Growth

I recently received an email from someone writing a book about Gord Smith, the creator of this sculpture I found back in the spring (and which came in at #5 of my “Best of 2019” list). She was browsing the web, doing some research when she came across my blog. She was pretty excited to see the sculpture, and asked me if I still had it. She shared some details about the work that I didn’t know previously, which you can see below:

“The piece is made of cor-ten steel and bronze was braised on top of it to create the beautiful texture. This sculpture is from a series Gord did between 1961 and 1969 called Growth. These sculptures were inspired by plant and animal life i.e. seaweed, flowers, birds…etc.”

Eventually, she showed the pictures to Gord, who she meets with regularly, and he offered to buy it back for 750$. That seemed like a very fair price, so I went for it. A friend of Gord’s came to pick it up, and the transaction went off without a hitch. I quite liked the sculpture, but I need cash more than I need art, considering all the student loans I have yet to pay off.

This sale also shows how letting things sit around for a while can occasionally be a good selling strategy. My blog is popular enough now that the things I write about appear in Google search results (not right away, but they get indexed at some point), which makes it more likely that interested buyers will find my wares. Of course most items won’t sell themselves, but these days I’m finding so much stuff that a few things are bound to collect dust for a while anyways.

Given the nature of the sale and the final price I think I’ll unofficially move this sculpture up a few notches on my “best of 2019” list. I think it could easily move into the #2 spot, and you could definitely make an argument for moving it all the way to #1.

That Inuit sculpture (#4, and which I found at the same spot) is going up for auction soon enough. Depending on where that ends up, I may want to unofficially change its positioning as well.

I’ll fill out this post a bit by sharing some miscellaneous one-off finds from the past few months. I passed by a huge pile in NDG the week before Christmas and found a fair bit of stuff, including these chairs.

They were vintage Eames / Herman Miller fiberglass chairs. They needed a bit of TLC, but I was still able to sell them very quickly via Kijiji for 180$. This was the first time I found an Eames chair of any kind, hopefully more are in my future!

Other things I saved from that pile included: a NAD CD player, a number of junky brass decorations, a few books and magazines, a pair of lamps, some kitchenwares, and a few little bits.

On the bottom right is a cute brass lock, which was probably made in India. At bottom left is a pendant that looks to be made from silver and bone or ivory. That bracelet (or maybe anklet) at top right has little bells on it and makes a very pretty sound.

I didn’t see anything else here in subsequent weeks, so I guess it was just a case of someone clearing out their garage or basement.

In late October I found a bag containing the remnants of a jewellery box. There wasn’t as much in there as I’d hoped, but I still found a few nice pieces.

On the right is a bunch of gold. The pearl earrings are pretty nice, as are the ones with the shiny stones. The rest was scrap quality, other than the platinum ring. It’s quite old, and comes with two of three diamonds. It’s a tiny ring, a size three, so maybe it was made for a kid. Regardless, it should sell “as is” on eBay, perhaps to someone interested in repairing and resizing it. The Mount Fuji medallion is pretty cool, my guess is that it’s a tourist piece.

Here are my best finds from another nearly random trash bag near Vendome metro. Those medals are likely gold and both date to the early 1930s based on the engravings on the back. If they are gold, at 8.5 grams they’re worth between 200-400$, assuming the carat is between 10 and 18. The brooch is cute, it looks like silver but I haven’t tested it. No signatures, unfortunately.

I did a lot of trash runs this week. I wasn’t particularly successful on most of them, but I found a few intriguing spots that could provide dividends someday. The “part x of a million” person is still tossing lots of stuff, and has been my primary source of late. I’ll probably share some more stuff from that spot in my next post.

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

The best of 2019

The end of the year is a great time for lists. In 2017 and 2018 I posted my “best of” long after the year was over, in large part because I wanted to share all my best finds in regular posts before putting them in the “best of.” This year I’d prefer to get the post done on time, but keep in mind there’s some worthy candidates I haven’t had time to post about yet!

2019 was a very good year by most standards. I continued to benefit from having more storage space (ie: my garage) and having the auction house available as a regular outlet for my junk. Both of these relatively new circumstances have radically changed how I do business, and 2019 was my most profitable year to date (though I haven’t done the math yet to see exactly how profitable it was). I did meet a record number of unpleasant people, but maybe that’s just a mark of success.

Without further ado, here’s my selection of my top ten finds of 2019!

10 – 280$ cash. I wasn’t as lucky finding cash as I was last year, but I can’t complain about finding 280$ in twenties at this bountiful spot.

9 – Diamond earrings in 18k gold. I still have to figure out the precise value of these, but the big stones are diamonds and look to be about .25 carats each. I’ve lost track of the solo middle earring, but I’m sure it’s kicking around somewhere. If I were to guess, I’d say that altogether they’re worth between 300-450$.

8 – Isamu Noguchi Akari washi paper lamp. This mid century Japanese designer lamp was in remarkably good condition, probably because it was stored in its original box. Maybe it was never even used. Either way, it sold pretty quickly for 325$.

7 – Paul Kepenyes ying/yang necklace. This came from the same spot as the Noguchi lamp. Works by Kepenyes, a Hungarian-Mexican artist, are fairly sought after. This necklace ended up selling for 375$.

6 – Portrait miniatures. Particularly the two on the left, which apparently date to the early 1800s and are likely painted on ivory. It’s not every day I find something over 200 years old! I think they’re worth around 200$ each.

5 – Gord Smith sculpture. Smith “is considered one of Canada’s greatest post-war sculptors,” at least according to Montreal’s museum of contemporary art. I’d say this bronzed steel piece is worth around 500$ based on the auction results I’ve seen. If anything that estimate might be a little conservative. FYI, the wingspan (if that’s the right word) is about 50cm.

4. Inuit soapstone carving. This large, 8.33 pound sculpture made it to the curb unscathed, thanks in large part to the fact that the previous owners wrapped it in sheets before throwing it out. You have to wonder why someone would toss something with such care; my guess is that they just didn’t want this heavy thing ripping through the trash bag once lifted. Anyways, the piece was carved by a guy named Joe Emiqutailaq of the Belcher Islands, and it’s going to be my first item to sell at a high-end auction (Waddington’s in this case). The auction is in February, and the sculpture has a pre-auction estimate of 4-500$.

3 –14k gold Masonic pocket watch fob. That enamel eye really brings the piece together. It’s worth about 330$ for the gold, but I expect it to sell for between 500-650$.

2 – 18k gold brooch. I tried to figure out who might have designed this to no avail. The price of gold is pretty high right now, and I decided I was best off selling this for weight. At about 18 grams, this brooch earned me a little over 700$.

1 – 18k bloodstone ring. This is one the most beautiful rings I’ve ever found. Marked 750 (18k gold), it was likely made somewhere in Europe. It’s a large (size 11) men’s ring, and at 14.2 grams it’s worth several hundred just for scrap. It’s much nicer than that, though, and I expect it to sell for around 1000$.

Bonus: potentially valuable mystery items.

I’ve learned a lot over the years, but there’s still a lot I don’t know. I don’t want to undersell anything, so these mystery items often languish on shelves until the day an expert comes along, or I realize that I finally feel qualified to make a judgment myself.

Notable 2019 candidates include: the ancient-looking coins I found (I don’t have confidence in my ability to tell a real from a fake); …

… this old folk art box (European folk art is not my specialty);

this Kiddush cup (I still have to figure out if it’s solid silver or just plated);

… and this dog figurine. I think it’s porcelain, and it looks a little different from all the other figurines I’ve seen over the years. I can’t really put into words why that is the case, though it does appear to have a higher level of detail than most (particularly the face, and the bottoms of the paws are modeled as well). I forgot to post this on the blog, but I did post it to Instagram where someone noted that it looked like a very old Meissen piece. There’s no visible signature so it’s hard to confirm that, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this ended up being somewhat valuable, even though the tail is a bit busted up. FYI, the piece measures about 8.5″ wide and 8″ tall.

There’s definitely more intriguing mystery items in that huge haul I have yet to sort through, but that’ll just have to wait!

Well that’s all for 2019, for now at least. Hopefully 2020 is a good one, for me and all you readers! And a shout out to the rest of the world of course, as it could certainly use some help these days.

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