The home office

I thought it might be nice to show you where my work gets done. Today I’ll give you a tour of my home office, which is really just a section of my room, in an apartment I share with 3-4 others at any given time.

I do a lot of photography here, particularly for eBay but also for the blog (mainly collections of small items, because the box isn’t too big). Now that I have photo lights in my garage I take a lot of blog photos there as well. I do most of my researching, eBay listing and blogging here, though sometimes I wonder if I should get out of the house more often (ie: by going to a café to work). I use that laser printer (which I found, and still haven’t had to buy ink for) to print off my eBay shipping labels.

(Notable former garbage in this picture: the map, the cat embroidery, the blue cabinet thingy the photo lights sit on, lots of bits and bobs).

Working at home is comfortable, of course, in large part because of Girl Kitty. She was a foster cat along with her brother (Boy Kitty), and both were inherited by my former roommate. Boy Kitty went with someone else, which is fine by me because he was kind of a jerk, and eventually Girl Kitty came to be mine. Anyways, she’s a fun cat with a lot of personality. She’ll rarely sit right next to you, but if there’s a box there she’ll often jump inside. So, some of my best working from home moments involve me sitting on my little couch with a cat in a box beside me.

(Notable former garbage: cat’s box. I got the couch at an estate sale for 40$).

I store a lot of stuff at home. This china cabinet (which I got at the auction house for about 50$) contains a bunch of different junk, including: a tub (the green one) for found e-waste & batteries; small boxes for shipping; business cards for my new business card project; cleaning products (ie: for silver); and miscellaneous finds to be photographed or otherwise dealt with. The drawers below are often in flux, but right now they’re mostly focused on items I’d like to try to sell at a flea market.

The filing cabinet (trash find) contains things that I could / should list on eBay (top drawer), packing supplies (middle drawers), and stuff that could go into future auction lots or flea markets (bottom shelf). I don’t think having the packing materials in there really make much sense, so I’ll probably store them elsewhere at some point.

On top of my filing cabinet were boxes full of sorted Pokemon, Magic, Yu-Gi-Oh, and other playing cards. Stashed under my bed were three big boxes containing many more unsorted, unloved cards. After looking at this photo, I realized that I didn’t really want to see these cards ever again, and decided to bring them to the auction house “as is” in their unsorted state. It’s been almost a year since I found the card hoard, and the upcoming anniversary made it clear in my mind that it was time to move on. I’m still likely to make some decent money from these cards, just not as much as I would have if I had put the many hours into organizing them. Though, upon saying that, that might not even be true. No way to know, I guess.

Otherwise, this spot is often a resting place for miscellaneous trash, items of interest, or packing materials. Now that those Pokemon cards are gone, the potential is limitless.

I found that embroidered serenity prayer in Ville Emard many years ago. I’m not religious or a member of AA, but I think it’s a good message regardless.

Here’s a look inside one the drawers in my blue cabinet. This one’s reserved for small items, most of which could be listed on eBay, or at least require further research. I try to keep all my pens in here, and as you can tell I’m a bit behind in getting them listed. That’s okay though, as they take up next to no space. This is just one of the many drawers & cubby-holes filled with junk at “the office.”

The home office isn’t always this organized, for the record, but sometimes it is. I found that purple chair in TMR this past fall, and the painting is the Edmund Alleyn I found a couple years back. At some point I want to get it restored, but I haven’t gotten around to that yet. On the chair is a Gutenberg word processor manual (trying to figure out what to do with it), and some packages ready to be mailed.

This part is just for decoration. I found that mid-century yellow lamp years ago in NDG. My friend saw a similar one by Douglas Ball and John Berezowski at the Fine Arts Museum in Quebec City last year, and through that I was able to track down one that looks the same via Google (though the link won’t open for whatever reason). So, it’s probably worth a bit of money, but I plan on keeping it. I found that radio around six years ago, and it’s still a favourite of mine. I also really like the preserved (I’m not sure how) piranha, and the four-legged alien looking Beauce plant pot. I enjoy the other things as well, but I’m not as committed to them, and might switch them out at some point.

While on the topic of lamps, I really like this green capiz shell chandelier I found years ago. It needed some fixing up, but I think it was worth the few hours I put into it. I hung it from an old light fixture that probably hasn’t worked in decades anyways.

I try to not collect too much stuff, lest I let the junk take control of my life, but I do like little bottles & tins. Here’s are the ones I have on display in the corner, next to the door.

Well that’s a pretty good look at the home office. At some point, maybe in the spring I’ll show you the state of my garage, which is where I try to leave most of the mess. It’s kind of chaotic, but it’s an ordered chaos that makes sense in my head.

It’s very cold today, so this is the second Friday in a row that I’ve skipped due to weather. I would have gone out if I have an interesting spot to check on, but I haven’t had much luck on my Friday runs recently anyways. Most of my good fortune this week came from Pointe St-Charles of all places – I’ll show you those finds at some point 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 – note that it might take me some time to reply, and that I am unlikely to be able to fulfill requests for items

Part one of a million pt.2

 

This spot (part one) continues to produce really cool trash on a near-weekly basis. It’s definitely one of my all-time best, but I hesitate to say much more while they’re still tossing – I have a (perhaps superstitious or irrational) fear that if I share too much they’ll find out somehow and quit putting such great things on the curb. An alternative, for example, would be to pay a company like 1-800-Got-Junk to pick everything up for an exorbitant fee, or to throw everything into one of those big red dumpsters. The former cuts me out from the process completely, and the latter leads to a lot of breakage and makes picking much more difficult. Either would make me sad, that’s for sure.

Oftentimes I’ll find a bunch of little bits at the bottom of a bag. This time they were kinda dirty – something else had spilled inside the bag – so I picked out all the good stuff and gently washed it in water with dish soap.

Here’s the accumulation after sorting and washing. There were lots of coins in there, several of which were silver.

The coins aren’t in good enough condition to be worth much above their scrap value (which I’d say is about 20$), but I love finding silver in any form. That beat up ring is also silver, as is the necklace chain. The cufflink is probably just plated, or covered with a thin piece of silver but it has an interesting spring-loaded design (pretty similar to these). It probably dates to the late 1800s, and I’m hoping the other one turns up eventually.

I’ve found a lot of jewelry boxes here, some of which are worth decent money. These ones are nice, but mostly quality yard sale material. The gold keychain fob is made to hold a Charga-Plate, an early form of credit card that was in use between the 1930s and late 1950s.

Here we have some very old sewing needles, some pottery sherds, a mother of pearl manicure tool, and what might be the oldest nail clipper I’ve found (below the blue pack of needles).

More interesting if not particularly valuable stuff here. That Lufkin ruler is nice, but one section in the back is busted.

I found this collection of carved fish and turtles inside a ziplock bag. The fish could be cutlery rests, but I’m not sure what the turtles would do. Either way, I think they’re made of soapstone, and are in fairly good condition overall.

More interesting doodads. That fish brooch is neat, but looks a little chewed up. I wonder if it’s tortoiseshell. Otherwise, we have a nice little pocket knife, some old keys, a cool rock, and an old pair of scissors.

This place has been great for old pencils and pens. The nib on that dip pen third from the top is very rusty, but it can be replaced – the rest is made from silver and bone. Below that is a Gillott dip pen that looks nearly new. The checking / marking crayons date to the late 1800s. I’d guess that the Hooper and Co. doohickey is a fancy pen or pencil cap, but I’m not 100% sure.

This dip pen is unusual. The glass “handle” contains some kind of hot pink, viscous liquid. I don’t think it’s ink – I’m not sure how you’d break it open and write with it – so maybe it’s just for decoration. Regardless, it’s pretty neat.

I opened this Georg Jensen box with high hopes. Inside were two watches and a Georg Jensen ying/yang pendant.

This is the second Jensen piece I’ve found, the first being that bracelet I sold for 350$ last year. This piece isn’t as valuable, but it should still sell at my asking price of 85$.

I really like this Mercury watch, perhaps because of its distinctive black dial. I may keep it for my personal collection, even though I never wear watches (though I guess I could always start). It was probably made in the 50s or 60s.

Let’s finish with this quality batch. The enameled ring is hallmarked “Made in China Silver,” and the silver earrings above it were made in Peru. The Timex watch is pretty cute, and probably dates to the 50s. The filigree earrings with the Jade-like stone are probably silver. The clasps on the back aren’t, but feature the patent number 1967965 which indicates that they were likely made in the 30s or 40s. Finally, the little bronze medal was made by a not particularly well known Belgian medalist named Louis-Antoine de Smeth.

On the back is written “Caritas Jodoigne Septembre 1918.” I have no idea what that means, so please let us know if you have any insights!

I have bins full of blog worthy stuff from this place. It’s going to take a long time to share it all, but it’ll all come out eventually!

Last week was pretty good for trash, one of my best since the year began. There was a huge dump of snow, about 40cm worth, over the past couple days. If this had happened on a Monday, that would pretty much write off the whole week, but because it started on a Friday my picking schedule shouldn’t be affected much. This city isn’t known for being well managed, but the snow removal services are generally pretty good.

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

Pass-pour pt.2

Let’s finish up with this stuff. I found a lot of old electronics here, including a whole bunch of vintage calculators. I always have a soft spot for those, even if most aren’t worth that much. That Grundig radio is pretty nice, and that SeaRanger weather radio is kind of cool. It also worked when I found it, indicating that it was used relatively recently (many portable radios I find have dead or corroded batteries inside). For some reason this person owned a whole bunch of those pens with digital clocks on them. None looked to have been used.

I saved three of these old Nokia cell phones. I was surprised to see that they actually held a charge after all these years. Also, I was surprised when the lot of three sold quickly on eBay for 45$. I guess this model is a “classic” at this point, and one of the phones was in basically new condition.

Here’s a couple more calculators, a toy gun of some kind, and some engineering tools. I wonder if the previous owner worked in the field.

Those old parallel rulers are kind of cool, as is the slide rule (a Diwa 913). At top right is a nice brass A.W. Faber “Mentor” pencil sharpener, which should sell for around 25-30$.

I really liked this old wooden toy CPR train, which I imagine was hand made. I’m sure it has a bit of value, but I’m tempted to keep it for myself.

At top left is a nice silver baby rattle. When I was digging through the bags I spotted that mother of pearl end piece, but left it because I assume it was broken off a manicure tool or something. Once I got home I researched the rest of the rattle and realized what I had left behind. So, I drove all the way back to find it again, which is something I rarely do. However, I knew it would bother me if I didn’t complete the rattle. Anyways, it was made in Birmingham, England in 1930 and is worth about 100$.

Otherwise, we have a nice Waterman pen, an old wood & brass slide caliper, and a J&R Weir Marine Engineers pin.

These buttons, stored in an old cigarette pack, were not to be thrown out (but were). They’re from the Lower Canada College, a private school in NDG, and look to be silver plated. I found a few more LCC buttons in a small plastic bag.

I found a bit of jewelry, mostly cufflinks. The Fenwick & Sailors silver gun cufflinks at top right are probably the nicest ones in this collection, they should sell for 60-75$. That grey and red stone thing is silver too, but it looks to have broken off of something.

My favourite cufflinks were the gold ones. I found around four pair, each of which were 9 or 10k gold. With the price of gold where it is (over 2000 Canadian dollars per ounce), this small collection is worth around 450$ for scrap.

However, my coolest find here might have been this silver plated nutcracker, which appears to be from the RMS Lusitania.

The Lusitania was sunk by a German submarine in 1915. 128 Americans were among the dead, which influenced their decision to join the war effort in 1917.

The Lusitania was only in service between 1907 and 1915, and I doubt they decided to switch the silverware in that length of time. My guess is that someone stole this from the ship way back in the day. I wasn’t able to find any others like it online (or Lusitania silverware in general, besides souvenir spoons), so it must be kind of rare.

It’s definitely a cool piece. It’s hard to research, but I’d guess it’s worth a bit of money, and might even be a worthy of a retroactive add to my best of 2019 list. If you can help me appraise it, please share your wisdom in the comments!

In other news, I decided to start a new Instagram account where I trace old business cards and other ephemera (most of which I found in the trash) back to whence they came. It’s a fun way to explore the history of the city, and is also a good excuse to get out for a walk. If you’re interested in such a thing, check it out!

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