Miscellaneous finds from the past six months

I happened upon this outwardly unexceptional collection of bags when there was still snow on the ground in Nouveau Bordeaux. My finds here were some of the oldest languishing in my garage, and I considered moving the stuff to the yard sale bin so that I could focus on documenting more recent junk. However, after looking over it all again I decided there were definitely things worth sharing.

I found a fair bit of old Catholic stuff here, but it was the tobacco products that inspired more memories. Apparently my dad used to smoke Erinmore Flake, and my mom has a Player’s tin just like this one which once belonged to my grandpa. He also liked using those Vogue rolling papers.

My favourite find here was the Player’s tin, because it came with contents.

Most of the contents were junk, but that brass J.D. Irving employee badge was pretty cool. J.D. Irving is active in a lot of different industries (mostly in New Brunswick) but given some of my other finds here I’d guess that it was forestry related. I expect it was made in the 30s or 40s.

I found lots of photos, and here’s a small selection of my favourites. At top left is an old lumber camp (probably in the 1920s). Otherwise, there’s a picture of a forest fire, two separate car crashes, and a cat with a distortion on its head. Zoom in for a closer look!

Here we have some 1940s French kids books, a couple of religious things, and a Pioneer saw instruction manual.

Here’s some more old Catholic stuff, a Simonds saw catalog, and a Christmas card from the 20s or 30s.

I saved a whole bunch of these cards, the kind you often see bookmarking pages in the bible (I think there’s a specific word for them, but I can’t think of it right now!). Most date from between 1920 and the late 50s, but a few are older than that.

Most interesting to me were these little cards, which I’d guess were given to someone who donated to a Catholic missionary group in the 30s. They feature pictures of kids who were baptized and given Christian names as a result of the person’s donations.

Let’s just say they definitely belong to another time. This one was the most obviously “vintage” though, saying (my rough translation): “I am black, but thanks to you my soul is white.”

I was hoping to find more old stuff here, but I only saw trash outside on one other occasion over the next few months and at some point you have to give up.

I stumbled upon another briefly exciting spot in Cote-des-Neiges. On my first day I found this jewelry box and a few other vintage doodads, but after that the garbage was mostly junk.

A lot of the jewelry in that box was quite dark or tarnished. I found a nice Italian micro-mosaic brooch; a pair of dangle earrings that look to be silver or silver plated (they seem to be stamped with a “32”, not sure what that means); a 935 silver brooch from Israel featuring a very black glass or stone, and a maybe silver brooch with what looks to be an eilat stone.

I also saved this nice bottle of vintage “Amour Amour” by Jean Patou. I look at this now and wonder if I missed the top of the box… but so it goes.

The curb out front of a big house near downtown was exciting for a few weeks. On day one I found a coffee tin full of pennies – that and the “for sale” sign made it a spot I had a hunger to pick at.

Day 2 was mediocre, but on the third garbage day I did pretty well.

I’m always happy to save your bag full of coins, especially when there’s jewelry inside!

Most of the coins were foreign and not particularly valuable, but they’re easy money in bulk quantities.

Here’s a picture of the standouts. I found three Mexican peso coins from the 60s, which are apparently 10% silver. That’s so little silver that you have to wonder why they even bothered, but based on that forum (linked) it was done basically to keep with tradition while dealing with monetary issues. Either way they’re pretty cool coins that are fun to collect. The other coin is an old nickel, which isn’t too exciting other than being damaged in an unusual way.

Otherwise, we have a very nice and fairly large brass crucifix pendant, a few unexceptional Mexican silver tourist pieces, a nice Creed sterling silver Catholic necklace, a 10k gold fraternity pendant (if you know which fraternity please let me know!), and a vintage 40s/50s 10k gold ring. There was also a single silver cufflink with “FP” (Financial Post?) marked on the front that was made by Tiffany.

Around a month after my coin haul I noticed that an estate sale was being held at the same house. That marked an unofficial end to my good run (I rarely find anything once those listings go up), but I’m left to wonder who decided to throw out the bag of coins. I have a hard time believing a liquidator to do that, so I assume someone in the family decided it wasn’t worth trying to sell.

Here’s some stuff I found in front of an apartment building a month or so ago. I started out saving these old tools, and then spotted some nice housewares inside a black garbage bag.

The two candlesticks were International sterling silver, so that was a nice get. Otherwise, I saved a piece of art glass (it has a smooth glass bottom, which is usually a sign of quality, but no signatures or stickers), a set of silver plated sherry glasses, and a nice Russian enameled (and probably silver plated) sugar bowl. There’s a name on it somewhere, but I forget what it says. Regardless, it’s an attractive piece.

At one point in my rummaging I spotted a paper bag full of Vitamins and medicine cabinet type jars. I ripped open that bag, which was inside a black garbage bag, just to see if there was anything good at the bottom. Sometimes I’ll find cool vintage jars or perfumes alongside that kind of stuff, but instead, I found a change purse with a good hunk of change inside. I’d say there was between 15-20$ in there!

Last but not least is this haul of jewelry from a briefly productive spot in Cote St-Luc. (In retrospect I should have taken this picture in my garage, but oh well). I saved a few bits of gold, including an Italian horn pendant, a Taurus pendant, a heart pendant, and a couple of broken chains. There’s also a bit of silver and several decent watches. My favourite is the Sutton skeleton watch – it needs some maintenance (the movement works, changing the time is a bit of an adventure) but should still sell for around 50$. I also like that enameled brooch (marked “Joop Schilt Holland” and seems to be reasonably collectible) and the old necklace with the odd bulbous green and clear beads. There was more junky stuff I didn’t photograph and gave to a friend to sell.

Cote St-Luc was very good to me over the course of a few weeks, and I’ll be sure to share some of those finds soon. Otherwise, some of my best recent finds have come from a place where I got yelled at (I now just take the bags and leave). It’ll be a while before I share any of that stuff though, however, as the best finds usually take the longest to document!


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The windowknocker

This spot provided some great finds over a couple of months in the late spring / early summer.

As I was picking one night an older guy knocked loudly on his window, presumably to get my attention. I looked up but he didn’t give further direction. Windowknocking is a passive aggressive way of telling me to get out of the garbage – It happens semi-regularly, usually in the evening, and it’s always a little awkward. Fortunately I was just about done with the pile by the time this happened so I took my finds and left.

These folks had tossed some great stuff though, so I wasn’t going to be deterred that easily. I just made a point to go to that spot nearer to the end of my trash run, instead of close to the beginning. That seemed to work, and I was able to avoid further contact with the windowknocker.

I take photos of most of the trash piles I frequent to prove that I was there and that there were things on the curb. When I find something really cool, I might try to get a shot of the object inside the bag as proof that it was indeed in the trash. I do get paranoid that someone will accuse me of stealing, particularly when people throw out literal gold. It seems like an unlikely scenario, but if I’ve learned anything in life it’s that people can be quite stupid! Anyways, because of all that I’m actually happy that Apple tracks all my movements, and that all my photos have the specific locations attached to them.

Those iPhone photos aren’t always that great, especially at night with the flash on. But above you can maybe make out an intriguing blob wrapped up in old sheets.

It was a heavy soapstone carving in pretty much impeccable condition. It’s funny when people throw things out with care (I guess they thought it might have torn through the bag otherwise?). It weighs about 3.77kg (or 8.3lbs) and measures about 10″ tall.

A tag was taped to the back, which noted that it was made in the Belcher Islands (in Hudson’s Bay off Quebec) by a J. Emiko Loar. I had no luck finding any reference to this person, but if you have any ideas please let me know!

A number and a couple of letters that are probably Inuktitut are etched on the bottom. I haven’t looked too much into those yet, but if you know anything about them please save me the effort! It’s a very nice piece, and should be worth somewhere in the three figures regardless.

I found another soapstone figure here. This one’s much smaller, maybe 5″ tall, and doesn’t seem to be signed (the bottom is rough / not polished). Still, it’s pretty well done.

These guys must have had quite the art collection if this is what they were throwing away. This bronzed steel sculpture fit pretty awkwardly into the trash bag as you can probably imagine. The “wingspan,” or whatever you want to call it is about 15″ in length.

The piece is signed “Gord.” It’s a simple signature reminiscent of what you’d see on amateur art, but I figured out that it was by Gord Smith, a noted Canadian sculptor who created the “Canada Screen” at Expo 67. It’s a pretty cool object, and it seems like it should sell easily for hundreds of dollars, maybe a thousand if I’m lucky.

I’ve never seen anything quite like this vase, which is aluminum (I think) and covered in bits of curved coloured glass. It’s very nicely done, but I don’t see any signatures or other identifiers. If you’ve seen something like it, please let me know!

This spot wasn’t big on jewelry, but I did save an Italian silver bracelet and an old silver band. I doubt the stones are diamonds, but I should get them tested.

This prayer necklace is probably more valuable than either of those. The beads smell like Bakelite, and I’ve had great success selling the reddish stuff before. I still don’t know much about the market (ie: what qualifies as “faturan“), so maybe I’ll let an eBay auction figure out what it’s worth.

On the last day I met a younger guy, who told me in a sort of whiny voice that he didn’t care if I took anything as long as I didn’t make a mess. Fine by me. I saved a lot of small stuff that night, including a coin collection (nothing super exciting, but still), several bills including a ripped 5$ (I think it’s still worth 5$ but I have yet to bring it in), some patches, a Nintendo Game & Watch (ie: an easy 50$+), and a collection of Bruce Springsteen tour pins. The house looked empty the week after, and there was no more garbage to be found.

Over the weeks I also saved some old photos, clothes, canned food, and other useful if unexciting stuff.

The weather’s looking pretty good this weekend so I’m planning on doing two garage sales. It’s also that time of year when university kids make their way here for the fall semester, and I figure it’s a good time to unload some quality junk. Sorry for the late notice, but at least they start a little late as well!


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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

Please note that I am hopelessly bad at responding to emails & Facebook messages.

Recent sales (May & June)

eBay sales

May: 12 sales for 1521.50$

June: 18 sales for 1357$.

Total: 30 sales for 2878.50$. With fees at around 10%, my profit on that is roughly 2590$.

Macbook Pro: 175$. I found this while biking in Outremont back in the spring. It worked but slowly, making me think that the hard drive was an issue. Still, a MacBook Pro in nearly any condition is worth selling on eBay.

Pal Kepenyes yin-yang necklace: 375$. As seen in the last post!

Isamu Nogachi vintage paper lamp: 325$. Ditto!

14k necklace clasp: 150$. I would have scrapped this in the past, but I found out that there’s a good market for jewelry findings on their own, especially a fancier looking piece like this. It ended up selling for over twice its value in scrap.

Gulden prism set: 100$. An optometry doohickey, part of a larger optometry haul that I didn’t get around to mentioning here. However, one piece in particular is very cool, and I’ll show you a picture eventually.

Speakman Anystream No.1: 210$. I’ve found two of these now, and both sold fairly quickly for 210$. They date back to the 50s (you can see some of the patent info in the middle) and are very heavy, made with chrome plated brass. It needed a good cleaning with CLR but was definitely worth the effort.

Silver George Jensen bracelet, No. 142B: 350$. Georg Jensen is one of the finest names in silver, and I made sure to get top dollar for this piece.

Local auction sales

3693$ – 923.25$ (commission fees) – 166$ (listing fees) = 2603.75$

Dualit toaster: 65$. Found at the bottom of a recycling bin in Cote St-Luc.

10k gold heart pendant: 40$. A piece from that Rosemont gold haul. I’m happy with this price. After fees I’m still getting around 1.5x the scrap value, and I doubt putting the work into listing it on eBay would have provided enough extra value to make the process worthwhile.

2 Nintendo DS Lites + games: 85$. I actually tested these ones – they worked fine. Found not far from Dawson College.

19.2k Portuguese gold ring: 95$. Another piece from that Rosemont haul. Again, I’m happy to have gotten above scrap here. It had diamonds and a pearl, but none were exceptional enough to be worth much on their own. I included a nice Birks box, I find them fairly regularly and they’re great for displaying the item.

90.70 in Euro coins: 130$. My collection of Euros got too big so I dumped them off on the auction house. It’s largely a symbolic victory but I was happy to get a little above a 1:1 exchange rate after fees. 1 Euro is worth 1.50 CAD right now, but finding someone to pay the exchange rate for coins is pretty difficult. I had similar results with a smaller lot of British pound coins.

Antique English semi-porcelain serving dish: 38$. Old china is a tough sell in general right now but this piece did pretty well. It made it to the curb unscathed! Found while walking around the Mile End.

Vintage exit lamps: 140$. I found this box full of them outside of a big apartment building near downtown when I was driving around with my mom. We didn’t go on a long trash run, but this find made it a profitable one!

Pineapple light: 36$. These spent a lot of time in my garage before I brought them to auction. I figured I should pair them with some other vintage light fixture, but all along they were cool enough for a lot of their own. Pineapples are in right now.

Peanuts garbage can: 20$. This isn’t a terrible price, but I’m kinda wishing I had just kept it!

Pokemon cards: 46$. With the help of family I was able to process a bunch of cards from that massive haul in the winter (I still have that horseshoe in my car by the way, it seems to be working!). This is just one of several lots, but they all sold for between 32-46$ (other than the Cardfight!! Vanguard ones, which were closer to 20$). There’s definitely money to be made but I decided it’s not worth driving myself crazy trying to find a valuable Charizard or whatever. These cards aren’t that old anyways, so it’s less likely that any particular one will be super valuable (most of the ultra expensive cards are from the early editions). Even after selling about 12 thousand cards, I still have huge boxes full of unsorted ones under my bed. That might end being a good winter project.

Vintage Fisher Price hospital: 42$. Found in Cote-des-Neiges.

Jacques Cartier bridge plans: 55$. I think this one had something to do with drainage. I had some others, but most were more technical. Still, the drawings were pretty cool!

Untested console lot: 65$. I hate testing electronics. Fortunately, they do pretty well at auction even when I don’t.

Copper fish cooking pot: 140/2$. I split the profit with a friend because we found it together and he helped clean it up. It was a real pain making this thing look shiny, but I guess it was worth it – it sold at the high end of what I was expecting.

Silver necklace: 40$. I found this several years back and wasn’t able to sell it on eBay or Etsy. I’m happy with the price I got here. The stones were probably rough rubies, and the necklace was probably Indian.

Lot of gaming controllers: 38$. Untested, but probably fine.

Big lot of glass chandelier dangles: 34$.

Glass case with old junk: 48$. I’m pretty happy with this price! Oh, and I didn’t include the coins with the lot. I have more research to do before I feel comfortable selling those.


5193.75$, 18263.95$ halfway through 2019. At this pace I will easily beat my previous records!