The finds I crave

This haul was from the summer of 2020 (my “bumper crop” year), so these pictures have been collecting virtual dust for some time now. Better to post them late than never though, right?

I’d really love to happen upon a pile like this right about now. I’m still picking up loads and loads of books, but there haven’t been many finds of note in the precious metals / jewelry department for some time now.

I remember finding a bunch of coins the first time I stopped here. That was a good omen. In the box were more coins, including some already rolled pennies. Literal easy money.

Otherwise, I picked up some of the usual quality junk …

… and some bits of paper ephemera. My favourite piece here is the letter written to Eaton’s in 1960 complaining about a defective dishwasher. That bridge joke is… let’s go with “dated.”

What made this place notable though was the jewelry and the precious metals. I don’t remember all these pieces after two plus years, but that mechanical pencil was silver for sure.

There were a few bits of silver and gold in here too, most of which also appear in the next pic.

That watch was gold for sure, though it was busted up and not good for much but scrap. That religious pendant next to it was also gold, as were the two earrings to its upper right. There are several silver pieces here, including a little enameled Order Of The Holy Sepulchre medal which might still be kicking around in one of my drawers.

These were my best finds though. The rings boxes alone are decent. The one on the left was sterling, and the Birks one was quite beautiful as well, all done up in deep blue leather with gold accents. I forget what they sold for, but I’d guess they went for around 75-100$ each. The stainless steel one was probably worth around 40$ as well.

The rings inside weren’t much good, but that doesn’t matter when they’re gold. The two in the middle were 14k and made by Birks, but the stones had been forcibly removed making the rings worth nothing outside of their weight in gold. Fortunately, that was still a few hundred dollars. The one in the box on the left was sterling I think (and missing a stone). The earrings, which were stored in that little yellow pouch along with a note, were my best individual find. They were solid 18k gold, and I recently (finally) sold them for a bit above their scrap value (650$).

Looking at this reminds me how great 2020 was for finds. 2021 and 2022 weren’t much good, but here’s hoping 2023 is better, and that I happen upon another nice gold haul soon! There’s nothing quite like finding gold.

I do feel like the trash has been a bit better recently. The books are still flowing, but I also have a few other spots I’m keeping an eye on now. Spring is definitely in the air, though I don’t feel like people are doing much cleaning yet. It’s still a bit chilly, and a fair amount of snow remains.


1. My eBay listings. Sign up for eBay (Canada, US). Search for something you want / research something you have (Canada, US). — These are Ebay Partner Network links. If you create an account or buy something after getting to eBay from here, I get a small cut of the profit!  —
2. “Things I find in the garbage” on Facebook
3. Follow @garbagefinds and @garbagefindssells. Note that someone else runs the latter.
4. Email: Note that I really suck at keeping up with my email.
5. Donate to the blog. It costs close to 500$ a year to maintain (no ads, domain name, storage space, etc) which ain’t cheap. Otherwise, it’s nice to get a few bucks for coffee, food, or gas!

The cat pee house / the cow

For a few months in the fall I was excited to visit a spot on the curb that I referred to as the “cat pee house.” As you probably expect, a lot of the stuff here reeked of cat pee, which is up there along with tobacco smoke for smells that ruin otherwise quality junk. Needless to say I passed on the loads of bags filled with fabrics, but I held my nose and went digging when the kitchenwares and ceramics made their way to the curb. That stuff is easy enough to clean.

Altogether, for all my digging I saved about a medium-size box of glassware and ceramics. Most was yard sale stuff, and there were a few things for Instagram like a cute giraffe planter and a weird egg pile ceramic.

(FYI, if you want bonus garbage content, keep an eye on my Instagram accounts! Lots of stuff never makes the blog, but you can see some of it there… and no need to buy anything, you can just window shop. Links below).

One standout was this Moorcroft tea set. Unfortunately there is damage to each piece (left to right – cracked lid, cracked lid, repaired handle, albeit nicely executed) but the actual canister and teapot pieces survived damage-free. They’re probably worth something, but I haven’t looked into it much yet.

My nicest find was likely this old enameled Ekers IPA beer tray. It’s hard to find out much about these guys, but it seems like they probably haven’t been around since the 1950s. These are most often used for display pieces now, and this one is in excellent condition (the stains cleaned off very nicely) so I’m going to aim for something in the 300-500$ range. That auction site claims it was made in the 1920s, and they might be right, though I wouldn’t be surprised if it was made in the 30s or 40s either.

I was checking out this spot for a while too. No cat pee, just a decent flow of quality junk. One day, I happen upon this massive canvas. I was expecting the usual landscape scene, but was surprised to see a much more unusual subject.

It was a huge cow! A Hereford to be precise. This painting is close to 6′ wide, and maybe 4.5′ tall (just guessing) and I had to take it out of the frame to get it in my van. If I still had my old car, I would have had to strap it to the roof and hope for the best because there was no way this painting would have fit into that thing.

Anyways, I love it. It’s now a centerpiece in a spare room at the apartment, and other people appreciate it as well. I have to wonder about its history though, as a gigantic cow painting is not the kind of thing you’d generally hang in a home. If you look closely, you can see drill holes in the frame on the sides near the top, and also on the bottom near the sides. My theory is that this was likely used as decoration somewhere commercial, perhaps up on the walls at a livestock auction? If you have any theories, let us know in the comments! The artist appears to be “E. Denuit,” but that name is a dead-end on Google.

Otherwise, my recent finds have mostly been books, books, and more books (still). The books are good though, thankfully. It’s finally March though, and spring is near. At the very least, that means more people moving, and more people trashing.


1. My eBay listings, Sign up for eBay (Canada, US), Search for something you want / research something you have (Canada, US) – FYI these are Ebay Partner Network links, so I make a few bucks if you sign up for an account or buy something after getting to eBay using these links
2. Facebook page
3. Follow @garbagefinds and @garbagefindssells (selling account, operated by someone else) on Instagram
4. Email: – note that I can’t fulfill most requests for items, many are already gone by the time they are posted here.

The Lens

I finally started using this Google Lens thing after hearing about it from my followers. For instance, I occasionally ask for help identifying an object on Instagram, and people would then send me Google Lens results in their replies. Eventually I clued in that it was a useful tool (it takes me a while to figure these things out sometimes). So today I’ll share three objects that this new tool helped identify.

I picked up this ceramic vase in Park Ex amongst boxes full of kitchenwares in the fall of 2022. I could tell that it was pretty old, but I struggle to describe these things (“old vase with blue and black pattern??”). Researching it would have been very difficult in the past.

(The vase had a sticker with someone’s name on the bottom, which makes me think it was inherited at some point, and “master stone” written using some kind of marker on the inside).

Thanks to the Lens, I was able to identify some relevant keywords (Qajar dynasty [Iran], Persian) and was linked to very similar pieces, like the vase at the bottom left. That one purports to be from the 18th century, though I wouldn’t be surprised if this design was made later than that as well. Either way, this seems like a pretty close match. I hesitate to pretend I’m an expert because I used the Google, but based on what I’ve seen I’m thinking this vase is worth somewhere between the few hundreds and the several hundreds.

Lots of these hard-to-research things end up sitting on shelves in my storage for years before I figure out what to do with them. I picked these up in Outremont, along with someone’s old coin collection and other quality junk, in maybe 2017 or 2018. I think I posted them here, but I can’t find the pics now. Needless to say, they’ve been kicking around a while.

They looked old, but I never did find any similar pieces in my brief research (in retrospect these ones are easier to describe than the other, given their unusual shape). I’m sure I would have figured it out if I have spent longer trying, but “there’s always more garbage” and I got distracted with newer finds.

As it turns out, Qajar dynasty/Iran/Persia are important keyword here yet again. Also, “tri-sided” and “fritware” (I’ve never heard of that kind of -ware before). The guys at top left are trying to sell theirs for 480 AUD, though from what I’m seeing you can find them a fair bit cheaper. If those guys are right about their description, these vases date to around 1900.

Finally, I always thought this platter I found in late 2018 was unusual, particularly the look of the glaze on the bottom. It’s been sitting around the house for a while, because I never had any luck finding a comparable piece online. Queue the Lens.

Thanks to this, I now have “French” “Faience” and “Rouen” keywords to work with. According to various sources, this platter was probably made in the early 18th century (though you always have to take these product descriptions with a grain of salt, because all it takes is one person describing it as such for it to become a “fact” on the internet). Anyways, the guys selling the one at bottom left are asking for 744$, but I’ve seen others in the 300$ range which I think is probably the more realistic price – maybe less if you wanted to sell it quickly.

So, I would definitely recommend you check out this Google Lens thing if you haven’t already. I think you can only use it on your cell phone, but maybe there’s a similar tool you could use on the computer. It also does translations!

Part of me dreads the day when this technology becomes too advanced and ruins the magic & mystery of finding something unusual. That being said, I don’t think we have to worry about that yet. Google Lens still comes up empty on a lot of things I research, so there’s still plenty of mystery out there… for now.


1. My eBay listings, Sign up for eBay (Canada, US), Search for something you want / research something you have (Canada, US) – FYI these are Ebay Partner Network links, so I make a few bucks if you sign up for an account or buy something after getting to eBay using these links
2. Facebook page
3. Follow @garbagefinds and @garbagefindssells (selling account, operated by someone else) on Instagram
4. Email: – note that I can’t fulfill most requests for items, many are already gone by the time they are posted here.