The all-nighter

Things are picking up again. Tuesday nights have been really productive the past two weeks, and Wednesdays have provided some smaller but notable hauls as well. The other days have been hit and miss, though Thursday/Friday came through last night when I came across a massive pile of trash behind an apartment building and spent eight hours looking through it. I think that’s a record for me – I got there at 10:30 at night and left as the sun rose around 6:30 in the morning, with only a Timmie’s tea and muffin break in between to give me the strength to keep going. Someone dumped what looked like much of an apartment, and obviously didn’t put much care into the process. Anyways, I made a few notable scores (and still have a lot in the van to sort through), but that’ll have to wait for another post.

I finally got Covid a few weeks ago. It wasn’t too bad, but still slowed me down for nearly a week. I went on a few garbage runs during, later at night so I wouldn’t see anyone and with a mask on, so I was able to hit up my usual spots and make a few finds.

Otherwise, the university students (particularly the McGill kids) are back in town, so I plan on doing a couple yard sales this weekend hoping to sell them stuff for their new apartments. I should be out at 4100 Coloniale from 12-7 both days if anyone is interested!

Anyways, here’s some more of my Park Ex finds from earlier this year. One of my favourite finds was stored in a dingy ziplock bag, which maybe led to the tossers not noticing it.

It’s a cute 10k gold alarm clock pendant. This thing is smaller than a dime, but it’s fairly thick and hefty, and at nearly 5 grams it’s worth roughly 175$ CAD just for scrap.

These folks owned some cool leather stuff, and were definitely into guns. At one point they threw out a bunch of old bullets and shotgun shells, which seems like a dumb thing to do. There’s a few holsters here, and a couple of ammo holders. The holder on the bottom looks pretty old. I think the leather pieces on the left are used somehow in shaving, maybe someone can explain how they work in the comments.

Another batch of quality junk. That clock on the bottom left is kind of cool and unusual. The sterling comb is obviously busted, but at least the silver is worth 10$ or so. A lot of this stuff will probably end up on my Instagram selling page.

I liked this old clipboard, which was patented in 1893. I’m tempted to keep this, but I never actually use clipboards so I probably shouldn’t.

More quality junk. I love the embroidered “darning bag.” Below is a Mexican silver chain, and a silver cigarette holder that was made in Israel (with an end piece that doesn’t quite match).

This Aiwa Walkman feels like an outlier here. I’m pretty good at identifying the more collectible models at this point, and I was able to sell this for 135$ on eBay even though it doesn’t work. It’s a pretty compact model, which tend to be well-made and less common (and thus more valuable). Walkman values have climbed a lot in the last five years or so.

Finally, we have a couple big silverplate candlesticks, a couple little depression glass (I think) pieces, an a kitschy Charlton glass bottle with stopper. Stuff for Instagram or maybe the yard sale.

I had a couple of great weeks at this spot, but unfortunately I’d bet that I missed out on some great stuff before I found it. Oh well, so it goes. Anyways, hope to see you at a yard sale this weekend!


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14 thoughts on “The all-nighter”

  1. The leather straps are called strops. They are used to sharpen a straight razor by moving the razor first one way then the other like using a wet stone to sharpen a knife.

  2. The leather straps are called shaving strops and are used to polish the edge of the blade to bring it back into alignment. Various abrasive compounds were used. The shaving blades were quite thin and would become both dull and slightly bent from use and the strop was used to bring it back to its sharp, polished beginning.

  3. That little clock charm is soooo cute. I think it will be worth much more than scrap value. Thanks for taking the time to post. Always a delight to find in my Inbox, and you motivate me to be on the lookout for more treasures to flip.

  4. Great finds Martin. Weather shaping up to be perfect for what should be a great sales weekend for you. AIWA walkmans were the best – clearer, sharper sound than the Sony’s….from an 80s geek

  5. Others have already mentioned the leather strop. I wonder if the end of the cigarette holder is bakelite, a precurser to plastic.

  6. What you do, Martin, is always so inspiring and intriguing and — a little bit — heart-breaking (to see all of the valuable and interesting things we human beings choose to discard…) THANK YOU, as always for all that you do! I hope that you feel no post-COVID twinges in your health, and I also echo another commenter about AIWA player/recorders — they were very well-constructed and I had two of them which I loved.

  7. Great haul, Martin! I too love the clock charm. How strange that people threw away ammo, wow. Hope you feel better, and thanks for sharing your always intriguing finds.

  8. What a marathon session! Your eyes must have been buggy by the end of all the searching.

    Here’s a little video on stropping a straight razor (which needs to be done before each shave) It has nothing to do with sharpening, per se.

    Some of that frosted (not depression) glass can have value. This size = perhaps as much as $40 each.

    Keep the clipboard. I like the suggestion given by Martine. 🙂

  9. I think the sweet little clock is a charm for a charm bracelet, rather than a pendant. It is adorable and I think it’s probably very sellable as a charm. The detail is wonderful.

    Glad you’re recovering well from the bout of covid.

  10. Hi Martin, thanks for posting such a great haul! I can imagine the all-nighter must’ve been exhausting but at least it was rewarding. Glad to hear you’ve recovered from COVID.

  11. Nice finds! It sounds like you’ve had quite an adventure on your treasure hunts, even dedicating an entire night to explore that massive pile behind the apartment building – that’s some dedication! I can only imagine the excitement of stumbling upon unexpected treasures amidst the discarded items.

    I’ve been into dumpster diving for a while too, and it’s always amazing what people discard. Recently, I’ve had some great success selling my finds through Encans des Laurentides. Happy hunting, and may your dumpster diving adventures continue to yield hidden gems!

  12. I miss you, dear father. When will you return to take me home from this wicked child’s embrace? I long for the bin and those fleeting moments we have together as you proudly display me as the crown jewel of your dazzling estate offerings.

    Yours forever,


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