Grumpy old farts

Since having that pretty good week around the time of my last post the great finds have more or less dried up again. I’m still finding enough to make money and get by, but there simply have not been many blockbuster finds to speak of. Fortunately 2020 was a fabulous year (for garbage) that it largely offsets the far below average 2021. My theory is that a lot of people did their purging last year, and now we’re in a lull. But it could also be a complete coincidence, as sometimes a great find is just one street away, and bad luck can be the difference between a multiple thousand dollar haul and jack squat.

Anyways, I was lucky enough on this night. However, I unfortunately I had the pleasure of meeting the tossers, and they were quite “curmudgeonly” to use one of my step-dad’s favourite words. I had been picking there for maybe 10 minutes before I heard the classic knocking-on-the-window, and then a septuagenarian in nightwear came out the front door to yell and threaten to call the cops, etc etc. So I left, not wanting to cause a scene.

However, I had found some cool stuff and didn’t really want to feel the “fomo” that comes from leaving an intriguing pile unexplored. So I went home, set my alarm for 5am, and did some digging after these lovely folks went to bed. As it turns out, I had explored the best bags first (completely coincidentally), but I did find one thing that made the extra trip worthwhile.

These guys seemed to love sports anyways. Here’s a collection of collectible cups featuring the Montreal Expos of the early 80s. I doubt they’re worth a lot, but they’re fun.

I found a ticket stub to a 2003 Expos game, which quite coincidentally was from the only Expos game I ever attended. It was an afternoon game, the last of a four game series against the Phillies, and my parents drove up to Montreal (a few hours away) for the occasion. And it was a great game: Javier Vazquez pitched a gem, and Vladimir Guerrero hit a home run in my general direction. The Expos were still in the playoff race at this time, so there was a raucous crowd of about 20,000 people making the noise of a much larger group. Unfortunately, the subsequent road trip didn’t treat the Expos well, and this particular game was probably the high-water mark of the season and the last time Expos fans had much reason to feel hope. I do hope they come back, though I personally think this half a team thing they’re proposing might be one of the dumber ideas I’ve heard in my life. Anyways, just a funny thing to find, and funny to think that these people were somewhere in the stands that day.

Also featured in this photo are some Birks opera glasses, a “spyglass” containing a R-rated cartoon, and a brass hotel key & tag. The latter was from the Mayflower hotel in Washington, DC, and I was able to sell it quickly on eBay for 55$. People like their old hotel keys.

I also picked up this Youppi growth chart, which probably dates to the mid to late 90s. It’s a pretty fun piece (everyone here loves Youppi), and maybe I’ll put it up in my garage.

It was pretty funny how little I found on my 5am return trip. Essentially I had already looked through the best bags, and the rest (maybe 3/4 of the large-ish pile) was just junk. But I did find this 10k & opal ring at the bottom of a bag along with some other bits and pieces. I wonder if they even noticed it, or just didn’t care. Regardless, it should sell for around 250$, give or take. So, along with a few things that didn’t make the blog (including a couple of camera accessories, one of which I just sold on eBay for 100$) the “grumpy old farts” contributed around 500$, or about one month’s rent to the garbage fund.

Anyways, here’s hoping my luck turns around soon. I like this job, but it gets a little dull when you’re not finding any treasures.

12 thoughts on “Grumpy old farts”

  1. Picking is starting to get cold in Wisconsin, literally. Starting to have freezing night time temperatures. I’m glad you went back, I figure once it hits the curb it’s open season but I understand keeping the peace. I just drove around the block for some pine tree boughs. I make real wreaths so it was about 60 bucks worth of supplies….If I can just figure out how to sell snow on ebay….

  2. Treasure hunting does include dry spells but one must never give up. The jackpot may be literally just around the corner. Nevertheless, a $500 haul is pretty nice for a night’s work. Congrats! 😊

  3. So good to hear from you again! And nice finds. Things dry up here picking-wise stuff in NJ , USA too but there’s always the next hunt to look forward to. Stay safe and stay well. Thank you for sharing your adventures!

  4. Love your post. Great writing, as always. We get a little blast from your past, as well an insight into how you manage your finds as well as your interactions with the occasional tossers you encounter. And the finds are pretty cool too. I remember that Expos game well. 🙂

  5. Martin, it’s always sooo great to see a post from you. Even if the finds are sparse and uninspiring to you, they are always so enjoyable to read. Please keep them coming.

  6. I agree with all of the comments above. I am happy to read a post whenever you have energy to write one. I always am surprised/amazed by what people want to buy (a hotel room key??!!), and it is wonderful that you have learned how to sell the huge range of things that you find. I also love the opal ring. And that you simply set your alarm clock to return at 5;30 am. Thank you for this and all of your blog posts!

  7. Hi Martin – Love to see your finds as always. I can’t imagine pulling an opal ring out of the bottom of a bag! The Goodwill Bins in the states are a treasure hunt that is cheap 1.99 a lb or .49 an inch on books (stacked) I have sold books for $200 multiple times. This week I found a Rudolph the Red nose Reindeer a complimentary paperback book from Montgomery Wards 1939 first ed. and someone offered me $100 immediately. Unbelievable finds both vintage and housewares like an OLED tv stand still shrink wrapped worth $75 for $2. The bins are warm and there is a friendly community here. I googled GWB in Canada…
    Willow_Beach_Thrift wrote
    I know for sure there is a Goodwill Outlet in London Ontario and I think there is also one in Edmonton Alberta and Montreal Quebec. Google Goodwill Outlet and you can see if there is one in your area.

  8. Always fascinated with your finds and sales, found your blog last year through thenonconsumeradvocate blog and have been on the lookout for your posts ever since, love seeing a new one pop up 🙂

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