Pickin’ from the bottom of the bag

Longtime readers know that the smallest treasures often make their way to the bottom of the trash bag. One of my best finds recently was in St Michel where someone decided to dump a jewelry box (and seemingly all its contents) into the trash along with the pizza crusts. I threw the bag in the car for later sorting because I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss anything.

(Sidenote: I happened to be followed by a photographer that day. He was taking pictures for an upcoming interview in a local magazine, and I’m glad I actually found something of value in the short time we had available! Usually I end up having to feign interest in a junky pile just to get a good shot. I’ll share the interview here when it’s out).

By scrounging amongst the crusts I was able to refill the jewelry box. Some pieces were indeed worthy of the trash, but most were not and some will end up being fairly valuable.

These tie pins were likely a service award given out by the Steinberg’s supermarket chain that operated from 1917 to 1992. One is silver and the one with the ruby is 10k gold. I brought these to the auction house – Steinberg’s was a Montreal institution for many years, so the name invokes a lot of nostalgia (and hopefully many bids).

Speaking of nostalgia, I also found these cool “Man and his World” Expo 67 cufflinks. They’re in pretty good condition, and I expect them to sell for around 50-60$.

Here’s the best of the costume stuff. I really like that leaf brooch but unfortunately it’s unsigned. I’m mildly hopeful that the bracelet on the right is unsigned gold but that’s probably wishful thinking.

Finally, here’s the stuff that’s marked as silver or gold. There’s three Air Canada service pins on the left, all of which are sterling silver (the latter two might be gold plated as well). The religious medallions on the bottom right are 18k gold, as is the bowtie brooch above it. Overall this was an awesome haul, and I expect that it’ll earn me four figures once it’s all processed!

I haven’t seen much here (besides a box of nice German crystal since). I’ll try to keep an eye on the situation, but I’m also planning on retiring the St Michel route for a while – it hasn’t been productive for a few weeks now.

I saved these items from the bottom of a bag in Hampstead. There’s a mini bottle of Christian Dior’s Eau Sauvage, a few coins, two pocket knives, a pipe reamer, a couple pins and a single bracelet link that I hope is gold. That Heil piece is actually a measuring tape made by the Zippo company, I’ve never seen such a thing previously.

I actually went to an estate sale at this place a couple weeks later. They might have made a few extra bucks if they put this stuff in a box and said “make an offer,” but I guess throwing things away helps to make the process a little less stressful. Or, maybe they legitimately thought that these items had no value. Who knows.

A bag in TMR contained: around 25 coins, a few of which date back to the early 1900s; a WWII food ration token; a couple of vintage bracelets (I particularly like the orange one – the beads don’t seem to be bakelite but are probably a different type of old plastic); a single gold earrings; two chains I hope are gold; 10 Hong Kong dollars from 1985; and a few other doodads.

Finally, I took a look at this trash while walking around my neighbourhood the other day. I kicked a bag and heard the familiar sound of coins.

There was indeed a sizeable collection of mostly foreign coins at the bottom of the bag. I gathered them all into that empty plastic cup at the top of the photo and brought them home for sorting.

Here’s a video of me dumping the haul into the light box. The coins aren’t worth much individually, but once I amass a big collection I can sell them at the auction house.

From all that I spotted three pieces of note: a 1945 Venezuelan 1/2 Bolivar (silver), a 1951 Canadian dime (also silver), and an old looking (brass?) button marked “Republique d’Haiti” featuring an image of a cannon. I couldn’t find any other buttons like it below, so if you happen to know something about it please share in the comments!

In other news I’ve been quite busy basically re-organizing my whole business with the auction house in mind. I’ve cleared all the random junk I’d never have time to deal with from the basement, sorted through and organized the junk in my garage and storage, purged my stash of clothes and brought a bunch to a local consignment shop, and all the the while found more garbage that I have to deal with! At some point the work should slow down and I’ll have more time to blog. This summer has been great for picking and I’ll try to share more of those finds here soon.

If the weather is good I plan on doing a yard sale this Saturday at my storage (4096 Coloniale near Duluth). I want to clear out a bunch of stuff and maybe you (and the university kids who are now returning for the fall semester) can help! I’ll start around 11am, and if it doesn’t work out for whatever reason I’ll edit this post to reflect that. Perhaps check back Friday evening just to be sure – if I have to cancel I’ll add a notice in bold below.

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Day of plenty pt.2

Here’s the first pile from that especially productive day. As you can see it was quite the mound and it took a while to sort through! I met the lady putting it out and she seemed nice enough, asking me not to make a mess “because she had enough of one inside” (or something along those lines). These folks were clearly well off, and I came away with a huge pile of quality junk. Some was eBay worthy, but a lot of it will end up in the yard sale pile.

I did large groupings for the photos due the sheer quantity of things to document. As a result, you’ll have to zoom in to get a good look! That iPhone was a now vintage 3, I sold it for 15$ at a recent sale. It’s always fun to find things that are useful for the business, such as those bubble envelopes and markers. Those Dolceroma frames are the first of several nice pairs I found, most of which will appear in the next several photos. These ones are handmade in Italy, though the company doesn’t seem to be that well known in North America.

Here we have some pennies, an Apple trackpad, a Palm Tungsten PDA, a bag of yarn, lots of photo paper, and plenty more quality junk.

I found lots of useful wires, including one for a MacBook Pro (unfortunately, I never found the actual computer). The Western Digital thing is some kind of streaming device.

Nothing too exciting here, just a lot of useful stuff! Those Hugo Boss colognes should sell for a bit though.

There’s a couple of pretty nice eyeglass frames here. At the bottom right are some handcrafted wooden frames made by a German company named Rolf. They’re fairly expensive, and mine just sold for 100$. The frames above are by Paul Smith, I expect them to sell for around 50$. The watch is a vintage Enicar, nice but not super fancy. It’s probably worth about 50$ as well. The red box on top is a never opened Yi home camera, which seems to go for around 35$. At top left is an 2gb Apple Time Machine.

Lots of electronic stuff in this pic! I should be able to make decent money from that iPod Touch near the bottom right, as well as the Nintendo 64 games at the top right. Most of the rest will go into the yard sale pile.

But the most notable finds from this spot were the gift cards. It seems that the lady had a son who regularly received them as gifts. He didn’t much care for them by the look of things – above is a long expired (when that was still legal) 50$ gift card from Renaud-Bray, a local bookstore.

That was just a sign of things to come. I also found a Starbucks gift card, and when I checked online I discovered that it still contained 100$!  There’s a Starbucks a few minutes from my house, so over the past few weeks I’ve appreciated the gift more than the kid ever did. I’m actually there right now, using up the last of the money writing this post.

That’s not the end of the gift cards, however. I also saved a Banana Republic card containing 100$ and a Renaud-Bray containing 25$. There was a HMV card as well but they’ve since gone out of business… oh well! I guess I’ll be buying some pants and books. This is the first time I’ve found unused gift cards in the trash. I’ve saved a few previously, including one with 63$ on it, but at least those were lightly used.

The garbage has been flowing lately, though none of the finds are going to single handedly make me rich. Ville St Laurent’s heavy garbage day was productive on Sunday night, providing three big bags of vintage clothes, a cute melamine kitchen table, and some old unidentified tools. Last night’s run provided vintage Rusty Staub (RIP Le Grand Orange) era Montreal Expos publications and some quality audio equipment. My best run last week was in TMR, but I’ll share what I found there in a future post.

Links

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3. Etsy store
4. Kijiji listings
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Email: thingsifindinthegarbage@gmail.com. Staying on top of emails is not my best quality, so please be patient (but feel free to nag).

Move-out day 2018

On Monday and Tuesday I was busy working the local university move-out day. My picking schedule was pretty laid back compared to last year, when I tried really hard for like a week but only really found noteworthy stuff on the 30th and 1st. This time around I left the early stuff to the local scavengers (of which there are plenty) and focused on the big days.

Even then, I tried not to take it too seriously. I think move-out picking is largely based on luck of the draw, and the great finds either come or they don’t. Move-out day in 2016 was awesome – I saved about 1000$ worth of stuff – and in 2017 I found about 600$. This year I didn’t get nearly as lucky, and I’ll probably make only around 100$ for my efforts.

Still, it was a fun time. Well, Monday wasn’t much fun because the weather was rainy and generally miserable. It was a lot nicer out on Tuesday though, when I walked around with a friend on a beautiful sunny day and dug through various piles of trash. We ended up filling the car mostly with clothes, which we’ll probably sell at my next yard sale, and having conversations with other pickers.

This year the powers that be tried harder to reduce waste on the big day. I talked to a volunteer of the “Trash 2 Treasure” program and apparently they stuffed (at least) two semi trailers full of reusable goods for charity. They either set up appointments with the kids beforehand, or had volunteers pick up the items (mostly furniture and clothes) as they made their way to the curb. It was good to see some progress being made in that regard!

There was still plenty of garbage however. I found a few minor change hauls – no loonies or toonies, but I probably saved around 12-15$ overall. I also found three Euros, an American dollar bill, and…

 

… a ripped 20! Fortunately I had the useful part, and I was able to deposit it at the bank without any issues. I’ve never found a damaged bill like this before, so that was fun and educational experience. Apparently they’re good as long as you still have the serial numbers on the bottom.

I only found one laptop this year, an Asus slightly better than mine but with a busted screen. It’s not worth too much, but there’s definitely still some useful parts in there (I’m guessing around 40-60$ worth).

I also found a MacBook Air, but the kid ended up reclaiming it when he came back downstairs (he told me his roommate threw it out without him knowing). It was water damaged, but it was probably still worth money for parts. Oh well!

Otherwise, I found a perfectly functional Casio watch (worth about 10$) …

… a Herschel laptop sleeve, which cleaned up nicely and is worth about 20$;

… a small collection of electronic junk (not including a couple calculators and headphones I forgot to include in the pic);

… and a whole bunch of clothes, which my friend and I lovingly piled by the winter tires in my storage. We’re going to wash them using found detergent and sell them at a future sale. There’s nothing super fancy here, but it’s definitely not garbage!

So, I didn’t have the best luck this year. Fortunately, there’s lots of other garbage to pick! I’ve made some quality finds elsewhere, and I’ll show them to you here soon enough.

Links

1. Facebook page
2. My eBay listings
3. Etsy store
4. Kijiji listings
5. Contribute to garbagefinds.com
6. Follow me on Instagram

Email: thingsifindinthegarbage@gmail.com. Staying on top of emails is not my best quality, so please be patient (but feel free to nag).