I finally started using this Google Lens thing after hearing about it from my followers. For instance, I occasionally ask for help identifying an object on Instagram, and people would then send me Google Lens results in their replies. Eventually I clued in that it was a useful tool (it takes me a while to figure these things out sometimes). So today I’ll share three objects that this new tool helped identify.
I picked up this ceramic vase in Park Ex amongst boxes full of kitchenwares in the fall of 2022. I could tell that it was pretty old, but I struggle to describe these things (“old vase with blue and black pattern??”). Researching it would have been very difficult in the past.
(The vase had a sticker with someone’s name on the bottom, which makes me think it was inherited at some point, and “master stone” written using some kind of marker on the inside).
Thanks to the Lens, I was able to identify some relevant keywords (Qajar dynasty [Iran], Persian) and was linked to very similar pieces, like the vase at the bottom left. That one purports to be from the 18th century, though I wouldn’t be surprised if this design was made later than that as well. Either way, this seems like a pretty close match. I hesitate to pretend I’m an expert because I used the Google, but based on what I’ve seen I’m thinking this vase is worth somewhere between the few hundreds and the several hundreds.
Lots of these hard-to-research things end up sitting on shelves in my storage for years before I figure out what to do with them. I picked these up in Outremont, along with someone’s old coin collection and other quality junk, in maybe 2017 or 2018. I think I posted them here, but I can’t find the pics now. Needless to say, they’ve been kicking around a while.
They looked old, but I never did find any similar pieces in my brief research (in retrospect these ones are easier to describe than the other, given their unusual shape). I’m sure I would have figured it out if I have spent longer trying, but “there’s always more garbage” and I got distracted with newer finds.
As it turns out, Qajar dynasty/Iran/Persia are important keyword here yet again. Also, “tri-sided” and “fritware” (I’ve never heard of that kind of -ware before). The guys at top left are trying to sell theirs for 480 AUD, though from what I’m seeing you can find them a fair bit cheaper. If those guys are right about their description, these vases date to around 1900.
Finally, I always thought this platter I found in late 2018 was unusual, particularly the look of the glaze on the bottom. It’s been sitting around the house for a while, because I never had any luck finding a comparable piece online. Queue the Lens.
Thanks to this, I now have “French” “Faience” and “Rouen” keywords to work with. According to various sources, this platter was probably made in the early 18th century (though you always have to take these product descriptions with a grain of salt, because all it takes is one person describing it as such for it to become a “fact” on the internet). Anyways, the guys selling the one at bottom left are asking for 744$, but I’ve seen others in the 300$ range which I think is probably the more realistic price – maybe less if you wanted to sell it quickly.
So, I would definitely recommend you check out this Google Lens thing if you haven’t already. I think you can only use it on your cell phone, but maybe there’s a similar tool you could use on the computer. It also does translations!
Part of me dreads the day when this technology becomes too advanced and ruins the magic & mystery of finding something unusual. That being said, I don’t think we have to worry about that yet. Google Lens still comes up empty on a lot of things I research, so there’s still plenty of mystery out there… for now.
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: email@example.com – note that I can’t fulfill most requests for items, many are already gone by the time they are posted here.