A cornucopia of quality vintage junk pt.1

I was having a pretty average run a couple weeks back before happening upon a collection of around 20 trash bags in front of a fourplex in TMR. That’s a fair bit more garbage than you typically see coming from four households, so I checked it out and ended up saving quite the variety of quality vintage junk (QVJ). I pretty well filled up the car, taking maybe 1/3 of the total volume from the bags when all was said and done. While there were no “omg” finds, I found a few things for eBay, some auction worthy items, and a lot of great yard sale stuff.

That box of records came from another house, FYI. It was actually a pretty good collection, including a lot of classic rock that’s typically pretty easy to sell.

One of the first things I found was a large stash of silverware. I enjoy finding these collections, as there’s sometimes a bit of sterling mixed in with the plated stuff (and the plated stuff is still nice, good for the yard sales).

On the right is the cutlery I saved for a future yard sale, and on the left is the more common stuff I left on the curb for others to pick through.

I did find my bit of sterling, a small spoon made by Birks. It’s always a bit of a thrill to find solid silver, even if it’s only worth about 10$. You can see how dirty my finds got picking through all that tarnish!

I saved a whole bunch of nice vintage scissors here. These are always a hit at my yard sales.

(PS: my camera is working fine again after I bought a new battery for it. This is the only picture from this post I shot using the camera, as opposed to my iPhone).

This spot was noteworthy for providing notable quantities of certain vintage items, in this case rotary phones. Finding four in one night, let alone one spot, is likely my all-time record. These old rotaries tend to do well at the auction-house, so I’ll likely bring them there when they open again.

Here we have a collection of radios. I haven’t done much research yet. but I’d guess that Hitachi transistor in the middle is worth a bit of money. People like their transistor radios, and they tend to like them even more when they come in different colours. Also, it’s in very good cosmetic condition. The radio at back right, a portable RCA Victor from the 40s, is probably valuable as well.

Here’s another portable radio, as well as five different combination alarm clock / radios. For some reason these folks had two of the exact same, very boxy model of Detson flip clock. I like the boxy look (I once owned a Volvo 240), and I’m sure others will appreciate them as well.

Vintage lamps are always a good find. This one’s a pendant lamp, meant to be attached and hung maybe 1.5′ from the wall. Another easy sale, unless I decide to keep it for myself.

My most unusual find was probably this framed photo of a 1930 medical exhibition featuring a wide variety of prosthetic limbs, including the Carnes arm. The price tag indicates that the previous owner either bought it at a sale, or tried to sell it at a sale. A friend who fancies old medical stuff showed an interest in it, and I agreed to sell it to them for 20$.

Lastly, I found two large Expos 1984 team photo posters. The 80s were one of the best times to be an Expos fan – this team features three Hall of Famers (Tim Raines, Andre Dawson & Gary Carter) and Pete Rose, by then a washed up future Hall of Famer (it wasn’t til later that he was caught betting on games), not to mention lots of players worthy of the “Hall of Very Good”. The strike in ’94, terrible / cheap ownership, and constant firesales destroyed enthusiasm for the Expos, ultimately resulting in their relocation after the 2004 season, but there’s hope that they’ll return someday soon (though, for what it’s worth, I think the idea of splitting games between Montreal and Tampa Bay is ridiculous).

I sold one of these posters very quickly for 50$ on eBay. The other, which is in slightly worse condition (a bit of foxing on the right side), is listed at 43$.

There’s yet more stuff from this spot to share, but I’ll save it for my next post. I didn’t see anything but rolled up linoleum there last week, and I’m guessing this spot will end up being a “one-hit wonder.”


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17 thoughts on “A cornucopia of quality vintage junk pt.1”

  1. It is the first time someone refers to me with the “them” pronouns. I feel so trendy suddenly.

  2. Ah, yes…rotary telephones! The one we had when I was growing up weighed a ton & seemed to take forever to dial. Some of my friends had more “modern” rotary phones that had plastic dials that were much smoother to dial than the metal ones. But oh, how I wish I still had our old phone! I love walking down memory lane while reading about/viewing your finds. It amazes me the things people discard.

  3. Great finds as always Martin 🙂 I wanted to point out that you seem to have a fork with a celluloid (French Ivory) handle in the left box–maybe it’s broken? If not, I’d throw it in the yard sale box. Lots of people collect silverware with those handles.

    Also some scissors, smaller ones especially, are sometimes made of sterling silver so it’s always worth it to check (you probably did). And scissors made in Germany tend to be more valuable, as do pinking shears (looks like you have a few pairs). May be worth it to sell a grouping of them on Etsy. Keep up the good work!

    1. I think it had a pretty big crack in it, otherwise I would have kept it.

      I’m always keeping my eyes peeled for sterling. It could be worth seeing what kind of money I can get on eBay for scissor lots though. People do like them.

  4. It always amazes me how much stuff you manage to pack into that small hatchback, Martin! 😀
    You got a pretty good haul of QVJ at that fourplex. What a gang of radios, phones, clock radios and scissors!
    I always loved the sense of interaction you got with old rotary phones (and the sound too https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PNfnwdiEiV0). It was a slower time, and you didn’t mind the wait as long as you got to communicate with whoever you were calling (unless there was an emergency, and then you’d be swearing at the slowness, hahaha).
    I like the handles of the pair of scissors at the lower right of that pic. My mum had a nice set of pinking shears; I had no idea they might be worth anything.
    Everybody had/wanted a transistor radio back in the day … most of them were only AM radio. My brother sold hundreds of them in his shop; I remember giving every new one he got a thorough looking-over. And the teenagers loved the different colours.
    Hmmm … interesting lamp. Do you have a place for it at home?

  5. Amazing finds. You must have had a blast. There is a non toxic product called Evapo Rust that is inexpensive and works great for removing rust from items, (scissors) You can pour it down the drain when finished. If removes rust, but not the pitting from where the metal has oxidized. I used it on 100 year old sewing machine attachments. Also Vintage lots of decorative spoons and forks sell well on ebay for art projects. I was nostalgic looking at the everyday items from the past that now seems kiistchy.

  6. What fun! Great finds. Love the radios. And that photo of all the scissors. I have read that the old flip clocks are super hot and collectible right now.

    1. Flip clocks are fairly collectible, some more than others. I think I sold a red Sony one for 70$ or so a few years back. These are probably worth somewhere closer to 20$.

  7. Always a pleasure to receive your posts. I look forward to each and every one. Please remember me for Euro and British coins etc.

  8. Martin, I live vicariously through your posts! Such good picking in the city. You might want to consider contacting a movie prop company about the vintage phones. There’s a guy here in Georgia who has a company that supplies the movie studios with vintage props. (The movie industry is pretty big in Georgia and I’ve heard Toronto is also a big movie location.). It might be a new sales avenue to pursue.
    Good luck with picking. Gosh, I’d love to help you sometime!

    1. I’m not big into actively selling my stuff, and don’t tend to like reaching out to people unless I think it would seriously improve my bottom line. I feel like the guy with a company is probably better set up to supply things for movies than someone like me, who just happens to have a few rotary phones right now among a lot of other cool stuff that’s not particularly organized.

      I think it’s best to sell them via the auction house, where the guy with a company might buy them to rent or resell. That gives me a decent profit without much extra work (and leaves more time for pickin’)

  9. Great finds as usual! I like the Labatt 50 box. Those potato mashers are worth an easy $15-25 if you see them again. Think the orange Hitachi has great style and will sell quickly. Thanks for sharing.

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