Part one of a million pt.6

This house, after close to a year of near weekly tossing of its contents, is now on the market. Not long before the sign went up, a dumpster arrived on the scene to facilitate the decluttering process. I think I saw the dumpster the day it arrived, given that it was nearly empty at the time. Thankfully, the bin wasn’t too big – just a bit taller than me – and was right up next to the road, thereby making picking from it easy. The biggest bins are near impossible to dig through once they fill up.

This being one of my best all-time spots, I made sure to check that dumpster every night it was there, which ended up being about two weeks. There wasn’t anything new or good most of those days, but on a few occasions there were notable additions of “quality junk.”

On that first day I pulled out a bag with some nice old bottles inside, but I’ll save those for a future post.

Today I’ll mostly focus on the pottery & kitchenwares, which were lovingly tossed a few days in. Unfortunately, many bits of pottery, including some nice old stuff like that big transferware tureen, broke in the process, but I was able to save a fair bit nonetheless.

Given the quantities I was working with I decided I needed to focus on processing / photographing it all quickly and at relatively low effort. I thought it would be hard to get a nice picture that focused on a big quantity of stuff, so I also took videos to supplement them. I was surprised when I saw how well the photos actually turned out, but you can see the little video below if you like.

A lot of these dishes look to be from Japan, where someone from the house seems to have spent some time in the 1960s and 1970s. The set at the top right was made in Bulgaria. I really like the set in the middle with the splotchy patch of blue in the middle. They come with a set of larger plates (which you can see in the next picture), but aren’t signed despite being quite nice and probably hand-made. They definitely have a mid-century earthenware look to them.


A few plates of that bottom variety broke, but I still came away with four nice ones, which is enough for your average apartment dweller. Those and the pretty flower plates were made in England (the latter by a W.R.M. Burslem). In the middle are some cute Medalta dishes made in Medicine Hat, Alberta. I have two other little plates, and four more bowls from that series that aren’t in this picture.


Here we have a couple lamps, a nice Russian painted wood tray and lidded khokhloma container, two antiques brushes, and three flower “frogs” (for holding cut flowers in place), one of which is made from uranium glass.

I have a lot of work ahead of me figuring out pottery marks. The middle one is easy, it’s a solid German-made beer stein, but lots of other pieces are signed with a scrawl. My favourite mug here is the one on the far right, which is prettier than it looks in this picture (I took this photo with my cell phone while my camera was out of service, and it’s not quite as good at capturing details). It’s not signed, however.

The middle piece was easy to identify as Blue Mountain Pottery, which is pretty commonly found up in these parts. I recently brought it to the auction along with a BMP owl and turtle (there’s still time to bid if you want it!). That Thermos is probably the oldest one I found, dating to the 30s or 40s. It’s not super valuable, but it should fetch me a bit of money at auction (where I paired it with another vintage thermos). Those glass cups are cute, they’re well worn but still solid. I’d guess they were made in the 1920s.

One corner of the dumpster got filled with old silverware, and I spent a fair bit of time trying to collect all the individual pieces. Most of it was just your usual silver plated stuff, which is good for the yard sale bin.

Here are the most noteworthy pieces: a spoon from the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair, a spoon with Queen Elizabeth II on it (likely from around her coronation in 1953), and a sterling silver & enamel spoon by Anton Michelsen. I’m keeping the first two, and the Michelsen spoon should sell for around 55$.

It’d be kind of funny if the most valuable find from this post ends up being these old, unopened Reagan-era boxes of Kraft Dinner / Mac & Cheese. Certain vintage foods have lots of nostalgic / display value, for example the box of 1960s Nestle Quik I sold a few years back for 100$. I found similar boxes of KD that sold for 50-60$ on eBay, and currently have these three listed at 150$. That might be a tad high, but I’d be surprised if they sold for less than 100$.

Let’s finish with this nice little shelving unit, which I’d guess held some of the dishes before they got tossed. It’s a simple piece, with little wheels and a nice antique-y finish, and would have had a little curtain covering the shelves at some point. I might keep it, not sure yet.

I haven’t seen anything on the curb here since the dumpster disappeared. I looked at the real estate listing and the place looks pretty empty, though as usual they don’t show you the basement, the crawlspaces, or the other less exciting places where junk might be hidden. I’ll keep an eye on the situation, but perhaps that’s all she wrote for this spot (though I have a lot of writing left to do – there’s still lots of bins at my garage full of junk from this house to sort through).

In time I’ll tell you a bit more about this house & my experiences there. I’ve been a bit tight lipped about it for a variety of reasons, but for now I’ll say it’s an interesting place with a long history.

Otherwise, the auction house is finally open again, and I’ve brought about four carloads of stuff there in the last week or so. Here’s my first load, a lot of which is in the auction ending June 11. Clearing this out has definitely made my garage storage more workable, though there’s still a ways to go before I’d call it organized (at least in a way I can easily explain to other people – I know what every pile is for!).

12 thoughts on “Part one of a million pt.6”

  1. I’m going to miss the posts of finds from this particular house … which I’ll dub “the house that kept on giving.” The place definitely deserves an entire chapter in that book you’ll be writing about your adventures in scavenging.
    Your pics are great and the brief videos are a nice new touch. These, along with the excellent writing about fascinating things, make yours my all-time favourite blog.
    Gad! You can even make housewares interesting! 🙂
    Glad to hear the auction house has opened up once again, and thanks for that link … now I can look through the pages in search of your QVJ.

    1. Well, you’re lucky then because I’m guessing there’ll end up being like 20 parts to this series, lol. We’re not even a third of the way through this book!

      I have 46 separate lots in auction number 575, which is a record for me.

  2. So sad to see all the housewares just thrown in the dumpster, but glad you saved some nice pieces! My favorites of this batch are the glass flower frogs. We pen collectors love to use them to display pens in, as many types fit perfectly in the frog holes and can be clustered in groups.

    Really enjoyed the videos! Thanks, Martin!

      1. My grandmother used the metal type. with spikes, do her flower arrangements. I inherited them and then really got into the glass type. They really are called frogs but are excellent repurposed pen holders.

  3. I love the lamps that you found!
    Thank you for saving all of these treasures from the landfill!
    Keep up the great work!

  4. Maybe after the house sells it would be worth seeing if anything further gets thrown out by the new owners. But I imagine you’ve thought of that 🙂

    Great pieces here. I like all the crockery in particular. My eyebrows shot into the stratosphere when I read the information on old KD, and they haven’t come back to earth yet!

    1. Yup, I’m wondering if there’ll be one more little wave once the place sells. Maybe there’s some some closets full of junk waiting to be tossed… only time will tell.

      I sold that KD not long after this post. I’m not sure if it went to a blog reader or not, but yup, it’s worth keeping an eye out for old food.

  5. The painted wood piece in your 7th photo is not Russian.
    It is a batea bowl from Mexico.

    1. Ah you’re right. I think someone on Instagram said it was Russian, it does look a bit Russian but you’re right that it’s Mexican.

  6. The silver coroonation spoon may have been one of the ones given to Coronation Babies who were born on June 2nd 1953.
    Ask me how i know !

Comments are closed.