Tag Archives: flipping

Recent sales – January 2017

This is the first “recent sales” post that summarizes by the month. My first such posts were by the week, and became every two weeks at some point. Then I remember having a really slow month where I summarized by the four weeks, and I ended up continuing with that for quite some time. Anyways, it just so happened that the end of the last sales period was near New Years, and I decided it was time to switch it to something more intuitive. Exciting story, I know.

I made decent money this month but I find myself totally broke regardless. I’ve had to deal with a lot of car stuff recently, including that mechanical inspection as well as a flat tire that required me having to buy two new tires (apparently it’s not good to have a tire on one side that’s notably newer than the tire on the other side). I also haven’t been picking as often these last few months, in part due to motivation issues that resulted from that experience with the police, so the once steady stream of new eBayable junk has slowed to a crawl, like molasses in January (or February).

On the plus side, I do have lots of stuff listed on eBay / Etsy, so I should be able to scrape by until yard sale season. At that point I’ll at least be able to raise quick cash when needed. I expect that my first two yard sales will be very profitable. I’m starting to get a better eye for the kind of things people will buy, and because of that my yard sale boxes are filling up a lot faster. Needless to say I’m looking forward to spring for a variety of reasons.

Anyways, lets get to the sales! There’s lots of different and interesting things this time around.

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1. c.1930s Chateau Frontenac booklet: On eBay for 50$. There’s good money in old hotel stuff, particularly when it’s a hotel as fancy as the Chateau Frontenac. This brochure featured a lot of cool floor plans that may have been of interest to collectors. Found in NDG back in September 2015.

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2. NAD 6220 cassette deck: On eBay for 125$. NAD is known among collectors for their quality and minimal design, and some of their receivers sell for hundreds or thousands of dollars. Their cassette players apparently aren’t as good, but this one still sold for a nice price. I found it a long time ago but only got around to testing it relatively recently. It worked fine, and was in great cosmetic condition. I found it while walking around the Plateau with someone doing an interview with me for a local magazine.

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3. Atari 1040ST: On eBay for 175$. This one tested the limits of my light box! I’m not great at fixing stuff, but I do consider myself pretty skilled at cleaning my finds and making them look nice for the camera. This Atari was kind of grody when I found it, but it looked a lot nicer once I wiped it down with a microfiber cloth. Maybe it seems obvious that one should do this, but when I did my research I saw a lot of grungy looking 1040STs for sale. A little cleaning helps a collector see the item’s greatest cosmetic potential. I wasn’t actually able to test it beyond turning it on and seeing a light, but I was able to sell it for a good price regardless. Found in NDG sometime this summer.

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4. Expo 67 key map: On eBay for 150$. I had this listed for a long time, slowly reducing the price from whatever ridiculous number I started it at. It finally sold for 150$ which I’m pretty happy with. The buyer was also happy with the map so it’s a win/win. Found in Hampstead way back in March 2015.

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5. Canadian Constitution proposed resolution – 1980 official booklet: On eBay for 6$. I thought a collector might be interested in this, but after having it sit around for a year or more I decided to lower the price to the point where it was nearly free. I’m just glad it’s gone. Found in Westmount back in the summer of 2015.

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6. Royal Secret by Germaine Monteil, 2oz: On eBay for 60$. Part of that great collection I found a few months back.

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7. Vintage Waterman pens: On eBay for 60$. I’m a member of a local Facebook trading page, and a while back someone posted about an apartment in Villeray that was being cleared out. I went to check it out and found a gaggle of people already looking through the bags. Many of the bags had been ripped apart, creating a terrible mess that I’m sure the neighbours, not to mention the garbage collectors weren’t happy about. I looked around anyways and managed to find a few things that other people had overlooked. These pens were the main score of the day, and made the trip worthwhile.

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8. Vintage 1950s Gubelin catalogue: On eBay for 12$. I thought this would sell for more, but I guess people aren’t that interested the Gubelin name. Regardless, 12$ for a hunk of paper isn’t bad! Found in Westmount in the summer of 2015.

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9. Blush by Marc Jacobs: On eBay for 30$. This went to a local buyer who came to pick it up. I found it just down the road from my new place in the Mile End.

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10. Vintage Casio Mini-TV in original box: On eBay for 35$. Found at the same place as the perfumes.

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11. c.1940s Racist Chief Wahoo rubber toy: On eBay for 30$. It wasn’t in perfect condition, but sold for a decent price nonetheless. This depiction of Chief Wahoo (the mascot of the Cleveland Indians baseball team) makes the modern version look progressive by comparison.

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12. Hagen family coat of arms plaque: On eBay for 30$. From my experience these kinds of vintage wall plaques are worth between 23-30$ in good condition. Better than nothing right? Found in Hampstead last fall.

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13. Paranoia Agent DVD set: On eBay for 140$. This was the last premium title from that anime collection I found while walking with my sister back in October of 2015. I only have six more titles / sets listed on eBay.

14. Please Save My Earth DVD: On eBay for 34$. Once part of the same collection I just mentioned, this went to another local buyer who wanted to come pick it up.

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15. Lot of 4 Sony Magneto-Optical disks: On eBay for 40$. Someone offered me a whole box of these while I looked through some trash on St Urbain last summer. I only took these four, but I wish I took more now – never opened old tech stuff is usually worth listing on eBay. I had never even heard of Magneto-Optical disks before, but it seems that some people swear by them.

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16. Postcards – two lots for 30$. Part of the big postcard collection I found last summer. I had forgotten about the lot of vintage military postcards above, but once I got them listed they sold pretty quickly.

17. Marzocchi Dirt Jam Bike Fork: On Kijiji for 50$. I thought this would take forever to sell, but it didn’t take long at all. Found in Outremont relatively recently.

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18. Essick humidifier: On Kijiji for 40$. I almost left this on the curb when I moved but decided to take it with me. It was a bit of a hassle, but I guess I’m 40$ richer as a result. I’m happy it’s gone though because it took up a fair bit of space. Found last summer in Montreal West.

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19. Guerlain “La Petite Robe Noire” EdP: To a reader for 30$. A quick flip! Found in the Mile End a few weeks ago.

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20. Scrap gold / silver: To a local antiques dealer for 850$. Precious metal scrap is a semi-regular income source for me. I gather the pieces, most of which are broken or mediocre jewelry, and store them in a box until the collection is big enough to bring to the shop. I know silver and gold fairly well, but there’s always a few pieces that I’m not 100% sure about so I bring them in to be tested. I was hoping that length of thick gold chain on the bottom was solid gold, for example, but it turned out not to be. Oh well.

One win was a vase I begrudgingly held onto for like a year (I forgot to bring it in last time) on the off chance it was silver. The vase looked like it had been run over by a truck. I don’t have a picture of it unfortunately, but the thing was squished. I almost threw it out myself on a few occasions, as I really doubted it was silver and was sick of looking at it, but I didn’t. As it turns out the vase was indeed silver, and its weight probably added somewhere between 30-50$ to the final total.

Thankfully the guy who runs the shop doesn’t seem to mind testing a bunch of random, sometimes tiny crap. He makes decent money from this, so I guess it benefits him to keep me happy. He takes roughly 15% of the total scrap value, meaning that he personally made around 200$ from this transaction. Not bad for about half an hours work.

For reference, I’ve been putting the stuff I know is gold in a separate container (below). I often use that smaller collection to determine when I go to bring it all in, as gold is the real moneymaker in the transaction. I don’t bother going unless I know for sure I have at least 500$ worth of stuff, and preferably more.

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Total: 1943$

Relevant links

1. Facebook page
2. eBay listings
3. Etsy store
4. Kijiji listings
5. Donate to Garbagefinds.com

Email: thingsifindinthegarbage@gmail.com. I often fall behind on emails, so I apologize in advance if it takes me a while to get back to you.

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Best of 2016!

I’ve been a full-time trash picker for four years now, though only in the last two has the endeavor been reasonably profitable.

2016 started off with a bang, but my luck turned sour starting around June and an encounter with the police made things even worse. I’m now reflecting on my future and considering what to do next. Still, I’ll always trash pick even if I change professions or focus on a new project, I just won’t do it quite as often. “Things I find in the garbage” will likely continue to be the most frequently updated trash picking blog out there in 2017.

Otherwise, 2016 saw me continue to improve my selling skills. I professionalized my business by finding a decent laser printer, allowing me to finally start printing my eBay labels, by buying a light box which makes photography much easier, and by generally continuing to fine-tune the listing process. These tools and skills should come in handy going forward.

Despite it feeling a bit like a down year in some ways, 2016s “best of” compares favourably to that of 2015 and is definitely superior to the best of 2014. So enough talk, let’s get to it!

Top three useful finds

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#3. Furniture for storing my crap.

Early in the year someone clearing out a house allowed me into their home to check out some free furniture. He seemed like a nice guy who just wanted to be done with it all. I ended up taking this credenza, which turned out to be a mid-century piece made by Drexel. While it’s not in perfect condition the credenza is still very nice and quite useful, as the top middle drawer is great for holding various garbage-related tools. More recently I found a dresser and a filing cabinet, both of which also had a mid-century look. These pieces are now loaded with eBay junk.

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#2. Bluetooth speaker.

I’ve been wanting one of these for a while! I don’t have much space to work with so I like how it doesn’t clutter up my room with wires. These go for around 100$, making it a pretty nice get. I found it not long ago while biking around the Mile End.

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#1. Laser printer.

I have a long standing hatred of printers, but I took a chance on this one and it’s worked pretty well thus far. I rate it as the most useful find of the year in large part because I didn’t realize how much better shipping rates were through Paypal. I always figured it wouldn’t make much of a difference, but now I feel silly that I spent so many years writing out labels. It’s sometimes a dollar or more cheaper, and that’s just extra money in my pocket. On top of that, laser printers are just a lot more cost effective as compared to inkjets.

Top decoration

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#1. Shell chandelier.

After years of trash picking I’m pretty much set for home decor stuff. However, this chandelier made from circular bits of shell was a great find. It was in pieces when I found it, but I spent a few hours putting it back together and now it looks awesome. It really brings the room together.

Top four oddities

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#4. Cutout of some guy

Who is he? I have no idea. I even asked Reddit but they didn’t know either. If you happen to know who this guy is, let me know in the comments! He’s currently a decoration in my room.

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#3. Vintage Valium

Valium doesn’t exist anymore, at least by that name, so this was a neat find. The drug was at its peak popularity during the Carter administration, and definitely had an impact on the culture of the time.

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#2. Collection of vintage UFO literature

I enjoy finding things related to niche interests or fringe beliefs, and this year I made first contact with the UFO / conspiracy subculture. Many of the pieces were book lists from the 60s and 70s published by Gray Barker, the guy who pretty much invented the concept of the “Men in Black” but looks to have been a skeptic in his private life. I sold this lot for 55$, but in retrospect I think I might have been able to get a bit more for it. There’s a very healthy market for old UFO stuff. I found this collection in Rosemont back in July.

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#1. Collection of far-right / fascist / racist / skinhead literature

Speaking of fringe beliefs, 2016 saw the first time I ever came across anything that was overtly and unapologetically racist. This stuff came from the same house as the UFO lit; that guy was into definitely into some next ideas. Most of the literature dated from between the early 80s and late 90s and was distributed by different organizations in Quebec, France, and Belgium. I listed it on eBay hoping to find a buyer who was interested in researching the different movements but I haven’t had any luck thus far. I found a lot more besides this first haul, but I figured I’d shared enough already.

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Honorable mentions

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2016 was a great year for finding Apple products. I made hundreds of dollars selling several iPods, three iPads, and a mostly functional MacBook Pro. I hope the trend continues in 2017!

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Junk from “The Muck”

One of my favourite spots of the year was actually in Ahunstic, where I happened upon an intriguing pile (post one, post two, post three) on my way home from Ville St Laurent. I went back to the same spot for several weeks and collected many, mostly small items, including a bit of gold and one of my favourite finds of the year. However, sorting through the stuff on the curb was challenging at times because for every cool thing there were ten that were ruined or just plain junk. Let’s just say I’m glad I got my tetanus booster not long before stopping there. I thought of the spot as “The Muck,” in reference to the c.1920s union application card that I found there that first time. The part of Ahuntsic that produced this stuff was distinctly lower middle class, so this is a good reminder that cool trash can come from just about anywhere.

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Vintage postcard collection

I saved about 2-300 postcards from a recycling bin way back in May. Most dated from between the 1930s and 1950s. None were particularly valuable on their own (I think the most valuable were a pair of old Chinese postcards that went for 40$) but altogether they made me a couple hundred bucks. I learned a lot about the postcard market by selling them, and maybe that knowledge will come in handy in the future.

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Robert Sonneman floor lamp

This mid-century lamp was a nice get. It was designed by a guy named Robert Sonneman and similar lamps are listed on 1stDibs for 1000$ each or more. I doubt I’ll get that much but I’m sure this lamp will make me a bit of money eventually. It’s in pretty good condition overall, but I have yet to clean up the cast-iron base which is a bit rusty. I figure it’ll sell for more if I can get that cast iron looking black again.

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WWI group photo

This photo, which is likely over 100 years old, was hidden behind a picture of Brother Andre that looked to have been clipped from a magazine. It’s a neat piece of history, and it ended up selling to a local collector for 83$. That was more than I expected!

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WWII letters and ephemera

I found these way back in January. I remember the homeowner coming out and telling me not to pick there, but I already had some cool stuff in the car including these bags of letters. Here’s hoping I didn’t miss out on anything good. I haven’t actually spent much time looking at the letters, but my mom read some of them and said that there were two authors, one of which was actually a pretty good writer. It might be interesting to do something with them at some point. My favourite pieces were the Military ID cards, especially the one below. I haven’t been able to find a card quite like it online.

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Top 10 finds of 2016

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#10. Vintage fashion magazine collection

These magazines filled two document boxes. Most were Vogues or Harper’s Bazaars that dated from between the 50s and 70s. Some were individually valuable, such as the issues of Harper’s Bazaar featuring drawings by Andy Warhol or the ones with Audrey Hepburn on the cover, but most were in poor enough condition that they were best sold for collage. Fortunately, I have a friend here who does just that. Apparently fashion magazines from this era are the best to collage with because of their high print quality. I’ve made a few hundred dollars off them already, and I still have some left to sell.

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#9. Vintage pen collection

The most valuable of the bunch was a vintage Sheaffer PFM (“Pen for Men” – above) that sold for 175$, but there was also a nice Sheaffer Imperial and a desk pen with a 14k gold nib, not to mention several other yard saleable pens and vintage pencils. All in all the collection should net me a few hundred dollars.

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#8. Vintage Longines gold watch

It seems like I find a couple gold watches a year. I hope that keeps up because they’re easy money! Longines is a good brand, and was pretty well regarded back in the day according to posters on watch collector message boards. It hasn’t sold yet, but I recently uploaded a better picture (thanks light box!) so maybe it’ll head on its way soon enough.

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#7. Vintage Heinz soup sign

This sign came off a vintage “electric soup kitchen” that was designed to heat a can of soup in 2 minutes. These machines were made in the 30s and 40s but there’s not too many kicking around anymore. It’s a neat piece of history, one that ended up netting me 270$ on eBay.

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#6. Vintage pennant collection

I saved a whole bunch of neat pennants, most of which featured various Canadian towns, but these WWI era military pennants were the coolest and most valuable. The Valcartier pennant ended up selling for 160$, while the 40th Battallion pennant sold for 110$. Most of the others went to the yard sale bin, but one from Lowell High School (Jack Kerouac’s alma mater) went for another 30$ on eBay.

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#5. Omega watch

My first and finest gold watch of the year. Omega is a luxury brand, so while the watch wasn’t in perfect condition it was a worthwhile project to a handy watch collector. The movement itself worked well, and it ended up going for almost 500$ on eBay.

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#4. 2012 MacBook Pro, 15″

This was easily my best find from McGill’s moveout day. It’s hard to believe that someone would throw it out as it’s easily worth several hundred dollars. It works fine – in fact, I’m using it right now. Here’s hoping I have similar luck in the ghetto again next year, though I’m not holding my breath. Lots of great stuff gets tossed on moveout day but not many people throw out awesome laptops. That requires a special, and hopefully uncommon brand of privilege.

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#3. Widdicomb chair

It might not look like much, but apparently this chair is pretty exciting if you’re really into mid-century modern furniture. It was designed by George Nakashima as part of his “Origins” line. It needed reupholstering, but it still sold quickly for around 950$ Canadian dollars.

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#2. Perfume collection

This was definitely the most perfume I ever found in one spot. These weren’t cheap perfumes either – most were made by well respected brands such as Guerlain, Christian Dior, Yves St Laurent, and Balenciaga. I had to work for them though, as the perfumes in this box were spread across several black trash bags and were mixed in with cosmetics that don’t age nearly as well. I’ve already made several hundred dollars from this collection, and I’ll probably earn well over a thousand when all is said and done.

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#1. Henri Bourassa 1908 election badge

It took me a while to decide, but I think this election badge was my favourite find of the year. It’s certainly an interesting piece. Henri Bourassa is an important figure in the history of Quebec, being one of the first to promote a brand of French-Canadian nationalism (though not separatism, which would emerge later). He founded the newspaper Le Devoir, which still exists today, and there’s a pretty major road named after him in the north of Montreal. He somehow managed to personally win two different ridings in that 1908 provincial election. I don’t think that’s even possible any more.

The pin also appear to be pretty rare – I couldn’t find anything like it on Google. Maybe there’s a few others kicking around out there somewhere, but it’s very cool to save something so uncommon. The fact that this photo comes up when you do research on Henri Bourassa makes me think that I’ve contributed, if only slightly to humanity’s wealth of knowledge.

As the coolest thing I found from “The Muck” it reminds me that, while rich people’s garbage is pretty good, common folk can have pretty cool stuff too. This kind of thing acts as inspiration to keep me doing my bike trash runs in the Plateau and Mile End. Even though I often won’t find much of anything, sometimes I do get pretty lucky.

Of course, I also like that it made me some money. It eventually sold for 350$, which is a lot for a button!

Let’s hope my finds in 2017 can at least hold a candle to these!

Relevant links

1. Facebook page
2. My eBay listings
3. Etsy store
4. Kijiji listings
5. Contribute to Garbagefinds.com

Email: thingsifindinthegarbage@gmail.com. I often fall behind on emails, so I apologize in advance if it takes me a while to get back to you.

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Recent sales (December 5 – December 31)

The holiday season wasn’t nearly as profitable as I hoped it would be. I enjoyed a nice flurry of sales around the end of November but after that things dried up quite a bit. I’m guessing that it’s because my wares aren’t often the kind of thing people think of when they’re buying Christmas gifts. I expect my luck to improve in January though, and I’ve already made a few good sales early on.

My goal for much of the year was to make 24k in 2016, and I came up short of that. However, I decided late in the year that I didn’t actually care all that much about the goal, and decided to hold onto some stuff (scrap gold in particular) until the new year so as to lower my tax burden. That would have brought me pretty close to the goal. I don’t know if I’ll work as hard in 2017 as I did in 2016 (I may focus on different projects a bit more), and if my income is lower waiting to sell that stuff will have been a wise decision.

Either way, I know 24k was possible. I probably would have made it if not for the experience with the police late in the year, and I still think I could make 30k a year if the circumstances were right. But I’m also wondering now if being a full-time trash picker / flipper is really my best career choice, for a variety of reasons. Still, I’m sure to be a regular picker regardless, as it’s fun, good exercise (at least when biking), and often profitable.

Now, let me show you the final sales of 2016. My next post will features my best finds of the year!

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1. Vintage U.F.O.BI (UFO-shaped Frisbee): On eBay for 100$. This might be one of my favourite sales ever. I found it around six years ago – long before this blog saw the light of day – amongst some rubbish in an alley near my house. My friends and I played with the U.F.O.BI on a few occasions but it was more of a joke than anything – it was heavy, didn’t fly particularly well, and wasn’t very fun especially compared to a normal frisbee.

Even though it wasn’t much fun I kept U.F.O.BI for years because it made me laugh. I also found it oddly charming and slightly mysterious – I couldn’t find a single reference to any other U.F.O.BIs on Google. For all I knew it was one-of-a-kind, though I imagine there’s a few others floating around out there somewhere.

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It was made by Wedco, a long forgotten plastics company based in Boucherville Quebec. I imagine the toy was made in the 50s or 60s but didn’t “take off” like the company had hoped. The U.F.O.BI looks to have been Wedco’s only foray into the toy industry.

Around two years ago I started wondering if there might actually be a market for U.F.O.BI. It was a vintage toy, seemingly quite rare, made in Quebec, and related to UFOs so it wasn’t inconceivable that some collector might want it. Only recently though did I actually get around to listing it on eBay. I had fun writing the description, openly and honestly talking about how the U.F.O.BI was kind of dirty, slightly bent, and wasn’t all that fun to play with. When I chose a price I went with 100$, because why not? It wasn’t like there were any other U.F.O.BIs flying around on eBay, and I could always lower the price later.

To my partial surprise, U.F.O.BI gained some eBay watchers pretty quickly, and sold within two weeks of being listed. It was time to say goodbye to my unusual frisbee. I like to think that it went to a good home. The buyer left good feedback, in it noting that U.F.O.BI was a “unique vintage toy,” so chances are he’s a vintage toy collector.

I’m happy about this sale because it shows how far I’ve come as a seller. I was able to sniff out a market for the most random thing, and that’s a skill that should come in handy going forward. Also, it was fun telling my friends that I managed to get 100$ for something they saw as total junk.

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2. Vintage Tupperware Picnic set: On eBay for 30$. Found on St Urbain in the Mile End this summer.

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3. 1980 O-Pee-Chee Wayne Gretzky cards: On eBay for 30$. These were the only ones from the batch I found in Villeray that were worth listing on eBay. The rest I sold for a few bucks at a yard sale.

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4. Dunhill brush / manicure set holder: On eBay for 50$. Found mid December in CDN.

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5. 1970s Fort Bragg recruitment posters: On eBay for 80$. I’m glad that I was finally able to unload some of these posters! I still have all of the other ones, and I hope that they start moving soon. Found late August in Outremont.

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6. Vintage postcards: On eBay for 40$. I sold one lot of American postcards for 25$, and two St Joseph’s Oratory cards for 15$. Of the latter, the “luminous” glow in the dark card (above) was definitely the most notable.

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7. Vintage c.1920s bottle – JL Corriveau “Champagne”: On eBay for 80$. I’m not sure what this drink would have been, but it almost certainly wasn’t booze (and definitely not real champagne) given that it contained natural and artificial flavors. I’m guessing it was a soft drink related somehow to the Red Champagne which is specific to the Saguenay Lac-St-Jean region of Quebec. I wasn’t able to find anything quite like it online. Found with a few other old bottles in the Plateau in the fall of 2015.

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8. Gray Barker UFO ephemera: On eBay for 10$. I found a bit more UFO stuff after I sold that last big haul. I don’t normally list things for that little but I figured it’d be an easy sale and it took no effort to ship. Found in Rosemont.

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9. Yves St Laurent Opium EdT: On eBay for 35$. Another bottle from that great perfume collection I found a few months ago.

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10. Vintage transitional watch band: On eBay for 50$. This thing was made so that you could put a pocket watch on your wrist. Found this spring in Ahuntsic.

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11. Silver and marcasite earrings: On Etsy for 34$. These were very nice earrings but my photos were pretty uninspiring. Taking good jewelry photos is a lot easier now that I have the light box. Found last year in Westmount.

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12. Sheaffer Pen for Men I: On eBay for 175$. This unassuming pen ended up being a pretty nice get! It went for a great price despite not being in perfect condition. Found a few weeks ago in Cote-des-neiges.

Total: 744$, 22014$ in 2016.

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