Tag Archives: garbage picking

Old stock

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I went out a fair bit last week despite it snowing a tonne, or probably many tonnes. I think there was 20 or so centimeters one day and another 15 not long after. All that snow makes it hard to drive or park, not to mention bike. I took it easy the first half of the week while the snow removal went down. I didn’t want to lose my parking spot (it was unlikely I’d get one even half as nice) and figured that people were too busy shoveling to throw much out anyways. Thankfully, I did have a few productive runs later in the week.

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Let’s start though with an interesting find from the week before. I got around to sorting through all those clothes I found in the Plateau. A lot of them look pretty decent and likely yard saleable, perhaps even Etsyable. I’m not really a clothes guy though so this flag was of greater personal interest. I didn’t know what it was at first, but was able to quickly identify it as the flag of the Azores Liberation Front, a right-wing paramilitary group whose goal was to gain independence for the Azores Islands from Portugal. The organization was of note for only a few years in the mid-70s and this flag appears to be pretty uncommon as a result – I can’t find any on eBay, and there’s not even very many referenced on Google. My plan is to list it on eBay for 100$ and see if anyone bites. I think a flag collector, particularly one with an interest in aspirant peoples might find it interesting.

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I found a bit more junk at that spot in CDN where I found that silver picture frame. There were a couple of vintage Parker ballpoint pens, nothing too fancy but nice nonetheless. The Swiss Army Knives were cheap knockoffs, but a cheap knockoff is still better than nothing. That Timex watch looks to be in nice shape, though I don’t have a battery to test it with.

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I also found a couple of self-help tapes / cassettes that should make for good yard sale material. The Bruce + Kris Jenner exercise video is a blast to the past for a variety of reasons, and apparently Tony Robbins went by Anthony Robbins in the 80s. Both are still in their original shrink wrap.

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I stopped at another spot when I noticed two bags of books sitting on the curb. Inside the bin were even more books, and fortunately they were placed in bags. There’s nothing quite as annoying as coming cross a bin stuffed full of books, as getting to the ones on the bottom without making a mess is pretty near impossible.

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A bunch of them weren’t in great shape – they looked like the had spent a little too long in a basement. But a lot of them were still in good condition, including a number from a set of Victor Hugo books published I think in the 1930s. I don’t think that set is in good enough condition for me to list them on eBay, as book collectors tend to be a picky bunch and I don’t know think they’d be worth the hassle of describing and listing, but I’ll bet that they’ll be a hit at yard sales.

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I went back to that same spot on garbage day and found a bit of decent junk. Inside one bag was a collection of screws which should come in handy, especially to my roommate who does a lot of woodworking.

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I also found a box full of old photo junk. Nothing too exciting really, but there was a box of slides there that appear to have been taken at an Eric Clapton show in the late 70s. I have them listed on eBay for 40$, and they should sell for around that.

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I also saved this dark room enlarger doohickey that might make me 50$ on eBay.

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I came across this spot later on that day and saved a bunch of decent stuff. I’m glad that empty box was there, I needed somewhere to put my finds!

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I salvaged a bunch of nice jewelry boxes, a lot of which are from Birks. Unfortunately none of them came with any jewelry (though I did find a broken 14k gold chain that’s worth about 40$ for scrap), but some of will be useful for mailing out eBay junk. The ones that are less conducive to mailing, like the watch boxes I’ll try selling at a yard sale. Also in the box are a couple sample sized vials of Chanel #5, a 100ml bottle of Teck by Molinard (already sold!), a snow globe, and a few vintage lottery tickets from the 70s.

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I also saved these cool framed butterflies. I’m sure someone will pounce on this at a yard sale.

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My best find however was a large collection of wooden combs, toothbrushes, and safety razors, most of which were still sealed in plastic. The look to have been made for a local startup, but judging by their website they’ve since moved on to some different designs.

I won’t share the name of the startup here, as I’m sure they’re not the only one that has tossed out old stock over the years. And in a way I get how a small local company like this might not want to donate their old stuff, as by doing so they would devalue the very market they’re trying to access. Still, it’s a little frustrating to see these things get manufactured and then tossed out in favor of a slightly different design. It’s a waste of resources, and it’s obviously not great for the environment. Plus, the products are actually nice, so they really should be put to use.

Oh well, at least I was there to save it all! I’m not going to get rich here, but this stuff should make me a bit of money over time. I’ll probably bring several of each to every yard sale, maybe selling the razors for 2$, the wood combs for 1$, and the toothbrushes for .50$. I’ll probably still have some left by this time next year, but I don’t mind if it brings me some easy pocket change.

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Otherwise, I saved this cute three-footed dish from some bags in Outremont. It’s pretty small, about two inches tall, and looks to be quite old. I doubt it’s worth much – for one, it probably used to have a lid – but I’d be interested to hear if anyone knows where and when it might have been made. It looks similar to a lot of old Nipponware to me, but there’s no makers marks that would help identify it as such.

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I’ll finish with a funny story. A while back one of my roommates requested that I find him a French press. I did, and for a while it worked out well for him. However, the other day we were talking in the kitchen, and as he was trying to empty his can of coffee into the press he tapped the glass a bit to hard and it broke. Fortunately for him I had found this other French press just a couple days before, and it wasn’t long before he was able to drink his usual morning cup or three. This press is actually nicer too, it’s a real Bodum while the other one was a cheaper knockoff. This just goes to show that there are benefits to having me as a roommate!

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Parker 51

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In my last post I said I was saving my best find for later. In the end it wasn’t so conclusively my best find, though it was still a very good one regardless.

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Basically, I opened up one of those bags and found a MacBook Pro and an older Macbook.

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At first I thought the MacBook Pro would earn me an easy couple hundred bucks. It looked clean, and other than a busted screen looked to be in good condition. However, the value of the MacBook Pro depends greatly on how old it is. This one was made in mid-2008, and to be honest I didn’t know Apple made MBPs before 2009. Apparently they made them even further back, starting in 2006, but those ones are more obviously older.

Despite it being older than I expected, the MBP still had some value. I listed it “for parts or repair” on eBay and it sold quickly for 125$.

The old MacBook didn’t have a hard drive, and may have had other issues that I couldn’t test. I had another old MacBook sitting around, so I listed the two as a lot. They sold pretty quickly for 85$. Overall, the two computers together earned me around 165$. Not bad!

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I’ve had some success recently in the traditionally working-class areas of Montreal. I happened upon this collection of bags in Rosemont, the sector east of Iberville.

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I got excited when I looked in the box at the end of the mass and saw a vintage IBM Model M keyboard. I love old tech because it makes me nostalgic, but it’s also true that mechanical keyboards often command good prices on eBay.

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This one was in fantastic cosmetic condition, and with a little cleaning it looked even better. The keyboard also worked great, which might be more important. I listed it at 200$, which is a bit high as compared to similar keyboards but I figured I’d try for a top dollar price – I can always lower it later. I had a hard time finding other French mechanical keyboards on eBay, so I wonder if that might make it more desirable to some. We’ll see how it goes, but it’s a nice find even if it sells for “just” 150$.

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Otherwise, I looked through all the bags and saved a whole bunch of junk. My household was a little short on Tupperware before this, but we definitely aren’t now! If anyone knows what that leather thing at the middle bottom is supposed to be let us know in the comments. It looks like it’s made to be hung from something.

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I found a lot of small things too. These were my favourites, though some other cool photo-worthy stuff didn’t get documented because I was busy at the time. The flashlight was the most useful find, as it’s a bit smaller than most and thus quite suitable for bringing on future trash runs. The wind-up clock works fine. In the pill bottle was a bunch of push-back earring pieces and three small elephants, two of which are plastic and one of which is older and probably made from bone or ivory. If you know what that old metal comb at top-right is let me know. It’s marked “Clauberg & Sons” but I can’t find any similar things online. I think it’s way too intense to be made for human hair.

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The best piece of that bunch was probably this old Stanley carpenter’s rule. I’d bet that it was made sometime between the 20s and 40s. Old tools can be pretty collectible, and I think that I could sell this rule on eBay for around 40$ + shipping. It’s in great condition for its age.

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My mom was in town last weekend and we had a nice visit. I dropped her off at the bus station on Monday, and on the way home happened upon this trash in the Plateau. It was pretty cold out, but I spent a good 30-45 minutes searching through these bags anyways.

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I saved a bunch of stuff, including four black bags full of old clothes and fabrics. I didn’t have the time or motivation to look at them much, as clothes aren’t really my thing (especially when I have to look through them in the cold) but I took a chance anyways. They looked decent, and I figured I could examine them further when the weather warmed up a bit. For now, they’re stashed at my storage spot. I’m not expecting any Chanel coats, but I saw a few hand-knit things that might appeal to a certain demographic, and some vintage stuff that might be desirable if in good shape.

For the record, because of bedbugs I’m pretty careful when it comes to taking garbage clothes, especially from somewhere like the Plateau where infestations are more common. However, I didn’t get a bedbug vibe from this place, and even if I were wrong the cold would kill any potential bugs before spring. There are benefits to the Canadian winter!

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I saved a few tins that were stuffed mostly with sewing brac-a-brac. We’ll see if anyone at a yard sale wants it.

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This is the “best of” from that pile, basically the things that caught my eye. I found three utensils in a Laura Secord box that I think are solid silver (they have markings I can’t make out, and I tested them with acid which seemed to indicate a strong silver content), a Superman belt buckle, a collection of thimbles, a small silver Notre-Dame-du-Cap pendant, and two vintage Parker Pens.

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The pens were in nice condition for their age. The more valuable of the two was a blue Parker 51 with a gold-filled cap. This model seems to be a classic of sorts, and while its value is a bit lower because the previous owners name is inscribed on the barrel I still expect it to sell for around 70-80$ + shipping. The other was a Parker 21, which isn’t quite as desirable but still worth somewhere between 25-30$ in its present condition.

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I found a bit more neat stuff last week, but I’ll wait until it gets warmer before documenting it. It just sucks to sort through stuff at my storage right now. One notable item though was this repoussé silver picture frame I found in CDN. It’s marked “Lisham Art 925” (you can see this at the bottom right corner). It features a relief of Jerusalem and the Wailing Wall, as well as some Hebrew phrases that I don’t understand. If anyone can help me translate them I’d appreciate it!

I looked it up and found a similar one that sold on shopgoodwill.com for 201 US$. That listing made it sound as if the frame was pure silver, but my frame (which I assume was made in a similar way) is actually a layer of silver on top of a resin mould. I wonder if that influenced the eventual selling price. I listed mine at 250$ CAD (which is less than 201 USD). I’m not confident at all that it will sell at that price, but I figured I’d give it a try anyways.

Next week should be warmer, but there’s plenty of snow on the way. Hopefully I can find some good trash regardless.

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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Recent sales – January 2017

This is the first “recent sales” post that summarizes by the month. My first such posts were by the week, and became every two weeks at some point. Then I remember having a really slow month where I summarized by the four weeks, and I ended up continuing with that for quite some time. Anyways, it just so happened that the end of the last sales period was near New Years, and I decided it was time to switch it to something more intuitive. Exciting story, I know.

I made decent money this month but I find myself totally broke regardless. I’ve had to deal with a lot of car stuff recently, including that mechanical inspection as well as a flat tire that required me having to buy two new tires (apparently it’s not good to have a tire on one side that’s notably newer than the tire on the other side). I also haven’t been picking as often these last few months, in part due to motivation issues that resulted from that experience with the police, so the once steady stream of new eBayable junk has slowed to a crawl, like molasses in January (or February).

On the plus side, I do have lots of stuff listed on eBay / Etsy, so I should be able to scrape by until yard sale season. At that point I’ll at least be able to raise quick cash when needed. I expect that my first two yard sales will be very profitable. I’m starting to get a better eye for the kind of things people will buy, and because of that my yard sale boxes are filling up a lot faster. Needless to say I’m looking forward to spring for a variety of reasons.

Anyways, lets get to the sales! There’s lots of different and interesting things this time around.

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1. c.1930s Chateau Frontenac booklet: On eBay for 50$. There’s good money in old hotel stuff, particularly when it’s a hotel as fancy as the Chateau Frontenac. This brochure featured a lot of cool floor plans that may have been of interest to collectors. Found in NDG back in September 2015.

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2. NAD 6220 cassette deck: On eBay for 125$. NAD is known among collectors for their quality and minimal design, and some of their receivers sell for hundreds or thousands of dollars. Their cassette players apparently aren’t as good, but this one still sold for a nice price. I found it a long time ago but only got around to testing it relatively recently. It worked fine, and was in great cosmetic condition. I found it while walking around the Plateau with someone doing an interview with me for a local magazine.

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3. Atari 1040ST: On eBay for 175$. This one tested the limits of my light box! I’m not great at fixing stuff, but I do consider myself pretty skilled at cleaning my finds and making them look nice for the camera. This Atari was kind of grody when I found it, but it looked a lot nicer once I wiped it down with a microfiber cloth. Maybe it seems obvious that one should do this, but when I did my research I saw a lot of grungy looking 1040STs for sale. A little cleaning helps a collector see the item’s greatest cosmetic potential. I wasn’t actually able to test it beyond turning it on and seeing a light, but I was able to sell it for a good price regardless. Found in NDG sometime this summer.

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4. Expo 67 key map: On eBay for 150$. I had this listed for a long time, slowly reducing the price from whatever ridiculous number I started it at. It finally sold for 150$ which I’m pretty happy with. The buyer was also happy with the map so it’s a win/win. Found in Hampstead way back in March 2015.

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5. Canadian Constitution proposed resolution – 1980 official booklet: On eBay for 6$. I thought a collector might be interested in this, but after having it sit around for a year or more I decided to lower the price to the point where it was nearly free. I’m just glad it’s gone. Found in Westmount back in the summer of 2015.

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6. Royal Secret by Germaine Monteil, 2oz: On eBay for 60$. Part of that great collection I found a few months back.

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7. Vintage Waterman pens: On eBay for 60$. I’m a member of a local Facebook trading page, and a while back someone posted about an apartment in Villeray that was being cleared out. I went to check it out and found a gaggle of people already looking through the bags. Many of the bags had been ripped apart, creating a terrible mess that I’m sure the neighbours, not to mention the garbage collectors weren’t happy about. I looked around anyways and managed to find a few things that other people had overlooked. These pens were the main score of the day, and made the trip worthwhile.

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8. Vintage 1950s Gubelin catalogue: On eBay for 12$. I thought this would sell for more, but I guess people aren’t that interested the Gubelin name. Regardless, 12$ for a hunk of paper isn’t bad! Found in Westmount in the summer of 2015.

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9. Blush by Marc Jacobs: On eBay for 30$. This went to a local buyer who came to pick it up. I found it just down the road from my new place in the Mile End.

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10. Vintage Casio Mini-TV in original box: On eBay for 35$. Found at the same place as the perfumes.

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11. c.1940s Racist Chief Wahoo rubber toy: On eBay for 30$. It wasn’t in perfect condition, but sold for a decent price nonetheless. This depiction of Chief Wahoo (the mascot of the Cleveland Indians baseball team) makes the modern version look progressive by comparison.

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12. Hagen family coat of arms plaque: On eBay for 30$. From my experience these kinds of vintage wall plaques are worth between 23-30$ in good condition. Better than nothing right? Found in Hampstead last fall.

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13. Paranoia Agent DVD set: On eBay for 140$. This was the last premium title from that anime collection I found while walking with my sister back in October of 2015. I only have six more titles / sets listed on eBay.

14. Please Save My Earth DVD: On eBay for 34$. Once part of the same collection I just mentioned, this went to another local buyer who wanted to come pick it up.

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15. Lot of 4 Sony Magneto-Optical disks: On eBay for 40$. Someone offered me a whole box of these while I looked through some trash on St Urbain last summer. I only took these four, but I wish I took more now – never opened old tech stuff is usually worth listing on eBay. I had never even heard of Magneto-Optical disks before, but it seems that some people swear by them.

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16. Postcards – two lots for 30$. Part of the big postcard collection I found last summer. I had forgotten about the lot of vintage military postcards above, but once I got them listed they sold pretty quickly.

17. Marzocchi Dirt Jam Bike Fork: On Kijiji for 50$. I thought this would take forever to sell, but it didn’t take long at all. Found in Outremont relatively recently.

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18. Essick humidifier: On Kijiji for 40$. I almost left this on the curb when I moved but decided to take it with me. It was a bit of a hassle, but I guess I’m 40$ richer as a result. I’m happy it’s gone though because it took up a fair bit of space. Found last summer in Montreal West.

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19. Guerlain “La Petite Robe Noire” EdP: To a reader for 30$. A quick flip! Found in the Mile End a few weeks ago.

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20. Scrap gold / silver: To a local antiques dealer for 850$. Precious metal scrap is a semi-regular income source for me. I gather the pieces, most of which are broken or mediocre jewelry, and store them in a box until the collection is big enough to bring to the shop. I know silver and gold fairly well, but there’s always a few pieces that I’m not 100% sure about so I bring them in to be tested. I was hoping that length of thick gold chain on the bottom was solid gold, for example, but it turned out not to be. Oh well.

One win was a vase I begrudgingly held onto for like a year (I forgot to bring it in last time) on the off chance it was silver. The vase looked like it had been run over by a truck. I don’t have a picture of it unfortunately, but the thing was squished. I almost threw it out myself on a few occasions, as I really doubted it was silver and was sick of looking at it, but I didn’t. As it turns out the vase was indeed silver, and its weight probably added somewhere between 30-50$ to the final total.

Thankfully the guy who runs the shop doesn’t seem to mind testing a bunch of random, sometimes tiny crap. He makes decent money from this, so I guess it benefits him to keep me happy. He takes roughly 15% of the total scrap value, meaning that he personally made around 200$ from this transaction. Not bad for about half an hours work.

For reference, I’ve been putting the stuff I know is gold in a separate container (below). I often use that smaller collection to determine when I go to bring it all in, as gold is the real moneymaker in the transaction. I don’t bother going unless I know for sure I have at least 500$ worth of stuff, and preferably more.

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Total: 1943$

Relevant links

1. Facebook page
2. eBay listings
3. Etsy store
4. Kijiji listings
5. Donate 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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