If not for this spot I’d barely have any finds in 2023. Thankfully (for me at least), these guys just keep curbing recycling bins full of books on a near weekly basis. This has been a near constant phenomenon for about six months now, though it happened occasionally even before that – I first stopped here for a big pile of trash way back in 2021.
It’s funny, because from the street there’s no indication whatsoever that this blue bin would be filled with anything but the usual tin cans and whatnot. I myself wouldn’t ever have stopped for it, if not for the fact that I found cool stuff here previously.
Sometimes, trash picking can feel kind of magical.
This is a decent sized recycling bin so the books are piling up in my garage. These are just the ones I want to research more, or feel the need to sequester for now. Others go straight to the yard sale bin, or occasionally back to the curb.
A lot of the books in this picture are from sets, so I have to figure out if I have a complete set, keeping in mind that another load of books comes nearly ever week and thus a currently incomplete set might become complete with time. I just recently completed a thirty book set of Encyclopedia Britannicas from the early 1900s for instance – I found the first 27 months ago, and then another two and the final book more recently.
That might actually be a nice score. I know the market got flooded with encyclopedias and a lot of them are pretty much worthless, but the old Britannica sets do quite well.
Anyways, I figured that today I’d show you a few of my favourite individual books from this haul, all of which I found relatively recently.
I’ve found several old books about Montreal, which are always fun and easy to sell due to local interest. This one was written by a guy named N. M. Hinshelwood and was published in 1903. It seems to be hard to find original copies – most of the ones I see in my research are reprints or those “print on demand” books that are becoming more common. The only original from that list of 36 I linked to above is priced at about 50 USD, and there’s one other on eBay for about 75$, though there’s no sold prices that indicate whether or not those are realistic prices. You can see some pages that relate to our current season below.
Sometimes you can judge a book by its cover. I figured this “Complete Book of Fortune” was a good find right away, and indeed it seems to sell for 100-200$. It was published around 1935 (no date, but includes a “birthday calendar” for 1936) by Associated Newspapers Ltd. At 640 pages, it is certainly very complete and discusses topics ranging from palmistry to the “science” of phrenology. There’s a few extra pics below, and some more in that link.
Published in 1999, this is one of the newer books from this collection. The cover was unassuming, but it looked nicely made so I did some research and discovered it was a gem. It’s one (signed) copy of 175 from the regular edition of Inishbream by Theresa Kishkan. The key factor is probably that it was published by Barbarian Press, a “fine press publisher” based in Mission, BC, and features fancy paper (my simplified version of what’s described on the second picture, lol) and woodblock prints. It sold pretty quickly on eBay for 700$. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for books by this publisher going forward.
Finally, you all seemed to like my late 1700s almanacs, so I assume you’ll like this liturgical book from 1675.
It’s written in Latin (I think), so you can kind of make out some words. The content seems to relate to the Roman Ritual, but I don’t know much about that. I’m hoping you guys can help me out with this one. I don’t know much about value yet, besides finding that other liturgical works from this time have sold for between a few hundred and several hundred dollars.
This is one of the oldest books I’ve found. Just a bit older was this one from 1610, though it was in worse condition. This one is in pretty good shape considering it’s nearly 350 years old!
These book tossers are truly absurd. I hope for my sake (both from an entertainment, as well as financial perspective) that they continue tossing out great, easily flipped, and often antique books for a while yet. Either way, I definitely have more blog-worthy stuff from this spot to share here in the future.
1. My eBay listings, Sign up for eBay (Canada, US), Search for something you want / research something you have (Canada, US) – FYI these are Ebay Partner Network links, so I make a few bucks if you sign up for an account or buy something after getting to eBay using these links
2. Facebook page
3. Follow @garbagefinds and @garbagefindssells (selling account, operated by someone else) on Instagram
4. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org – note that I can’t fulfill most requests for items, many are already gone by the time they are posted here.
24 thoughts on “The book tossers pt.1”
Whoa … fascinating stuff! Books are lots of work, the lifting and moving the sorting, the researching and and and … so I hope they earn their weight in $$$ for you.
I have a penchant for the old leather-bound tomes myself. Score!!!
Absurd indeed!! I can’t imagine the kind of person that would discard these books.
fascinating finds, and your research and documentation are so interesting to read, as always…
The one from 1675 must be worth a lot. Or so I hope for you. Not every day you find such an old book. I am intrigued by the ‘650-‘ written on top right. Is it how much he would have paid for?
I was wondering that too. Who knows how long ago that was, though. Seems like a realistic price however, though I want to learn more about the subject material before I list it.
You hit the motherlode son..
What a terrific find!! I love books. I always dig them out of the trash no matter what it is. I sell them to my local Half Price Books store. Have not found any books of significant monetary value yet, but I’ll not give up! Thanks for sharing your findings ❤️🏻
I always pick up books from the trash. It eeps my bookshelf stocked with an interesting variety if nothing else. And I have book box outside my flat for others. I just makes me so sad to see books in the recycling as there are so many ways to pass them on. Really glad you are finding ones with value too.
Simply wow Martin!! That Montreal book must be an amazing read. Our history at your fingertips. Bravo to you.
Amazon has that Montreal book for $25.
That’s another reproduction. “Unlike some other reproductions of classic texts”…
I think it’s a relatively new thing where old books are basically printed on demand (from scans, or from online versions), often poorly. A lot of these reprints are really bad quality, which is why this one spends so much time trying to convince you it’s of reasonably good quality. Pretty much all the “work” would be done by computers, so the margins on each sale are high.
I read an article about the practice at some point but I forget where I saw it.
Glad that you are learning more about book values — especially the $700 sale of limited edition book from the “fine press publisher.”
Are these from a house clean out? If so, maybe you could go ask them if they would like you to take them all off their hands.
Probably, but you never know how they’d react to something like that. People are weird about their stuff, that I know for sure. I could end up being gifted the rest of the books, or my visit might make them wonder if they have value, and so they sell the rest (wouldn’t be that hard really) or donate. Or, if they’re insane, they might decide that they don’t want anyone enjoying their “garbage” and rip the books apart before putting them in the bin (definitely seen people ruin things before). Too much unpredictability for me, I prefer just going back week after week. Fortunately, the books aren’t getting damaged very often from their trip to the bin.
Inishbream for $700 – awesome sale! I hope you find more like this 🙂
I’m impressed that you found a copy of my Inishbream in the garbage! It’s long out of print and the wood-engravings alone are worth quite a lot. I hope it brings you some joy and some money!
I wish I could say I read it, but the 700$ helped pay the bills that’s for sure. That would have been a pretty good investment too for what it’s worth, since the original price was 250 CAD (increased close to 2x vs inflation). Anyways, thanks for stopping in!
Have you decided what you want for the Montreal book?
I’d be happy to take an offer below what those other people are asking for original copies. I suspect they don’t sell super quickly. You can email me an offer if you like. If you’re local it’d be a better deal, could save on shipping and all that
Unbelievable! Super rare and cool finds. Found your Latin book on my phone at kuleuven.lomo.libis.be. Not for sale, but list of libraries in can be found in. I don’t know if you are interested, but I would love if there was an instagram or other site where we all can show what we have found and share info with each other. I found a Vatican print (with wax seal) of the miracle of the Veil of Veronica circa 1860s. The Veil Veronica used to wipe Jesus’s face during carrying the cross had some glowing light or Shroud of Turin Image when the Vatican was showing it in the mid 1850s and they put on the print for 40 some years to commemorate it.
You could always do something like #garbagefinds on Instagram if you have that. It would be nice to have a forum of some kind though, maybe I can look into that