Fog-brained

Sorry I haven’t posted in a while. My brain just hasn’t been very cooperative lately. I have a hard time focusing on anything for any length of time, and keep procrastinating on essential tasks like finishing my taxes and buying clothes. I sometimes struggle to see the point of it all, which sure sounds like something someone with depression would say. I’ve probably spent / been spending too much time alone, which doesn’t help. However, I am trying to eat better (snacking on raw veggies like snow peas, carrots, and turnip), exercise more (going on bike rides, often inspired by nearby trash days), and cut down on caffeine. We’ll see how that goes.

Regarding garbage, this year’s really been a dud so far. I haven’t found any “omg” finds, some nice stuff here and there but little that’s blog worthy. I’m starting to feel like a lot of people did their purging last year, which was great for me, and that the next year or two might be less fruitful than usual. Either that, or I just haven’t been particularly lucky.

Anyways, here’s a few things from last year I haven’t posted yet (there’s still lots more to share, including some “omg” finds). Someone sent me a picture of the pile above on Instagram, and I went to check it out. It looked like an entire apartment was on the curb. I saw evidence of potential bedbuggery on one of the furniture pieces, so I decided to focus on small, easily cleaned items. 

This stuff was pretty grody, so it was probably for the best regardless. All my finds fit into this gross lockbox and a cast iron pot.

It needed a good clean, as you can see. The few things that needed a more delicate touch, like that watch, I wiped down with a damp cloth. 

That was a nice hunk of copper for the scrap bin (left). Haven’t seen any others quite like it, so I wonder if whoever owned it worked in metal processing or something.

Anyways, here’s my pick of the most interesting stuff (and a bit of random junk). I saved a pewter gargoyle & bird skull bracelet, a wizard brooch, a Zippo lighter, a small amount of scrap silver and a tiny bit of gold. That skull ring is a little intense, I’m wondering if it’s a biker thing. It’s silver plated and marked “G&S RP 87.” Based on my acid test I think that bird skull bracelet (?) at top right is unmarked solid silver. It looks pretty well made, and the eyes are some kind of milky-coloured stone. I’m going to have to do some research on that one before doing anything with it. 

Here’s some jewelry I found at a one-off in Hampstead. The little necklace in the middle was tangled up pretty bad but was silver & made by Tiffany. I think it ended up selling for a couple hundred bucks. The rest of this stuff was silver as well, if I recall correctly.

This was the only interesting piece of jewelry found at another spot. Can anyone make out this signature?

I found another small jewelry haul in NDG, along with some other quality junk though nothing exciting enough to post here. The bracelet was silver, and the lone cufflink was 18k gold. The latter was hefty enough that it alone was worth around 250$ for its weight. I was thinking the pearl earrings were gold too, but they were not. 

Here’s some stuff from a Westmout one-hit-wonder. There was lots of relatively high-end touristy stuff here, a lot of which went straight to the auction. I took pictures of the smaller stuff, like that little stone dish (made in Kenya), and those little ceramic tiles (made in Mexico). 

They also tossed a nice collection of pens. The nicest: a Sheaffer fountain with an 18k gold nib (gold cap near middle), a Cross fountain which I can’t find right now, and a matching Pelikan fountain & ballpoint. Most of the rest were medical swag, so I’m guessing the previous owner was a doctor. I didn’t know thalidomide was still around… the more you know.

Finally, some pens from a particular successful run (at least when it came to finding pens) in NDG. One spot offered two of the same Parker “cisele” sterling silver ballpoints, which are always an easy sale (though I may keep one), while another spot gave me a set of Sheaffers, a nice green Parker fountain, and a very striking gold-tone Parker with a 14k nib. I still have all these, I have to figure out the model name and all that if I want to get the best price.

Anyways, that’s all for now. Hopefully it won’t be another two months before I can get my brain in gear again.

Just up the street

This was one of my more exciting spots last fall. They started tossing right around when someone living just up the street stopped.

On one of my best days here I found a bunch of loose jewelry in a bin. There was a bit more inside some black trash bags.

Overall I saved about 3.25 pounds of jewelry. A small portion of that was silver and gold.

I thought that ring in the gold pile might be white gold, but it turns out that stainless steels holds up well against the testing acid. Regardless, I can’t complain about this haul. The bottom right piece was designer costume jewelry, I forget by who.

Don’t worry, that’s just an air gun. It sold for good money at auction though. Otherwise, I found a couple camcorders, cell phones, a Blackberry tablet, two iPods, and a bit more silver & gold jewelry (I wish I took a close-up photo of that bunch). On the right is a David Yurman sterling silver money clip that I sold on eBay for just north of 200$.

The suitcases in the first picture emerged on one of the last productive trash days. A couple of them produced quality finds.

That little wooden box held a set of old weights, as well as two golden nuggets.

They’re heavy, and test as high purity gold, so I think that’s what they are! It seemed that there was at least a couple generations of dentists in this family, so I’m assuming these would have been used in dental fillings. With a combined weight of about 18 grams, and assuming they’re 20k or above, these little pebbles are worth about a grand in scrap.

Other notables include a marcasite and silver bracelet, a silver “US Air Force Strategic Air Command” ring, and a Jaeger le Coultre travel alarm watch. It didn’t work at all, but being a nice brand I was still able to sell it for a bit over 200$. All in all this was certainly one of my best spots of the year.

I had some luck Tuesday in NDG last week, but car troubles set me back Wednesday thru Friday. Hopefully this week I’ll end my cold spell, which has been going for around three months now. Fortunately, preceding that was a roughly six month long hot streak, so the lull isn’t bothering me too much (besides being boring).

Part one of a million pt.10

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It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly two years since I first picked at this spot and I still have bins full of their stuff to look through. Recently, I got sick of seeing it take up space on my shelves. I did some sorting and took some photos, but many items went straight to the yard sale bin. Some of those things might have been fun to blog about normally, but at a certain point it’s more fun to deal with “fresh” junk.

Now all I have left is a couple shelves full of old photos and paper ephemera. There’s some very cool stuff in there, but I have to find a way to document it in a condensed way. My tendency is to want to take pictures of everything, but it’s just not realistic to do so.

Anyways, here’s a whole bunch of junk. Still lots more to come… Zoom in for a better look! (Edit: WordPress has made some changes and for some reason these photos aren’t clickable… I’ll try to figure this out for the next blog post).

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I really enjoyed finding this collection of old seeds. These ones probably date from between the 50s and 70s. The images on the older packets are particularly nice.
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I’d guess that these date to the 40s based on that graphic design. I wondered if old seeds could have value because they might be “heirloom” varieties, but I’m not sure how that works.

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I found a lot of old fabrics here, including some antique clothes that won’t be making the blog (I hate taking pictures of clothes). This hunk of black fabric probably dates to the 20s or 30s. One thing’s for sure, that factory is long gone (that address isn’t too far from where I live).

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This carefully wrapped package ended up containing a hunk of very old plain burlap.

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I saved lots of bits of fabric that probably served a purpose several decades ago. What purpose, I have no idea.

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I do know what handkerchiefs are for, even if I don’t use them. One of these had a name and the year “1887” written on it.

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I also saved these two cute sewing boxes.

I haven’t had much luck at all for over a month now. A lot of times I’ve come back empty-handed or close, though at least last week I found a couple pieces of sterling. I continue to feel unmotivated, probably due to “pandemic brain.” I have lots to share, but I haven’t been able to muster the focus necessary to do so.