometime after the war (based on a quick google search of a name I saw repeatedly on old papers). I wish I could share the person’s name here – he seemed like an interesting fellow – but I believe that it’s best to ensure to privacy of anyone who’s likely still part of our living memory. People who lived 100 years ago, I’m not so worried about.
I think this is a Czech house blessing of some kind, but I’m not entirely sure. It’s nicely framed, and is signed at the bottom right. It’s probably a nice lithograph print, but I’ll take a closer look next time I see it to make sure it’s not hand drawn.
One night I found a large stash of old photos. Here’s a selection of my favourites, zoom in for a better look! Up top in the middle is a souvenir from a Milos Kominek air acrobat show. The only information I could find about Milos was in this Czech obituary, but the guy led quite the life based on the (Google) translating I did. On top of being a stuntman, he was also a resistance fighter, political prisoner, journalist, and magazine publisher. The card is signed, perhaps by Milos himself (or Milo, according to that website), though I found no other signatures to compare it with. Otherwise, there’s some cool pictures of a 50s liquor store, and what looks to be a bar (as seen below).
There’s some farming going on in these ones, and what looks to be a mining operation. Most of these photos probably date from between the 1920s and 1940s.
In a few of these it looks like they’re building a bridge, in a few others a dam. Some of these would be great to scan, but that takes a lot of extra effort. I’m hoping to sell them to someone who’s willing to take the time.
Here we have a photo of a rigid airship in flight, an explosion, two servicemen, a restaurant crew, and a photo of a large event of some kind.
I’d guess that these ones were from the “old country.” In some people are dressed in what I’d guess is traditional Czech clothing. A few of these look to be a little older, maybe dating to the early 1900s or 1910s. I especially like those colourized ones on the left. I’m sure these photos would appeal to someone with an interest in Czech history and culture. I’ll likely try to find that person using eBay.
Let’s finish with this old drawstring bag. I don’t know much about the design, but based on most everything else I’d guess that has Czech origins.
I haven’t seen anything good on the curb here in months, but it doesn’t look like anyone’s moved, so perhaps the tossing will resume at some point.
Otherwise, big sale alert! I emailed Sotheby’s about my Lusitania nutcracker, and they quickly replied that they were’t interested. Then, I remembered that I don’t need these big auction houses to sell my quality junk – I can do it myself. So I listed it on eBay for 1000$, and it sold pretty quickly to a guy in England (he negotiated it down to include free shipping, so my net was closer to 920$ minus fees). Apparently the buyer’s great grandfather died when the Lusitania sunk, so there was some personal interest there. Either way, that was a nice chunk of cash! Looking back on my best of 2019 list, I’d probably now put this at #1 (it didn’t make the list at the time, because I hadn’t had time to blog about it yet).
Also, my large soapstone falcon sold at a recent Waddington’s auction for 300$. That’s probably a fair price, but I was hoping a real bidding war would materialize. Either way, I can’t complain too much. This was my first experience with a higher end auction house, so now I know a bit more about the process. In general, it’s probably better to sell most of my finds on my own, but if I ever happen upon anything really fancy a high-end auction might be the best place to sell it.
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