Tag Archives: canada


I had some decent luck early last week. On Monday I stopped at this pile and met a lady who was clearing out her son’s apartment. She told me he had moved up north. Why he didn’t deal with his own stuff, I don’t know but maybe he just ran out of time. She seemed nice and offered me a few things but the best stuff was in the bags.

One of them held a bunch of jewelry, some of which was silver.

The rings were the most interesting pieces from that lot. The bottom row are all silver, except the one second from the left which is stamped 10k gold. The top middle ring might be silver too, but I haven’t tested it to confirm.

A couple of the rings look incomplete. The top middle one for instance has prongs for stones, but they aren’t bent as you’d expect to see if they were removed afterwards. There’s also a bit of extra material on the back that wasn’t filed off. The ring marked 10k gold may be finished, but is missing its decorations (perhaps pearls?).

I like the ring at bottom middle, it has a sort of mid-century look. It’s not stamped but my acid test confirmed that it’s silver. The ring (or at least I think it’s a ring) on the bottom left is also kind of cool. It’s marked sterling and is signed, but unfortunately as with most signatures it’s largely incomprehensible. I have no idea how to describe the style, so if you have any keyword ideas let me know in the comments!

Here’s some more jewelry. This stuff is mostly yard sale material except for that thing on the bottom.

I thought it looked special, so I posted some pictures on Reddit to see if anyone could help me identify it. There weren’t many guesses, but one person somehow found a link to a very similar “Rajasthan 19th c Anklet” on an antiques website. I don’t know how the seller came to that conclusion, but so far that link is the only information I have to work with. Regardless, the listed price is 120 British pounds (roughly 200 Canadian dollars) and I’ll be happy if that number is even vaguely realistic.

Here’s some more junk from that spot. I haven’t had to buy soap for a long time because people keep throwing it out! I always like finding vintage tins like the Borax on the right.

I also found this large 8″ “Malcolm X World Tour” patch that was made for the 1992 Spike Lee movie. It looks to have been signed on the X, by who I have no idea. If you have any guesses let me know! This should be something I can sell for a modest price on eBay.

On Tuesday I found some miscellaneous stuff in Park Ex and Villeray. The best find might be the TI-83+ calculator, which should be good for around 30-40$ though I haven’t tested it yet. The “vintage” phone is going into my electronics recycling pile. The YSL Opium is a decent find too, it’s only around 40% full but a new one costs 95$.

I was excited when I found the iPhone but it turned out to be a fake. It was modeled to look like a iPhone 5s (the phone I’m currently using), and while the phone looks good at first glance it doesn’t take long to realize that it’s junk. The fake is on the bottom in this picture – you can see how the buttons don’t fit very well, and how the material is a cheaper plastic that’s already starting to crack. Anyways, the phone doesn’t turn on and isn’t worth fixing, but at least now it’ll get properly recycled. This is the first time I’ve found a fake iPhone.

Otherwise, my spot in the Mile End continued to produce. I found some more sewing stuff, most of which wasn’t particularly exciting. However, these two unopened boxes of 100 Schmetz needles were a nice get.

Similar boxes sell for between 25 and 95$ each. The price seems to depend a lot on these numbers but I have no idea how to read them. If anyone can help me figure out what they mean I’d appreciate it!

One pretty random find was a folder containing a list of doctors who practiced at the Jewish General Hospital. I’d guess this was typed up in the 1960s.

I do well with vintage calculators. This 1970s Panasonic 1212 doesn’t work perfectly (divide and subtract seem to be glitchy) but I expect it’ll sell for around 100$ regardless. It’s in nice cosmetic condition, especially after I wiped it down with a microfibre cloth.

In one bag was a smaller shopping bag filled with miniature furniture. I would guess these were part of a dollhouse kit. Some were broken but most of those could be easily fixed. I might keep a couple pieces for my collection, I think they’re pretty cute.

My favourite find though was probably this box of watches. There are no mechanisms, just cases. Most of the watches are branded Precisa. The company is not well known, but they made some decent looking watches back in the day. A few of the cases are marked “plaque” or gold plate. All have a very mid-century look to them.

I haven’t really done much research into their value but I’m sure someone will have interest!

I didn’t get much picking done later in the week. There was a big snowstorm on Tuesday night, so I skipped my Wednesday and most of my Thursday run. It’s just too annoying to get around when there’s so much snow. On Friday I had my root canal, so I didn’t get anything done then either. Oh well! The beginning of this week was a bit slow, so hopefully I come across some good stuff on Thursday and Friday to make up for it.

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Last week wasn’t particularly productive but I have some things to show you nonetheless. That apartment building again supplied most of my finds.

It’s pretty clear now that whoever lives, or lived here worked in the fashion industry. A while back I found this folder full of designs, and now I find …

… a whole bunch of buttons, many of which are sets. Most look to have been made in the 70s and 80s, but some of them could be a bit older. I put them all in one medium-sized box and listed them as an eBay auction – I usually do “Buy it Now,” but I don’t really know much about the market and didn’t feel like listing them individually.

There’s some nice stuff in there, like these mother of pearl (?) buttons that were made in Japan …

… and some vintage needles and threads. The auctions ends today at 10:10PM EST, so if you’re interested put in a bid! Unfortunately, because of the weight of the package it would be kind of expensive to ship to the States. A local buyer who can come and pick them up would definitely get the best deal. Here's the link, and there’s more pictures on the listing if you want a better look.

Some of my favourite finds from this spot were tucked away in this 1960s Chatelaine magazine. I didn’t even know they were there until a few days ago.

They were four hand-drawn fashion designs. The art is classic and very much “of its time.” I think they’d look great framed, even the one with a piece cut out as that part would have been negative space anyways. Do you like them too? Zoom in for a better look!

There’s a little description glued to the back of each of the coloured drawings. They look to be written in Italian, but I’m not sure.

I also thought this book was cool. It contains a collection of Svijet (which according to Google means “world” in Bosnian) magazines dating from the mid 1950s. From what I can tell this magazine was about the fashion scene, but I have a hard time figuring it out exactly.

Regardless, the images inside are pretty cool. The graphic design is very 1950s, and distinctly Eastern European.

Buttons nearly always come with other small items that aren’t buttons. This time it was vintage Christmas lights. These actually have decent value on eBay, and sell for 1-3$ each depending on the condition. Some other, more unusual ones sell for a lot more. I’ll hold onto these until next fall, by that time the Christmas light market should pick up again. Otherwise, I found a vintage receipt, some scissors, an old toothbrush, and a stamp last used on August 10 1984.

I also found a cool vintage Shell Oil file holder (I listed it on eBay for 100$, my go-to totally made up price in hopes that a petroliana collector might want it, but so far no bites) …

… some miscellaneous paper stuff, including a 1960s guide to Montreal and a small folder with photos inside (most of the photos I’ve seen here have been ripped up, so it’s nice to find some that aren’t);

… and a small collection of 1970s Playboys. These always make good yard sale material.

This spot produced a lot more stuff this week, I look forward to showing it to you!

The week was pretty dismal otherwise. I will share the story though of a random trash can that in recent times has offered me a small collection of books nearly every week.

Sometimes the books are cool, sometimes not so much (ie: textbooks from the 70s and 80s). This was my selection from last week’s offerings. My favourite of the bunch is the 1920s Ritter Practice Building Suggestions book, which details how new dentists should design their facilities. It’s in very nice condition for its age. The others I’ll try to sell at a yard sale, though I expect some will end up in a free box or donation bin.

A good number of the books feature old Montreal City Library bookplates. I imagine these were discards though they’re not marked as such. This one was last taken out in 1985.

Here’s the section for Montreal from that old 50s lodging book if anyone’s interested.

Some of the books I find there have been ruined by moisture. However, I salvaged these encyclopedias despite their non-optimal condition. The covers are in pretty rough shape, but the pages are in good condition.

A lot of people like making art, or doing collage with these. The print and the drawings can be pretty fun to work with.

One was an atlas. Most of the maps unfortunately are printed over two pages which makes them less desirable for framing. However, if someone was careful they might be able to cut them out and reattach them mostly seamlessly. The encyclopedias are from 1909 if I remember right, and as you’d expect the maps are very outdated. For instance, in this map Newfoundland is still its own dominion, and what’s now the north of Quebec is a territory called Ungava. Can you spot any more differences?

This week has been better, even with the recent snowstorm that mostly cancelled my Wednesday and Thursday runs. I’ll share it all with you soon!

Tomorrow I’m finally getting that root canal that I’ve been putting off. It’s my first one, and I hear they’re not that bad but I would appreciate any words of encouragement!

Relevant links

1. Facebook page
2. My eBay listings
3. Etsy store
4. Kijiji listings
5. Contribute to Garbagefinds.com

Email: thingsifindinthegarbage@gmail.com. I often fall behind on emails, so I apologize in advance if it takes me a while to get back to you.

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Requiem for a garbage day

From the borough website

Recently the Plateau (the neighbourhood I live in) decided to switch up their garbage days. Beginning on February 1st garbage was picked up in the morning instead of the evening across the entire borough. The recycling days were changed, and now mostly align with one of the garbage days. Also, the garbage in one sector is now only picked up once a week.

The roll-out of these changes was totally bungled. The city put up these signs in my sector, but none of them mentioned that the collection time was changing to the morning. At least 50% of people had no idea that anything was different, and only now over a month later do most know when to put out their trash.

Regardless, I was sad about the change at first. The Plateau trash day had been a regular route of mine since I moved to Montreal around 7 years ago. The garbage in most of the borough was picked up starting at 7pm, and I very much enjoyed (especially on a sunny summer day) casually going for a walk or bike ride in the late afternoon to see what I could find. At first it was just a fun hobby, but these garbage days are also what inspired me to think of scavenging less as a pastime and more like a potential business.

I also liked that there was little competition for these times slots on my schedule. Most trash in Montreal is collected in the mornings, and other than a few sectors of Rosemont and Hochelaga (which are a fair bit further) I can’t think of any other evening collections. The Plateau now has to compete for my time with other neighbourhoods, and that makes the route feel a little more like actual work – especially since I’ll have to go out either really early or really late to get it done.

However, over time I’ve come to appreciate the change. My days are now a lot easier to plan, and I have more time for rest because I won’t feel tempted to go garbaging. I’ll have more time to play pickup softball at a nearby park, which should benefit my fitness and social life. The transition from two garbage days a week to one means that I get a bit more bang for my buck every time I go out, and that’s always a good thing. I also think that I’ll have a little less competition for the same garbage – most “normal” people won’t be interested in looking at trash that late at night or that early in the morning.

So, I’m happy with the change overall. I think I’ll always have a bit of nostalgia thinking about those evening runs, but I feel that the switch just makes things easier for me from a time management perspective. I can always make the occasional trip to Rosemont or Hochelaga for their evening garbage day when I feel like doing a bit extra.

Anyways, I realize that there’s probably few people in the world who care about the garbage collection schedule as much as I do, so let’s get to some actual finds!

It was a pretty slow week overall, but my first run on Monday morning was a good one.

I’ve been finding interesting trash in front of a nearby apartment building for the past couple months. I’m guessing that someone’s slowly clearing out one of the apartments. Much of what’s been thrown out has been total junk, including bags of worn-out clothes and shoes, but once in a while some decent stuff (including the first group photos from this post) pops up.

This small collection of jewelry has definitely been my best haul from this spot so far. Most of the pieces aren’t too exciting, but two are worth a further look. Can you spot them?

The brooch on the left is made by Florenza, a now defunct brand that seems to have a decent following on eBay. I think it’ll sell for between 25-50$, though I listed it for a bit more just to be safe.

The bracelet, which I polished before taking this shot is marked Levin Sterling.

That means it was made by Ed Levin, a noted mid-century designer. His stuff goes for decent prices on eBay, and I think this bracelet will eventually sell for 100$. Not bad!

Later in the week I found two vintage film cameras at the same spot. I have no idea how to test them, but they’ll still go for an easy 5$ at a future yard sale. Hopefully that apartment produces more stuff like this, and less old clothes going forward!

My Monday morning run also produced a somewhat broken Nexus 5 cell phone, a sealed copy of Lightroom 4, and some small change. I was able to sell the phone pretty quickly for around 50$ – I grouped it with another Nexus 5 that I found in much worse condition. I always like finding cell phones, because at the very least by saving them I ensure that the valuable and often toxic metals inside don’t go to landfill. I expect this one will get fixed up and resold, given its good cosmetic condition, and that’s an even better outcome.

The weather, and my luck turned cold later in the week. These were the last things of note that I found. I had to dig through some kind of gross stuff to get them, but oh well. The best piece was that Mexican silver chain second from the right; I sold it for 10$ to one of my readers not long after finding it. Better than nothing!

Otherwise, I used up a bunch of last week’s peppers in a chili. The ones I couldn’t use I cut up and froze, as was suggested by a few readers. Thanks for the tip! I think I’m set for peppers for the next little while. Oh, and the Tupperware containers I found a few weeks back came in very handy.

Over the last week I’ve received around 150$ in early contributions to my car fund. I wasn’t expecting to receive anything so soon so thanks for the support! It makes me more optimistic that my campaign could be successful. I do think I’ll go with IndieGoGo, in large part due to their flexible funding option. It’s also more fun when you’re able to track the progress of the campaign on a day-to-day basis.

I’ll have to figure out how to make a good video, and what to say in it. I really don’t enjoy seeing myself in video form but I don’t think I’m alone in that sentiment. I’m sure I can come up with something decent. Anyways, I’ll definitely let you know when it’s all ready!

This week hasn’t been too exciting thus far. I went out on Monday without much luck, and took Tuesday off because of some freezing rain. Here’s hoping I find some good stuff in the next few days.

Relevant links

1. Facebook page
2. My eBay listings
3. Etsy store
4. Kijiji listings
5. Contribute to Garbagefinds.com

Email: thingsifindinthegarbage@gmail.com. I often fall behind on emails, so I apologize in advance if it takes me a while to get back to you.

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