One hit wonder

It was just another pile of trash to most people, and I’m sure many passed it by without a second thought. But to me it was a pile of trash worth checking out, given that it was somewhat larger than your average pile of trash. Collections of this size will often disappoint, but until I develop x-ray vision my best chance at finding great garbage is to investigate piles that deviate from the usual. Fortunately this particular one was pretty good.

I found several neat items, including an old camera, a leather picture frame, a vintage alarm clock, and a few photos. That hearing aid remote control (to the left of the frame) was also a good find, I sold a similar one a little while back for about 80$.

It was the silver and jewelry that really made by night though. Those brushes are Birks sterling and should fetch a good price. The cufflinks weren’t super exciting, but the 14k white gold necklace chain (top right of the open jewelry box) was. The necklace at bottom right is nice as well – there are four strands of what look like tiny pearls attached to an 18k gold clasp, which featuring three stones that are probably diamonds.

I spotted my best find loose in a bag alongside some clothes. I had a feeling it was gold, given its weight and look, but had a hard time finding hallmarks. I eventually spotted some on the pin catch, but they were indecipherable. So, I brought it to my jewelry guy who confirmed that it was 18k gold, and was worth a bit over 700$ for its weight in gold (about 18 grams).

I wanted to make sure it wasn’t some fancy designer piece, so I took it home to do some research before making a decision. However, I wasn’t able to uncover any useful info, and after consulting Reddit I decided to sell it for scrap.

I think it was the right call. The price of gold is fairly high right now, and it’s hard to find buyers willing to pay above scrap value for pieces like this. I’ve had (and continue to have) other quality gold jewelry that languished on eBay for way too long, and sometimes it’s nice just to make a quick buck! Or 700…

Another interesting find was this small cup featuring a scene from Exodus.

The design is unlike any cup I’ve seen before. Most of the design looks like a repouss√©, except for a small piece of the wall (to the right of the door) which is etched. I’m not sure why the maker did it like that, but maybe there was a good reason to do so. The cup is hallmarked “13” (around the top in this picture), which I hope means 13 loth, a base 16 German (and apparently Austro-Hungarian) silver standard that’s been obsolete since the late 1800s.

I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s from the 1800s just from the way it was made, but I can’t say I’m an expert in the area. I was able to find some similar cups on Google, but none were exactly the same / had the “13” hallmark. If you have any ideas let me know!

I haven’t seen anything at this spot since. Perhaps it will end up a “one hit wonder.”

Otherwise, I’ve been having a hard time putting words down lately. My family has been struggling with illness and age, and I’ve been dealing with more anxiety & depression, so maybe my brain just hasn’t been in a good place for writing. I hope my focus returns soon, but forgive me if it’s another long wait until my next post.

On the other hand, I’ve been thinking about doing some shorter posts, say between 1-3 photos. It might make it easier to share finds regularly. What do you think? I’ve worried that doing too many short posts might make the blog feel “spammy,” but I starting to wonder if that’s just a figment of my imagination.

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

Please note that I am hopelessly bad at responding to emails & Facebook messages.

Miscellaneous finds from the past six months

I happened upon this outwardly unexceptional collection of bags when there was still snow on the ground in Nouveau Bordeaux. My finds here were some of the oldest languishing in my garage, and I considered moving the stuff to the yard sale bin so that I could focus on documenting more recent junk. However, after looking over it all again I decided there were definitely things worth sharing.

I found a fair bit of old Catholic stuff here, but it was the tobacco products that inspired more memories. Apparently my dad used to smoke Erinmore Flake, and my mom has a Player’s tin just like this one which once belonged to my grandpa. He also liked using those Vogue rolling papers.

My favourite find here was the Player’s tin, because it came with contents.

Most of the contents were junk, but that brass J.D. Irving employee badge was pretty cool. J.D. Irving is active in a lot of different industries (mostly in New Brunswick) but given some of my other finds here I’d guess that it was forestry related. I expect it was made in the 30s or 40s.

I found lots of photos, and here’s a small selection of my favourites. At top left is an old lumber camp (probably in the 1920s). Otherwise, there’s a picture of a forest fire, two separate car crashes, and a cat with a distortion on its head. Zoom in for a closer look!

Here we have some 1940s French kids books, a couple of religious things, and a Pioneer saw instruction manual.

Here’s some more old Catholic stuff, a Simonds saw catalog, and a Christmas card from the 20s or 30s.

I saved a whole bunch of these cards, the kind you often see bookmarking pages in the bible (I think there’s a specific word for them, but I can’t think of it right now!). Most date from between 1920 and the late 50s, but a few are older than that.

Most interesting to me were these little cards, which I’d guess were given to someone who donated to a Catholic missionary group in the 30s. They feature pictures of kids who were baptized and given Christian names as a result of the person’s donations.

Let’s just say they definitely belong to another time. This one was the most obviously “vintage” though, saying (my rough translation): “I am black, but thanks to you my soul is white.”

I was hoping to find more old stuff here, but I only saw trash outside on one other occasion over the next few months and at some point you have to give up.

I stumbled upon another briefly exciting spot in Cote-des-Neiges. On my first day I found this jewelry box and a few other vintage doodads, but after that the garbage was mostly junk.

A lot of the jewelry in that box was quite dark or tarnished. I found a nice Italian micro-mosaic brooch; a pair of dangle earrings that look to be silver or silver plated (they seem to be stamped with a “32”, not sure what that means); a 935 silver brooch from Israel featuring a very black glass or stone, and a maybe silver brooch with what looks to be an eilat stone.

I also saved this nice bottle of vintage “Amour Amour” by Jean Patou. I look at this now and wonder if I missed the top of the box… but so it goes.

The curb out front of a big house near downtown was exciting for a few weeks. On day one I found a coffee tin full of pennies – that and the “for sale” sign made it a spot I had a hunger to pick at.

Day 2 was mediocre, but on the third garbage day I did pretty well.

I’m always happy to save your bag full of coins, especially when there’s jewelry inside!

Most of the coins were foreign and not particularly valuable, but they’re easy money in bulk quantities.

Here’s a picture of the standouts. I found three Mexican peso coins from the 60s, which are apparently 10% silver. That’s so little silver that you have to wonder why they even bothered, but based on that forum (linked) it was done basically to keep with tradition while dealing with monetary issues. Either way they’re pretty cool coins that are fun to collect. The other coin is an old nickel, which isn’t too exciting other than being damaged in an unusual way.

Otherwise, we have a very nice and fairly large brass crucifix pendant, a few unexceptional Mexican silver tourist pieces, a nice Creed sterling silver Catholic necklace, a 10k gold fraternity pendant (if you know which fraternity please let me know!), and a vintage 40s/50s 10k gold ring. There was also a single silver cufflink with “FP” (Financial Post?) marked on the front that was made by Tiffany.

Around a month after my coin haul I noticed that an estate sale was being held at the same house. That marked an unofficial end to my good run (I rarely find anything once those listings go up), but I’m left to wonder who decided to throw out the bag of coins. I have a hard time believing a liquidator to do that, so I assume someone in the family decided it wasn’t worth trying to sell.

Here’s some stuff I found in front of an apartment building a month or so ago. I started out saving these old tools, and then spotted some nice housewares inside a black garbage bag.

The two candlesticks were International sterling silver, so that was a nice get. Otherwise, I saved a piece of art glass (it has a smooth glass bottom, which is usually a sign of quality, but no signatures or stickers), a set of silver plated sherry glasses, and a nice Russian enameled (and probably silver plated) sugar bowl. There’s a name on it somewhere, but I forget what it says. Regardless, it’s an attractive piece.

At one point in my rummaging I spotted a paper bag full of Vitamins and medicine cabinet type jars. I ripped open that bag, which was inside a black garbage bag, just to see if there was anything good at the bottom. Sometimes I’ll find cool vintage jars or perfumes alongside that kind of stuff, but instead, I found a change purse with a good hunk of change inside. I’d say there was between 15-20$ in there!

Last but not least is this haul of jewelry from a briefly productive spot in Cote St-Luc. (In retrospect I should have taken this picture in my garage, but oh well). I saved a few bits of gold, including an Italian horn pendant, a Taurus pendant, a heart pendant, and a couple of broken chains. There’s also a bit of silver and several decent watches. My favourite is the Sutton skeleton watch – it needs some maintenance (the movement works, changing the time is a bit of an adventure) but should still sell for around 50$. I also like that enameled brooch (marked “Joop Schilt Holland” and seems to be reasonably collectible) and the old necklace with the odd bulbous green and clear beads. There was more junky stuff I didn’t photograph and gave to a friend to sell.

Cote St-Luc was very good to me over the course of a few weeks, and I’ll be sure to share some of those finds soon. Otherwise, some of my best recent finds have come from a place where I got yelled at (I now just take the bags and leave). It’ll be a while before I share any of that stuff though, however, as the best finds usually take the longest to document!

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

Please note that I am hopelessly bad at responding to emails & Facebook messages.

The windowknocker

This spot provided some great finds over a couple of months in the late spring / early summer.

As I was picking one night an older guy knocked loudly on his window, presumably to get my attention. I looked up but he didn’t give further direction. Windowknocking is a passive aggressive way of telling me to get out of the garbage – It happens semi-regularly, usually in the evening, and it’s always a little awkward. Fortunately I was just about done with the pile by the time this happened so I took my finds and left.

These folks had tossed some great stuff though, so I wasn’t going to be deterred that easily. I just made a point to go to that spot nearer to the end of my trash run, instead of close to the beginning. That seemed to work, and I was able to avoid further contact with the windowknocker.

I take photos of most of the trash piles I frequent to prove that I was there and that there were things on the curb. When I find something really cool, I might try to get a shot of the object inside the bag as proof that it was indeed in the trash. I do get paranoid that someone will accuse me of stealing, particularly when people throw out literal gold. It seems like an unlikely scenario, but if I’ve learned anything in life it’s that people can be quite stupid! Anyways, because of all that I’m actually happy that Apple tracks all my movements, and that all my photos have the specific locations attached to them.

Those iPhone photos aren’t always that great, especially at night with the flash on. But above you can maybe make out an intriguing blob wrapped up in old sheets.

It was a heavy soapstone carving in pretty much impeccable condition. It’s funny when people throw things out with care (I guess they thought it might have torn through the bag otherwise?). It weighs about 3.77kg (or 8.3lbs) and measures about 10″ tall.

A tag was taped to the back, which noted that it was made in the Belcher Islands (in Hudson’s Bay off Quebec) by a J. Emiko Loar. I had no luck finding any reference to this person, but if you have any ideas please let me know!

A number and a couple of letters that are probably Inuktitut are etched on the bottom. I haven’t looked too much into those yet, but if you know anything about them please save me the effort! It’s a very nice piece, and should be worth somewhere in the three figures regardless.

I found another soapstone figure here. This one’s much smaller, maybe 5″ tall, and doesn’t seem to be signed (the bottom is rough / not polished). Still, it’s pretty well done.

These guys must have had quite the art collection if this is what they were throwing away. This bronzed steel sculpture fit pretty awkwardly into the trash bag as you can probably imagine. The “wingspan,” or whatever you want to call it is about 15″ in length.

The piece is signed “Gord.” It’s a simple signature reminiscent of what you’d see on amateur art, but I figured out that it was by Gord Smith, a noted Canadian sculptor who created the “Canada Screen” at Expo 67. It’s a pretty cool object, and it seems like it should sell easily for hundreds of dollars, maybe a thousand if I’m lucky.

I’ve never seen anything quite like this vase, which is aluminum (I think) and covered in bits of curved coloured glass. It’s very nicely done, but I don’t see any signatures or other identifiers. If you’ve seen something like it, please let me know!

This spot wasn’t big on jewelry, but I did save an Italian silver bracelet and an old silver band. I doubt the stones are diamonds, but I should get them tested.

This prayer necklace is probably more valuable than either of those. The beads smell like Bakelite, and I’ve had great success selling the reddish stuff before. I still don’t know much about the market (ie: what qualifies as “faturan“), so maybe I’ll let an eBay auction figure out what it’s worth.

On the last day I met a younger guy, who told me in a sort of whiny voice that he didn’t care if I took anything as long as I didn’t make a mess. Fine by me. I saved a lot of small stuff that night, including a coin collection (nothing super exciting, but still), several bills including a ripped 5$ (I think it’s still worth 5$ but I have yet to bring it in), some patches, a Nintendo Game & Watch (ie: an easy 50$+), and a collection of Bruce Springsteen tour pins. The house looked empty the week after, and there was no more garbage to be found.

Over the weeks I also saved some old photos, clothes, canned food, and other useful if unexciting stuff.

The weather’s looking pretty good this weekend so I’m planning on doing two garage sales. It’s also that time of year when university kids make their way here for the fall semester, and I figure it’s a good time to unload some quality junk. Sorry for the late notice, but at least they start a little late as well!

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

Please note that I am hopelessly bad at responding to emails & Facebook messages.