The rusty blue dumpster pt.1

Dumpsters are usually filled with renovation debris, but occasionally people load them full of junk as well. It was easy to tell in this case, because I could see a couple old trunks poking out the top.

I ended up saving like five or six. I sold a few at yard sales, and a couple at the auction house.

This one was my favourite. I’d guess it was the oldest of the bunch, and the hardware / latch was particularly nice.

Luckily for me this dumpster was out there for about a week. I returned daily to see if there was anything new inside, and most often there wasn’t. However, it seemed like each time I jumped in I found something new and interesting that I hadn’t seen before. Keep in mind this was stuffed nearly to the top, and the bin was about 10 feet tall.

Near the top (not much digging required) were a few boxes of old dishes and glassware.

There was plenty of nice clear glass, the fanciest of which are probably those candle holders in the back. I think they’re Cambridge glass in the chantilly pattern (you can see that a bit more on their bases), and seem to be worth something like 50$ each. This is the second time I’ve found Cambridge glass this year, after that great haul of statuesque stemware I found a little while back.

Some of the ceramics broke after being tossed in the bin, but a number of pots, bowls, old transferware plates, and other bits and pieces survived intact.

Perhaps my best ceramic find was this box filled with vintage Fiestaware.

I’d never found Fiesta stuff before, but I actually like it a lot! Maybe one day when I have my own place I’ll keep some for myself, it’s all very colourful and charming.

After doing a bit of research, I decided to bring this lot to the auction. It definitely has some value, but the pieces are quite heavy so shipping would be expensive and annoying. We’ll see how they do, but I set a reserve of 100$ because I wouldn’t want to sell them for less than that. If you’re interested, the lot is going live tomorrow night and will end next Thursday.

Soon I’ll share the rest of my dumpster finds, including tools and other junk. I’ve been pretty busy lately, trying to clear out the storages before the snow comes. Also, I’ve been finding almost an overwhelming amount of quality junk lately and it’s been hard to keep up!

In other news, I found my first ever Maga hat in the trash this week. We don’t see these too often here in Montreal, and the timing was kind of funny with the election coming up next week. Maybe it’s an omen. Anyways, I can’t wait until that’s finally all over, I’ll probably get a lot more work done if I’m not checking the news all the time. I’m not sure anyone cares, but if I had a vote I’d being going with Biden for a variety of reasons. I’m not sure that Trump guy has a single redeeming character trait. I try to avoid talking politics on this blog, but that’s just my two cents!

33 thoughts on “The rusty blue dumpster pt.1”

  1. I would have left the hat in the trash where it belongs. Great find on the Fiesta Ware, and that blue coffee cup looks like it might be Fire-King, if so it is worth at least $30 or more.
    Thank You for doing “Things I find in the garbage”, it is one of my favorite blogs online and I’m sure future generations will thank you for all of the great things you have saved from destruction.

    1. Don’t want to get too into the weeds here but I don’t buy that hooey. And I wouldn’t trust Rudy Giuliani to be a dog catcher let alone someone tasked to get reliable information from a former Soviet republic. Besides, even if Biden were the most corrupt politician to ever live, that’s no reason to vote for Trump because they would just be equally corrupt. At least Biden doesn’t talk like a schoolyard bully, and singlehandedly drag the national discourse down to his level.

    1. Yup it’s definitely the old stuff. Some pieces are very valuable, especially certain colours based on my research. What did you sell the plates for?

  2. Yet another terrific blog post. I continue to be amazed by the things folks throw out! It’s not that hard to take stuff to the local thrift store… But I have learned there are certain people (I am thinking of a particular friend as well as a particular relative) who LIKE to throw things out. It gives them a psychological lift. Hurrah for the important work that you continue to do, Martin! And may the baseball cap in the trash bag indeed be an omen…

    1. I kinda get it sometimes, especially when I’m overburdened with other people’s junk, lol. Oftentimes, especially after yard sales I’ll do “the purge,” and get rid of things I’ve had for a while or just aren’t worth trying to sell for whatever reason. It feels good to unload the stuff, though I always leave it out in a way where other people can find it. I don’t really get the appeal of putting things in black trash bags where most people won’t find it. But a lot of the people who do that aren’t really thinking about it too hard I suppose.

  3. Amazing what people dump – maybe the prospect of carting this stuff to a charity shop is daunting during a pandemic. Can I ask : how do you figure out shipping costs for heavier items? My mother is downsizing (supposedly) and I’m determined to get rid of a good portion of her stuff over the winter. There are dishes, antiques, books etc. Would appreciate any input you might care to share. Cheers!

    1. Things are largely back to normal in terms of donating items. People threw out great stuff before the pandemic, and the continue to do so during. Perhaps there’s more tossing as people have more time to empty their garages, renovate their spaces, etc, but it’s hard to tell when there’s a real “trend” going on, or if I’m just getting particularly lucky.

      Canada Post has a good shipping calculator on their website. Try to estimate the weight of the package, size of the box, etc. Shipping anything over lettermail is going to cost you at least 12 bucks, if it goes to a big nearby city like Toronto, Ottawa, in Montreal, etc. Going further, like Vancouver will cost the buyer more. For US shipping it gets more expensive after 100g, 250, 500g, 1kg, and beyond (not sure exactly after the 1kg mark). And of course the box size matters, but moreso when shipping to the States. A medium sized package over 1kg is going to cost the US buyer around 25$, and it goes up pretty quickly from there. Overseas, forget about it IMO unless it’s a really special item or something you’re not too afraid of losing. Any amount of tracking overseas gets you in the 40+$ range, and that’s for a small & light package.

      Some services like Chit Chats Express offer USPS prices/services, but unless you’re shipping out a ton of items or live nearby the location it’s not really worth it.

      So you can see the calculation I had to make when deciding how to sell the Fiesta stuff. The whole collection weighed about 30 pounds, so shipping to the States probably would have cost close to 100$ given the weight and the size of the box I’d have to use. Canada would be a bit better, but still probably 30$ best case if the buyer was nearby. Not to mention the time I’d have to spend packaging this in a way that ensured nothing would break, which I think would probably have taken me a couple hours. Selling individual plates wouldn’t be so bad to ship, but from what I could tell it probably wasn’t worth the effort considering about half the money would go into shipping, and I have so much other junk. So I gambled with the auction house. I’ll probably get less money than I would on eBay, but I definitely saved myself a lot of hassle. And who knows, maybe there’ll be a bidding war…

      Anyways, feel free to ask more questions. If you’re trying to research the value of stuff, eBay’s completed listings is generally the best way to do so.

  4. I’m sharing the collective awe here at the Fiestaware. What a find! How on earth did you manage to get those boxes of glassware and china out of that dumpster – I hope you had help? It is all very impressive. Can’t wait to hear the results of the auction … good luck!!!

    1. Oh that was a real hassle, I’ll probably get into that more the next post I do about this spot. I didn’t have help, but years of trash picking and for a while working as a mover helped me develop my “moving junk around” (and more importantly, not breaking it or my back) skills, lol.

  5. Truly wonderful post! In the future, I’d love to see the back of better dishes like the beautiful plates in photo #8. I love to research patterns. The brown and blue plate looks like Wedgewood. I found a 1920s plate that only had a very faint Wedgewood impressed in the body. It was so small and narrow I missed it because I thought it was a manufacturing defect. The bottle stopper in the cloudy bottle is sellable. I doubt the bottle is salvagable, but the stopper is. Martha Stewarts advice for cleaning is – You can remove the buildup caused by calcium and magnesium ions in hard water by swabbing the glass with acetone (nail polish remover), and then scrub gently with a mild detergent. Soaking the glasses in plain white distilled vinegar for 15 minutes is another effective home remedy. Another website says to leave petroleum jelly on for 4 or 5 days and scrub off. THANKS very enjoyable

    1. Yeah I should have added those. I still have them kicking around my garage I think so maybe I’ll add those pictures to the next post. I think that bottle was actually just dirty on the outside and just needed a good soak & wipe. I’m pretty sure a friend of mine has it now. Thanks for the tips!

  6. Thank you as always for your informative posts, illustrated with excellent photographs. I suppose there may be more quality items for you to salvage now that it is harder to donate things to charities, although most people seem to be simply lazy. All those dishes and lovely glassware could have been taken to the Salvation Army, which is still accepting such items – and I probably would have bought some pieces!

  7. I had a friend take a radiation detector to some vintage Fiesta wear and it registered VERY VERY high! So while pretty to have some colors can expose you to radiation, so be careful! Of course these were old pieces I am sure the new ones are made better. Here is link with sources about it πŸ™‚ P.S I voted Biden….not many in our field would vote that way though. I love to get my news with a dose of humor so I watch a lot of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and such, if you really want to laugh look up Jordan Klepper on Youtube the man is quick on his feet when talking to Trump supporters.,dishes%20contain%20lead%20or%20uranium.

    1. I did hear that some of the old stuff is radioactive, especially the red and green if I recall correctly. I doubt it’s dangerous, same with uranium glass, but I didn’t look it up enough to say for sure. I like John Oliver, he does a good job giving you the info but in a funny way. Don’t watch it as much as I used to though.

  8. Lovely bunch of finds! I’d heard so much about this dumpster, so it’s nice to see more pics, and read a nice “meating” out of some of the quality trash you found there. I expect your efforts felt more like excavating though, with the dumpster being well-filled and 10′ deep. . πŸ™‚
    You’re trash-picking’s Indiana Jones … er, make that “Montreal Martin”.

  9. Nice stuff! I’m impressed with your ability to make pretty fast decisions that X thing is just too much hassle to deal with (ie, the Fiestaware) and move it on. Re: the Make America Great Again hat, I’m amused to see it surface in Montreal. I do not share your feeling that he’s the candidate with a better character. Womanizing and sharp business dealing aren’t marks of great integrity but they are less troubling than Biden’s record. There are many reasons to find Biden a man of low character; the two that stick with me are his leadership of the judiciary committee as it humiliated Anita Hill during the 1991 Thomas hearings for the Supreme Court, and his enthusiastic 40-year participation in the massive sell-out of the American economy to the ‘free trade’ philosophy, an enterprise which might have seemed slightly less desirable to him if he’d ever been employed in an exportable job.

    1. To be fair it took the Fiesta sitting on my shelf for a few months before I made that decision, lol.

      I don’t want to get into the weeds here, but there’s no comparing their character. Biden’s made mistakes – Anita Hill, Crime Bill, etc – but they seem to come from an innocent enough place, and he seems willing to admit from them and learn from the experience. I also think it’s difficult to pin something as serious as a 40 year sell-out on one Senator, given that the job requires compromise and coalition building and you can’t always get what you want, especially if you’re a Democrat and the President is Reagan, Bush, Bush Jr, etc.

      Plus, no one is omniscient, and there are unintended consequences to every action that are easily criticized from the present but often look better from when looked at in context. For instance, the 94 Crime Bill, which is now largely criticized due to its contributions to mass incarceration, was largely supported at the time by the Congressional Black Caucus. The Hill hearing wasn’t great, but I can’t damn his character for making a mistake in a time when this was often a blind spot for men.

      Anyways, I suppose I believe in the fundamental goodness of people. I don’t believe in conspiracy theories, because they don’t make sense in my view because too many people would have to be evil to pull them off. I could be wrong, but based on what I’ve read about Biden, from listening to him talk, and so on, I believe he’s a fundamentally good person. He’s not perfect, but nobody is. Trump, don’t get me started.

  10. Love your junk! But your political views are completely pointless:)
    Have a great day!

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