Ridiculousness

This year has been a bust, but last year was fantastic. This spot provided some of my best finds of 2020, and just a few days before the New Year.
I feel pretty confident that this stuff was tossed when a kid came home for the holidays and cleaned out their old room. There wasn’t a lot on the curb, but the things that made it there were pretty top quality. I found two Macbook Pros, one from 2010 and one from 2015 (I’m guessing they got a new one in 2020). I finally got around to listing both on eBay recently, and they should earn me around 125 & 275$ respectively. The newer one has a cracked screen, but is still usable. I also had to wipe the hard drives before listing them, but that’s not too hard to do.

Most notable though were the vanity items, particularly the jewellery.

There’s a fair bit of silver in this picture. The most valuable piece was the Tiffany heart tag necklace, which was real and sold for close to 400$. I’ve found a couple of those now, so maybe they’re more popular with gift givers than they are with gift receivers.
I also found a pair of Tiffany earrings, which I think sold for 100-150$ (this is a little while ago now, so I forget exactly). And we’re not even at the best part yet.

Silver is great, but gold is better (at least going by dollars per gram). This person tossed out two solid 14k/18k gold necklaces. The one on the right was made by Quadri, but I spotted some wear and tear and decided to take the easy way out and sell it to my jeweler for its weight in gold.

I still have the one on the left. It’s Italian 14k, and I’ll have to go on a mission to determine who made it based on the hallmarks. I doubt it’s a super well-known designer, but either way it’s very pretty, featuring graduated pieces of yellow, rose, and white gold.

Here’s a couple other gold bits. That ring is 14k (but the stone is just a bead that happened to fit well in that space), and the chain is white 14k gold with a roughly 1/4 carat diamond at the end. If I remember right, that smaller ring didn’t turn out to be solid gold after all.

In the end I saved around 75g of gold jewelry, most of which was 14k. The scrap value for that amount of gold (which I don’t think has changed significantly from last year) is currently about 3225$ (Canadian dollars, of course). And that’s not including the pieces I might be able to sell for more than scrap, such as the white gold chain with the diamond, and maybe that 2nd necklace.

As I said earlier, I tend to think that a younger person threw this stuff out, not really understanding the value it had. Likely the many pieces of fine jewelry were unappreciated gifts, or maybe ones that they thought they grew out of with age. Clearly they were well-to-do, given the neighbourhood they lived in and the number of quality items they owned (I expect this was only a fraction of their collection, and I would guess that this person received so many luxurious gifts that perhaps they began to lose all meaning). Regardless, you have to live in your own (incredibly privileged) little world to justify tossing things like this so thoughtlessly. This was one of the more ridiculous hauls of my trash picking career.

This might be a great example of how important luck can be. This spot was a “one-hit wonder” – I didn’t find anything else there afterwards – so I had to be in the right place at the right time to make the score. On the other hand, it seems that rich people tossing out great stuff (or, in other cases, clueless people of various socioeconomic statuses throwing away great stuff) is an inevitability, so maybe dedication to the craft is ultimately more important than luck.

14 thoughts on “Ridiculousness”

  1. There was a time I lived in an apartment complex in California. I could not get over the things people threw away, or placed next to the dumpster. The unit manager initially tried rescuing things to donate to charity, but then things started piling up. Bags full of dress clothing with store tags still attached. A large, fully intact aquarium, with stand, filters, and all the components, everything but the water and fish, next to the trash. Furniture, and so much more. Baffling.

  2. Your blog posts never cease to lift my spirits! THANK YOU for all that you do!!! And, yes, some people will attest that — through perseverance and practice — we help to create our own luck. May 2022 be a bountiful year for you!!!

  3. Another post! Woot! (Love the street pic, BTW.)
    And what a haul that was! Just the kind to bring in a new year.
    May this bust year end with a bang of good luck … and your continued dedication propel the good fortune on through 2022!

  4. I have a theory as to why the more well-to-do would toss gold and other valuables: I think they either (i) don’t know where to start to research where and how to resell, and/or (ii) are too lazy to do so. They also might think it’s beneath them, or not worthy of their time. In any case, it’s so wonderful that you are the beneficiary. Thanks for another great post! Hoping to see more great finds very soon.

    1. That’s definitely a factor, though it’s worth noting that most rich people don’t throw out their gold as casually as this person did. Sometimes I’ll find just a single earring, or a few small pieces that are worth more for scrap than most people might think. To me, a lot of it is due to ignorance re: the scrap value of these metals, and also the fact that they’re rich enough that they don’t really have to care all that much. It’s very rare that I’ll find a hoard like this, so it’s really only 1% of the 1% who’s too ignorant/lazy etc to investigate the value of these items.

  5. A question just occurred to me: do you think your jeweler ever repairs and resells some of the things you sell to him for scrap? Not that you’d begrudge it to him I’m sure, but maybe he might pay more for some items that are easily repairable? Or, maybe there are people on ebay who have the expertise and clientele and would pay more? I’m thinking specifically about that Quadri necklace.

    1. I wouldn’t be surprised and I wouldn’t mind, though I’m pretty sure the guy I bring it to melts most pieces I bring him. Jewelry is one of those things you can sell for way more than it’s “worth” at a storefront. For me, I’ve found that it’s a struggle to sell secondhand gold & silver for more than scrap unless it’s something with stones, a designer piece, a fun vintage design (but most vintage designs are just out of style), etc. And if it’s damaged and unexceptional, it’s probably easier just to melt it down and start fresh, especially for me because it saves the effort of listing/shipping, and the stress of sending something worth hundreds or thousands of dollars through the mail

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