Random jewelry

I wasn’t very lucky finding precious metals this summer, but since August (or so) I’ve been finding bits (and chunks, more on that later) of gold & silver pretty regularly. I doubt it has anything to do with the pandemic, it’s just another example of how random and unpredictable garbage can be.

Rich kids seem to be a good source of garbage gold. I imagine they often get jewelry as gifts, and since jewelry is a personal taste thing a lot of these gifts probably aren’t appreciated. Or, they just grow out of that style over time. Either way, these kids might not understand the value of the gifts they receive, and being rich they have no particular motivation to figure it out (unless it’s something really spectacular where the value is emphasized). So, when the kid, or the grown-up adult has to clean out their bedroom because their parents are moving, or turning it into a pool room, some of these gifts – which may also have achieved “old junk” status over time – end up on the curb. That’s my theory, but I think it’s a good one.

Anyways, I stopped at this spot because it was across the street from another house I was keeping an eye on. There were several bags on the curb – definitely some kid’s old stuff, most of which was actual junk. But at the bottom of one bag was a golden surprise.

I picked out a 14k bracelet feat. dog charms and a 10k locket feat. a small diamond. The bracelet had a bit of weight to it, I forget how much exactly but I remember the total scrap value being in the 350-400$ range. That kind of haul definitely makes my day, and helps offset any less lucky days I might have.

Rarely do I find my jewelry out in the open, but this small collection was in a box for anyone to find (though you’d have had to move some junk around to see it). If this was in the Plateau, someone else probably would have found it before me, but because it was a Westmount apartment I was probably the only one to take a peek.

Here’s the best of the bunch. The ring in the middle seems to be unmarked 14k gold based on my tests. The bar brooch is also 14k, if I remember right. I found one old silver napkin ring by Asprey, a luxury goods company based in London (England, not Ontario) whose Art Deco era catalogue I found and sold for 400$ back in 2015. Another notable silver piece was that bracelet on the left, which was French silver and maybe real tortoiseshell. Otherwise, the big dangle earrings are signed Chantal Thomass, and people seem to like her stuff – I listed them at 150$ on eBay (now reduced to 125$). The other bracelet at top left has a brutalist look to it, there’s a couple little makers marks on there but I can’t make them out.

Sometimes people pillage their old jewelry boxes and toss out the “dregs.” Fortunately, those dregs are sometimes pretty good.

In this box, I found a gold & pearl necklace, a gold Star of David, a silver Greek key bracelet, a Mickey Mouse watch, and an interesting (and probably antique) silver & Wedgwood jasperware brooch. There were a few other “junky” pieces, but most of these dregs were decent.

I passed by this house again last week, a few months after this little haul. There was a dumpster out front and it looked pretty empty, so I guess they moved (though I never saw a “for sale” sign).

Here’s a few things from a one-off in Cote St-Luc. There’s one 14k gold chain in there, and the rest is silver. If I remember right the little rock in the silver necklace on the bottom is a diamond.

More recently I scrounged together a whole bunch of jewelry – again, kid stuff – from some bags on the curb not too far from Vendome metro. All in all I saved nearly five pounds of jewelry. Probably 95% of this collection was unspectacular costume stuff or broken (which ends up going to crafty folks), but as is most often the case I was able to pick out a few treasures.

(Also, I rescued the electronic scale elsewhere around a month back. I found a bunch of old, never used makeup in the bags, as well as a laser printer, so I’m guessing someone just gave up on their side hustle makeup business. Either way, it’s pretty useful to have at my garage!).

Anyways, for gold we have a ring marked 750 (18k, though according to my acid test it’s probably closer to 14k), as well as some earrings with real dark stones. Otherwise, I saved a Birks pendant (the heart-shaped one), a set of silver & green enamel leaf earrings/pendant (hallmarked 950, which probably means they’re fairly vintage as 925 / sterling is now the ubiquitous silver standard), a silver cat brooch from Ecuador, a silver & amber pendant, a couple silver bracelets, and a sterling 1938 Stratford Music Festival pendant.

I found this collection after deciding to try one of my less regular routes. I haven’t seen anything else in front of this house in the weeks since, so I guess my timing was pretty good here! Also, the week after, when I did this route again to see if these guys would toss out more stuff, I ended up finding a bit of gold & silver in front of a different house. I think that adds to the theory that I’m just a bit lucky right now.

And this is just the beginning really. Lots more to come, hopefully soon. I’ve haven’t been able to get my head into blogging lately, though the words are coming out pretty quickly tonight.

Links

1. Facebook page
2. My eBay listings, Sign up for eBay, Search for something you want / research something you have
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

Around the bend

Here are some finds from a one-hit wonder spot I happened upon a few months back.

There were lots of bags out on the curb, but many were filled with random junk that made sorting difficult. Also, I knew the garbage truck would pass by soon (usually around 10am here) so I had to work quick.

I could tell by the sound of this bag that were were coins in there. Peeking inside, I saw watches as well, so I just took the whole thing to sort though later.

As I was about to leave, a guy a little older than me came running towards the car. He asked nicely if I had taken a hard drive, which ended up being in the bag I grabbed. I gave it to him, which he appreciated. After, he apologized to me for throwing out good stuff, and said “you’ll like that bag, there’s some good stuff in there” (paraphrasing a bit). So that was a pleasant enough encounter. I don’t deal in hard drives anyways, especially external ones because they’re often finicky and don’t age well (I usually just recycle them), but I can understand if someone if concerned about their privacy.

My best finds from that day included a Murano glass penguin, which made it to the curb undamaged, an iPod, an electronic label maker, a Panasonic recording device, a Sony Dream Machine (which I’ve been using at the garage to test / use found iPods), and a pair of sunglasses. I forget which brand they were right now, but I do remember it being a fancy one.

Otherwise, my best finds were watches. There weren’t any Rolex’s here, but there were some other nice brands like Michael Kors, Kenneth Cole, Diesel, and Nautica. The pen on the right is a Lamy, and there was around five bucks in mostly American coins, including four of those 1$ pieces that apparently no one uses. I included that disposable lighter because I found a bunch here, like 10, all of which worked, which probably means that is the guy at the party who leaves with people’s lighters at the end of the night. I ended up giving those to anyone who wanted one.

The guy told me that this was the last of the trash, which it was. I guess they sold the house and moved. But last week I went back for old times sake and found some big hunks of chain. The new owners are doing renovations it seems, so perhaps some of the original elements of this 100 year old house are being removed. Anyways, people like old iron chains, and these went straight to the auction. We’ll see what they end up going for.

Links

1. Facebook page
2. My eBay listings, Sign up for eBay, Search for something you want / research something you have
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

Wild horses / not so fast

I decided to do a Monday morning run for the first time in a while. It was real cold out, so I did my usual driving route which includes the Golden Square Mile, some Westmount adjacent, and a bit of Cote-des-Neiges. I didn’t have much luck til near the end of my run, when I spotted this horse near the UdM campus.

It was an old Tri-ang rocking horse, probably from the 1950s. The horse is metal, apparently tinplate which is steel or iron coated with tin. All in all it’s in pretty decent shape for its age, just missing the “hair” and the rubber saddle is all dried up (here’s a pic of a pretty similar horse).

As I was loading it in my car, the previous owner came out to talk to me. She was really happy to see that I was taking it, telling me that she’d bought it as a project 10 years ago but never got around to it. It’s always nice to have a positive encounter out on the curb. I brought this to the auction, and soon it will be someone else’s project.

At the same pile was this cute hand-made rocking horse. Apparently, when the neighbour of this woman saw her horse on the curb, he decided to bring over a horse of his own that he was looking to purge. Anyways, I took this guy as well and dropped him off at the auction.

Otherwise, here’s some pics from a spot I mostly wrote off, but ended up producing one more good haul. I picked up a few nice bits of glass and pottery, including those colourful ashtrays, two cute Mexican plates (signed by someone fairly known, but I forget who right now), and a promotional Continental tire ashtray. That style of ashtray has become fairly collectible, and I think this one ended up selling for around 40$ at auction.

Here’s a few more bits and bobs, like a vintage electronic blackjack game and some coins, including one of those 10% silver Mexicans pesos from the the 1960s.

I also found a neat old transferware plate with a copper frame. I’m not sure if the frame was there originally, or if it was added after because of that big crack in the middle (I read somewhere that you can make the stain go away using boiling milk, but there’s got to be a better way).

Here’s the production mark on the back for folks that are interested in such things. I’d like to know more about it, but I didn’t have any luck figuring this one out. Please let us know in the comments if you have any ideas!

Lastly, I found a box full of vials containing weird compounds like c25h34o4 aka Crispatene. I don’t actually know what that means and after googling it I still don’t, other than it’s probably used in organic chemistry. Anyways, I didn’t really want to mess around with this stuff so I brought them to the eco-centre for safe disposal.

Anyways, I’ve spent much of the last three days on the computer following this dang election which is hopefully over soon. I’ve still been doing my runs, and have continued my string of good luck. I found bit of gold today and Monday, which is always exciting and profitable. Anyways, I’m hoping to share more here soon now that I’ve gotten most of my big organizational / winter preparation projects done.