The show must go on pt.2

Back to that house. Here’s one unusual thing I found, a mug-like object with two handles and different faces on both sides. It looks old, but there’s no marks on the bottom. I saw a similar piece when I went to the estate sale, which I bought because figured I might as well own both. That one is slightly larger, like the size of a big mug, with a blue glaze and a hard to decipher maker’s mark. I’m curious to know more about them, so please let me know if you’ve seen something similar!

I saved a few nice portable radios here. If I remember correctly, these are worth between 20-40$ each.

I found some eyeglasses, the finest of which were made by Giorgio Armani and Versace. The Armani ones (top) are particularly nice, and should sell for around 100$. The others were “yard sale quality.”

This collection of mostly foreign coins wasn’t super exciting, but coins are always fun to find regardless. There were some Euro and British pounds in there – I stash those away until I have enough to mention. The Canadian and American goes into an old tin for eventual rolling, and the rest (caveat below) goes into a McCoy cookie jar (like this one, which I found years ago) until I sell them at the auction or a yard sale.

These days I’m also saving Swiss francs, Australian dollars, and New Zealand dollars, because they come up often enough to be maybe worthwhile.

I found a nice little perfume collection here. The only one I listed on eBay was the Tamango by Leonard, the rest went to auction or local buyers.

I heard the word “hoarder” thrown around a lot at the sale. This person bought a lot of things, some of which didn’t look to be opened or ever used. There were lots of inukshuks for example, which I imagine came from Museum gift shops, and junky jewelry like the “I love opera” pin, which might have also come from a gift shop. Still, I found some stuff to sell, and some other stuff that I’ll give to others to sell. The “Rich Bitch” belt buckle at bottom right claims to be made by Gucci, but I have my doubts.

Here’s some of my best little finds. That letter opener featuring the 1838 5 Francs silver coin was made by someone named Eloi, and similar examples sell for around 100$ on eBay. The jewelry to the left of the coin is all silver. The ring must classify as a cocktail ring given the bigness of the stone. Otherwise, there’s a nice Mexican abalone letter opener, some small Catholic charms (a few of which are silver), a Seiko watch, and a busted MMA necklace. In this case, MMA means Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the necklace is probably designed in an ancient style. They seem to sell reasonably well in general, so I listed it on eBay. If it looks like something you want to re-string check it out!

Last but not least are these medals, which appear to have been made for the Order of Malta. I don’t really understand what these organizations actually do, but there does seem to be a good market for their medals online. I expect this set to sell for around 200$.

I went to that sale (again) on the final day, after six busy days of selling. There was still tonnes of stuff left, some of it junk, some of it not. If it finds its way to the curb and not 1-800 Got Junk, I’ll be there to pick it.

Otherwise, I finally sold some sinks today. Three of these yellow guys have now flown the coop, selling for 40$ each (120$ total). I wish they didn’t take so long to sell, given how much space they take up, but the delay might be partly my fault for not noting the dimensions on my listing. Regardless, I think the great sink experiment can be considered a reasonable success. They definitely do sell, you just need some storage space, elbow grease, and patience.

So, my sink inventory is now: two yellow, a white pedestal, and that cast iron industrial sink (which I finally finished cleaning and listed yesterday). They’ll sell eventually, but it might be a while.


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The show must go on pt.1

I happened upon this trash pile while out for a jog in the fall. I ended up walking home with a big box of junk, and stashed another bag to pick up later.

I had one other good haul here a few weeks later. After that the supply dried up, and I soon learned that there would be an estate sale held at the house. I was a bit disappointed to hear that, because I rarely find any exciting trash once the professionals get in there.

I found a whole bunch of pens that day. I ended up going to the estate sale, and I think I can say with confidence that this person never once refused (or discarded) a free pen. So, most of these were junk, but I did pick out a few nice ones.

The middle pens are the fanciest ones here. Both were made by S.T. Dupont and have 18k gold nibs. The brownish one (I’m not sure what the material is) also features gold-plated silver accents. Both of those should be good for 50-100$, maybe more. Otherwise, I saved ballpoints made by Waterman, Reform, and Waterford.

Many albums full of photos were tossed out on the curb, but I only took a handful of the oldest ones. Here’s a selection of what I found, including some paper ephemera. There were some neat letters from the 1910s written on House of Commons letterhead – it seems that a relative of this person was an MP at some point. If anyone’s interested in those I brought them to the auction house, and they’ll be sold by Thursday at around 8pm.

Many of the photos I saved dated to the late 1800s and early 1900s. That one of the girl on the toy horse is pretty cute, here’s a better look.

That photo of the building collapse is intriguing. Anyone know where that might have been? At the top right is a small silver Birks picture frame.

Speaking of silver frames, I also saved this fine example. It was made in Chester, England in 1903 by James Deakin & Sons. I recently sold it on eBay as part of a silver frame lot, which ended up going for 51$.

I also saved a nice old Quebec history book and a Radio Canada record from 1956. The latter looks to contain a news reel about some political goings-on in Cambodia. I wonder how many copies of that recording are still out there… Perhaps it’d be an interesting thing to digitize.

I haven’t had a lot of luck finding trash in the new year (so far), but I still have lots of great finds from 2019 to sort through and share. I’ll share the second batch of finds from this house soon, and then get to talking about a couple other productive spots.


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: – note that it might take me some time to reply, and that I am unlikely to be able to fulfill requests for items


My dear Grandma, Daisy Letitia Devine passed away on Monday at the age of 98.

She led quite the life. Here’s a little snippet of it, written by my mom for the obituary.

Born March 7, 1921, in Crawley, Sussex, England … A war widow, Daisy came to Canada on the Queen Mary in 1946. Once here, she met and married her second husband, who was the older brother of her first. Earl happily took over the care of his late brother’s son, and he and Daisy went on to have three more children. Though their life together was marked by family tragedy and difficult financial times, the atmosphere they provided for their four children was one filled with a great sense of security, acceptance and love. Daisy’s priority was always to family. She did manage two trips to England to visit with her family there, and enjoyed numerous visits from English relatives to Canada. She enjoyed gardening, and always wanted an English garden, like her granny’s, or at least a Canadian approximation of one. She was an avid reader, relishing novels, biographies, and books about Canadian and British history. She enjoyed watching curling on TV during winter and Toronto Blue Jays baseball games during summer. She never wanted to be thought of as British; she considered herself a Canadian, through and through. She managed to live independently, in the same home Earl built in 1952, well into her 98th year. Though shy and retiring by nature, for many years Daisy acted as Secretary in the Pontiac Historical Society.


There’s a lot more to the story, and thankfully I have that in print. Years ago, my mom and my stepfather interviewed my grandparents and compiled their stories into book form. This was a business of theirs at the time, but of course this one was done free of charge. As a result I own a roughly 400 page tome filled with their stories, pictures, and lots of nostalgia.

My love of junk may have been born in my grandma’s house. As a kid, my mom told tales of a closet filled with old things that hadn’t been seen in years, and that excited me greatly. My grandpa wasn’t at all interested in clearing it out, but my grandma was and we (my mom, grandma, and I) compromised by doing it slowly, in installments. There was a lot of junk in there, given that my grandparents were of that generation that didn’t throw much out, but inevitably there were things that sparked my imagination. My most memorable find was a WWII-era world map published by the CBC which portrayed the reach of the Axis forces as the tentacles of an octopus. I kept that map for many years, but unfortunately it disappeared at some point, perhaps during a move. I was able to find a similar one online, but it seems to be fairly scarce. I wish I still had the one we found together, but so it goes.

My grandma, around the time of the cleaning of the closet, with my grandpa and her sister

My grandma was part of the Greatest Generation, meaning she experienced the Great Depression and World War II. During the latter, she lived not far from London, and often saw German bombers on their way to bomb the city and dogfights between German and Allied planes. The Nazis were focused on London, but she learned what to do when the air raid sirens went off, and knew the sound of a V-2 bomb (from the book: “You could hear them coming – a sort of eerie singing – and you just prayed their singing didn’t stop, because once the motor cut out, it meant the bombs were going to drop, right there or someplace pretty close”). She met her first husband after he was stationed nearby. A member of the Cameron Highlanders, he died in 1944 from friendly fire during the battle of the Falaise Gap.

In her senior years, my grandma was somewhat of an anachronism. She never used a computer, the internet or a cell phone, and had no interest either. She loved reading, playing Scrabble and enjoyed watching the telly. She mostly kept to herself and loved her family. Outwardly, hers was a simple life, at least in the years I knew her. I can’t help but feel like my generation, and other generations have something to learn from hers, which is not to say that they didn’t have something to learn from us as well.

We exist in an age of distraction, and my generation in particular seems to be having a difficult time finding our way, struggling to define the meaning and purpose of our lives. My grandma didn’t have any issues with that, perhaps because she lived through poverty and war and death and saw first hand how fleeting it all can be. She valued her family, and she followed the Golden Rule. Maybe the meaning of life is as simple as that, especially if you’re flexible when defining what “family” really means.

At 98, her death is not surprising. I had hopes of her making it to 100, but I knew that was far from a guarantee. I’ve been preparing for this eventuality for some time, so I feel no sense of shock, but obviously I’m still sad that she’s gone. She’ll always have a place in my heart.