Grumpy gus pt. 1

I happened upon this spot in Montreal West when out with a friend this summer. I found some nice jewelry that first day, which enticed me to come back the next week. I was alone then, and had the misfortune of meeting the tosser who wasn’t particularly happy to see me. I forget how our conversation went exactly – I think she asked “can I help you?” (in a tone that made it clear that she had no interest in helping me), and asked me to leave her garbage alone. But I was more assertive than I often am: I told her what I was doing wasn’t illegal and showed her an example of something I saved (in this case, a full bag of IKEA tea lights). Eventually she decided I wasn’t worth the bother and drove off somewhat miffed. Her passenger was an older woman, probably in her 80s, who seemed mildly amused by the whole scene.

Anyways, right after she left I opened a bag and quickly found cash. The contents were a bit damp from rain, and my theory is that the cash was in an envelope that fell apart when I started moving things around. Regardless, there was 280$ in total, which was a nice reward for dealing with the grumpy lady!

This is my second cash haul of 2019, the other one being that collection of foreign bills (worth around 175$) I found in TMR. That doesn’t compare to my legendary 2018 cash hauls, but I can’t complain.

I found plenty of interesting junk here. That wool knitting bag is quite nice (any ideas where it might come from?), and the radios have some value as well. The brass napkin holder is marked “handarbeit”, or handmade in German.

I saved some flower pressing stuff, including a well organized collection of flowers in that “Pocket Simon” box. I remember selling all this to a friend at one of my yard sales, I think for 5$.

Here’s a few more bits and bobs. I’m wondering what the word for the thing in the middle is, if you know please share in the comments!

Here’s a look at the jewelry, which if I remember right was stored in a nondescript plastic shopping bag. The most expensive piece might be that black & gold locket to the right of the ring in a box at the top. I couldn’t find any hallmarks but my jeweler told me that it’s 15k gold, and likely Victorian. The stone is probably onyx. It seems to be worth a few hundred dollars, maybe a bit more. The ring is 10k gold, and the large stone is probably cut glass. The bracelet below that is silver, hallmarked 835 (835 parts per 1000), a mostly obsolete standard which appears to have been only been used in a few European countries.

That vintage sealed Lancome Magie Noire was a good find as well. It sold pretty quickly to a local buyer for somewhere between 60-80$.

Here’s some more quality jewelry. I saved a few bits of gold, like that St Anthony medallion near the top centre and the earrings inside the bangle. There’s also a number of silver pieces, my favourite being that bracelet with the charms. Two of the charms are silver, and the Innsbruck one is 14k gold. The bracelet itself is marked RBH 900, which means it may been designed by Rasmus Bjorn Halvordersen, a Danish Arts & Crafts era silversmith. I don’t know if his work is particularly sought after, but it’s a nice piece regardless.

I also thought this ring was neat. There’s no hallmarks I can see but I’m sure it’s silver. I don’t know much about the design, so please let me know if you do!

I found more quality junk here, but I decided to divide it all into two different smaller posts. I should get the second edition up soon enough.

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Cahier confectionné

This find is so dated that the snow you see here is not from today, but from the spring. Perhaps that’s fitting, however, since the book I saved from these bags was itself quite old.

The book is pretty non-descript from the outside, but inside were flower arrangements dating back 150 years. As you might expect, some of the collections were in rough shape, especially the ones closer to the beginning & end. Many were still in pretty great condition, however, particularly the ones closer to the middle of the book (which I suppose were less likely to get bent up).

I took pictures of most of the pages, which you can see below. If you want to zoom in on the gallery images, click on the thumbnail and then find the “view full-size” link on the bottom right of the slideshow. If you don’t like flowers, feel free to skip this post and come back next time.

Lets start with the first two pages. It seems that relatives of the creator, “tante” (aunt) Hortense Küss (b. 1841) wrote some relevant history on the inside cover and drew an abbreviated family tree on the opposite page. These additions look to have been added in 1974. I censored out the more recent information here for privacy reasons, but I figure the rest is ancient history and is fine to be shared.

If I were to guess I’d say that this cahier confectionné (which I think translates to scrapbook, or something along those lines) ended up in the hands of a niece, and in 1974 she decided (with the help of her kids) to write down what she knew about it since she was getting on in years herself. Since then it might have been inherited at least once, possibly twice, and one of those successors tossed it in the trash, for whatever reason.

To the arrangements. It’s clear that this book was pretty carefully put together. Most of the cuttings are dated (this one in particular is from 1868), and are often accompanied with a story or a description of the plants used. The first design is from 1863 (when the creator was 22) and the last is dated 1882. I haven’t made time to read all the descriptions, but the flowers were picked in France, and I’d say the picker was probably well-off. This is one of my favourites, from the middle of the book. The next few are in rougher shape, as you can see below.

It seems like these early ones were held in place with little bits of tape, and maybe glue. The scrapbooker started using thread to hold the arrangements together after this point, which you can see on the opposite sides of the designs. It must have taken a lot of effort, but it does look better (and could also maybe explain why these arrangements stood the test of time a bit better than the earlier ones).

Here’s a couple examples of the threading used to keep the arrangements together (to the left). As you can see the thread isn’t very noticeable, and probably allows for more complicated designs than glue or tape would.

I didn’t share these pictures for so long in part because the arrangements don’t look quite as nice as they do in real life, but in the end the photos are still pretty good. I have perfectionist tendencies, but most of time it just leads to stress and procrastination.

So, I still have this book, and don’t really know what to do with it. I’d like to sell it to someone who cares for it, but I don’t know what this kind of thing is worth, and the idea of shipping it somewhere is stressful given how fragile it is (though I might be overthinking this as well). Also, since it wasn’t made locally it’s not of particular interest to local collectors or organizations. If you’ve sold something like this before, or have ideas about what I should do with it, please let me know in the comments!

Otherwise, I think there’s some interesting info in the stories next to the arrangements. I didn’t get to talking about those, in part because they’re written in French (and also the handwriting is a bit difficult), but if someone cares to share some intriguing tidbits please do so below! Most of them are reasonably legible if you zoom in.

As for the spot that produced it, I haven’t seen much there since. The house is for sale, and I pass by every trash day just in case more is cleared out.

Links

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Castaways

There’s snow outside, but let’s go back to the summer again. I don’t want to give too much away, but this intriguing pile sat out back from an antiques-related business. I’d guess that the things I found here were rejects, perhaps all from one specific estate.

I don’t think anything I found here was super valuable, but I saved enough quality junk to make my day. Those leather covered batons sold for a bit at auction, and that shoe pincushion came from Expo 67 (“Expo 1967” is written in sharpie on the bottom).

 

That clay pipe was an easy sell at the auction (28$). Other items sold at my yard sales or ended up in one of my free piles. A few are still sitting around my garage, waiting for me to research or test them further, like that Gruen mantle clock in the first picture.

I found a bit of watchmaking stuff. The collection didn’t sell for too much at auction (12$), but it was easy money regardless.

The dish (turned ashtray) on the left is sterling silver. It’s not an exceptional piece or anything, but I still don’t know why anything would throw away sterling! It’s about 26 grams, so it’s worth around 13$ for scrap. The Hensoldt-Wetzlar doohickey is a rangefinder of some kind, and should be worth a little bit on eBay.

My favourite find here might have been the figurines, many of which were inside this little case.

Surprisingly most survived the journey unscathed (if a bit dirty). The frogs might be my favourite here, it’s not too often you find them in this size.

I also liked this old ink bottles, which I’d guess are from the 20s or 30s. That little claw pendant might be unmarked silver, but I haven’t tested it yet. The canister thing on the right is also interesting.

This isn’t the best picture, but inside is some kind of creature that’s supposed to spring out at you (it’s springing days are over, however). I’m not sure what the material is, but overall it looks fairly vintage. I’d guess it was made in China.

I also liked this piece. It looks like jade, and has “New York World’s Fair 1939” etched on the base. It’s in pretty good condition outside of a large chip off the vase, which fortunately is on the back side and not too distracting. I don’t think it’s super valuable, but it’s neat and probably worth selling on eBay.

Now that the seasons have changed I feel a need to get these summer finds posted. I have lots of photos waiting to be shared, but I continue to struggle with writer’s block or maybe just distraction. I’ll try to overcome that and post again soon.

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