Bits & bobs

This past week was another busy one. I filled the car with quality garbage on three different runs, and came away with other great stuff (including what might be my best find of the year) on a couple others. All this extra junk made it hard to get around my garage; fortunately the auction house reopened after a two week vacation and I was able to bring four carloads of stuff there! I definitely went over their not strictly enforced limit of 20 items a week, but I got away with it by being charming and well prepared (plus, because I have a small car I never bring too much at one time).

I’m nowhere near close to cataloguing last week’s finds so here’s some random stuff from the last month or so. Some folks in NDG tossed a few interesting things, including this collection of tribal weapons. The previously owner wrote the origins of the pieces in pen: “Outback” is written on the top piece (which looks like a non-returning boomerang – I assumed all boomerangs returned before I did my research!); the club in the middle says “Masai” (an ethnic group in Kenya and Tanzania); and the sword on the bottom reads “Amazone.” All these pieces are wood and seem to be higher quality than your average tourist junk. I brought them to the auction house and we’ll see how they do.

I also found this signed Guy Lafleur sports card.

It’s hard to know why someone would throw this out, but I guess whoever owned (or inherited) it didn’t appreciate it fully.

I also found these Norman Bethune postage stamps inside a little envelope. Apparently Canada and China worked together to design these and they were issued in both countries. They’re signed by someone (on the left) though the scrawl doesn’t seem to match any name associated with the project.

This spot is still producing, though I haven’t found anything particularly interesting there since that first day.

A spot in Outremont has produced some great finds, including some paper ephemera that I was able to quickly sell for good money. Here’s a collection of business cards I found one garbage day.

Here’s a selection of some of my favourites. I love old business cards!

Tucked among those cards was a 1959-1960 Toronto Maple Leafs season schedule. It was printed for the Westbury Hotel, a luxury establishment that operated not far from Maple Leaf Gardens in downtown Toronto. I tried to find another like it online but had no luck, much like the 1944-1945 Montreal Canadiens schedule I found last year. I seem to have a knack for finding uncommon pocket schedules!

Pricing things without any specific precedent can be tough, but looking on eBay you can find that old NHL schedules can sell for a pretty penny. I sold that Canadiens schedule for 150$, but this one was a more recent so I priced it a little lower. It sold very quickly for 100$, and I already got positive feedback.

Maybe I could have gotten more for it, but I’m pretty happy to get 100$ for a little piece of paper!

Another quick seller was this vintage (I’m guessing late 50s or early 60s) Pepsi vending machine catalogue. I also couldn’t find any others like it online – it sold quickly on eBay for 75$. From what I can tell the previous owner ran a furniture store back in the day, and it looks like he went for the Model 6 in the gallery below.

Soft drink collectors are a passionate bunch so it’s always a good idea to aim high when pricing!

I also found some old store display signs, which I think were made in the 60s. I have three of these Zenith signs, two of which are still in their original plastic. I listed the non-bagged one for 60$ and it has a fair number of “watchers” already.

I also saved a similar sign for Kuba, a company known for their sometimes luxurious mid-century stereo consoles. This one sold pretty quickly for 50$.

This spot is still producing, though the quality junk to actual junk ratio is pretty high on the wrong end.

Westmount hasn’t been very productive for me lately, though this haul of vintage colognes was a pretty good find. I can’t remember which ones are worth eBaying (they’ve been in my basement since I found them) but I think the Dunhill Edition, Hermes, and Giorgio Beverly Hills VIP Edition are probably the most valuable. The ones I don’t list online will go to the auction house.

I happened upon this beast while walking to my space on Coloniale. Fortunately it sat only a few minutes from home, the thing weighed at least 100 pounds and quite likely more. I had to carry it there myself – I took breaks every 30 seconds or so. It’s an old industrial stapler made by Bostitch, I’m guessing in the 30s or 40s.

I’m not sure who’ll buy it, but I lubed up the mechanism and brought it to the auction house. We’ll see how it does!

Saint Michel has been pretty productive this summer. The first day I stopped at this section of the curb I saved a bunch of nice dishes (and a few other things, like a working fan).

Those teacups were pretty cute, if not particularly valuable. The Fire King stuff is very nice, but it’s mostly loose pieces so not worth listing on eBay. My plan is to group all my mismatched Fire King, Pyrex, Glasbake, Federal Glass, and other similar pieces together for an auction lot.

Those Pyrex mugs on the right are great. I sold the Corelle pieces at a yard sale for 3$, unfortunately there were a bunch missing from the set.

This spot produced some great stuff a couple weeks later, but that’ll have to wait for a future post!

I found these rings in an otherwise gross box elsewhere. The ones on top aren’t anything special but the three on the bottom are pretty cool. I took a more detailed picture which you can see below.

I’m guessing the one on the left is made of some kind of antler. I think the other two are ivory, though I don’t know for sure. The one on the right has a “crown” that could be abalone or mother of pearl (it also looks like it used to have a stone). If you know more than I do please let us know in the comments!

Last week this spot provided a deluxe version of Scrabble (with a rotating board and other accessories) and a few other wooden games. I’m hoping the finds keep coming, even if they’re few and far between.

I found this religious medal in Ahuntsic a little while back and was curious about its origins. On top is written “Paroisse de St-Laurent” while “Congregation de Sainte-Anne” is seen in the purple enamel. I found a similar piece before but these don’t turn up very often, at least for me. Is it the kind of thing that might have belonged to a nun? If you know anything about it please let us know in the comments!

Otherwise, a place not far from home tossed tonnes of great stuff last week. That’ll have to wait for another post, but for now here’s a couple of rosaries I found in the lead up to the big purge. The one with coloured beads is pretty cool, but the one with the clear beads has Italian silver hallmarks. It could be worth a bit of money. The next time I talk about this spot I’ll show you a pair of religious items that I haven’t seen in my travels previously.

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I’ve been everywhere

The weather’s been great for picking this summer and as a result I’ve spent more time touring around different neighbourhoods. Today I’ll share some finds from parts of the city I haven’t explored much, if at all previously.

To find new garbage days I’ll often consult the various municipal websites, many of which feature helpful maps like the one for Hochelaga below. I misread them occasionally though and a couple of times ended up in the far east with little garbage in sight. One of those runs was salvaged by a pile containing a big haul of jewelry. Most of it was actually junk, but the three pieces above (a silver cat ring, a vintage brooch, and an 18k gold shoe pendant) made the trip worthwhile.

The jewelry came from somewhere around the top right of the light blue zone. I went there hoping to find trash in the yellow zone north of Sherbrooke, which seems to be a bit richer and a better bet for quality trash, but the trash day for that part is actually on Thursday! So it goes.

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I did some picking in Cartierville, a borough bordering the river on the north side of the island. The neighbourhood is pretty diverse, serving a wide range of ethnicities and social classes. It might be my favourite of the new garbage days and I expect I’ll go there semi-regularly in the future. Here’s a haul of decent electronic junk I found in front of one house. Sony PSPs and Gameboy Advances still sell for good money, though I haven’t tested either yet (maybe I’ll do that in the fall). I added the cell phones to my e-waste pile.

One day I met a cool guy who was clearing out a nice old house by the waterfront. It had belonged to his father, who worked in construction, and looked to be filled with all kinds of handy stuff. The son had a favourable view of trash picking and put out this pile with metal scrappers in mind. I stopped by a couple times and came away with some decent stuff, like the anchor (which sold at auction for under 20$) and an old 4×4 jack that sold for 44$. I picked a few other things, but my most profitable score was a large collection of pennies that was offered to me.

He wanted to keep the bucket so we dumped them in a suitcase I had found earlier in the day. Overall I think there was about 40$ of pennies in there! Later that day I put them in a cool vintage cement tin and brought them to auction where they eventually sold for 70$. I think I mentioned this in a recent post but pennies are a pretty popular in interior design these days and sell for above value (and no rolling required) at auction.

I wish I had found this spot earlier – I bet I missed out on some pretty cool stuff.

I found a bit of junk out front of a decrepit old house complete with an unkempt yard and a rusty old car. Most was legit trash, but I did save a few neat things like an old frog & tadpole in tiny jars with formaldehyde. I think these will join my permanent collection of unusual trash. I was hoping to find more there, but I didn’t see anything in the subsequent weeks.

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The garbage day in the Laval-des-Rapides and Pont-Viau sectors of Laval are the same as in Cartierville so I went on a few long runs where I covered both. The area, especially Pont-Viau has potential though the vibes seem a little weird up there. Maybe the unpleasant interaction I had with some macho dude (who felt that trying to physically intimidate me was a good way to get me to leave his trash alone) left a bad taste in my mouth. I’ll return at some point though as I’m sure not everyone in Laval sucks. This 1980s hockey championship pin was a good momento for the time I spent there.

I also found some cool photos, like this shot of a Mets game from the early 70s. I’m a baseball fan so I love finding this kind of stuff.

Saint Michel isn’t a new neighbourhood for me, though I did discover a previously unexplored part north of Highway 40 and east of Boulevard Saint Michel. There’s not much money there, in fact I think it’s one of the poorest areas in the city but I still managed to find some decent stuff. Here I saved an old dresser, a chair that I sold for 20$ at my most recent yard sale, and a solid vintage mirror that I recently brought to the auction house.

It’s worth noting that it’s very important to be wary of bedbugs when picking trash especially in lower income neighbourhoods. However, I know how to inspect my furniture finds and all this stuff looked clean (though dusty, I expect it had been in storage for a while).

The dresser had some veneer wear but was still very solid and featured some really nice vintage drawer pulls.

I’ve been using Instagram more lately and it’s helped me sell furniture quickly, sometimes the same day I find it. Basically I’ll post a picture in the “stories” section and state a price with same day delivery (I don’t like playing message tag, and my main goal is to move it as soon as possible). I delivered this dresser within a couple hours of posting it for a profit of 30$, which isn’t much but is definitely better than nothing!

This dresser I found in Ville St Laurent is another successful use of that model – I picked it up in the morning and delivered it later that day for 60$. Not bad! I’m hoping that this new sales technique will help keep my storages clear and reduce my reliance on yard sales and Kijiji people, who can be annoying to deal with.

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Ville St Laurent isn’t a new neighbourhood but I have been visiting it more often of late. One day I found boxes full of figurines, many of which were elephants. None were super special, but I did sell a bunch at my yard sales.

My best find there last month was this vintage mid-century pendant lamp.

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I brought it to the auction house that same day. It ended up selling for 75$, a price I’m happy with considering that it needed some TLC (the wiring was totally shot for one, and some of the colour on the metal bits was worn). I’ll be returning to this spot next week in hopes of finding more quality junk!

I didn’t do much picking this week due to the rain. I’ve also been focused on clearing out my garage and bringing things to auction. Now that I have this outlet for my wares I’m much more motivated to better organize my finds – it’d be much easier to create lots of like items if I spend a bit of time categorizing them from the beginning (like the ashtrays from my last post, but I had to dig through all my boxes to find those!).

I decided that it’d be much easier to start anew if I get rid of the clutter, so I’m going to do a blowout sale of my low-value wares this weekend. My plan is to do the sale in front of the school on Bernard / Waverly in the Mile End (a popular yard sale spot) on Saturday starting at 10am [edit: the weather is now looking worse for Saturday so I think I’ll aim for Sunday instead]. Just because the items aren’t worth a lot doesn’t mean they aren’t cool (and maybe flippable) so come on down if you’re in the area! If things go well I might do a sale Sunday as well, though I might just leave the stuff on the curb for others to pick through. I’d lose a bit of potential profit, but at this point I consider that part of the opportunity cost of revamping my space.

After all that I plan on taking some time off from organizing. Over the last month or so I’ve put so many hours into moving my junk around and I need a break!

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Things I bring to the auction house

Over the past few days I’ve spent many hours organizing my various storages. On Wednesday I worked at the space on Coloniale and brought a big load of clothes to Eva B to exchange for store credit. I got 170$, most of which I’ll probably spend on the food there which thankfully is very good overall. I also purged a few things and looked through my boxes in search of items worth auctioning. On Thursday I did more or less the same thing at the garage, this time focusing more on grouping together similar items for lots. By the time I went to the auction house on Friday I had accumulated an impressive collection of junk to sell, all of which would have probably hung around too long in my yard sale boxes otherwise. Here’s a look at what I brought them!

I found this cool hunk of wood (roughly 5×4′) in Westmount on Thursday. It’s missing some pieces but the design is quite beautiful and I figured it had value as architectural salvage.

The auctioneers agreed, or at least liked it enough to list (they don’t take just anything). Only time will tell how much it goes for! If you know anything about the style please let me know in the comments. I think it’s fairly old, and I thought the waves and flower looked a little Arts & Crafts-y.

Here’s my vintage iron lot. I haven’t had much luck selling these at yard sales (the one on top is actually from last year) and they’re not high enough on my priority list to sell on eBay. Thanks to the auction I’ll now be rid of them, and I expect they’ll go for a solid price as well.

I made a bunch of lots so let’s cover them quickly. Here’s a collection of vintage ashtrays that I grouped together in a garbage pail…

… a collection of lights & lamps (I had a few others too but forgot to take pictures);

… a collection of drawer pulls;

… a collection of new safety razors (I found these last year and was sick of looking at them);

… a small grouping of Blue Mountain Pottery;

… a large collection of old packages, containers, and tins;

… a bunch of random vintage kitchen stuff;

… four vintage ceiling lampshades;

… and a small lot of drum equipment (including two stands, a cymbal, and two other doohickies).

As for single items I brought them a nice Spanish brass chandelier I found on Friday in Westmount (one of the arms was off but it should be an easy fix);

… a never opened IKEA kids swing;

… a working portable range;

… a brass lamp and a mid-century ceramic jug I found in St Michel;

… and a bucket of pennies. I found most of these in Rosemont on Tuesday, and put them in an old Fiesta Potato Chips tin to make them more marketable. Not pictured was this Georg Jensen card organizer that never sold on eBay, the tools I found in Ville St Laurent earlier this year, and a collection of shot glasses.

I talked enough about the benefits of the auction house in my last post. However, I think it’s worth emphasizing how much work this saves me, and also how much pressure it takes off my different storage spaces. So you know, if any of these things interest you they won’t be posted until early August at the earliest as the crew is going on a two week vacation starting tomorrow. In the meantime, I’ll share my currently running auction listing numbers below.

Last week was pretty good overall. Most of my luck came in St Michel of all places – I’ll share those finds here soon enough. Next week’s looking pretty rainy for a change, which hopefully won’t get in the way of picking too much.

My listings by auction number:
-21, 65, 228, 230, 244, 268, 490 (July 15 – August 5)
-79, 270, 272, 423, 439 (I think), 445, 465, 466, 468, 511, 541 (July 19 – August 9)

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