Kucharske Mudroslovi

This spot was pretty productive for me last summer. I got a few pictures taken right away, but a lot of the most interesting stuff – including a large collection of old photos – ended up on a shelf in my garage, waiting for me to sort & document them. I finally got around to it a few days ago, and here we are.

On one of those first nights I picked through a collection of hardware-related bric-a-brac, saving the things I thought were most interesting or saleable. All this stuff is long gone by now, via yard sales or free boxes. In the middle is a big piece of lead, which was wrapped up with masking tape. I brought that to the scrap yard.

I kept a few of these things for personal use. That ice pick looking thing has come in handy, for instance.

I saved a cool vintage late 40s / early 50s Superhealth aluminum turkey roaster, which I later sold to someone in Newfoundland via eBay for 75$. It was still in very good condition, but more than anything its design was extremely “of its time,” giving it lots of appeal to fans of that aesthetic.

I also found a nice typewriter here. The Groma Kolibri was an ultra-compact typewriter made in East Germany from the mid 1950s to early 1960s. Typewriter enthusiasts seem to love it, and you can find lots of fawning reviews (like this one) online. They usually sell for around 200$ on eBay, more if it’s in exceptional condition or is an unusual colour. This one’s still kicking around the house. I tried listing it on Kijiji, but no one local was willing to pay what I wanted for it. eBay is the best way to get that top dollar, though shipping typewriters (even small ones) is a bit of a hassle.

This big tin toy car was in great shape, and did very well at auction. I forget exactly what it sold for, but I’d say it was somewhere between 65-90$.

This old Beacon camera is pretty cute, but I don’t think it works quite right (the shutter doesn’t seem to move properly). Either way, old cameras are easy to sell at yard sales, even when they’re broken (at least here in Montreal).

I found a bit of jewelry here. I saved several nice mid-century rhinestone pieces, mostly necklaces. None were signed, but they should sell for decent cash at my theoretical future flea market sale. Unfortunately, I don’t have pictures of any of those. Regardless, my most valuable jewelry find was probably this single gold earring, featuring four old (probably mine cut, though I’m not an expert) diamonds.

The hallmarks are a bit hard to make out. There seems to be an “M&S,” and then a picture of some kind of animal facing leftwards (maybe a boar?). Another mark on the clip is unintelligible, probably worn down with age. Either way, it’s worth a bit of money for the diamonds, not to mention the gold. I want to figure out the carat before listing it, though.

I’m pretty sure this is an old recipe book. It’s all handwritten in a language I don’t understand, but I occasionally see words that look like “minutes” or “liters,” as well as the occasional French culinary term (à la Normande, à la Cardinal).

Google translate thinks “Kucharske Mudroslovi” means “curly wisdom” in Bulgarian, but I’m guessing that’s a bit off.

It seems to have been written between 1939 and 1941. It’s fairly long, I’m just guessing here but it’s probably around 50 pages.

I’d love to know more about it, so please share any insights you might have in the comments!

The person who owned a lot of this stuff apparently immigrated to Canada from Czechoslovakia sometime after the war (based on a quick google search of a name I saw repeatedly on old papers). I wish I could share the person’s name here – he seemed like an interesting fellow – but I believe that it’s best to ensure to privacy of anyone who’s likely still part of our living memory. People who lived 100 years ago, I’m not so worried about.

I think this is a Czech house blessing of some kind, but I’m not entirely sure. It’s nicely framed, and is signed at the bottom right. It’s probably a nice lithograph print, but I’ll take a closer look next time I see it to make sure it’s not hand drawn.

One night I found a large stash of old photos. Here’s a selection of my favourites, zoom in for a better look! Up top in the middle is a souvenir from a Milos Kominek air acrobat show. The only information I could find about Milos was in this Czech obituary, but the guy led quite the life based on the (Google) translating I did. On top of being a stuntman, he was also a resistance fighter, political prisoner, journalist, and magazine publisher. The card is signed, perhaps by Milos himself (or Milo, according to that website), though I found no other signatures to compare it with. Otherwise, there’s some cool pictures of a 50s liquor store, and what looks to be a bar (as seen below).

There’s some farming going on in these ones, and what looks to be a mining operation. Most of these photos probably date from between the 1920s and 1940s.

In a few of these it looks like they’re building a bridge, in a few others a dam. Some of these would be great to scan, but that takes a lot of extra effort. I’m hoping to sell them to someone who’s willing to take the time.

Here we have a photo of a rigid airship in flight, an explosion, two servicemen, a restaurant crew, and a photo of a large event of some kind.

I’d guess that these ones were from the “old country.” In some people are dressed in what I’d guess is traditional Czech clothing. A few of these look to be a little older, maybe dating to the early 1900s or 1910s. I especially like those colourized ones on the left. I’m sure these photos would appeal to someone with an interest in Czech history and culture. I’ll likely try to find that person using eBay.

Let’s finish with this old drawstring bag. I don’t know much about the design, but based on most everything else I’d guess that has Czech origins.

I haven’t seen anything good on the curb here in months, but it doesn’t look like anyone’s moved, so perhaps the tossing will resume at some point.

Otherwise, big sale alert! I emailed Sotheby’s about my Lusitania nutcracker, and they quickly replied that they were’t interested. Then, I remembered that I don’t need these big auction houses to sell my quality junk – I can do it myself. So I listed it on eBay for 1000$, and it sold pretty quickly to a guy in England (he negotiated it down to include free shipping, so my net was closer to 920$ minus fees). Apparently the buyer’s great grandfather died when the Lusitania sunk, so there was some personal interest there. Either way, that was a nice chunk of cash! Looking back on my best of 2019 list, I’d probably now put this at #1 (it didn’t make the list at the time, because I hadn’t had time to blog about it yet).

Also, my large soapstone falcon sold at a recent Waddington’s auction for 300$. That’s probably a fair price, but I was hoping a real bidding war would materialize. Either way, I can’t complain too much. This was my first experience with a higher end auction house, so now I know a bit more about the process. In general, it’s probably better to sell most of my finds on my own, but if I ever happen upon anything really fancy a high-end auction might be the best place to sell it.


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‘tween Whitehorse & Skagway

I find old photos pretty regularly. The majority feature people and places that would be mainly of interest to the family who presumably tossed them. Others have broader appeal, and a rare few tempt me to scan them.

I found this collection last spring. They appear to have been shot by an RCAF airman who was stationed near Whitehorse around the end of WWII. The photos were likely sent with letters to his partner, who added an extra caption on one of the shots. The photos themselves are great, but its the captions that really make them special. They provide neat little windows into the local people & terrain, as well as the day-to-day life of a 20-something airman living up north.

I transcribed the captions as they were written. Anything in [brackets] is an interjection by me (often because I don’t know for sure what was written), and [sic] means the word was originally misspelled. The scans are of fairly high quality, so click on the picture and zoom in to see the finer details. I’ve also added links to some of the various places, people, and things mentioned in the captions.

I’d like the thanks my mom and sister for helping me with this little project. We all did it for free, so if you particularly enjoy this post consider donating to the blog (I’ll split any proceeds three ways). Otherwise, there’s still plenty of pictures without captions and stories to tell, so please feel free to share them in the comments!

Anyways, without further ado…


Bottom left: “Peace River District. Land around here is quite flat and is good for farming.”

Bottom middle: “Lancaster ‘Aries’ prior to take-off”

Middle left: “Lewes River [later renamed Yukon River] Whitehorse Yukon”

Top left: “Bob Calis + I, Fish Lake Yukon Aug ’45.”

Top center: “U.S.A.A.F. Norseman taxiing past Standard oil refining co for a take-off. July 45.”

Top right: “Lews’ [sic] River]

Middle right: “Rifle party for LAC Patrick McCanney, drowned in Lewes River Whitehorse Y.T. 11/8/45″ [There seems to be a notable discrepancy between the funeral date offered on these photos and the date of death (May 31 1945) I found online. I’m not sure why that would be, but perhaps there were reasons to delay the ceremony].

Bottom left: “L to R: Frank Braun, Dave Slobodian, Ear Lake Y.T. June 45″

Bottom right: “Whitehorse Y.T.”

Top left: “Bearer Party for Patrick McCanney 11/8/45”

Top right: “Japanese balloon bomb” [Interesting photo! These were the first intercontinental weapons, though they weren’t very effective].

Middle left: “Dave Slobodian, Frank Braun, Ear Lake Y.T. July 45”

Bottom left: “Peace River” [I spent a bit of time in the Peace region years ago. It’s quite nice.]

Bottom middle: “Nov 14/44, Edmonton Atla. [Rin?] Gassner, Louis Truly, Sam Moore.”

Bottom right: “Indian burial ground. Whealthier [sic] Indians build little shelters for over the graves”

Top left: “Indian village on shore of lake at Aishihik Y.T.”

Top right: “Klondike and Aksala awaiting turn at loading pier at Whitehorse.”

Middle left: “23/Sept/45, Miles Canyon Y.T.; L to R Bob Simpson, me, Jim Switzer”

Middle right: “Burial party for LAC Patrick McCanney. Drowned in Lewes River Whitehorse Y.T. 11/8/45.”

Bottom left: “Burial party for LAC Patrick (Irish) McCanney. Drowned in Lewes River Whitehorse Y.T. 11/8/45. (Firing Party)

Middle: “Climbing up to Alcan [I think short for Alaskan] highway from Miles Canyon, Yukon.”

Right: “Nov 14/44 Edmonton Alta.”

Top left: “Coming into Watson Lake Y.T. Visibility unlimited. Looks serene, but is the flying ever ropey [sic] around here. Lots of [down?]-drafts caused by high mts and deep valleys. Death valley N.W.T, few miles east of here.” [Death Valley likely refers to Deadmen Valley, an area in the Nahanni region that is subject to many legends.]

Middle left: “Halfway mark ‘tween Whitehorse + Skagway. Forget name of place off hand. Just a few shacks, one a trading post, and a small church. ‘Trail of the 98’ gold rush starts here. Note narrow gauge single track rails.”

Middle right: “This ship is beached at docks at Whitehorse. Used to be a smuggler (liquor) but Yanks threatened to sink her with gunfire if ever seen again in Alaskan waters. Used to have parties aboard. Infested with gophers.”

Bottom left: “Casca tied up at pier at Whitehorse, getting ready for trip up Lewes to Dawson City.”

Bottom right: “Indian boy at village. Lake La Barge [sic, probably Lake Laberge] Y.T. July ’45.”

Top left: “Dec/44 Whitehorse Yukon.”

Middle left: “Pete Thomas Dec/44”

Middle: “Champaign [sic, probably Champagne] Y.T.”

Top left: “Lews’ [sic] (Yukon) river.”

Top right: “Ear lake Yukon. Saw many mallards here. Tried a sten gun and .303 on ’em, but couldn’t hit the side of a barn door.”

Middle left: “Nov 14/44. Edmonton Alta. [Ain?] Gassner.”

Middle right (top): “Lake Carré St Faustin Que.”

Middle right (bottom): “Standard Oil refinery from air, Whitehorse Y.T.”

Bottom left: “Wild dog – Miles Canyon Yukon.”

Top left: “Sun. March 11/45.” [I’m not sure why I think this now, but when I found these I had the notion that the 113 address was right across the street from my old house on Villeneuve Ouest near St Urbain in the Mile End. If so, the other Montreal street view shots might have been taken nearby.]

Top right: “Bob Calis R.C.A.F. Station , Whitehorse Y.T.”

Bottom left: “American army ordnance butler huts in town of Whitehorse. Huts were completely wrecked when we tangled with Yanks. So were the Yanks.”

Top left: “Dead Man’s Rapids Y.T.”

Middle left: “Whitehorse Y.T.”

Middle right: “Benny, St Faustin Que”

Bottom left: “Lancaster ‘Aries’ preparing to take off from Whitehorse Y.T. on record breaking flight across the Magnetic North Pole to England. July ’45.”

Bottom right: “Burial party for LAC Patrick McCanney, drowned in Lewes River Whitehorse Y.T. 11/8/45.”

Top right: “Lews river [sic], looking down from the mess hall. W.H.” [In pencil, different handwriting] “Lee likes this one! Wish I were there.”

Middle left: “Indian Villiage [sic] from the ‘loon’ on Lake La Barge [sic]. June ’45” [Different pen, same writing?] “Good lake trout fishing here and lots of copper deposits in mts.”

Middle right: [Looks like a shot of Montreal from the top of Mount Royal].

Bottom left: “Burial party for Patrick McCanney 11/8/45.”

Bottom right: “The Aksala. Gasoline driven engines, drive paddle wheel. All supplies – Heavy machinery, non perishable foodstuffs, petroleum etc., move to Dawson by boat.”

Top right: “Standard Oil refining company from the Lewes River, July 45.”

Middle left: “Jennie Hoochie, Champaign [sic] Y.T.”

Bottom right: “Double rainbow after heavy rain. Never had any electrical storms. Must find out why.”

Top left: “Burial party for LAC Patrick (Irish) McCanney. Drowned in Lewes River 11/8/45. Whitehorse, Y.T.”

Top right: “Frank Braun, Dave Slobodian, Johnny Pilon. Ear Lake Y.T., June ’45.”

Middle left: “Indian burial ground at Champaign Yukon. All posetions [sic, possessions] are placed in grave with deceased.”

Bottom left: “Low ceiling Whitehorse looking west.”

Bottom right: “Bearer party for Patrick McCanney 11/8/45.”

Top left: “Dec/44 Whitehorse Yukon.”

Top middle: “Miles Canyon, Y.T. Lots of wild dogs round here.”

Middle: “Dave Slobodian, Frank Braun, Johnny Pilon; Ear Lake Y.T. June 45.”

Bottom left: “Alaska Highway, Summit B.C. Taken while hitch hiking hiway [sic]. Got lift with R.C.A.F. convoy for 900 miles. 3 days and 3 nights from Fort St John B.C. to Whitehorse Y.T.”

Top left: “The docks in winter. Building nearest ships (one with chimney) is [DONUT ?] restaurant. Lots of fights here. Mountie barracks off to right. Tough bunch.”

Top right: “Mar. 18/45.”

Middle left: “River boat rests at anchor on Lewes River Whitehorse Y.T. prior to long trip to Dawson City Y.T.”

Bottom left: “Taken by Ena Spinner on Aug/41. Corner Park + Mt. Royal.” [Not too far from where I live now]

Bottom right: “Nov. 8, 1943.”

Top left: “Somewhere in the States where I stopped to buy food for a picnic bench.”

Top right: “Aishihik Lake, Aishihik Y.T. Fell through ice here, while breaking trail hunting for grizzly. The boys pulled me out, and kept on going. Didn’t even catch cold. Am in good shape.”

Bottom right: “March 44.”

Top left: “Frank Braun, Johnny Pilon, me. Ear Lake, Y.T. July ’45.”

Top right: “Alaska Highway taken between Whitehorse and McRae [sic, probably MacRae].”

Middle left: “Taken 2:30A.M. in July. [?] taking off. Whitehorse.”

Middle right: “Whitehorse Y.T.”

Top left: “Dead Mans Rapids Y.T. Water very treacherous. Full of undertows and whirlpools. Lots of people lost lives here. Pat did too, just a few miles south of here. Was on his funeral party (firing). Had chance to go home to Ireland aboard the ‘Aries’ via the North Pole (first true magnetic flight in history) the day before, but refused.” [Based upon the information given in other captions we can assume that Dead Mans Rapids is a particular hazardous stretch of the Yukon River).

Top right: “L to R: Frank Braun, Dave Slobodian, Johnny Pilon. Whitehorse Y.T. July 45.”

Middle right: “Town of Whitehorse Y.T. American military establishment on right (#6 Service Command, 1462nd Squadron, Red Cross Hostel, Hospitals, CPA bldgs, etc) at left residential + commercial bldgs.”

Bottom left: “Burial Party for Patrick McCanney 11/8/45.”


Bordeaux-Cartierville pt. 2

Here’s some finds from one of my best spots of 2018. It started with lots of quality housewares and silver plated items, most of which went straight to the auction house. You can see a few of those finds below, but I know there was lots more I lost track of.

That brass coffee mill was a nice piece, it was made in Greece and sold for 40$. The tall glass & silver plate pitcher sold for 44$. Silver plated lots like the one at bottom right do pretty well at the local auction, which is good because the individual pieces are rarely worth listing on eBay (due to their size / high shipping costs) and are a pain to get good money for at yard sales.

My most profitable finds came later on, towards the end of the spot’s productive streak. One day I opened up a bag and saw a jewelry box.

The contents looked to have been picked over but there was still plenty of good stuff left for me.

Most of my profit will come from those tie clips at bottom left – both are Italian 18k gold and together they’re worth about 300$ in scrap. You can see the hallmarks in the picture below! All the pieces to the left of the knife are either silver or gold excepting the large penny (the other coin is a silver 50 cent piece). The knife is actually a souvenir Cretan dagger, the blade isn’t particularly well crafted but the sheath is 93.5% silver. I found the exact same one a few years ago in Montreal West and sold it on eBay for 25$. I think I’ll ask for a little bit more this time around.

That bag was great, but this one ended up being more notable. It looked like someone just took a junk drawer and simply dumped the contents inside. There was a lot of crap in there (mostly boring papers), but I could tell that there were some potentially valuable smalls hanging around near the bottom of the bag. I took the whole thing to the car for closer examination.

I found a bunch of stamps, a couple of broken gold chains, and an unusual tobacco pipe with some kind of decorative metal encasement (please share any information you might have about its origins!). However, the most valuable thing pictured is the watch strap.

The buckle was 18k gold and had similar markings to the Patek Philippe buckle I found a few years ago and sold for 650$. This one lacks the “PPd” hallmark, but apparently the “AW” company also did work for other luxury Swiss brands like Vacheron Constantin and Omega. Fortunately for me many hardcore watch collectors seek out only original parts even down to the lowly buckle. As a result, this one sold fairly quickly for 400$.

That bag also held a nearly unbelievable find…

… this wad of cash! American money at that. The stash was held together with a white paper clip and I’d guess the people just didn’t notice it when dumping out the drawer. The found bills totaled 307$, which turned into nearly 400$ when I traded it in at the bank. This is easily my best cash find to date – my previous best was the 140$ I found in the pockets of trashed shirts earlier this year. Before that my record was the 27$ I found way back in 2013. It’s funny how finds like these sometimes happen in bunches.

That wasn’t it for the cash though. I also found an old wallet, inside of which was 21$ in old bills. The folks doing the tossing clearly didn’t possess great attention to detail. The house was sold, so perhaps they were just in a rush. Either way, as you can tell this spot did me quite well! Here’s hoping I keep finding cash in 2019.

Soon enough I’ll share my year in review / top finds of 2018. I was so swamped this summer that a few of my best finds didn’t even make the blog, so you’re bound to be surprised by at least a few things.


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