Tag Archives: free

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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Far-right

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The end of summer is near. Maybe that’s a good thing, because I haven’t found much of value since it began!

I consider an average week to be one where I find around 500$ worth of stuff – that would give me an income of 26000$ for the year. I looked back at my recent blogs posts and found that I’ve had maybe two such weeks (out of a possible 16) since mid-May, and that’s assuming my Sonneman lamp and vintage US military posters make me as much as I think they can. I’d guess that over the summer I’ve averaged maybe 300$ of finds a week, or 1200$ a month.

That’s just not very good, and it’s hard not to overthink things after such an extended poor stretch. I start wondering if I’m doing something wrong, if people just aren’t throwing things away like they used to, if I’ve inspired a legion of pickers who are finding my stuff before I get there, if this cat I found eating garbage in St Michel is somehow to blame, and so on.

However, the most likely explanation here is that I’ve just run into a stretch of bad luck. Overall I can be expected to find a certain amount of garbage over a full year. Sometimes I’ll have a really good week or month (for example, this January was pretty good mostly thanks to one great pile, and it felt like I couldn’t stop finding great stuff last May) while other times will be more like this summer. I have to assume that at some point my finds will regress to the mean, or in other words my luck will switch to neutral or good instead of bad. Let’s hope my luck improves in time for the holiday season!

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The week before last was actually pretty horrible. The only noteworthy thing I found was a collection of cute vintage dishes and ashtrays. At top left is an ashtray made to promote the unfortunately named Squaw Valley ski resort.

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Last week was a bit better, though still mediocre from a value standpoint. I also found some disturbing old papers as I’ll explain a bit later.

I fished this little jewellery box out of some bags on McLynn in NDG. Inside was mostly junk or broken jewellery, but also a few bits of scrap gold and a nice pair of vintage screw back ballerina earrings that were tied together by a muck of twisted chains. The earrings are adorned with marcasite and small turquoise stones. I later noticed that the earrings were marked as sterling silver, but I haven’t tested them to be sure. The scrap gold (including a busted chain, a small pendant or charm, and a ring that might or might not be gold) will probably make me around 50$ when I bring it to be melted.

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Someone in TMR put their entire 90s JVC stereo setup (except for the speakers I suppose) on the curb. I tested everything (receiver, cassette deck, CD player, and record player) and it all works fine. They look very lightly used, and I expect that I can sell the entire collection for close to 200$.

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Rosemont was my most interesting (and also unsettling) run of the week. I came across a few different productive piles, one of which provided me a collection of vintage “Made in Japan” figurines and wall decorations. Most are repaired or slightly broken, but I think most are still cute enough to sell at a yard sale.

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I found a 10k gold pendant at the same pile. It’s probably worth about 30$ in gold content.

That’s it for the nice stuff though. Not far from that spot lay some papers that you might find downright disturbing. I won’t say much about them now except that they advance far-right, fascist, and Neo-Nazi political views. I feel that I should share them because they represent a very real part of our culture, but if you prefer not to see this kind of stuff I would suggest skipping my next post. It should be done tomorrow or the next day, and will be called “Hateful Things.”

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Selectric

I’m having another yard sale this Saturday if anyone wants to come! I’ll be at 5051 Brebeuf from 12-6pm – maybe a bit later if things are going well.

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I’ve been going to Saint Michel regularly this past month or so, in large part because the trash there is picked up the same day as in Ahuntsic. Saint Michel is a funny choice because it’s not a particularly rich neighbourhood, in fact it’s one of the poorest neighbourhoods in the city according to this map.

When I go to wealthy neighbourhoods I’ll most often find something that makes the trip worthwhile, if not particularly exciting. When going to Saint Michel (or other working class neighbourhoods) I’ll often come home empty-handed. Picking there is like looking for a needle in a haystack, but there’s always the chance that I’ll come across truly great. It hasn’t happened yet, though.

Either way, I have saved a bit of neat stuff on these runs. Just nothing that will make me a fortune. My roommate works with wood, and thinks she can make this vintage table top look really nice. If the project works out I’ll share a before and after!

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The same spot provided this wall hanging. It’s made from moulded wood chips and would probably look best in a cabin. It’s signed by a “Gui” and dated 1972.

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I also found this old contraption. Do you know what it is? There are sturdy hooks attached to both ends, which might give you a hint. It seems a bit out of place in the city, though a lot of these neighbourhoods were farmland not long ago.

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Otherwise, Saint Michel provided me two vintage 25lb barbells (one of which was taped to a metal pole, so that the previous owner use it to do some scary lifts) …

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… and some vintage mugs and cups. The cups and saucers on the right were made by Fire King. Some old Fire King stuff goes for a lot of money but these aren’t particularly valuable. On the right are knockoff Pyrex mugs made by a Mexican company called Termocrisa. They may be imitations, but they’re still well made and feature cool vintage designs.

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In Rosemont (which is slightly more well-to-do according to that map) I saved some buttons (inside the tins), some nice pottery …

… and a cool vintage IBM typewriter. It’s an old Selectric, which was apparently a very popular model back in the day. I have it listed on Kijiji for 80$.

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I found this neat near-antique electric fireplace just down my block.

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It was made in Montreal in the 1920s. I’m not sure if it’s intended to be a decoration or an actual heater.

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The company that made it was called “The Magicoal Electric Fires.” One can safely assume that they’ve gone the way of the dodo.

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A different spot in the Plateau produced a whole bunch of shells and other sea objects. There’s some sand marked as being from Gaspesie, so maybe this was picked up while beachcombing there.

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There are a fair number of teeth in the collection. If anyone knows what animal these came from let us know in the comments! I would assume that they’re from a sea creature, but I can’t be sure.

Otherwise, I saved a whole bunch (a lot more than shown here!) of books related to magic, the paranormal, astrology, and alternative and new-age medicine in TMR. I don’t personally have an interest in any of these topics, outside of the herbal medicine stuff, but lots of other people do. Come to my yard sale if you want to check them out!

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