The cat pee house / the cow

For a few months in the fall I was excited to visit a spot on the curb that I referred to as the “cat pee house.” As you probably expect, a lot of the stuff here reeked of cat pee, which is up there along with tobacco smoke for smells that ruin otherwise quality junk. Needless to say I passed on the loads of bags filled with fabrics, but I held my nose and went digging when the kitchenwares and ceramics made their way to the curb. That stuff is easy enough to clean.

Altogether, for all my digging I saved about a medium-size box of glassware and ceramics. Most was yard sale stuff, and there were a few things for Instagram like a cute giraffe planter and a weird egg pile ceramic.

(FYI, if you want bonus garbage content, keep an eye on my Instagram accounts! Lots of stuff never makes the blog, but you can see some of it there… and no need to buy anything, you can just window shop. Links below).

One standout was this Moorcroft tea set. Unfortunately there is damage to each piece (left to right – cracked lid, cracked lid, repaired handle, albeit nicely executed) but the actual canister and teapot pieces survived damage-free. They’re probably worth something, but I haven’t looked into it much yet.

My nicest find was likely this old enameled Ekers IPA beer tray. It’s hard to find out much about these guys, but it seems like they probably haven’t been around since the 1950s. These are most often used for display pieces now, and this one is in excellent condition (the stains cleaned off very nicely) so I’m going to aim for something in the 300-500$ range. That auction site claims it was made in the 1920s, and they might be right, though I wouldn’t be surprised if it was made in the 30s or 40s either.

I was checking out this spot for a while too. No cat pee, just a decent flow of quality junk. One day, I happen upon this massive canvas. I was expecting the usual landscape scene, but was surprised to see a much more unusual subject.

It was a huge cow! A Hereford to be precise. This painting is close to 6′ wide, and maybe 4.5′ tall (just guessing) and I had to take it out of the frame to get it in my van. If I still had my old car, I would have had to strap it to the roof and hope for the best because there was no way this painting would have fit into that thing.

Anyways, I love it. It’s now a centerpiece in a spare room at the apartment, and other people appreciate it as well. I have to wonder about its history though, as a gigantic cow painting is not the kind of thing you’d generally hang in a home. If you look closely, you can see drill holes in the frame on the sides near the top, and also on the bottom near the sides. My theory is that this was likely used as decoration somewhere commercial, perhaps up on the walls at a livestock auction? If you have any theories, let us know in the comments! The artist appears to be “E. Denuit,” but that name is a dead-end on Google.

Otherwise, my recent finds have mostly been books, books, and more books (still). The books are good though, thankfully. It’s finally March though, and spring is near. At the very least, that means more people moving, and more people trashing.


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: – note that I can’t fulfill most requests for items, many are already gone by the time they are posted here.

Alleyn 65

I’ve been swimming in garbage of late, and as a result some of my finds take a while to get processed. This painting is a good example. I found it months ago and immediately thought it was really cool and very well done. Still, it went into my garage where it sat largely forgotten until yesterday, when I finally got around to doing some basic research on it.

(Note: all these photos are of high quality, so you can click on them and zoom in!)


The top left is signed Alleyn 65. It didn’t take me long to find out that it was likely made in 1965 by Edmund Alleyn, a well regarded Quebec artist. The signature is very similar to ones seen in this Google image search. The work also bears resemblance to some on Alleyn’s bio for that time period; his “P√©riode Technologique.” He died in Montreal on Christmas Eve, 2004 at the age of 73.

This piece is titled “Jour Z,” which I cannot seem to find reference to online.

By all accounts Alleyn was a brilliant artist, perhaps a bit ahead of his time. There was a retrospective of his work recently at the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art, and the National Gallery of Canada owns 11 of his pieces.

The painting is unfortunately a little bit damaged. There are a few stains from water dropping on it, and a few small places where the paint is chipped or the canvas ripped. However, I don’t think these issues take much away from the piece, and I suspect they could be restored fairly easily by a professional.

Assuming the painting was indeed done by Alleyn, it could be worth a fair bit of money. His work has sold at the Heffel auction house for between 1,256 and 16,250$. Because of the damage I expect that the upper part of that range is far out of reach, but I still think it’s likely that the painting could sell for somewhere in the four figures (for reference, this one is fairly large, roughly 32 x 21.5″). If not, maybe I’ll just keep it myself! I always thought it was really cool, even moreso now that I know its story.

Anyways, what do you think of the painting? And perhaps more importantly, what should I do with it? Let me know in the comments!

Relevant links

1. Facebook page
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3. Etsy store
4. Kijiji listings
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Email: I often fall behind on emails, so I apologize in advance if it takes me a while to get back to you.

A portrait of the Canadian winter

g. duveyre art

This isn’t a recent find, but it is one of my favourites.

I came across this painting (about 100cm / 50cm, or 3’4″ by 1’8″) in the alley behind my home back when I lived in the Mile-End (and before I ever thought about making a blog about trash).

The painter is “G. Duveyre.” Google search doesn’t find too much about him – not even his first name – but the consensus is that he was Canadian.

I think it’s a great piece of art. It offers a beautiful snapshot into the Canadian winter, that thing that has played such a large role in our history and continues to define us.

This painting portrays rural life before the automobile, or at least before it was practical to use them in winter. Society has become more and more urbanized (due largely to industrialization), but at one point this would have been the experience of the vast majority of Canadians. It’s interesting to think about what life would have been like – the idea of having to make preserves to last you the whole winter, for example. You couldn’t just drive to the grocery store, and you definitely couldn’t buy bananas. Many of the things we take so much for granted today would have been impossible.

This art isn’t in perfect shape. There are a few holes – as if someone put nails through it. There’s also a little tear. None of this is really noticeable, however.

It now hangs from my wall in my room. It’ll remind to be thankful for my relatively easy life and the easy-going warmth of summer.