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.

Just up the street

This was one of my more exciting spots last fall. They started tossing right around when someone living just up the street stopped.

On one of my best days here I found a bunch of loose jewelry in a bin. There was a bit more inside some black trash bags.

Overall I saved about 3.25 pounds of jewelry. A small portion of that was silver and gold.

I thought that ring in the gold pile might be white gold, but it turns out that stainless steels holds up well against the testing acid. Regardless, I can’t complain about this haul. The bottom right piece was designer costume jewelry, I forget by who.

Don’t worry, that’s just an air gun. It sold for good money at auction though. Otherwise, I found a couple camcorders, cell phones, a Blackberry tablet, two iPods, and a bit more silver & gold jewelry (I wish I took a close-up photo of that bunch). On the right is a David Yurman sterling silver money clip that I sold on eBay for just north of 200$.

The suitcases in the first picture emerged on one of the last productive trash days. A couple of them produced quality finds.

That little wooden box held a set of old weights, as well as two golden nuggets.

They’re heavy, and test as high purity gold, so I think that’s what they are! It seemed that there was at least a couple generations of dentists in this family, so I’m assuming these would have been used in dental fillings. With a combined weight of about 18 grams, and assuming they’re 20k or above, these little pebbles are worth about a grand in scrap.

Other notables include a marcasite and silver bracelet, a silver “US Air Force Strategic Air Command” ring, and a Jaeger le Coultre travel alarm watch. It didn’t work at all, but being a nice brand I was still able to sell it for a bit over 200$. All in all this was certainly one of my best spots of the year.

I had some luck Tuesday in NDG last week, but car troubles set me back Wednesday thru Friday. Hopefully this week I’ll end my cold spell, which has been going for around three months now. Fortunately, preceding that was a roughly six month long hot streak, so the lull isn’t bothering me too much (besides being boring).

Part one of a million pt.9

Some of you know the story with this spot by now, but here it is in condensed form if you’re new: very multigenerational house starts tossing stuff after a century plus of rarely doing so. This was definitely one of my favourite all-time spots, and I feel safe now saying that in the past tense because I haven’t seen any new trash there since the early summer. It was a great run – I found quality junk here nearly every week for like a year – so I can’t complain. Anyways, I need to post pics or get off the pot as they say. I have lots still to share, and a decent sized shelving unit full of stuff still to deal with.

Anyways, I won’t spend too much time on each picture. Here’s a load of wool blankets I found here, which did fairly well at auction. None were super fancy, but all were nice enough to sell.

These folks seemed to like celery a lot. I’ve never seen celery “flakes” before, and can’t imagine how they’d be used.

Most Canadians are probably familiar with Habitant pea soup, which is still one of the better canned soups out there (and pretty cheap as well). I sold this to a friend who plans on opening a restaurant one day, and who’ll probably use this as a display.

Metal scissors are always easy to sell, and there’s a couple of interesting ones here as well. The one on the left with the little wheelie thing in the middle are old buttonhole scissors. These ones are marked “H. Cromwell Criterion – Korn’s Patent” and I was only able to find two others on Google. The pair at the bottom with the stitching wheel were made by Pribyl Bros (if you can tell me what they sold for please do!).

I found lots of old books here.

A lot of what I have left to sort are really old photos and paper ephemera.

I’d never seen batteries like this before. I think they were probably used for photography sometime around 1950. They probably contain a lot of lead and other nasty stuff, so it’s good I saved them. I sold them to another junk oriented fellow who plans on turning them into some kind of industrial art.

These antique Persian tiles were pretty busted up, but fortunately I found all the pieces.

I saved a whole bunch of old films in varying condition.

I gave / sold (we have an informal arrangement) them to a local archivist who knows how to deal with film that’s in poor condition.

A lot of them were close to 100 years old, so it’s likely they contain footage that’s impossible to find elsewhere. There were a few mass produced cartoons in there as well, which aren’t so irreplaceable.

There’s a pretty good market for old flags from my experience. This Union Jack was marked “British Made” and in great condition for its age. I sold it on eBay, I think for 150-200$.

I found a lot of silver here, but the most valuable piece was probably this William Spratling Mexican silver & obsidian necklace which dates to the late 50s or early 60s. I remember it was missing two chunks at first, and then a week or two later I found one of them. Unfortunately, I never did find the other. Regardless, I listed it on eBay for 350$ and it sold very quickly. Spratling is a sought-after designer, and the missing chunk didn’t have obsidian so it might not be too hard for someone to reproduce.

Usually when I have an interesting “spot” I make a file folder on my computer devoted to the related photos. Right now I have 14 folders, several of which are getting pretty dated, so I want to clear out that old stock and stay more on top of the fresher junk. I’ve said that before, but now that people are selling stuff for me I feel like I have more time for blogging.