Oh ye of little trash

I think it’s been almost a month since my last post. Sorry for the wait! I’m struggling to get my brain into writing gear sometimes, but I’ve also been pretty busy with picking & organizing & rearranging my garage.

It was also moving day / week recently, so I was picking a bit more than I would usually. I think it was the quietest moving day I’ve ever witnessed, so I guess people decided to stay in their leases amidst the uncertainty (in Quebec, you usually have to give three months notice if you intend on not renewing your lease, which is April 1, so people may have reconsidered their moves considering that the pandemic really took hold in North America starting in early March).

I still found a bit of good stuff. On moving day itself I picked up a nice old suitcase, some really old carts of some kind (sometimes people just use the occasion to clean out their basement), a lucite coffee table, and some barely used sparring equipment. On the days before, I found a bit of silver (some of which you can see above, on top of an old iPhone that was also tossed), a collection of Canadian Tire money (about 15$ worth), an old temporary bus stop sign, and other bits & bobs.

I haven’t found many particularly “omg” finds of late. Plenty of “nice” or “good” finds, some “very good,” but little worthy of an all-star selection, though one of this week’s runs may have produced some top quality items… I still have some inspection and research to do. Regardless, you never know what’s next when garbage is concerned.

Anyways, I’m pretty well caught up on my picture taking (as opposed to my writing) so I have plenty to share. Today I’ll post some finds from spots that were intriguing for a short time, but didn’t produce for long. One nice, recently sold suburban home started clearing out with a bang, tossing this nice tin Pan Am 747 (in two different pieces) that sold for around 120$ at auction.

I kept my eye on that spot for months afterwards, but things got junkier as time went on. I found a bunch of dolls one day, many of which ended up in a free box. The most valuable is probably the 6 Million Dollar Man, who’s in pretty good condition despite being nearly 50 years old. That bear wind-up toy (which doesn’t seem to wind up no more) is also cool, and the shell figurine at top right is likely a souvenir from Margate in England.

(This is not my finest picture. The weird hue and the shadows is what happens when I forget to turn off my overhead lights while taking photos. Also, I could have lined up the dolls with the fold in my fabric background a little better).

I also picked up this contraption, which is an old oil lamp that someone tried to convert into a electric lamp. I’m not sure what the giant spring or long steel rod was supposed to accomplish… Anyways, it may have looked like junk to whoever tossed it, but after removing the random bits it was quite nice.

The base is (I think) hand-painted porcelain, and the rest of the decorative elements are made from brass. It’s in very good condition other than the bottom (which was part of the steel oil font) being cut out. I’d guess that it was made around the turn of the century, give or take 10 years. I haven’t figured out what it’s worth yet, but I’m sure it has a bit of value.

I may have spoken too soon by including this spot in the “ye of little trash” category, as it recently started producing a bit again after I more or less wrote it off (I’ve been working on this post for like three weeks). We’ll see what happens.

A house in Hampstead provided some quality junk over the period of about a month. The mid-century German vase, the seltzer bottle, and the pencil sharpener all sold for modest prices at auction.

The cute coloured engravings, made for Eaton’s, sold for a little under 10$. Better than nothing though. The rest is yard sale stuff, other than the piece of fossil which I’m saving for a future lot of cool rocks (I know I’ll find more at some point, so sometimes I set things like that, which aren’t worthy of a lot on their own, aside until more turn up).

The Parker fountain pen (a 51 if I recall correctly) is probably the most valuable item I found there. The cap is a little busted, but it’s probably still worth 60-80$. That carnival glass bowl is pretty nice as well, though I can’t tell if it’s an original or a more recent reproduction.

The turtle guy from my last post threw out a box full of turtles a couple weeks later. He must have really liked turtles (maybe it was this kid) at some point but not so much anymore. Anyways, this collection included a couple turtles made from stone, a cast iron turtle, ceramic turtles, miniature crystal turtles, crappy souvenir turtles, and a turtle made by Dansk. It was a nice enough collection (minus the junkier ones, which I put in a free box) to bring to auction, and the lot has achieved a fair number of bids & a reasonable price with a few hours left to go.

I wish I discovered this spot a little sooner, as it seemed like whoever was doing the tossing didn’t give much of a damn.

The folks at this spot were kind enough to put out some “free” boxes filled with junk, but my best finds came from a black garbage bag regardless.

My favourite find was a box of keys and other bric-a-brac, including several different religious medallions.

Whoever lived here worked for the airlines, given the Canadair keychain above and the gold Bombardier service pin below. Also, this cool photo of someone working on a CF-5 #116745, which started its service in 1970 and was scrapped in 1988. I’d guess that this photo was taken in 1972 or 79 (probably the latter) which is when this particular plane was in Quebec.

It’s crazy how much information there is about certain things online, and how little there is for others.

Lastly, this spot in Westmount was intriguing for a little while. My best finds here came on the same day, just sitting out in the open. In the box is a nice vintage Sony stereo receiver, which I haven’t tested yet but probably works / is worth around 150$.

The lamp was the prettiest banker’s lamp I’ve ever picked. It was made in the 1920s, and is in excellent condition for being about 100 years old. The green glass is much darker than you usually see on the more modern ones.

It’s not Tiffany, but this lamp is still top quality junk and is worth around 2-300$. Most of my best finds are hidden away, but once in a while I find them just sitting out in the open.

Otherwise, it seems that we’re allowed (starting July 10) to have yard sales again here in Montreal. That’s exciting news, though the required protocols will be a bit of a (necessary) hassle.

I did a couple of small “social distancing friendly” sales in my front yard over the last month. I invited only my Instagram followers (I would have invited blog-only followers, but I completely forgot I now have a newsletter thing I can use to spread the word) to keep the crowds to a minimum, and told people to “pay what you can” / what they think is fair by leaving money in my mailbox. That made it so I didn’t even have to supervise the sales, thus reducing the effort required to work them. I told people to come out anytime between 9am-9pm on the weekend so that folks were rarely “shopping” at the same time (helping with the social distancing), and chose days when there wouldn’t be rain so I wouldn’t have to rush to pack things in.

The honour system worked pretty well, and I made around 100$ at the first and 250$ at the second (honestly, I may have made more than I would have setting prices, lol…). The fact that the only invitees were my “followers” made it less likely that people would abuse the system – I doubt I’d try a similar tactic with a bunch of randoms. I was also happy to be able to clear some stuff from my various storages, which were (and still are) packed with yard sale type stuff.

While this type of sale is relatively small, it’s also kind of fun and less stressful than a usual sale. I may do more of those going forward, even as garage sales otherwise return to normal. The only real problem with them is that my blog followers have such good taste that they only buy my finest quality junk… I need those random people to come if I want to sell the crap!

Anyways, I hope to do another sale in one form or another soon, and I’ll try to do a better job letting you know about it.

Adventures in trash picking

I’ve had a good amount of success lately. The only thing I haven’t been finding much of (since the Tiffany necklace haul at least) is quality jewelry, though I did find a single gold cufflink worth 100$ for scrap & a silver bracelet on Sunday night. Let’s hope that’s a sign of more precious metals to come!

I’ve gone on a few extra runs lately because the weather’s been so nice. One day I went to NDG / “Westmount adjacent,” where the trash is picked up in the late afternoon / early evening on Tuesday. These bags contained some treasures that made up for what would have otherwise been a pretty unproductive trip.

If I were to guess, I’d say that this stuff belonged to a well-to-do kid clearing out their old room. They were also pretty meticulous, as many of these things were stored in little ziplock bags (like you see with the post-it notes).

I presume some of these things were unappreciated gifts. A never used wallet, a Swiss Army card that also looked unused (and which is now in my wallet), a still sealed “Med School in a Box,” a silver pendant in its original box, and – most profitable for me – a pair of seemingly brand new Ray-Bans. They should sell for an easy 100$. Otherwise, I saved an iPod, a iPhone 3 (which people these days more often use like an iPod), a coin bank with some spare change inside, and a small collection of toy cars.

All these cars were either new-in-box or in very nice condition. They went to the auction, and they’ll be sold for whatever price they go for in a few days.

A month or so ago I shared some nice glass finds from a place in Hampstead. I ended up finding a few more nice bits there, though these finds signified the end of the line for these particular rich folks, who appear to have since moved. Anyways, those blue decanters did very well at auction, selling for 90$. The crystal decanter with yellow accents sold for 30-something. The fancy remote control needs a new battery, but should still sell for 40-50$.

I’ve been biking around the Mile End more often thanks to this nice weather. I’ve had luck finding yuppie trash, rich kid moving trash, and random metal bric-a-brac that’s been sitting in a garage since the 60s trash. I’d say this pile was a combination of number 1 & 2.

It looked as if this stuff belonged to someone who worked at one of the nearby software companies. I found a like-new Atari hat, a Carlos Delgado commemorative baseball (he was one of my Grandma’s favourite Blue Jays), a nice desk lamp, a nearly full bottle of laundry detergent, some expensive markers (which appear to be schwag), a couple sets of Blood Bowl game dice, a loonie, and one quarter.

I saved a whole bunch of video games and a still charged bluetooth keyboard. Unfortunately, PC games are apparently locked to a single device these days, so these are basically garbage.

I also found empty boxes for high-end gaming equipment, like a XBox “Elite” Controller (which retailed for about 200 Canadian dollars) and a fancy computer power supply. They weren’t worth anything, but they did indicate that the previous owner was willing to spend good money on gaming related stuff.

My best find here was a World of Warcraft Alliance beer stein. From what I can tell these were originally sold for around 99 US dollars, but because they were limited edition they now seem to be worth more than that – the only one like mine I found on eBay sold for 275$. This one’s in pretty good condition, other than a small scuff on the pewter, so it should end up earning me a nice chunk of cash.

Sticking with gaming stuff, I found some quality Nintendo stuff at a short-lived “rich people moving” spot in TMR. Nintendo gear is super easy to get good money for at auction. The games are currently part of a lot (current bid: 36$) ending Thursday evening.

Last but not least, thank goodness for detours! I didn’t notice this piece going one way, but definitely noticed it when coming back the other direction.

It’s hard to imagine why someone would so casually dump an antique cast iron Peugeot A2 coffee grinder, but I’m rarely surprised at this point. This was made in the late 1800s and is in great overall condition.

I found a few examples online that sold in the 300-500$ range. I decided to bring it to the auction, partly because it would have been a pain to ship, and partly because I think Montreal is a great market to sell something like this in (hipster coffee shops are plentiful, and there are lots of French people, ie: people from France who love the Peugeot brand).

It was listed on the newest auction Sunday night, and has already met my reserve price of 100$ with over five days to go. I probably should have set the reserve higher, but I’m confident that it’ll all work out in the end.

Anyways, there’s lots of garbage yet to show you. These days, my finds and my picture taking are outpacing my writing. If I get more into a writing headspace, you could see more regular posts.

Spring cleaning bits & bobs

Spring has definitely sprung. That means the cat is happy, and extra garbage (quality and not) is making its way to the curb. Today I’ll share some recent finds, some of which are related to spring cleaning, and some of which are due to people moving (which also tends to happen more when it’s warm out).

This pile in St Michel was mostly trash, other than the contents of the plastic case that I pulled out from underneath that floating box.

Inside was a diverse array of metal bits & bobs. There were toy cars, random bits of copper and brass, a few kitchen utensils, and a couple old long brass door latches that I think will do well on eBay.

Perhaps most notable though was this collection of skeleton keys, some of which are quite large (the biggest being about 5″ in length). The designs on the end are pretty unusual as well, helping to make this the nicest collection of skeleton keys I’ve found in one place. My mom loves skeleton keys, so she’ll likely end up with at least a few of them…

For a few weeks one chap was tossing all kinds of barely used tools in preparation for a move. I just sold the carpet knee-kicker for 70$, and I have the carpet iron and air powered caulk gun listed on eBay as well.

Buddy also tossed a seemingly never used GraLab darkroom timer, which I sold on eBay for 85$.

That spot’s last productive garbage day featured office-related stuff and a few junk drawer doohickies, the most valuable of which was this 10k white gold MedicAlert bracelet. At 6 grams, it should net me about 170$ at current scrap prices.

An Instagram follower alerted me to a huge pile of trash in Rosemont, which I’d guess was the result of someone clearing out a storage area. Most of it wasn’t my bag, but I did pick up a couple nice (I think Chinese?) horse sculptures, a couple old toy cars, a cute vintage cat figurine, and a few other doodads.

If ever you have a hot garbage related tip, feel free to message me. Facebook & Instagram messages are probably the best way to do so, though sometimes I miss those notifications as well.

One of my best spring cleaning finds came from a pile on Victoria Avenue. (I also grew up on a Victoria Avenue, but elsewhere in Quebec). I found a lot of quality junk there, including kitchen stuff, silver plated Bombay Company accessories, and a small fur coat. Most valuable was a collection of jewelry, which I’d guess belonged to someone my age or younger. I picked all the different pieces out of the black trash bag and placed them in an old Tupperware tub for sorting.

The highlights were: a monogrammed 10k gold ring, a bulky Mexican silver bracelet, a pearl bracelet with a gold clasp, and three different pieces signed “Tiffany” (the key, the chain attached to it, and the necklace on the bottom).

I’m sure the key is a fake Tiffany piece, because it claims to be sterling silver but is not (based on an acid test). The chain is likely real, however, and I’m fairly confident the necklace on the bottom is as well. It’s funny to own both real and fake Tiffany products, but I’m sure it’s not that uncommon given how often Tiffany is faked. Anyways, assuming the “Return to Tiffany” necklace is real, it’s worth around 300-400$.

The silver bracelet second from the bottom would have been nice as well, but the woven silver thread has broken a bit in a few places, so to wear it you’d have to commit to being poked regularly. It’s still worth about 10$ for scrap.

Otherwise, I forget where I picked up this scooter. I thought it looked well made, so I brought it back to the garage where it sat for a few weeks. Then, a friend came by and mentioned how her roommate just bought a similar one on Amazon for 180$. Hearing that motivated me to get it listed on Kijiji, where it sold pretty quickly for 50$. Can’t complain about that!

Some folks in Westmount tossed this nice old rocking chair a couple weeks back. My first thought was to sell it, but once I sat down I found it to be surprisingly comfortable. We’ll see what happens, but for now it seems like a good fit at the house.

Otherwise, eBay sales have been strong of late. My biggest sales of late have been an older ophthalmology machine that sold for 600$ (we just have to figure out how to get it to Cambodia) and a set of Order of the Holy Sepulchre Medals for another 600$ (a find from last summer that never made the blog). I don’t plan on sharing my sales regularly anymore, but you can always see what I’ve sold recently on eBay by visiting my eBay listings pages and sorting by “sold” only. The only thing is that they don’t show you the “Best Offer” sold price (though I rarely use that feature, and you can find the accepted price by using watchcount.com) and an item still shows up as sold even if the transaction is cancelled (which is why I “sold” three Expos posters instead of two). However, usually once the price goes “green” the item is out the door.

I think the auction house is set to open again in a week or so, which will help me clear out my garage and make some cash. I’m still not sure when yard sales will happen again, or what they’ll look like once they do.

I saw a bit of good news as it relates to Covid-19 and trash picking. Apparently most transmission is person to person, and the virus in most circumstances won’t survive very long on random surfaces. It’s still a good idea to keep the hand sanitizer close by when looking through trash, but this is still good news nonetheless, especially since social distancing is baked in to garbage picking already.

Anyways I’m pretty far behind when it comes to sharing my quality finds here. I’ve been too easily distracted by the news, so I got a friend to put parental controls on my phone so that I can’t check the most addictive websites so frequently. Hopefully this leads me to be more productive / feel more at peace going forward.

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 – note that it might take me some time to reply, and that I am unlikely to be able to fulfill requests for items