Tag Archives: garbage picking

Canadair pt. 1

In the spring I was cruising around Villeray and spotted an intriguing collection of bags on the curb. Inside I found some cool old stuff, including an old iron and other items in their original boxes.

None of that stuff was super valuable, but finding old things in their boxes can be a good omen that other quality trash might emerge. Over the next few months I made sure to check that spot every garbage day. There wasn’t always a heck of a lot, and a good portion of the stuff was dirty or damaged by dampness. However, I still found plenty of interesting items, including two finds of particular note.

I managed to get 20$ for the Commodore calculator at the bottom left. The internals were probably bad, but it was in decent cosmetic condition and it seems that collectors like the model. There were plenty of stencils here as you’ll see in future photos. Also, whoever lived here probably worked for Canadair as I found a number of items related to the company. My plan it to group all the Canadair items together and sell them on eBay to an aviation collector.

I have this sealed Nintendo game listed on eBay for its sticker price of 39.95$. That might be asking too much, but maybe someone will bite.

I found this odd wooden box, which I’d guess is a little tube radio made as a high school project. I have no idea if it works or how one is supposed to work it, but I’m guessing that someone at a yard sale will buy it regardless.

I’d never seen a figurine like this before, so I was pretty interested to find out what it was. Honestly, my first guess was that it was sci-fi related – the dress, “helmet,” pose, and eyes reminded me of sci-fi characters from the 30s and 40s. However, it turns out it’s much more likely a Balinese figurine from the 1950s. In my defense it does look to be an unusual variant of that type of figurine.

I found some neat old books, including a large collection of airplane construction training books published around 1940. They’re pretty neat, see the pictures below if you want a better look (and remember there’s a “view full size” link on the bottom right of the page if you want to zoom in a bit). I listed them for 75$ but no one’s bit yet.

Otherwise, most of the books were old textbooks dating back to the 1920s.

None of them are super valuable, but they do make good yard sale material. I particularly like old geography textbooks, I’ve loved looking at maps ever since I was a little kid. Here’s a map of the regions of Quebec c. 1920. I grew up in the Pontiac, not far from Bryson.

I often check between the pages of old books to see if anything neat is stuck between the pages. The practice paid off this time, as one of the papers ended up being pretty valuable.

It’s a small piece of paper, a little larger than your average business card. On it was printed the Montreal Canadiens 1944-1945 season schedule. It was made for Henri Henri, a local hat shop that’s still open today. I’m not sure how it was intended to be used, but it does say to “insert [the card] into your leather hat band.” Henri Henri claims to have invented the hat trick by offering a free hat to any Canadien that scored three goals in Montreal, though others have made similar assertions. Regardless, I tried hard to find another such schedule online but had no luck. It seems to be a pretty uncommon piece.

At first I thought it was cool and that a collector would probably pay around 20$ to have it, but after seeing what some other vintage hockey schedules were selling for on eBay I decided to price mine a fair bit higher. It ended up selling fairly quickly for 150$, and I got good feedback to boot. Pretty sweet eh? Not bad for a small piece of paper!

This spot provided another unusual but profitable find. I’ll share that with you soon enough.

Relevant 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. 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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Mousely Crew / Garage

I forgot to mention in my last post this box of dolls, figurines, and other miniatures I found in Westmount. I was pretty busy at the time and I only got around to looking at the things inside this week. I knew the box held some very cute figurines, but as it turned out it contained some minor treasures as well.

As you can see, many of the figurines were wrapped in toilet paper. The box looked like it had been tossed without much of a thought.

There were lots of mice, but also plenty of other animals.

A lot of the fabric figures are kind of dirty but maybe someone could clean them. I think a bunch of them are supposed to be Christmas tree decorations, they have green string coming out of their backs. It’s a shame that both those rabbits in the back right are missing a part of their ear – fortunately, they still look nice viewed from their profile. I found a similar rabbit a while ago, I forget who designed them but I remember that they are collectible in good condition.

Otherwise, there’s a Wade cat figurine, a few other vintage cat figurines, and a stone mouse marked as being made in Italy.

My favourites are the extra small pieces. I wish the photo turned out better, but you can still get a better look by clicking on the picture and zooming in. The dragon-like creatures on the left might be made by the same company that did the rabbits above, the glaze is quite similar. Otherwise, there’s lots of other animals here, and many of them are vintage as well.

I did some research on the little metal mouse at bottom, second from the right, which had Austria stamped on the bottom. As it turns out it was designed by Walter Bosse, a noted mid-century craftsman. 1stDibs has one for sale at 250$. The prices at 1stDibs are super marked up (it’s a website for interior designers and the super rich) but I still think I can get at least 50$ for it.

If you know anything about any of the other figurines let me know! I’m not really an expert on the topic.

There was also a tiny Windsor Star newspaper, made around the time of Pope John Paul I’s death in 1978. I’ve never seen anything quite like it before.

Inside the box were several bracelets. None are wildly spectacular, but the two on top are made from sterling silver.

My favourite find might be this thimble, which is made from 10k gold. This is the first time I’ve found one! It’s worth close to 100$ in scrap, but I should be able to sell it for a bit more than that.

Otherwise, I mentioned in my last post that I was looking for a garage. Well, I finally found one. It’s not too far away either, in the Plateau near Laurier Park. I’m still going to use my other storage place, but this one has a few features the other doesn’t, like electricity, running water, and lights. It’ll be a lot easier to take photos of my finds which should lead to more garbage making the blog! I also like that I can easily test my electric finds and clean some of the dirty ones, making for better and more organized yard sales.

The rent is 200$ a month, but I’ll be sharing it with my friend who wants to repair and bring new life to largely dumpster dived furniture, some of which I’ve found or we’ve found together. Once she repairs a few pieces I’ll post some before and afters so that you can see the transformation!

It’s going to be a bit of work cleaning it up and getting it set up, but I’m excited to have a space like this at my disposal.

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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Moving day 2017

July 1st is a bit of a phenomenon here in Quebec. Due to a law passed in the 70s a plurality of Montrealers, estimated at around 115,000 (or 7% of the population) move on or around that date. This leads to massive amounts of trash lining the streets, particularly the more transient ones where renters vastly outnumber owners (like rue Chapleau in the picture above).

In theory it’s a great time for garbage picking. This year was the first in a few that I wasn’t moving myself on July 1st, so I went on a bunch of extra trash runs in hopes of acquiring a bumper crop of trash.

However, the extra effort didn’t pay off. Maybe it was just bad luck, not being in the right place at the right time. But it might also be that a lot of the people moving on July 1st aren’t rich. It’s not like the McGill move-out day where most of the people are privileged. Those moving on July 1st are renters, not owners, and often aren’t well-to-do.

It also doesn’t help that pretty much everyone in the city knows about the event. There’s a lot of competition, and often I’d come across a pile only to find the bags ripped apart and trash strewn everywhere. I’m sure the garbage collectors hate this aspect of moving day, though I’m sure some appreciate the overtime hours.

It should also be noted that, although this blog is dedicated to the cool things that Montrealers throw out, many people, especially those in mixed-income areas are actually very good at redistributing their unwanted items. Charities get loads of stuff this time of year, and I saw many a “free box” on the curb.

The best part of July 1st is probably the furniture. My friend and I picked up several nice, mostly vintage pieces – they need a bit of love but my friend thinks she can fix them up. If all goes well I’ll share some “before and afters” in a future post. My own household acquired this unusual loveseat, it’s a bit funny looking but actually quite comfortable. Plus, the two halves separate which comes in handy during game nights. You have to be careful about bedbugs when taking furniture, but if you know what an infestation looks like they’re easy enough to avoid.

My best moving day finds actually came not as a result of my increased effort, but from just casually walking around with friends. I found a nice Guerlain perfume, and a bunch of other quality cosmetics / shampoos (which my friend claimed) while walking around the lower Plateau. The Guerlain has already sold for 15$ to a local buyer.

It’s good to trash pick with friends sometimes because there’s a lot to be learned from other people’s brains. One of the shampoos we found was made by Kiehl’s, a brand my friend noted as being expensive. I don’t know much about cosmetics so I made a note to remember the brand. Later on, while walking by myself I found another nearly full bottle of Kiehl’s not far from home. The price tag on the bottom says 27$. Pricey indeed! I’ll probably end up using it myself, even though my hair isn’t particularly frizzy. The shampoo smells really good.

I also found a couple containers filled with change. No loonies or toonies unfortunately, but it all probably adds up to somewhere around 10$. Easy money!

My best moving day find though came on July 2nd while walking with a different friend. I spotted these bags while walking to a restaurant. I gave one of the heavier looking ones a light kick, the contents sounded like dishes clacking together. I wasn’t expecting much, but I figured I’d open it anyways because our house needed a couple extra bowls.

Inside was a large collection of really nicely made pottery. And it wasn’t just that one bag, two others had also been stuffed with pottery. A couple people stopped to watch as I pulled piece after piece out of the bags. One lady, a grandma with two of her grandchildren, was dumbfounded and said she never saw anything like it. I let both kids take a piece each, which were going to be gifts for their mother if I remember right.

Another guy, who said that he himself was a potter, was impressed by the quality of the pieces and said that only 100 potters in Quebec could do them that well. I’ll keep a couple pieces for myself but I’ll sell the rest.

Thankfully my friend was there to help me carry it all back home. I filled two medium sized boxes (which were conveniently located near the pile) and we both put some in our backpacks as well. Needless to say our trip to the restaurant was delayed, but we did get there eventually.

Check out the rest of the collection below, and click on the pictures for a better look! Most of them are in perfect condition, only a few have chips.

Otherwise, I did well on the rich people garbage front (not moving day related, because most wealthy people own their home). I found this little wooden box near Westmount.

Inside was a collection of safety pins, as well as a collection of cufflinks.

I immediately recognized that this pair was made by Guy Vidal, the noted Montreal-based brutalist (1960s) jewelry designer. I love his work, and these cufflinks in particular are quite striking. I’ve found his work on a few different occasions now, and I expect these to sell for between 100-150$.

There was also some dental gold in the box, which I didn’t notice until I got home later. Tooth crowns are pretty gnarly, but dental gold tends to be a pretty high carat (16k apparently) and I expect this chunk to net me around 80-100$.

That spot also provided a collection of vintage 1970s toy cars. I thought this was a good find at first, but the cars are pretty beat up and of limited interest to a collector. Still, I should be able to get something for them.

That pile gave me a nice Givenchy perfume as well. It already sold for 17$. The Hermes came from elsewhere.

Let’s finish off with a vintage Bernzomatic torch box I found in Westmount. Inside was a small collection of junk, the best piece being a silver 20 kopek Russian Empire coin from 1870. It’s not super valuable but it’s pretty cool regardless. The box is nice as well and should be an easy sell at a yard sale. I’d bet that the box held a lot more neat stuff before it was tossed out, but such is garbage.

I’ve been looking for a garage or other storage option. However, I’ve had no luck thus far. If you know of anything suitable in the Mile End, Plateau, Outremont, CDN, Park Ex, or Rosemont please let me know! Ideally it would be heated and have electricity (I’d like to set up a photo studio for junk inside). Extra ideally my furniture friend would also be able to store things there and occasionally be able to use a power sander (no power saws though). Unfortunately locations in other neighbourhoods won’t work because I don’t want to to travel far. Anyways, if you know of anything please let me know!

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