The eviction

Today I finally get around to showing you one of 2017s better hauls.

While picking here I talked to a few people who were familiar with the situation, including the concierge, the building manager, and I think the building owner. Apparently, the trash was a result of an eviction in the fairly upscale building, and someone’s mad dash to empty the place before they were locked out.

None of the people I mentioned were particularly pleased about how this all went down. For one, that shopping cart in the foreground wasn’t intended to be filled with trash and abandoned outside. I ended up helping the concierge empty the cart, after which he brought it back inside. As well, the people doing the tossing sure did make a mess of things. They blocked the wheelchair entrance for one, and the general consensus was that the garbage collectors wouldn’t pick up the trash as it lay.

Perhaps most extraordinary though were the reports that the building’s garbage chute was filled all the way up to the third floor. One of the people told me there were a lot of books in there, in a way that made me think he didn’t put much value in books.

Eventually a guy with a truck and trailer, apparently hired by the tosser after what I’m sure what an unpleasant interaction with the building manager, came to empty the garbage chute. I so much wanted to see what was inside, but the manager said she didn’t think it was a good idea, I’m sure because of liability concerns. Here’s hoping the guy with the truck took a good look at what he picked up because I’ll bet there was some good stuff in there.

The shopping cart was mostly filled with clothes, but I did find a nice bracelet holding on for dear life to the bottom wire. More on that later.

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My friend Sarah was with me that day and helped sort through the clutter. This might not be her best photo (she wanted me to assure you that she was having a good time) but it does show the pile as it was after the disappearance of the shopping cart. We ended up taking a bunch of clothes, most of which were vintage. As for furniture, a lot of it was in pretty poor condition – I doubt they were very careful bringing it downstairs. However, we did take that little end table on the right, the mid-century credenza by the bottom left of the stairs, and a few very nice rugs. I still haven’t really looked at the rugs, but now that I have the bigger garage space it should be easier to do so. I’ll share some pictures here if they’re noteworthy!

Let’s start with some of the quality junk. That vintage yoga book was pretty cool, as were the hammered bracelets and the old tin.

I apologize for the quality of these early photos, they were taken at my old garage where the lighting wasn’t optimal.

Here we have some old buttons, a manicure set, and a single silver coin that was made into an earring.

I found a flat-fifty tin like the one commemorating Queen Elizabeth’s coronation once before. It’s worth about 20$.

We saved plenty of buttons and miscellaneous sewing supplies.

The tins were full of that kind of stuff, as well as other miscellaneous bric-a-brac.

There was a cute pair of sewing scissors tied up in that ball of thread.

There was plenty of jewellery here. This is the yard sale / crafting quality stuff.

I also saved a couple nice old compass sets (perhaps a hint as to the profession of the previous owner) …

… and a Chinese fan, which looked to be of higher quality than the ones I usually see.

Now we’re getting to the slightly fancy stuff. The bracelet on the right is Chinese silver, but unfortunately the enamel is very dinged up. The black earring and button are silver over copper (I think), also made in China. The pocket knife is gold filled and looks to have never been used. The bracelet at top left is marked Leru and is probably worth around 20$.

I found a few watches here, the nicest of which was this Certina DS-2. Unfortunately the second hand is broken off inside, but the watch seems to work well otherwise and should be worth around 100$. The Timex below has some kitsch value, assuming it works. There’s a solid market for vintage watches with lots of (or unusual) functions.

Here are some of my favourite finds. The little box at top right is silver over copper and marked “China”. The rabbit paw brooch (unfortunately missing the needle) on the right is a weird one. At the bottom right is a silver bracelet link that’s unfortunately missing its mates. There’s a monogrammed silver bracelet at the bottom left, and a little brooch (maybe silver) with a photo in it nearby.

Some of these pieces are likely old Chinese export silver. Apparently there was no official assay system in China back in the day, so the markings are very inconsistent, and sometimes there are no markings at all. This was in opposition to regulated systems like in Britain, which has required makers to follow a specific marking guide since the 1500s.

My silver testing acid is old and expired, and I no longer trust it. However, I’m pretty sure this bracelet is solid silver. There are no signs of plating wear, and it did turn up a bit of red when tested (I think my old testing fluid is more likely to produce false negatives, not false positives). The piece is quite heavy and ornate and could be worth a bit of coin! Click on the picture for a closer look at the design.

Here’s the stamp on the inside if you’re curious. If you happen to know anything about this kind of thing, please educate us in the comments!

This piece could be silver (perhaps a lower grade than the last one, since it didn’t turn up any red) but I’m not sure. Regardless it’s quite beautiful and old. According to my research, this type of piece is often referred to as a “panel bracelet.”

This one is marked “China.” The silver plated copper box has a similar mark, as does the old button.

The stones on this bracelet look a lot like the ones in this eBay listing, which are apparently amethysts. However, again I can’t be sure if this is silver, though it does scratch the right colour on my test stone. It has a Chinese character stamp on the back (see below) and a clasp that says 925, though I think that part is newer than the rest of the bracelet.

This cute brooch features a plum blossom-like flower and a little birdhouse charm. I thought it was silver at first but it seems to instead be silver plated copper, since it scratched a coppery tone on my testing stone. Either way, it’s very nice. It does have some marks on the back, which you can see below (you’ll probably have to zoom in to see them).

The stone (or glass?) on this adjustable ring matches the earlier bracelet. It also has a plum blossom motif. I’m confident this one is solid silver, even though there aren’t any markings on it.

This necklace has a silver clasp and enameled beads. I’m not sure what the metal under the beads is.

This bangle is bakelite, and has a sort of mottled / inconsistent look that I haven’t seen before. Any ideas as to what it could be worth?

As you can probably tell I still have a lot to learn about these pieces. No matter what, this will be a great opportunity to expand my knowledge of things vintage and antique. However, I should be able to make some decent money here as well. From what I can tell so far that heavy silver bracelet might be the most valuable piece of the bunch. The design looks pretty labor intensive, and it compares favourably to bracelets that are selling for hundreds on eBay. I’ll let you know what ends up happening with it.

I’ll probably take it easy on the trash picking front this week. I haven’t had much luck after boxing day in previous years, and the weather seems to be taking a turn for the worst – this coming week will rarely see a temperature above -20c. So, it’s going to be pretty cold! I guess it’s a good time to get some indoor work done…

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The liquidator pt. 2

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I returned the next trash day to the spot that provided the great ephemera from my last post. It was then that I met the estate liquidator who was throwing the things out. He told me to take what I wanted but not to make a mess, and that these were items that didn’t sell.

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I found this old folded up sketch. It measures around 2′ x 1.5′. The style is reminiscent of the turn of the 20th century. It has some mildew-related damage, but the actual sketch is in decent shape.

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It’s signed by this person. Any ideas as to what the name is? I doubt it’s anyone famous but you never know.

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My most valuable finds (assuming that artist isn’t super famous, of course) came from a box stuffed inside the black garbage bin.

(FYI: This shot is the precise moment that my old camera bit the dust. Apparently it’s some kind of sensor issue. I had dropped it earlier, and while it was in the protective case I guess it just fell on the wrong spot. I bought a new point and shoot – a Canon ELPH 160 – at Costco a couple days ago, which while nothing fancy will certainly provide better images than my backup camera did).

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Inside the box was a great collection of oddly well polished silverware. I guess he had it shined up for the sale.

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All the pieces were quite nice, but the stemmed candy dish and two egg cups were pretty much money in the bank.

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They were all clearly marked as being sterling silver.

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The liquidator was smoking and reading on the porch while I looked these items over. I acted nonchalant, like I wasn’t finding anything particularly exciting. However, I knew I could easily make some nice cash from his refuse and was secretly wondering what he was thinking when he threw it all out.

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The sterling pieces weighed 323 grams. I did some research and found that they wouldn’t sell for much more than their weight in silver so I brought them (and some other random scrap gold and silver) to a local antique shop to trade it all for cash. I got 45 cents per gram of sterling, meaning that these pieces alone netted me an easy 145$. I’m not sure why the liquidator didn’t think to do this himself but it sure worked out for me!

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There was another nice sterling silver piece in that box, one that I’m definitely not going to sell for scrap.

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It’s a beautiful cigarette case. There’s a small dent in the back but otherwise it’s in very nice condition.

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It’s usually easy to tell when a piece of silver is from England; there’s always lots of little pictorial stamps featuring lions, shields, people and other things. The symbols look intimidating but they’re pretty easy to decipher once you find the right websites. The lion means that the case is sterling silver while the anchor means it was made in Birmingham. The Q represents a date: each new year a different letter is stylized in a different way for each individual silver-producing city. This particular version means that the case was made in 1940.

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Some of the marks are repeated. The only new one here is the A.W mark, which means that the case was made by the A Wilcox company. They don’t seem to be particularly noteworthy but still produced some fine items. Another slightly smaller case they made recently sold on eBay for 150$. I’m guessing I should be able to get around that amount for mine, which is a fair bit more than the 75$ (~170 grams) that I’d get selling it for scrap.

I’ll share some Hampstead finds with you fairly soon. I’ve been taking it easy with the trash picking but I’m still keeping an eye out on recently productive locations.

The enigmatic dumpster

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The weather has been quite cold for some time now, which had made trash picking more difficult. It’s harder to sort through bags, for example, and to be thorough to the extent that I like to. Driving is definitely more annoying; the streets are narrow and dangerous, while parking is also a challenge. The cold, in general just makes the practice feel less carefree, even when considering the privilege of driving a car.

I also haven’t been in the best mental groove. I’ve been doing this picking thing for a while now, but encounters with neighbourhood security services still sometimes put me on edge, especially when I’m going to those places often. I can get self-conscious, paranoid, and edgy. Last week wasn’t particularly good in this regard, though I still got the job done and found some neat stuff.

For this week, I’ve decided to take the week mostly off from hunting. I still have some productive spots that I’ll still check out (and I’ve actually made some pretty nice finds this week doing these minimal runs), but I won’t be doing much exploring beyond that. I figure that mid-February isn’t the best time for throwing out trash either, so it’s the perfect time to take a little break. I’m going to focus instead on organizing my room and listing on eBay, as I haven’t been particularly active in this way of late.

My first notable finds of the week came on Wednesday night. I wasn’t planning on going to Verdun, but I had to go to Ville Emard to buy a laptop (more about this later) and figured I might as well check an old spot while in the area. I hadn’t found anything there the previous couple of weeks, making me think that the source had run out, and I was somewhat surprised to see more cool old stuff. This is the place that provided the dentist tools, vintage Montreal tram tickets, fortune telling cards, and old restaurant menus from posts past.

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There was more fortune telling stuff this time around. This “Black cat fortune-telling game” was made in the 1940s, appears to be unused or lightly used, and seems to have some collectors value. One just like it but in worse condition sold for 37$ + shipping. Not too shabby!

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This deck, by EE Fairchild (and likely made in the 50s) is also in nice condition. I should be able to sell it for around 25$.

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I couldn’t find anything on the internet similar to this “K. K.” deck. It was made in Vancouver BC for a Knicknacks and Novelties Co.

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This little booklet full of colorized photos of Mount Washington (New Hampshire) sat near the bottom of the recycling bin. I went to Mount Washington as a kid, and vaguely remember a few of the scenes from my trip. This was made in the 1940s as well, judging by the cars in the background.

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I also saved some old postcards, many of which were souvenirs from cruises.

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From Verdun I took Highway 15 north towards Cote St-Luc. I went to check out the place that provided the nice Dunhill lighter the other week. Along the way, I came across this pile of stuff sitting out front a house for sale. Most notable was a collection of framed art and prints, visible somewhat in the box closest to the front.

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I thought this framed image of a Cote St-Luc community swimming pool was kind of cool. It looks to be from the 1960s. There were other nice framed items though, including a (about 2′ tall) Vanity Fair lithograph of Sir George Truscott (with a certificate of authenticity on the back stating that it’s an original from 1908), a large embroidered image of a castle (which unfortunately has a busted frame), a work of art by Canadian artist Tilya Helfield, and a small sterling silver plaque portraying the wailing wall in Jerusalem.

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The Dunhill lighter spot offered a few beauty-related finds, including some vintage Yves St Laurent perfume, a working (and seemingly unused) Lady Sunbeam razor, and a set of nail tools. They’ve been tossing out a ton of this kind of stuff over the past few weeks, but most hasn’t been worth taking.

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Otherwise, I’ve been keeping my eye on the dumpster that provided all the sterling from last week’s post. The bin was taken away and replaced last Monday, after which it was filled up again and replaced this Monday.

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The dumpster last week contained a bit of furniture, lots of bags of clothes, and many more artist canvases. The cold and the sheer quantity of junk made it difficult to sort through it all. This nice framed piece (which appears to be painted fabric, and about two feet long) was close to the front of the pile, making it easy to find. The frame looks like one of those new plastic frames that try to look vintage, but it actually is made from old wood. It has an Art Nouveau (late 1800s – early 1900s) look to it, and might be worth a bit of money.

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At the bottom of one bag was a collection of old photos, many dating back to the 1930s.

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There was also one really old photo. The back is dated 1889.

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In that same bag (and inside another smaller bag) was this old German book.

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My roommate speaks some German, and was able to tell me that it’s basically a journal of someone’s explorations. I forget the guys name at the moment, but it might be Johanni Georgio. Publication dates of 1610 and 1611 can be seem on some of the pages, but it could also be a reprint.

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Someone wrote their name and the year (1881) on the back cover, so it’s at least that old. The outside is in rough shape but the pages are in decent condition, outside of a few that are likely missing. If anyone knows anything about this book (or any of the following items, for that matter) let us know in the comments!

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This spot has a certain unpredictability about it. I’m curious about the history of the house, as it’s provided some very cool old stuff. This tiny (under 3″ tall) pottery piece looks sort of ancient, and was resting near the bottom of a bag of clothes. It’s in good condition, outside of a little break off the edge. It’s made from a very red earth, which could help identify its origins.

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These beads (which were in the same part of the bag as the little pottery piece above) are also pretty interesting. They look to be very old and made from clay. Several have images of birds etched into them, while others are adorned with different patterns. They come in different sizes, with the larger beads measuring around 2cm long while the smaller come it at about a centimeter. Here’s a look at the ones that stuck out the most.

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The one at the bottom right looks a bit like a cat. It was impossible to capture the entire design in one shot (maybe if I had some kind of panorama mode) but you can kind of see the tail curving back in on the right hand side.

This is a good time to remind you that you can see larger versions of all these photos. With the larger size photos, you can just click on them and zoom in. On the smaller, gallery-style photos you have to click, scroll to the bottom right of the screen and click where it says “view full size.”

Intriguing stuff, and I look forward to learning more about it! I hope this enigmatic dumpster provides again this week.

In other news

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I decided to invest some money in buying a new laptop. My old Macbook (which I saved from the trash) still works nicely but wasn’t fast enough to do much in terms of photo editing. Considering how much time I spend doing that these days, I figure the increased efficiency will pay for itself over enough time. It replaces both my laptop and my bulky desktop computer, which also opens up a bit of space in my room.

Last week’s garbage sales (February 2 – February 8)

1. Aynsley tea cup and saucer: On eBay for 35$. One of many found early October in Ville St Laurent.

2. Nina Ricci “L’air du temps” perfume: On eBay for 24$. I believe this was found in Snowdon sometime this summer.

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3. Lot of 8 1960s Topps Hockey Cards: On eBay for 35$. It’s too bad these were glued to a scrapbook, as the value could have been a fair bit higher. Each card had red paper stuck to the back. Found in Ville St Laurent in early September, though they never made it to the blog.

4. Vintage photograph of Kelso Roberts, former Toronto MPP: On eBay for 4$. I’m glad someone appreciates this photo. Found a couple summers ago in the Plateau.

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5. Vintage Jean Chretien campaign pamphlet, poster: On eBay for 20$. This was a great piece from back when he was one of Pierre Trudeau’s cabinet ministers. Found early March in Mount Royal.

Total: 118$, 11581$ since May 18 2014 and 1898$ since the new year began. Not the best week, but I do like how I’m getting rid of stuff I’ve had for a while. I’m down to 106 items in my eBay store, which is a testament to how much I’ve sold, and also the fact that I need to get to listing more items. I plan on focusing more on that in the coming days.

If you have a question, see anything that you’re interesting in buying, or to just want to say hello feel free to email me at thingsifindinthegarbage@gmail.com. I also enjoy reading your comments! Keep in mind that I frequently get behind on emails, so I apologize in advance if I take a few days or weeks to get back to you.

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