Oh ye of little trash

I think it’s been almost a month since my last post. Sorry for the wait! I’m struggling to get my brain into writing gear sometimes, but I’ve also been pretty busy with picking & organizing & rearranging my garage.

It was also moving day / week recently, so I was picking a bit more than I would usually. I think it was the quietest moving day I’ve ever witnessed, so I guess people decided to stay in their leases amidst the uncertainty (in Quebec, you usually have to give three months notice if you intend on not renewing your lease, which is April 1, so people may have reconsidered their moves considering that the pandemic really took hold in North America starting in early March).

I still found a bit of good stuff. On moving day itself I picked up a nice old suitcase, some really old carts of some kind (sometimes people just use the occasion to clean out their basement), a lucite coffee table, and some barely used sparring equipment. On the days before, I found a bit of silver (some of which you can see above, on top of an old iPhone that was also tossed), a collection of Canadian Tire money (about 15$ worth), an old temporary bus stop sign, and other bits & bobs.

I haven’t found many particularly “omg” finds of late. Plenty of “nice” or “good” finds, some “very good,” but little worthy of an all-star selection, though one of this week’s runs may have produced some top quality items… I still have some inspection and research to do. Regardless, you never know what’s next when garbage is concerned.

Anyways, I’m pretty well caught up on my picture taking (as opposed to my writing) so I have plenty to share. Today I’ll post some finds from spots that were intriguing for a short time, but didn’t produce for long. One nice, recently sold suburban home started clearing out with a bang, tossing this nice tin Pan Am 747 (in two different pieces) that sold for around 120$ at auction.

I kept my eye on that spot for months afterwards, but things got junkier as time went on. I found a bunch of dolls one day, many of which ended up in a free box. The most valuable is probably the 6 Million Dollar Man, who’s in pretty good condition despite being nearly 50 years old. That bear wind-up toy (which doesn’t seem to wind up no more) is also cool, and the shell figurine at top right is likely a souvenir from Margate in England.

(This is not my finest picture. The weird hue and the shadows is what happens when I forget to turn off my overhead lights while taking photos. Also, I could have lined up the dolls with the fold in my fabric background a little better).

I also picked up this contraption, which is an old oil lamp that someone tried to convert into a electric lamp. I’m not sure what the giant spring or long steel rod was supposed to accomplish… Anyways, it may have looked like junk to whoever tossed it, but after removing the random bits it was quite nice.

The base is (I think) hand-painted porcelain, and the rest of the decorative elements are made from brass. It’s in very good condition other than the bottom (which was part of the steel oil font) being cut out. I’d guess that it was made around the turn of the century, give or take 10 years. I haven’t figured out what it’s worth yet, but I’m sure it has a bit of value.

I may have spoken too soon by including this spot in the “ye of little trash” category, as it recently started producing a bit again after I more or less wrote it off (I’ve been working on this post for like three weeks). We’ll see what happens.

A house in Hampstead provided some quality junk over the period of about a month. The mid-century German vase, the seltzer bottle, and the pencil sharpener all sold for modest prices at auction.

The cute coloured engravings, made for Eaton’s, sold for a little under 10$. Better than nothing though. The rest is yard sale stuff, other than the piece of fossil which I’m saving for a future lot of cool rocks (I know I’ll find more at some point, so sometimes I set things like that, which aren’t worthy of a lot on their own, aside until more turn up).

The Parker fountain pen (a 51 if I recall correctly) is probably the most valuable item I found there. The cap is a little busted, but it’s probably still worth 60-80$. That carnival glass bowl is pretty nice as well, though I can’t tell if it’s an original or a more recent reproduction.

The turtle guy from my last post threw out a box full of turtles a couple weeks later. He must have really liked turtles (maybe it was this kid) at some point but not so much anymore. Anyways, this collection included a couple turtles made from stone, a cast iron turtle, ceramic turtles, miniature crystal turtles, crappy souvenir turtles, and a turtle made by Dansk. It was a nice enough collection (minus the junkier ones, which I put in a free box) to bring to auction, and the lot has achieved a fair number of bids & a reasonable price with a few hours left to go.

I wish I discovered this spot a little sooner, as it seemed like whoever was doing the tossing didn’t give much of a damn.

The folks at this spot were kind enough to put out some “free” boxes filled with junk, but my best finds came from a black garbage bag regardless.

My favourite find was a box of keys and other bric-a-brac, including several different religious medallions.

Whoever lived here worked for the airlines, given the Canadair keychain above and the gold Bombardier service pin below. Also, this cool photo of someone working on a CF-5 #116745, which started its service in 1970 and was scrapped in 1988. I’d guess that this photo was taken in 1972 or 79 (probably the latter) which is when this particular plane was in Quebec.

It’s crazy how much information there is about certain things online, and how little there is for others.

Lastly, this spot in Westmount was intriguing for a little while. My best finds here came on the same day, just sitting out in the open. In the box is a nice vintage Sony stereo receiver, which I haven’t tested yet but probably works / is worth around 150$.

The lamp was the prettiest banker’s lamp I’ve ever picked. It was made in the 1920s, and is in excellent condition for being about 100 years old. The green glass is much darker than you usually see on the more modern ones.

It’s not Tiffany, but this lamp is still top quality junk and is worth around 2-300$. Most of my best finds are hidden away, but once in a while I find them just sitting out in the open.

Otherwise, it seems that we’re allowed (starting July 10) to have yard sales again here in Montreal. That’s exciting news, though the required protocols will be a bit of a (necessary) hassle.

I did a couple of small “social distancing friendly” sales in my front yard over the last month. I invited only my Instagram followers (I would have invited blog-only followers, but I completely forgot I now have a newsletter thing I can use to spread the word) to keep the crowds to a minimum, and told people to “pay what you can” / what they think is fair by leaving money in my mailbox. That made it so I didn’t even have to supervise the sales, thus reducing the effort required to work them. I told people to come out anytime between 9am-9pm on the weekend so that folks were rarely “shopping” at the same time (helping with the social distancing), and chose days when there wouldn’t be rain so I wouldn’t have to rush to pack things in.

The honour system worked pretty well, and I made around 100$ at the first and 250$ at the second (honestly, I may have made more than I would have setting prices, lol…). The fact that the only invitees were my “followers” made it less likely that people would abuse the system – I doubt I’d try a similar tactic with a bunch of randoms. I was also happy to be able to clear some stuff from my various storages, which were (and still are) packed with yard sale type stuff.

While this type of sale is relatively small, it’s also kind of fun and less stressful than a usual sale. I may do more of those going forward, even as garage sales otherwise return to normal. The only real problem with them is that my blog followers have such good taste that they only buy my finest quality junk… I need those random people to come if I want to sell the crap!

Anyways, I hope to do another sale in one form or another soon, and I’ll try to do a better job letting you know about it.

11 thoughts on “Oh ye of little trash”

  1. Thank you for another lovely post. It is quite appropriate for you to focus on “picking & organizing & rearranging (your) garage.” We are patient and grateful that you find time to take photos and write blog posts at all.

  2. Yay, you’re back! My heart goes pit-a-pat when I get a notification of one of your posts in my inbox. 🙂
    And it was well worth the wait … so much stuff and things to study. Maybe not OMG stuff, but some very fine stuff nonetheless.
    That bird in your pencil sharpener pic has a lot of personality. He’s a sweetie.
    I see cute locks!
    Who would throw out an entire bale of turtles? … oh wait … I guess the same kind of person that threw out a whole parliament of owls a while back.
    Zowieee … both the lamps you found are beauties. The deep green shade of the banker’s lamp is glorious.
    I’m happy to hear that yard sales are once again allowed in Montreal. Your storage areas will be much more manageable following a couple of bigger sales. But of course, the way you collect, it won’t be long until they’re filled to the rafters once again, I’m sure. 😀
    I’m glad your smaller, social-distancing-friendly, honour-pay yard sale experiment was such a success. That puts another sales option in your arsenal (and another chapter in your book?).

  3. Love the Parker 51 and the banker’s light…swoon! Thanks for sharing your finds, Martin.

  4. Hi Marin. Great as usual Post Covid re openings have produced much more quality stuff at the Thrift stores here. I have found Waterford glasses and a rare set of Dansk flatware. The blond doll with the short bangs is a Madame Alexander from the 50s. Worth some good money even missing shoes etc.

  5. Congrats on the finds, sales and the organizational progress! Those lamps might well be considered “omg” quality. Just beautiful. Love the look of that suitcase too. It’s nice to know that Québec has given the green light to yard sales, something to look forward to, and we are truly in need of things to look forward to!

  6. Yay, thanks for the post!! What a great assortment of stuff. Based on the look of the inside of the carnival glass bowl, it may be a repro. I’d have to see the outside to be sure. The older pieces tend to have more of a matte finish, especially on the outside. Loved the zombie kid video. Congrats on the progress, and new selling options. Please remember to keep your faithful blog readers posted on your sales!

  7. Damn… I have been waiting for weeks for a new post 🙂 – thanks!

    I grew up with some of these turtles at the parents home… but this lamp would definitely qualify for an “excellent” find.

    Hey, I can’t avoid to check out bins around me and end up selling some of the stuff. In the country where I am now (France), there is a law that eBay needs to send out the data to the government as soon as you reach €3000 yearly revenue. With the COVID situation, I had time to sort/clean/fix/sell and it is super easy to reach this limit as soon as you sell a couple of items above EUR100+.

    I am really thinking to set up a proper “business” to not have “illegal” activities but it gets also tricky as you need to list all your inventory in a book.

    As you do it as a living, I am really curious to know how you deal with all the legal/taxes/administrative aspects of your job in Canada. It may be an idea for another post as I haven’t read much on this topic. Most bloggers/YouTubers are bragging about their amazing hauls but are not really sharing this side of the business.

    1. Yup the lamp qualifies as excellent, but that was a couple months back now. Although I might have forgotten some excellent things that I found in the interim.

      I just use the info eBay gathers on its own. They’ll tell you how much you made, the fees, etc, which you can report to the government. Same with PayPal (just for fees) and my auction house. You can find it somewhere in your account tab. I should probably sign up to have an official company, but haven’t done so yet. Here you’re supposed to do that when you earn over 30k per year.

  8. Hi Martin,

    The frame below the piece of fossil is a handmade Persian Khatam frame. “Khatam” means “inlaid”. Khatam frames are usually decorated with star-shaped patterns, made with thin sticks of wood, camel bone (white parts) and metal, usually copper or brass (golden parts). Hope this helps you.

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