Ridiculousness

This year has been a bust, but last year was fantastic. This spot provided some of my best finds of 2020, and just a few days before the New Year.
I feel pretty confident that this stuff was tossed when a kid came home for the holidays and cleaned out their old room. There wasn’t a lot on the curb, but the things that made it there were pretty top quality. I found two Macbook Pros, one from 2010 and one from 2015 (I’m guessing they got a new one in 2020). I finally got around to listing both on eBay recently, and they should earn me around 125 & 275$ respectively. The newer one has a cracked screen, but is still usable. I also had to wipe the hard drives before listing them, but that’s not too hard to do.

Most notable though were the vanity items, particularly the jewellery.

There’s a fair bit of silver in this picture. The most valuable piece was the Tiffany heart tag necklace, which was real and sold for close to 400$. I’ve found a couple of those now, so maybe they’re more popular with gift givers than they are with gift receivers.
I also found a pair of Tiffany earrings, which I think sold for 100-150$ (this is a little while ago now, so I forget exactly). And we’re not even at the best part yet.

Silver is great, but gold is better (at least going by dollars per gram). This person tossed out two solid 14k/18k gold necklaces. The one on the right was made by Quadri, but I spotted some wear and tear and decided to take the easy way out and sell it to my jeweler for its weight in gold.

I still have the one on the left. It’s Italian 14k, and I’ll have to go on a mission to determine who made it based on the hallmarks. I doubt it’s a super well-known designer, but either way it’s very pretty, featuring graduated pieces of yellow, rose, and white gold.

Here’s a couple other gold bits. That ring is 14k (but the stone is just a bead that happened to fit well in that space), and the chain is white 14k gold with a roughly 1/4 carat diamond at the end. If I remember right, that smaller ring didn’t turn out to be solid gold after all.

In the end I saved around 75g of gold jewelry, most of which was 14k. The scrap value for that amount of gold (which I don’t think has changed significantly from last year) is currently about 3225$ (Canadian dollars, of course). And that’s not including the pieces I might be able to sell for more than scrap, such as the white gold chain with the diamond, and maybe that 2nd necklace.

As I said earlier, I tend to think that a younger person threw this stuff out, not really understanding the value it had. Likely the many pieces of fine jewelry were unappreciated gifts, or maybe ones that they thought they grew out of with age. Clearly they were well-to-do, given the neighbourhood they lived in and the number of quality items they owned (I expect this was only a fraction of their collection, and I would guess that this person received so many luxurious gifts that perhaps they began to lose all meaning). Regardless, you have to live in your own (incredibly privileged) little world to justify tossing things like this so thoughtlessly. This was one of the more ridiculous hauls of my trash picking career.

This might be a great example of how important luck can be. This spot was a “one-hit wonder” – I didn’t find anything else there afterwards – so I had to be in the right place at the right time to make the score. On the other hand, it seems that rich people tossing out great stuff (or, in other cases, clueless people of various socioeconomic statuses throwing away great stuff) is an inevitability, so maybe dedication to the craft is ultimately more important than luck.

Fog-brained pt.2

(FYI, I started this post a month or so ago, will leave what I wrote and add a bit of newer info at the end).

The garbage has continued to be just okay overall, though it’s good to remember that today’s okay is yesterday’s (as in, when I started this blog) “omg.” I’m still picking up enough to keep the ball rolling, and thankfully I now have a few different people I trust selling stuff for me. I don’t feel motivated to flip my own trash these days, maybe because it’s never been easier to have someone else do it for me. And why not? It saves me a lot of effort, and sometimes they do a better job that I ever could, especially in niches I’m not very good at (ie: clothing). So the money has been consistent, even if I haven’t found much gold, literally or metaphorically.

The brain is still pretty foggy and it’s hard to jump-start it. I’m trying a new medication called Trintellix but it’ll be a couple more weeks at least before I know if it’s actually working.

The spot above was a two hit wonder. Maybe if I had gone down that street a little sooner I would have found more… Anyways, that first day I picked up a bunch of worldly items in good condition, including a couple nice pieces of Tonala (Mexican) pottery, some quality brass tchotchkes, and several miniature houses that I’d guess were bought in Spain or Morocco. A lot of this was sold on my new Instagram account, @garbagefindssells, and others went to the yard sale pile.

The standout from that night though was a little white kitchen bag filled with coins and other “junk”. My most valuable find was probably the Montblanc pen, it’s just the basic ballpoint but it should sell for 100-150$ (haven’t done my research yet though). Otherwise, I picked up a lot of largely worthless foreign coins and several largely worthless bills, but also some Euro coins and two silver coins from Germany commemorating the invention of the x-ray (top left-ish).
I went back the week after and found a recycling bin chock-full of crystal. I’m 99% sure crystal and drinking glasses in general aren’t recyclable, but whatever. I spent a good while picking glasses out of the bin – a surprising amount were not damaged.
These were my favourites. I saved 8 in total (they came in a few different colours), and the set sold quickly for 100$ thanks to one of my sellers. There was also a nice pink and clear decanter, which you can kind of see in the recycling bin shot on the left next to the Tim Horton’s cup (also not recyclable). That sold for 40$. Otherwise, a lot of the cups went to the yard sale and sold for around 1$ each. I still have a set of four cups from this spot to research, they’re heavy and have a cool bubble/hole in the bottom but aren’t signed.
Otherwise, here’s a few bits from another spot. There’s a couple bits of silver, like that little brooch on the left and the baby rattle on the right. The watches are the moneymakers though. The Casio at the top right is probably the most valuable, it’s in nice condition and those models from the 70s are fairly collectible these days… it should sell for between 100-150$. The solar Casio’s to the left both have signficant screen bleeding, but fortunately they’re the same model so I listed them together “for parts or repair.” They should sell for 50-60$.

I never heard of the Tissot Two-Timer before, but then I found two within a week (one came from another spot). It doesn’t seem to be super valuable, but the two together should make me around 80-100$. That antique compass is also very cool, too bad the glass is all bunged up.
Otherwise, I found a stash of vintage election posters right around the beginning of the election. A few featured Nick Auf de Maur, who I’d never heard of but sounds like quite a character. He ran, but lost as a PC in 1984. I also saved about a dozen 1986 Montreal Civic Party posters featuring Claude Dupras, their first party leader who wasn’t Jean Drapeau (he lost). I like political ephemera, so I’ll probably keep one copy of each and sell the rest.

More recent news & notes:

  1. Trintillix sucks so far. I’m losing interest in trying pharmaceutical anti-depressants, they have done little to help so far (and I’ve tried about seven now?). But I’ll talk to my doctor any see what happens…
  2. The flow of garbage has also been mediocre, at least until last week. It was probably my first “very good” stretch for a while. Hopefully it keeps up, this job is more fun when I find things. Hopefully I can get my brain into actually posting some of that stuff here.
  3. WordPress has changed up their format and so far I hate it. If anyone knows a way to use the old platform, let me know. In the meantime, forgive me if certain things don’t work like they usually do (ie: you can’t seem to click on the pictures to zoom in, so if you want a closer look you’ll have to zoom in using your browser – usually CTRL & the + sign).

Fog-brained

Sorry I haven’t posted in a while. My brain just hasn’t been very cooperative lately. I have a hard time focusing on anything for any length of time, and keep procrastinating on essential tasks like finishing my taxes and buying clothes. I sometimes struggle to see the point of it all, which sure sounds like something someone with depression would say. I’ve probably spent / been spending too much time alone, which doesn’t help. However, I am trying to eat better (snacking on raw veggies like snow peas, carrots, and turnip), exercise more (going on bike rides, often inspired by nearby trash days), and cut down on caffeine. We’ll see how that goes.

Regarding garbage, this year’s really been a dud so far. I haven’t found any “omg” finds, some nice stuff here and there but little that’s blog worthy. I’m starting to feel like a lot of people did their purging last year, which was great for me, and that the next year or two might be less fruitful than usual. Either that, or I just haven’t been particularly lucky.

Anyways, here’s a few things from last year I haven’t posted yet (there’s still lots more to share, including some “omg” finds). Someone sent me a picture of the pile above on Instagram, and I went to check it out. It looked like an entire apartment was on the curb. I saw evidence of potential bedbuggery on one of the furniture pieces, so I decided to focus on small, easily cleaned items. 

This stuff was pretty grody, so it was probably for the best regardless. All my finds fit into this gross lockbox and a cast iron pot.

It needed a good clean, as you can see. The few things that needed a more delicate touch, like that watch, I wiped down with a damp cloth. 

That was a nice hunk of copper for the scrap bin (left). Haven’t seen any others quite like it, so I wonder if whoever owned it worked in metal processing or something.

Anyways, here’s my pick of the most interesting stuff (and a bit of random junk). I saved a pewter gargoyle & bird skull bracelet, a wizard brooch, a Zippo lighter, a small amount of scrap silver and a tiny bit of gold. That skull ring is a little intense, I’m wondering if it’s a biker thing. It’s silver plated and marked “G&S RP 87.” Based on my acid test I think that bird skull bracelet (?) at top right is unmarked solid silver. It looks pretty well made, and the eyes are some kind of milky-coloured stone. I’m going to have to do some research on that one before doing anything with it. 

Here’s some jewelry I found at a one-off in Hampstead. The little necklace in the middle was tangled up pretty bad but was silver & made by Tiffany. I think it ended up selling for a couple hundred bucks. The rest of this stuff was silver as well, if I recall correctly.

This was the only interesting piece of jewelry found at another spot. Can anyone make out this signature?

I found another small jewelry haul in NDG, along with some other quality junk though nothing exciting enough to post here. The bracelet was silver, and the lone cufflink was 18k gold. The latter was hefty enough that it alone was worth around 250$ for its weight. I was thinking the pearl earrings were gold too, but they were not. 

Here’s some stuff from a Westmout one-hit-wonder. There was lots of relatively high-end touristy stuff here, a lot of which went straight to the auction. I took pictures of the smaller stuff, like that little stone dish (made in Kenya), and those little ceramic tiles (made in Mexico). 

They also tossed a nice collection of pens. The nicest: a Sheaffer fountain with an 18k gold nib (gold cap near middle), a Cross fountain which I can’t find right now, and a matching Pelikan fountain & ballpoint. Most of the rest were medical swag, so I’m guessing the previous owner was a doctor. I didn’t know thalidomide was still around… the more you know.

Finally, some pens from a particular successful run (at least when it came to finding pens) in NDG. One spot offered two of the same Parker “cisele” sterling silver ballpoints, which are always an easy sale (though I may keep one), while another spot gave me a set of Sheaffers, a nice green Parker fountain, and a very striking gold-tone Parker with a 14k nib. I still have all these, I have to figure out the model name and all that if I want to get the best price.

Anyways, that’s all for now. Hopefully it won’t be another two months before I can get my brain in gear again.