The great sink experiment

In the past I never gave sinks a second glance, but this year I’ve picked up a bunch. I have more storage space than I used to, making them less of a burden in that way, and I’m also a sucker for vintage architectural elements. But the main reason for the change was that I thought they could make me some money.

The first one I saved was this pink one from the early 60s. I brought it to the auction house, and ended up buying it back for 12$. Not a great result, but sometimes you need to put the extra work in if you want to make the extra money. I ended up listing it on Kijiji, and eventually the sink sold for 50$.

I found this late 50s green / jadeite sink outside an apartment building off Cote-des-Neiges.

This one cleaned up pretty well, and also sold for 50$, though it did take maybe a month and a half to find a buyer.

My biggest haul of sinks came from an apartment building near downtown. I picked up five yellow ones, which I think date to the late 60s. They were pretty dirty, but I cleaned them up pretty good with a hose and some elbow grease. I haven’t had much luck selling them so far though. It’s pretty clear that sinks are pretty slow movers, but I’d like to open up that space in my garage eventually!

I also picked up this white pedestal sink in TMR. It hasn’t sold yet either.

My most recent addition is this cast iron pedestal sink, which I found on Monday night in Cote-des-Neiges.

This beast was near the upper limit of what I can reasonably carry & lift, which I’d guess is about 75 pounds.

It was made in Port Hope, Ontario. I thought it was older, but I think it was actually made in 1953.

The main issue: it was dirty. The grunge on the bottom looked like damp, caked-on cardboard, which isn’t the worst thing to clean off, but it still looked pretty gross.

Here’s how it looks after about 15 minutes of effort. Already the sides are looking pretty clean, and a fair bit of the grunge has been removed. I’m going to use a plastic scraper tool to get rid of the rest of the cardboard, and then hopefully I can get the white of the enamel back without much effort.

We’ll see how it goes. Perhaps I’ll come to regret lugging this thing to my garage, but for now I’m optimistic that it’ll sell for something. If you have any experience in the sink market, please share your thoughts in the comments! Also, sink cleaning advice would be much appreciated.

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Montrose

It’s getting cold out there, so let’s go back to the summer when this spot was occasionally productive. On this day in June I picked up a couple old trunks, both of which ended up selling for okay prices at auction.

The pickings were hit & miss. The bags were mostly junk on this day, but thankfully I spotted an old clear plastic bag full of lighters. None were super valuable on their own (even the one at bottom right, which seems to date to WWI) so I brought them to the auction, where they ended up selling as a lot for 55$.

The last day was one of the most productive. I picked up a bunch of quality junk, including an old bank, a depression glass dish, some vintage scissors…

… a fun & very old clover-like table mirror;

… a nice wooden box with a mirror inside, a fun Noritake nut bowl with some “3d” nuts inside;

… a great Sheaffer pen set, which includes a fountain pen with a 14k gold nib;

… and an old beaded cushion. Some seem to think it’s a pincushion, but I think it was made to hang from the wall. Either way, these were apparently made by the Iroquois in the late 1800s and early 1900s. It’s in fairly good condition all things considered, and it should sell for around my 85$ asking price on eBay.

One day I found a bunch of photos. Most weren’t too exciting, but this one of a cricket team is pretty cool. It was taken by Glasgow photographer J.B. Macnair probably in the 1880s. I don’t know much about cricket, but this photo is the kind of thing that might be worth more if I figure out who’s in it.

On my best day here I opened up a bag and found a box filled with jewelry.

There was a lot of quality costume jewelry inside. The green necklace is a Sherman piece, and those always go for good money. There’s another nice shiny necklace by Continental, and a gold-tone one by D’Orlan. There’s a bit of silver, like that Bond-Boyd brooch (with the blue stones, probably the nicest Bond-Boyd piece I’ve seen) and the bird brooch.

My favourite piece is probably this Italian micro-mosaic brooch, which was made by Fabbrica Angelo Pessar (FAP) in the late 1800s or early 1900s. Not only is it quite large (diameter: 5.1cm), it’s very detailed and uses negative space nicely. It’s the nicest example of a micro-mosaic brooch that I’ve seen to date, so I priced it at 200$, which I think is the high end for pieces from that era.

I’m also intrigued by this set. It looks to be made from silver, but there’s no hallmarks to be seen. Again, the details are pretty nice, with filigree petals and individual stamens (the long things in the middle of the flower, basically the pollen producing bits). A lot of those stamens are squished down, but I was able to bend them back into place pretty easily. If you happen to know anything about these, even the type of flower, please let us know in the comments! I’ve never seen anything quite like it.

Otherwise, yard sale season is officially over. It was a pretty good year of sales, but I’m also happy to take a break from it all. I did a big purge, and will come back next year with a whole new collection of quality junk. I might try selling some of my mid-range finds at a flea market sometime this winter but nothing’s official yet. If I do that I’ll post the details here, and I’ll send out an email on my new mailing list.

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Surviving on scraps

I haven’t been super lucky lately, but my runs have been reasonably productive anyways thanks to the occasional quality find. For example, a few weeks ago I spotted this ring in a bag alongside some other less exciting junk. It must have been a wedding band, given the date and pithy statement of love engraved on the inside.

I noticed a moving sale announced at the same house not long after. It’s a bit unusual to throw out items of value right before you do a sale, but perhaps the tosser didn’t want anyone else to own it. I imagine it was thrown out because of a divorce, as you tend to hold onto these things otherwise.

The ring is 14k gold and fairly hefty at 9.17g. That makes it worth around 337 CAD$ at current scrap prices, minus the jeweler’s cut of course (~15%). Needless to say this ring helped to make an otherwise slow week of garbage reasonably profitable. There’s no real resale value here, so it’ll soon be melted down and transformed into something else.

A spot in Cartierville provided two larger pieces of sterling, including a (candy?) dish made by Birks and a small silver cup. Neither piece is worth much more than scrap, though the dish may have been if it wasn’t monogrammed. Together they weigh 270 grams, which should earn me about 135$ as sterling is currently worth about 50 cents a gram. 135$ doesn’t make my week, but it definitely makes the trip worthwhile.

Last week I tried some different routes in hopes of improving my luck. That doesn’t always work, but on one run I was rewarded with a fair bit of quality junk, including this cute silver picture frame I found with a larger collection of junkier examples.

The hallmarks indicate that it was made by a William Henry Sparrow of London in 1916. This piece definitely punches above its weight in scrap, and I expect it to sell for between 60-80$ (eventually).

I did that route again this week and found some gold, so hopefully this marks the beginning of a new trend.

I was planning on writing a longer post, but I’ve got writers block again so I decided to keep this one short. My last yard sale of the season might take place this coming Saturday, assuming the weather holds up. For the most up to date yard sale info & announcements sign up for my¬†new mailing list or keep an eye on my Instagram stories!

Links

1. Facebook page
2. My eBay listings, Sign up for eBay, Search for something you want / research something you have (I’m a member of the eBay Partner Network so I make a bit of money if you buy things [even if they’re not mine] or sign up for an account via these links)
3. Help me pay off student loan debt / Contribute to the blog
4. Follow me on Instagram
5. Email: thingsifindinthegarbage@gmail.com