The show must go on pt.1

I happened upon this trash pile while out for a jog in the fall. I ended up walking home with a big box of junk, and stashed another bag to pick up later.

I had one other good haul here a few weeks later. After that the supply dried up, and I soon learned that there would be an estate sale held at the house. I was a bit disappointed to hear that, because I rarely find any exciting trash once the professionals get in there.

I found a whole bunch of pens that day. I ended up going to the estate sale, and I think I can say with confidence that this person never once refused (or discarded) a free pen. So, most of these were junk, but I did pick out a few nice ones.

The middle pens are the fanciest ones here. Both were made by S.T. Dupont and have 18k gold nibs. The brownish one (I’m not sure what the material is) also features gold-plated silver accents. Both of those should be good for 50-100$, maybe more. Otherwise, I saved ballpoints made by Waterman, Reform, and Waterford.

Many albums full of photos were tossed out on the curb, but I only took a handful of the oldest ones. Here’s a selection of what I found, including some paper ephemera. There were some neat letters from the 1910s written on House of Commons letterhead – it seems that a relative of this person was an MP at some point. If anyone’s interested in those I brought them to the auction house, and they’ll be sold by Thursday at around 8pm.

Many of the photos I saved dated to the late 1800s and early 1900s. That one of the girl on the toy horse is pretty cute, here’s a better look.

That photo of the building collapse is intriguing. Anyone know where that might have been? At the top right is a small silver Birks picture frame.

Speaking of silver frames, I also saved this fine example. It was made in Chester, England in 1903 by James Deakin & Sons. I recently sold it on eBay as part of a silver frame lot, which ended up going for 51$.

I also saved a nice old Quebec history book and a Radio Canada record from 1956. The latter looks to contain a news reel about some political goings-on in Cambodia. I wonder how many copies of that recording are still out there… Perhaps it’d be an interesting thing to digitize.

I haven’t had a lot of luck finding trash in the new year (so far), but I still have lots of great finds from 2019 to sort through and share. I’ll share the second batch of finds from this house soon, and then get to talking about a couple other productive spots.

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 – note that it might take me some time to reply, and that I am unlikely to be able to fulfill requests for items

Recent sales (July through October)

As you can tell I’m pretty far behind on these posts. I’m thinking I’ll go a different direction in 2020, maybe sharing notable sales at the bottom of my regular posts. It’s just a bit of a hassle (and not that much fun) digging through my auction records in particular, and I don’t know if it’s worth the effort. Either way, I’ll keep you up to date on the most interesting or exciting developments.

eBay

Macbook Pro for repair: 175$. This was in pretty good condition outside of the missing keys.

JM Poirier sculpture: 80$. A neat piece of maritime folk art. Found in Hampstead.

Silverware lot: 330$. I basically sold all the nicer 800 silver pieces from this spot to one buyer (I scrapped the ones that were in poor condition). In the end they sold for barely above their silver spot price, so I might not bother listing similar silverware on eBay in the future.

IWC watch box: 135$. Both of the luxury watch boxes I found in Cote St-Luc sold pretty quickly for good cash. Empty boxes have proved to be a nice source of income over the past few years.

Rolex watch box: 110$.

Vintage Gubelin watch box: 80$.

10k gold Steinberg service pins: 70$. Found in St Michel.

Tiffany choker: 240$. Found in TMR.

1981 Steve Caballero skateboard: 300$. Apparently these old skateboards are pretty collectible! This one was missing a couple wheels and had some wear and tear, but still sold within minutes once listed. I don’t even remember where I picked it up, I just remember it sitting around my garage for months before I finally got around to dealing with it.

1970s Golden Movie News magazine: 100$. Part of a larger haul of vintage Chinese film magazines. This one had some quality Bruce Lee content, which made it more interesting to collectors. Found in Westmount.

Eaton’s Christmas catalogues: 2 for 100$. I made a point to get my Christmas catalogues listed for the holiday season, and two of the four sold right away for a good price.

Armani Attitude: 120$. This scent has been discontinued, so fans are willing to pay good money for an old bottle.

Octagonal cufflinks: 250$. I found these years ago in Cote St-Luc. I’m glad they’re finally gone.

Chopard watch band: 150$. Just a like-new watch band with an original stainless steel buckle.

Total: 3946$.

Auction sales

Cast iron crank wheel: 40$. Picked this up in Cartierville.

Russian doll: 44$. This was the biggest Russian doll I’ve ever found (Cote St-Luc).

Valenti Alina lamp: 65$. Made in Italy.

Pod espresso machines: 75$. I tested these for basic functioning. The two on the left were missing pieces.

Hudson Bay wool blankets: 2 for 60$ each.

Mostly Swatch lot: 260$. These sold for a lot more than I expected. I think the buyer overpaid – based on my eBay research I figured they were worth around 40$ each. But hey, I can’t complain. Occasionally people will bid like crazy for certain items, and that makes up for the other times when they don’t.

Michael Kors watch: 110$. I also think this watch sold above its eBay value, I figured it was worth closer to 50-60$. Either way, someone threw it out barely used in its original box. Easy money.

Total: 2224.50$.

Otherwise, I’d estimate that I made around 2500$ from yard sales, 1000$ from scrap gold & silver, and 300$ from regular old scrap metal. I didn’t really keep track, but those seem like solid guesses.

So, if the estimates are right I made about 9970$ from garbage in this span, and made 28233$ through the month of October. It looks like it’ll be another “record breaking” year financially! Garbage picking isn’t making me rich, but it has turned into a reasonably well paid endeavor. And, who knows, maybe I’ll find a treasure treasure someday.

(For newer readers, these figures are in Canadian dollars so adjust accordingly!)

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 – note that it might take me some time to reply, and that I am unlikely to be able to fulfill requests for items

The best of 2019

The end of the year is a great time for lists. In 2017 and 2018 I posted my “best of” long after the year was over, in large part because I wanted to share all my best finds in regular posts before putting them in the “best of.” This year I’d prefer to get the post done on time, but keep in mind there’s some worthy candidates I haven’t had time to post about yet!

2019 was a very good year by most standards. I continued to benefit from having more storage space (ie: my garage) and having the auction house available as a regular outlet for my junk. Both of these relatively new circumstances have radically changed how I do business, and 2019 was my most profitable year to date (though I haven’t done the math yet to see exactly how profitable it was). I did meet a record number of unpleasant people, but maybe that’s just a mark of success.

Without further ado, here’s my selection of my top ten finds of 2019!

10 – 280$ cash. I wasn’t as lucky finding cash as I was last year, but I can’t complain about finding 280$ in twenties at this bountiful spot.

9 – Diamond earrings in 18k gold. I still have to figure out the precise value of these, but the big stones are diamonds and look to be about .25 carats each. I’ve lost track of the solo middle earring, but I’m sure it’s kicking around somewhere. If I were to guess, I’d say that altogether they’re worth between 300-450$.

8 – Isamu Noguchi Akari washi paper lamp. This mid century Japanese designer lamp was in remarkably good condition, probably because it was stored in its original box. Maybe it was never even used. Either way, it sold pretty quickly for 325$.

7 – Paul Kepenyes ying/yang necklace. This came from the same spot as the Noguchi lamp. Works by Kepenyes, a Hungarian-Mexican artist, are fairly sought after. This necklace ended up selling for 375$.

6 – Portrait miniatures. Particularly the two on the left, which apparently date to the early 1800s and are likely painted on ivory. It’s not every day I find something over 200 years old! I think they’re worth around 200$ each.

5 – Gord Smith sculpture. Smith “is considered one of Canada‚Äôs greatest post-war sculptors,” at least according to Montreal’s museum of contemporary art. I’d say this bronzed steel piece is worth around 500$ based on the auction results I’ve seen. If anything that estimate might be a little conservative. FYI, the wingspan (if that’s the right word) is about 50cm.

4. Inuit soapstone carving. This large, 8.33 pound sculpture made it to the curb unscathed, thanks in large part to the fact that the previous owners wrapped it in sheets before throwing it out. You have to wonder why someone would toss something with such care; my guess is that they just didn’t want this heavy thing ripping through the trash bag once lifted. Anyways, the piece was carved by a guy named Joe Emiqutailaq of the Belcher Islands, and it’s going to be my first item to sell at a high-end auction (Waddington’s in this case). The auction is in February, and the sculpture has a pre-auction estimate of 4-500$.

3 –14k gold Masonic pocket watch fob. That enamel eye really brings the piece together. It’s worth about 330$ for the gold, but I expect it to sell for between 500-650$.

2 – 18k gold brooch. I tried to figure out who might have designed this to no avail. The price of gold is pretty high right now, and I decided I was best off selling this for weight. At about 18 grams, this brooch earned me a little over 700$.

1 – 18k bloodstone ring. This is one the most beautiful rings I’ve ever found. Marked 750 (18k gold), it was likely made somewhere in Europe. It’s a large (size 11) men’s ring, and at 14.2 grams it’s worth several hundred just for scrap. It’s much nicer than that, though, and I expect it to sell for around 1000$.

Bonus: potentially valuable mystery items.

I’ve learned a lot over the years, but there’s still a lot I don’t know. I don’t want to undersell anything, so these mystery items often languish on shelves until the day an expert comes along, or I realize that I finally feel qualified to make a judgment myself.

Notable 2019 candidates include: the ancient-looking coins I found (I don’t have confidence in my ability to tell a real from a fake); …

… this old folk art box (European folk art is not my specialty);

this Kiddush cup (I still have to figure out if it’s solid silver or just plated);

… and this dog figurine. I think it’s porcelain, and it looks a little different from all the other figurines I’ve seen over the years. I can’t really put into words why that is the case, though it does appear to have a higher level of detail than most (particularly the face, and the bottoms of the paws are modeled as well). I forgot to post this on the blog, but I did post it to Instagram where someone noted that it looked like a very old Meissen piece. There’s no visible signature so it’s hard to confirm that, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this ended up being somewhat valuable, even though the tail is a bit busted up. FYI, the piece measures about 8.5″ wide and 8″ tall.

There’s definitely more intriguing mystery items in that huge haul I have yet to sort through, but that’ll just have to wait!

Well that’s all for 2019, for now at least. Hopefully 2020 is a good one, for me and all you readers! And a shout out to the rest of the world of course, as it could certainly use some help these days.

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 – note that it might take me some time to reply, and that I am unlikely to be able to fulfill requests for items