Bits and / or bobs

I’ve struggled to be focused & productive during this pandemic. I have more time on my hands than usual, but the days seem to fly by without me getting much done. I don’t think I’m the only one though – it seems like lots of people have a hard time being productive during this crisis.

Anyways, today I’ll share a few finds from one-off, pre-pandemic spots. One day I passed by an upscale apartment building and saw an orange bag poking its head out of one of the bins. Apartment dwellers rarely use orange bags, so I figured I’d stop and take a look. Inside one of the bins was some quality audio equipment.

Marantz made some of the best receivers back in the 70s, and the 2220b is considered a classic. I did some basic tests and it seemed to work fine, so it’s worth around 350$ give or take. The Bose radio is more modern but also high quality, and seems to sell for around 150-200$. I also found a couple of decent bluetooth speakers.

I never saw anything else there, but it was a good example of my “sixth sense” for garbage. Most trash is gross, so it pays to keep your eyes out for anything that looks unusual.

Here’s a bit of jewelry I found in NDG a couple months back. There’s a bit of silver in there, but the most interesting piece to me is that Montreal Olympics badge / pin. It seems to be made from bronze, and I haven’t been able to find any others like it online (though I haven’t tried super hard yet).

I also found a nice Bakelite prayer bead necklace, which sold for 25$ via an eBay auction. I was hoping for more, but I guess that’s around what it was worth.

Let’s finish with some Mile End finds. This spot was pretty junky by volume, but I picked up some fun bits & bobs. Those metal hockey coins were made for Shirriff, and distributed via different foods in the 60s. They seem to sell for between 1-10$ each. There’s also a little silver St Christopher medallion in there, and what looks to be an old celluloid brooch at bottom right.

I enjoyed finding that Midol tin and the old bottle of clove oil, which still smells strong after around 60 years.

My favourite item here is there copper ashtray, which was made to promote the old Montreal Pharmacy. I’m guessing at was made sometime between 1931 (when they became the first pharmacy in the country to offer their services 24h a day) and 1950 (when Charles Duquette’s son became a partner). Plus, the font used is pretty Art Deco-y.

I still have lots to show you, but I’ll leave it at that for now. I think I’ll share some more “part x of a million” finds in my next post.

Links

1. Facebook page
2. My eBay listings, Sign up for eBay, Search for something you want / research something you have (I’m a member of the eBay Partner Network so I make a bit of money if you buy things [even if they’re not mine] or sign up for an account via these links)
3. Help me pay off student loan debt / Contribute to the blog
4. Follow me on Instagram
5. Email: thingsifindinthegarbage@gmail.com – note that it might take me some time to reply, and that I am unlikely to be able to fulfill requests for items

Keep an eye out for those oblong bags

Today’s post will be a short one, featuring some finds from a briefly productive spot in Outremont. My best find came from an oblong-shaped bag that was tossed to the curb on one of the snowiest days of the year.

Inside was an old violin in its original case. The tailpiece of the violin (the bottom part) wasn’t attached, but it looked reparable to me. It ended up selling at the auction house for 65$. Pretty easy money!

I also saved a touristy African instrument, which went into my yard sale pile.

Another day I saved a bunch of coins and a bit of jewelry, including two pairs of sterling silver + 14k gold earrings. The Canadian coins were mostly pennies, but I also found around 8 Euros and 10 Swiss Francs, both of which are currencies I can fairly easily exchange for cash.

I found a bit more musical stuff, including a couple of digital metronomes and a pair of lightly used Grado Labs SR225 headphones. I haven’t gotten around to testing the latter yet, but I expect them to work just fine. Others on eBay are selling easily for over 100$, so that was a nice get.

I also saved some designer sunglasses – Oakley’s on the left and Porsche Design on the right. Both are in pretty good condition, and should sell for around 50$ each.

A few weeks ago I saw a moving truck out front of this house, so I expect this is all I’m going to get! Still, I’m likely to earn a couple hundred bucks from their junk when it’s all said and done.

Otherwise, eBay has been very slow for me lately, as you might expect. One of my best recent sales was the handwritten Bulgarian cookbook I shared here not too long ago. I finally listed it at 225$, and it sold pretty quickly to a rare books librarian working for a university cookbook archive in the States (I looked up the buyer’s name out of curiosity). That seems like the ideal destination for a book like this, so I’m happy about that.

I haven’t been picking quite as often as I normally would, but my luck has been pretty good regardless. I’ll share some of my best recent finds here soon enough. There’s also many old finds I have yet to photograph and share, in particular from the “part x of a million” spot. I’ve been intending on writing more blog posts while the world is largely shut down, but so far I’ve had a hard time focusing, in large part because there’s just so much news to consume.

Links

1. Facebook page
2. My eBay listings, Sign up for eBay, Search for something you want / research something you have (I’m a member of the eBay Partner Network so I make a bit of money if you buy things [even if they’re not mine] or sign up for an account via these links)
3. Help me pay off student loan debt / Contribute to the blog
4. Follow me on Instagram
5. Email: thingsifindinthegarbage@gmail.com – note that it might take me some time to reply, and that I am unlikely to be able to fulfill requests for items

The prestige pt.1

I’ve been picking this past week, even as the pandemic intensifies. I keep some hand sanitizer in the car for my hands, and some disinfecting spray to wipe down surfaces with. I’ve also taken a different approach, more often taking full bags to sort through later rather than sorting on the spot, then letting those bags sit until any potential virus inside has died.

Maybe it’s unwise to do this. But to be honest, I’m not really sure what I’d do with myself otherwise. Garbage picking is a passion of mine, and it’s hard to stop knowing what treasures I’ll miss. Maybe that makes me a little crazy or obsessive. I do think that with the precautions I’m taking, the risks are pretty low. As bad as the pandemic is, it’s safe to say that only around .1% (or 1/1000) of the population is currently infected (current known cases are 4682, making the official count closer to .01%, but we can assume that the number is higher than that, so .1% seems like a liberal estimate).

Regardless of the risk, trash picking is definitely less fun right now. The need to compulsively clean is annoying, and I find myself feeling paranoid, mostly because other people feel so paranoid. It’s a bit sad that my enjoyment of my hobby / job has been tainted for the foreseeable future, but so it goes.

I have to say though that this week was pretty successful on the garbage finds front. In particular, I struck gold on Thursday, and had a very 2020 interaction while doing so. It’ll make for a good blog story, which I hope to share here relatively soon.

Anyways, let’s go back to before this all started, when it was cold out and there was still lots of snow on the ground. This spot looked good from the get go: sold sign out front, fancy house, hint of old junk (the suitcase) on the curb, and a bit more volume than your usual pile. I did indeed find some great stuff, and was hopeful that this spot would end up being a regular producer (at least for a while). However, later that day I got a message announcing an estate sale at the house, which usually means that the flow of trash is at its end.

I know the estate sale people didn’t throw this stuff out, so it must have been from the family sorting through personal affects. A large percentage of the trash was old photos & ephemera, but I also saved a bit of quality junk and silver. Also, it’s worth noting that a member of the estate came from a pretty prestigious Canadian business family, so my finds here are the remnants of some serious old money.

Let’s start with a couple of the best photos. These 10×8″ photographs featuring the Harrison Hot Springs & Lake were taken c. the 1930s by Leonard Frank, a noted photographer of British Columbia. The photos are both stuck to the same piece of fibrous backing, which is something I haven’t seen before.

His photos are apparently fairly sought after, and I think mine will sell in the 2-300$ range.

This photo is signed by Yousuf Karsh, the famed Canadian portrait photographer. He took portraits of lots of famous people, but also some less famous folks like Jimmy here. I found another Karsh photo around five years ago and sold it for 235$, though a friend of mine did me a favor and framed it professionally, thereby increasing its value. Still, I’m guessing this would sell for 50-75$.

I found lots of other great photos here, but I’ll save them for another post.

Here’s some “quality junk” displayed on a jewelry box tray I also found. The watch is a Hamilton, and probably worth around 30-40$. May Cutler was a writer and publisher of children’s books who was also mayor of Westmount from 1987-1991.

Here we have an old school Charga-Plate (precursor for the credit card) in its original leather sheath, a candy thermometer that may contain mercury, some vintage lipstick, and a souvenir key fob from the US Capitol.

Here we have some 20-30 year old rolling tobacco, an enameled copper dish, a magnifier, and some vintage products. The Christmas tree ornament hangers are my favourite – based on the font, I’d guess they’re from the 40s.

I saved several Cirque de Soleil DVDs, which should do well at a future yard sale.

Here we have a small collection of coins including a silver dime, a silver cat brooch, a tin filled with vintage keys, a shotgun shell, and a vial that I’d guess contains kidney stones. The 15″ ruler on the bottom is quite nice, it has a brass edge and was made by Eberhard Faber.

I also found two sterling silver picture frames, including one (on the right) made by Birks. It has it’s original glass, so it’s probably worth around 40-50$. The spoon is also sterling, but it was real dinged up and only good for scrap (around 5$ worth).

Let’s finish with this cool piece of art, which is painted on a round piece of wood around 11″ in diameter. It’s pretty well done, but unfortunately unsigned. If you know something about it, please let us know in the comments!

Given that we’re all (mostly) stuck inside I’ll try to post more than I usually do. Recently I’ve been addicted to the news and not really getting a heck of a lot done, but I’m trying to reduce my consumption. It’s good to be informed, but you have to draw a line at some point.

Links

1. Facebook page
2. My eBay listings, Sign up for eBay, Search for something you want / research something you have (I’m a member of the eBay Partner Network so I make a bit of money if you buy things [even if they’re not mine] or sign up for an account via these links)
3. Help me pay off student loan debt / Contribute to the blog
4. Follow me on Instagram
5. Email: thingsifindinthegarbage@gmail.com – note that it might take me some time to reply, and that I am unlikely to be able to fulfill requests for items