That ain’t recyclable!

Some of my more intriguing post-pandemic garbage finds came from this recycling bin a few weeks back. I remember finding some good stuff here many months ago, maybe even in the fall, but gave up on the spot after not seeing anything on the curb there for some time.

Some people treat their recycling bin like a second trash can. This was a good example of that phenomenon.

The plaster bust survived its trip to the bin more or less unscathed. There was one chip off the side, but I was able to glue it back in place and the damage isn’t noticeable. It’s about 16″ tall and has a “Borghese” sticker on the bottom. It seems like a nice auction-house worthy piece. The dolls are from Japan, and I’d guess that they were made in the 70s.

The middle vase / urn looks to be made from bronze. I realized after taking this picture that I could rotate the base so that the landscape, which looks Japanese, is more center to the three-legged base. I’d guess that it had a lid at some point, but I’d be pleasantly surprised if it turned out to be complete. The metal urn on the left was made in Italy by Mottahedeh, a company that specializes in high quality antique reproductions. The one on the right, which is a similar style, was made in France by unknown.

This pottery thing is pretty big, measuring about 18″ tall. I’m guessing it’s also Japanese, but I have no idea what it is. If you do, please let us know in the comments! If I were to guess, I’d again say it was probably made in the 70s. It doesn’t appear to be damaged in any way.

Here we have some silver plated stuff and a big brass bowl, which was likely made in India.

That sculpture in the back looks expensive, but the wood is split in a couple places and there’s a chip off the side. That ceramic tobacco pipe was stuck in the guy’s elbow when I found it. I think the brass piece is an incensor, and the glass tray is made by Gay Fad Studios. It’d be worth a bit of money, but it’s a little worn out and is thus destined for the yard sale pile.

I found this nice big platter as well. I doubt it’s a precious antique, but I’ll show the bottom in case you want to give me a second opinion!

Otherwise, I saved a enameled bowl signed by Harold Tishler and a book of Yossi Stern’s artwork (which was signed by the painter). Both are probably worth listing on eBay.

I haven’t seen anything here in the weeks since, but I have hopes that there’ll be more trash going forward. The house was recently sold, so if there’s anything left inside it’s got to go somewhere, and soon.

I’ve been having troubles with my camera lately. It’s not turning on, which I hope is just due to an old battery, but if not I’ll have to buy something newer (which could be nice regardless). I shot these photos with an iPhone 8 – they’re pretty good, but they’re not as crisp or as detailed as what I can achieve using the Sony NEX-5N.

It’s a pretty nice outside today, and if life was normal I’d consider having a yard sale. I wonder how long it’ll be until I’m able to do one, considering how busy they can get at times (thereby making social distancing difficult). We’ll just have to wait and see I suppose. My garage is full of yard sale stuff, and I’ve run out of bins to put it all in. I can definitely pack a lot more in there if I organize it right, but in the ideal world I’d spend that same time selling it instead.

I also have a lot of stuff sitting around waiting for the auction-house to open. I’m hoping that happens within a couple of weeks. Tracking the auctions is one of those “normal life” things that I miss, along with sports and social interaction.


18 thoughts on “That ain’t recyclable!”

  1. Looking forward to that first yard sale! Hopefully it won’t be too far off. Nice finds. I’m wondering if that pottery item could be for incense too. Does it have a hole on top and does it open?

    1. There is a hole at the very top, maybe an inch wide, but no way to open it up. It’s hollow down to its feet, and the only way to get something out from inside would be to flip it upside down. Maybe you could drop incense through the top, and just periodically empty out the ashes. It would look cool to see smoke coming out of it.

  2. Do you ever sell on FB Marketplace? I’m spring cleaning with nowhere to donate ( hate to store it or trash it) and have been selling with “porch pick up only- put the $ in the mailbox”. Items wiped with Chlorox prior to putting out.I live in a house with extra parking in my driveway which is helpful. For items over $40, I ask for etransfer. So far I’m $250 up ! And I’m not normally a reseller, I’m a donator.

    1. I don’t have the patience for Facebook marketplace, and local selling in general but some people do well by it. These days I mainly use Kijiji (which is more popular around here than Craigslist) to sell bikes, sinks, and occasionally furniture.

  3. Wow, Martin! What a great haul!
    Jeeze! Who in Hell throws out stuff like that anyway! Certainly nobody in my economically less-blessed “strata” of society.
    Your gain, my man! Hope you reap a bundle of cash for all that. You certainly deserve it.
    I’m crossing my fingers that you’ll be able to get your yard sales going soonish. People will be itching to get out and about after lockup, and your sales always hold such variety for curious passers-by.

  4. It’s getting recycled! More people should put the good stuff in the recycle bin.

  5. Just crazy that things are thrown out. So glad you saved these and so many other wonderful pieces from the trash.

  6. All the items from this house look like better quality items. I’d guess the unmarked bowl is old based on the bottom and worth a shot on ebay starting with a low auction starting point. Asian collectors can assess the item for you. Crazy Lamp Lady put a green celadon Chinese lamp with rings on the handles on ebay and was astonished to see the rapid bidding pass $1,000. She consulted a fine auction house and had a very old (hundreds of years old) Chinese vase that had been converted to a lamp. The problem was removing the lamp fixings.

  7. Hm, I was also thinking incense burner for the pottery thing but perplexed by it not opening up. Have you ever come across the Reddit r/WhatIsThisThing? They’re really good at figuring out mystery objects including antiques on there and could maybe help you out with stuff like this, I browse it for fun sometimes.

      1. Worth a shot! I’m always impressed at people’s wide-reaching knowledge. When I was having a look myself, I thought it looked somewhat similar to Ming dynasty style incense burners, but the style definitely seems Japanese, especially given the other items you found. And the Ming ones all seem to have detachable tops regardless. Hope you can find an answer!

  8. Do you use Google scan? Something might show up for that piece. Just a suggestion.

  9. Thank you for another terrific post. I saw a video recently about the disinfecting qualities of copper (and also alloys such as bronze and brass) which makes me wonder if copper/bronze/brass items potentially might become more valuable in this current COVID-19 era as a result. One hospital in the UK has recently replaced all of its stainless steel (on which viruses and bacteria can survive for several days) fixtures, door plates, bed railings, etc. for copper versions of same (on which bacteria and viruses survive for only a few hours…) Also makes me wonder if any/all of the unused pennies which collect in jars in many of our apartments might become more valuable in the future…

    1. Hmm, interesting. I have heard of the disinfecting qualities of silver, but not of copper. We definitely aren’t going to see any sterling silver doorknobs anytime soon, lol, so brass (which is mostly copper) it is.

      I collect copper whenever I find it. Of all the non-precious metals it is the most valuable. I pick out copper pipes, insulated wires (ICW), mediocre collectibles, etc. Good thing about that is that copper is very recyclable, so anything we save from the dump is stuff we don’t have to mine.

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