Tag Archives: garbage picking

Best of 2017

At long last here are my top finds of 2017! This was definitely my best year yet for a variety of reasons – I’ll dig into those deeper in a future blog post – and my top 10 looks an order of magnitude better than it did in 2016. I also made more money (roughly 27k) than ever before, a trend that I expect to continue in 2018. Below is a compilation of the finds that helped make this past year special. If you think I forgot something, or want to debate the order of my picks please let us know in the comments!

(FYI, to see my lists from previous years hover your clicker over the “archives” tab above).

Top 3 unusual finds

3. Tarot collection. The decks, both of which were first published in the 70s, were much more psychedelic than the ones I’d seen previously. The Secret Dakini Oracle above was missing a card but still sold for 50$, though the package appears to have been lost in the mail. The Joseph Campbell-inspired “New Tarot” (below) sold to a reader for 150$. Fortunately, that one was complete. Found in the Mile End.

2. Ghost box. This Sangean DT-200X isn’t unusual outside of the fact that it’s one of the few radios that can be converted to a ghost box. I ended up modding it myself (basically by removing a few pins on the circuit board) and it sold quickly for 150$. If you’re curious here’s a short video I made of the ghost box doing it’s thing. Found in Outremont.

1. Jar of mercury. This contained about 225g of mercury. I’m glad it didn’t make it to the landfill! I ended up giving it to a reader with an interest in old bottles. Found in Outremont.

Honorable mentions

MacBook Pros. I found one in January, February and April. None worked as intended but they still sold for 125$, 245$, and 180$ respectively. The first two came from the Plateau, the last from McGill move-out day.

Home Hardware gift card. It still held 63$, which I spent on plastic storage bins. I found it in the Mile End as part of the McGill move-out day haul.

Montreal Canadiens 1944-1945 schedule. These are pretty rare, or at the very least I couldn’t find anything else like it online. I found it tucked between the pages of an old book. It sold pretty quickly to a local collector for 150$. Found in Villeray.

Vintage Universal Geneve watch boxes. There’s a solid market for watch boxes, particularly vintage ones belonging to luxury brands. These two sold to a buyer in Italy for a total of 450$. Found in Hampstead.

10k gold bracelet. This thing was a bit scratched but it was still quite valuable for its weight in gold. I ended up melting it for an easy profit of about 650$. Found in Westmount.

The top 10 finds of 2017

10. Vintage wedding dress collection. They were stored in thin plastic bags and appear to be in great condition for their age. By most estimations they date back to the 40s or 50s. I’m not sure what I’ll do with them yet, especially since selling clothes is not my forte, but they’re definitely cool.

9. Krieger tidal watch. Krieger isn’t a particularly well known brand but their tidal watches serve the sailing and boating community, an often wealthy niche market. It needed a new battery, the replacement of which cost 35$, but it eventually sold for 550$. Part of the “Very Rich People” series.

8. Sterling silver dish. This was a gift made in 1968 to honour the business relationship between two families. It weighed almost a kilogram and sold at its scrap value, which was about 450$.

7. Louis Muhlstock still life. Muhlstock was one of several prominent Jewish “social realist” painters in Montreal during the 30s and 40s. He’s best known for his sketches of the working class and lumpenproletariat, but this beautiful still life should earn me a bit of cash once I finally get around to dealing with it.

6. Moscow 1980 Olympics bid book. Bid books are fairly collectible, and this one seems to be pretty uncommon based on what I’ve seen (or, perhaps more accurately, haven’t seen) on the internet. It also came with the business card of an Olympics organizer / known KGB agent. I expect it to eventually sell for 3-400$.

5. Chimento 18k gold earrings. My best jewelry find from the “Very Rich People” spot. These are worth around 400$ in gold weight alone, but I should be able to sell them for a fair bit more than that.

4. Photo / postcard collection. Some of these photos dated back to the late 1800s. My favourites were the scrapbooks, one of which contained some great WWI-era shots taken at the Royal Military College in Kingston, ON (click here for an in-depth look). That one’s currently for sale on eBay at 200$. I also enjoyed the set of four Notman & Sons photos below that ended up selling for 125$. A lot of this stuff is still in my basement – I’ll eventually list the other scrapbooks on eBay, and sell the postcards at a yard sale.

3. Chinese export silver collection. I found other jewelry here as well, but the Chinese pieces featured below were definitely the best of the bunch. All date to the early 1900s and each is made from either solid silver or silver plated copper. So far I’ve sold the first, second, and sixth for a total of 1000$, and overall the collection should make me close to 1500$.

 

2. Edmund Alleyn painting. I don’t know much about the art market, but it seems like Alleyn’s work has gained recognition in the last few years. There was a major retrospective at Montreal’s Musée d’art contemporain in 2016, and since then all his works that have been auctioned by Heffel have sold at the high end or way above estimate. He definitely doesn’t have the name recognition of Monet or whoever, but he’s probably the most famous (or at least contemporarily relevant) artist whose work I’ve found on the curb. The painting is a little damaged but when I have some extra money I plan on getting it restored. I don’t know what it would go for at auction in perfect condition, but based on recent results it could be a fair bit.

1. Carl Poul Petersen silver box. The same folks who tossed the silver plate (#8) threw out this sterling silver box a couple weeks later. I guess they really didn’t know much about recognizing precious metals, or maybe just underestimated their value. Anyways, this box was made by Carl Poul Petersen, a renown Canadian silversmith who apprenticed under Georg Jensen, one of the most respected names in the business.

The box was a retirement gift (dated 1944) to the President of a local temple. It weighs around 1.2kg, of which I’m guessing 1.1kg is solid sterling. That makes it worth about 500$ in silver scrap, but because it’s a Poul Petersen it should sell for a fair bit more than that.

It was tough choosing between the Petersen box and the Edmund Alleyn painting at number one. I ended up going with the safer of the two options – the Petersen box seems like a lock to be my first single find to sell for a four figure profit. However, I could definitely see the Alleyn painting looking like a better choice at some point in the future. Only time will tell!

Here’s hoping 2018 brings similarly great finds! I’ve already found some excellent contenders for this year’s top-10, but I’ll have to keep picking if I want an equally good list come December.

Links

1. Facebook page
2. My eBay listings
3. Etsy store
4. Kijiji listings
5. Donate to garbagefinds.com
6. Follow me on Instagram

Email: thingsifindinthegarbage@gmail.com. Staying on top of emails is not my best quality, so please be patient (but feel free to nag).

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Questionable judgment pt.2

Today I’m sharing more finds from the house that tossed the heavy sterling silver dish in the fall. These guys exhibited some of the worst judgment I’ve ever seen in my career as a garbage picker – whether that was due to ignorance, total disinterest, or a combination of the two we’ll never know. Their treatment of precious metals was notably poor, but they also threw out other quality items like the art glass vase above.

The bottom was signed Orrefors (it took me a while to figure that out), the name of a respected glassworks company based in Sweden. It had no notable defects, and sold a while back for 80$.

This “boy with umbrella” Royal Copenhagen figurine also showed no signs of damage. It’s about 18cm tall and should sell for around 70$.

Some of these things were wrapped in fabric before being tossed. Or perhaps more likely, they were stored wrapped in fabric and then tossed. Either way, this clay sculpture survived its trip to the curb more or less unscathed. It’s signed by Demetrio Garcia Aguilar, a member of the Aguilar family of Oaxacan potters. It’ll probably sell for around 80$.

(For the record, I’m a bit like Alex Trebek – I may seem all knowing but I’m really just holding cue cards, or in my case doing a lot of research beforehand. For example, I knew nothing about the Aguilar potters before finding this sculpture!)

This unusual wood figure was made by J.M. Poirier, a fisherman and folk artist based in Nova Scotia / Îles de la Madeleine. I’m hoping to sell it for around 80$.

I think this old brass thing is a pull of some kind. It’s pretty big actually, measuring about 12cm in diameter. I’m not sure what to ask for this, so if you have any ideas please share them in the comments!

This set of lightweight midcentury etched glass mugs also made it to the curb in surprisingly good condition. They’re marked Schott Mainz Jena Glass on the bottom and would be great for coffee or tea. They’re worth about 10$ each, but I’ll give a customer at this vintage market a good deal when I sell my trash there near the end of the month (April 28-29, save the date!).

This little silver dish was made in Peru by Camuso. It should sell for around 30$.

The best silver piece however was this large sterling cigar humidor, which according to the inscription (which I’ve partly censored out) was given as a retirement gift to the President of a local congregation in 1944.

The box weighs about 1.2kg, probably 1.1kg of which is sterling silver. That puts the scrap value of the box at approximately 550$.

However, I’ll definitely be able to add a healthy markup to that. This box was made by Carl Poul Petersen, a Danish-Canadian silversmith who apprenticed under the legendary Georg Jensen. Inspired by this fruit bowl of his that recently sold on eBay for 4450$, I finally got around to listing mine recently for 4000$. I’m probably fishing a bit with that price, as the fruit bowl seems like a bit of an aberration (though his stuff does sell for good money) but hey, it’s better to start way too high than way too low. At the very least I expect this to be the first single item that I sell for four figures (those Expo 67 photos from a couple years back sold for 1200$, but that was a group of items; also, the George Nakashima chair sold for over a grand, but after shipping I made only 900$).

This is why I called this series “Questionable judgment.” I find sterling, mostly in the form of mediocre jewelry on a regular basis but it’s pretty unusual to find bigger pieces. This place offered me two of them, with a combined scrap value of about 1000$ and the potential for a fair bit more. I can understand throwing out silver plated stuff, which has little intrinsic value, but you’ve got to wonder what was going through this person’s head when they were bringing these things to the curb.

Part three will feature more quality junk and more precious metals, but that’ll be a little while yet. My “best of 2017” post is almost done so be on the watch for that. Otherwise, I’m swimming in great finds right now and thus have lots to talk about. These days I’m feeling like there’s not enough time in the world to deal with all the stuff I’m salvaging, and I’m trying hard to avoid getting burnt out over it.

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. Staying on top of emails is not my best quality, so please be patient (but feel free to nag).

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8203 Tanika

Today I’m sharing finds from two different houses on my Monday evening run. Neither of these spots developed as I hoped they would, but I found some cool blog-worthy stuff regardless.

This house (which also gave me the turtle magnifier and kitchen stuff from this post) produced great stuff for around a month before the source dried up, leading me to wonder if I was a little late for the party. Unfortunately, despite my best efforts I’m still bound to miss out on most of the great trash that gets tossed in this city! The cool vintage kitchenwares I found here should do well at future yard sales, assuming of course that nice weather ever actually arrives. The picture above also features a collection of skeleton keys and a single Birks sterling silver napkin holder, which I think was good for about 15$ in scrap.

There was a bit of nice pottery here. They’re signed on the bottom, and I should probably do some research before selling them.

I haven’t found any particularly noteworthy teacups since that huge collection I saved years ago. However, this Royal Stafford cup & saucer is pretty cute, and in good condition outside of some fading to the green on the near the middle of the saucer. I found more nice saucers but no cups… I wonder if those went out on previous trash days.

I also found some cool paper ephemera here, including this Sears catalogue from 1966. I’ll likely add it to my small catalogue collection that includes a 1983 Sears catalogue I found back in the fall.

I just did a bit of research and found that the vintage Christmas / “wish book” catalogues sell really well on eBay. I hope I find some soon! This particular catalogue seems to sell for around 35$ plus shipping.

I love vintage road maps, and this spot provided a whole bunch of them. Most were from the 60s and 70s, and should be easy to sell at a yard sale.

I’m not sure why the map of Warsaw has a topless lady on the cover, but there you go.

These map were stored in that little Texaco plastic folder. These folks did a lot of travelling!

I think these pressed flowers were stored with the maps, and were likely picked during one of their many roads trips.

I also saved a neat old newspaper from the time of the Warren Report. It’s not worth a lot, but it’s still pretty cool.

Finally, I picked these old leather “Gorilla shoes”. I doubt they’re worth much, but they’re in good condition I’m sure someone will appreciate their slightly distressed look.

Unfortunately that’s about all I got. I wonder what I missed out on?

Elsewhere, the house where I found that Robert Larin collar necklace was reasonably productive afterwards. “Reasonable” though isn’t what I was hoping for – I was dreaming of an MVP-like performance à la the generous (or perhaps the opposite of that) folks of the Very Rich People series. Alas, true GOAT contenders don’t come around very often.

If I were to guess I’d say that this trash was the result of an older person downsizing before a move to a smaller home. One day I opened the recycling bin and found a small collection of great ephemera. This is the cream of that crop – zoom in for a closer look! I really like the leather bankbook holder at the top of the screen. The bankbook contains entries from the 1910s, so I’d assume the holder dates from around that time as well. There’s also a McGill student card from 1949, a YMHA and YMHA library card from the mid-40s, two old photos of a guy working shoe repair in front of a hospital, and some other stuff.

This little pineapple looking thing was a fun find. It’s made of bakelite and measures about an inch tall. I’d guess that it’s a pendant, but there’s only one hole drilled into it so I’m not sure how you’d hook it onto a necklace. Regardless, due to its unique shape it should have some value on eBay.

That stockinette doll in the middle is kind of interesting. It was made in the Soviet Union, and most eBay sellers seem to think it dates back to the 1930s. I have no idea if that’s true, but it does look pretty old. I think that well worn bouquet of flower on the right goes with it. The pendant with the four red spots was made by de Passille-Sylvestre, a Quebec couple who did quality enamelwork in the 60s and 70s.

Lastly, I found that nice purse thing on the left. Inside was a pair of lacy black gloves and a very pretty scarf. The latter looks barely used and has a tag saying “handblocked print – 100% pure wool – Made in Switzerland.” I don’t know if it’s worth a lot, but it’s definitely a good find.

Barring an unexpected revival that’s all she wrote from these places. Fortunately, lots of other great spots have emerged to take their place.

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. Staying on top of emails is not my best quality, so please be patient (but feel free to nag).

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