Tag Archives: history

April sales + e-waste recycling

eBay sales have been great the past couple of months! I guess the warm spring weather inspires people to buy stuff online. I also had my most profitable yard sale ever, so I’m not broke for the first time in a while, though I should probably spend most of that money my teeth.

Before I show you what sold, here’s a collection of e-waste that I’ve saved over the past few months. I trash pick largely because I think it’s interesting and exciting, but I also care about the environment. I can’t save, or divert all that comes my way unfortunately; there’s just not enough time in the world to do right by each item I see. Still, I figure that recovering smaller sized e-waste, especially cell phones is a manageable activity.

All recycling is significant, but I think e-waste recycling is particularly important: many of the metals are dangerous for the environment if sent to landfill, but they can also be easily re-used. Recycling small electronics is really simple too, many stores have e-waste recycling boxes for virtually effortless disposal. I dropped these off just three minutes from home!

Just to clarify, I do sell these kinds of electronics when they have value. However, for a lot of the older stuff it’s just not worth the effort.

This batch of cell phones, digital cameras, and media players weighed 1.115kg. I’ll keep a running tally of how much I recycle, and hopefully by the end of the year the number will be impressive!

Now, let’s get to the stuff that actually makes me money.

1. Lampe Berger: On eBay for 45$. I found this pretty close to home, on rue Esplanade.

2. Vintage Esso map of France: On eBay for 15$. I can’t for the life of my find a picture of this on my computer. Here’s the eBay listing though, if you’re interested.

3. Malcolm X movie patch: On eBay for 26$. I decided to go the auction route in this case. I could have probably gotten more, but I’m also glad to see it leave the house.

4. Vintage Gillette razor blades: On eBay for 22$.

5. Apple adapter: On eBay for 12$. I can’t find a picture of this either, but rest assured that it’s one of those boring white AV cable things. I’ve realized that anything Apple is worth listing, even the accessories.

6. Stanley Carpenter’s rule: On eBay for 35$. I thought this was a pretty neat thing. Glad it found a new home!

7. Nikon digital camera: On eBay for 35$. I find digital cameras often enough, but only occasionally does the charger come with them. This camera looked to be in good condition, and the model still had value so I took the chance and bought a charger from China for around 5$. It ended up working just fine! If it hadn’t, I would have held onto it anyways as I’m slowly amassing a collection of digital cameras to sell “for parts / repair.” I think I found this one in Outremont.

8. Royal Doulton “Balloon Man”: On eBay for 85$. No offense to Balloon Man, but I hope he’s gone for good this time! He also sold a few months ago, but was returned to me because of a mistake by the buyer.

9. Xbox 360 accessories lot: On eBay for 35$. Whoever bought this probably got a pretty good deal. I wasn’t motivated enough to test each piece individually, so I listed them altogether on eBay at a solid discount. I wouldn’t be surprised if all this stuff worked fine. I found them with an Xbox 360 that wouldn’t turn on.

10. Vintage SAE equalizer: On eBay for 80$. I found this in front of some apartments on Wilderton (CDN) around the beginning of winter. It sat in storage until spring, when I finally got around to testing and listing it. I’m starting to get more comfortable shipping bigger items.

11. Space saving Apple keyboard: On eBay for 75$. I love these things. I found this one in that part of Rosemont with the Thursday evening pickup.

12. Game Golf digital tracking system: On eBay for 60$. Some guy on eBay offered me 10$ for this a few months ago, glad I stuck to my guns!

13. Lisham Art silver picture frame: On eBay for 175$. I wasn’t sure this thing would sell for anywhere close to my asking price, so I’m very happy with the profit here.

14. Vintage Heddon fly fishing pole: On eBay for 105$. It didn’t look to have ever been used. I had never before shipped a fishing pole, so that was neat. Found in the Plateau.

15. Longines watch, 14k gold: On eBay for 300$. This took a long time to sell. My price was too high originally, but I’d rather aim for too much than get too little.

16. Dr Oberbach biotensor: On eBay for 100$. This is a vintage dowsing pendulum for detecting energies or something. I don’t believe in that kind of stuff, but I don’t object to selling it at market value.

17. B&L cat-eye sunglasses: On eBay for 40$.

18. Small lot of empty Tiffany jewelry boxes: On eBay for 30$. Only two were in really nice condition, the other two were throw-ins.

19. Chateau Frontenac postcards: On eBay for 10$. Not too many of these postcards left now!

20. Sterling silver dog stick pin: On eBay for 40$. Found in Hampstead.

21. Oscar de la Renta Ruffles: On eBay for 60$. One of the many nice perfumes from that collection I found back in November.

22. Christian Dior eyeglass frames: On eBay for 100$. Eyeglass frames tend to take a while to sell, but I often make good money from them when they do. These ones were pretty cool!

23. Vintage 1970s “New Tarot” card deck: To a reader for 150$. These cards are destined to be framed. I found them in a recycling bag in the Mile End.

24. Vintage 25lb dumbbells: On Kijiji for 50$. Someone had turned these into sketchy barbells using duct tape. I cut the tape off, removed the glue residue using “Goo Gone,” and eventually made some $$. This was one of my best finds from St Michel, which isn’t saying much.

25. Silver bracelet, made in 1950s Birmingham: On Etsy for 40$. I think I found this years ago, long before I bought my current laptop. Thus, no pictures unfortunately.

26. Yard sale: 620$. This was my most profitable sale ever! That’s partly because I’ve raised my sometimes ridiculously low prices, but I also had a ton (maybe literally) of stuff for sale after a winter of collecting. I was so busy that day that I didn’t have time to take any photos – I’ll try to get pictures of the next one. The weather hasn’t been cooperating, but it looks like I’ll finally be able to have a second sale this weekend. I hope it will be similarly profitable, a lot of my finds didn’t even make it to my first sale.

27. Quebec far-right magazines: On eBay for 300$. I was wondering if this stuff would ever sell, and then one day it did. These transactions (the magazines were divided into two lots) worked out pretty well for me – I’m very happy with the price, and they look to have sold to an archivist with an interest in the far-right. I very much doubt that far right groups spend any money buying back their archives, but it’s still nice to know that this stuff will probably contribute to a future research project. This kind of literature is niche to say the least, and much of it is actually pretty hard to find.

I still have more far-right literature on eBay, but the rest originates from France & Belgium. And just to clarify, the first lot was bigger than shown in the picture above!

Total: 2645$, 7845$ so far in 2017. If only I could do this well all the time!

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My junk runneth over

Last week was one of my busiest in a while. Maybe spring cleaning season began because I sure did find a lot of junk. (FYI, I refer to everything I find as junk these days, even the good stuff).

Don’t get me wrong, I love junk, but finding too much can quickly cause me to feel burnt out. I think that’s because finding more stuff means an exponential increase in workload. After all, the more I find the more photos I have to take; the longer my blog posts are; the more I have to research; the more I want to get listed on eBay; the more I have to mail out; and the more my life turns into a chaotic junk-filled mess.

I’ve gotten better at managing my workload over the years. However, it’s clear that I have more work to do if I want to avoid the cyclical burnout I’ve experienced in the past. I came up with the idea of a more streamlined schedule (photos on Monday, blog on Tuesday, day off other than picking on Wednesday, eBay on Thursday and Friday, day off on Saturday, and a “do what you want” Sunday) which could help, as at least then I’d know what I’m supposed to do and wouldn’t be rushing around trying to finish 12 tasks at once.

Also, I’d like to build a small shed out front (above), under the stairs so that I could leave junk there to be photographed on the Monday. I bring the best stuff inside right away, but I prefer to leave the random items outside until photo day as otherwise they end up cluttering up my life. Right now I have some bins out there, but it’s kind of ugly and generally not ideal. I’ve never built anything in my life, but I figure it wouldn’t be that hard to do. I found a wood pallet that might make a good foundation.

It would help as well to get my storage space organized, because after a whole winter of junk collecting the place looks like a tornado went through it. I think I’ll do it on Sunday when it’s supposed to be really nice out.

If you have any other ideas let me know! I think the main thing is that I need to plan things a bit better, and focus on specific tasks instead of doing whatever comes to mind.

Anyways, let’s get to some garbage. My Monday morning bike ride in the Mile End / Plateau was largely a waste of time, though I did find some neat old papers relating to some Polish community organization. There were way too many to take, so I stuck with the ones that looked most interesting.

One stack of papers was composed of invitations, and responses to those invitations, to a variety of events in the early 1950s. They aren’t too exciting except for the fact that some fairly important people were invited. As a result, there were some cool signatures on the response letters. Shown here are signed response letters from Wilder Penfield, the famous neurosurgeon and the namesake of Docteur Penfield road which passes through McGill; Former Canadian Senator and Speaker of the House W. Ross MacDonald; and Cleveland Morgan, the museum builder and collector who was born into the wealthy Morgan’s family.

There could be more, as I only looked through them very quickly. I doubt they’re worth too much, but they’re still pretty cool.

Here’s an invitation to a Bal des Nations held by the United Nations Association in Canada on October 28 1967. Lots of big names (at least if you’re Canadian) were said to be attending.

Here’s a Polish culture magazine celebrating the election of Pope John Paul II, and a petition supporting the Solidarity trade union that emerged in 1980s communist Poland.

Otherwise, I thought this collection of 1960s Alert anti-communist publications was pretty neat. This is “red scare” era stuff, inspired by a strong fear that society would be subverted by far left interests. The magazine was written in plain language and sought to warn people about the various organizations, publications, and political candidates that would try to sway them towards communism, as well as inform them about the tactics of communist groups. Interesting stuff if you’re into that kind of thing. I posted some more pics below if you’re interested in seeing more.

I had planned on going out to CDN on Monday night, but I was too tired and decided to go to Villeray on Tuesday morning instead.

I think of all the neighbourhoods I’ve gone to regularly I’ve had the least luck in Villeray. I don’t go so much these days, but I used to when I did all my garbaging via bicycle. Considering the amount of time I spent there I don’t really have much to show for it. I think it’s just bad luck, as the neighbourhood really isn’t that much different from the Plateau (perhaps slightly newer, developed in the 20s-40s instead of the 00s-20s, slightly less gentrified) which has brought me a number of great finds.

I included the Google map above just to show people what Villeray looks like. It’s hard to make out from here but you can see the boundaries as a red dotted like. Like a lot of Montreal it’s largely composed of rows and rows of duplexes, triplexes, and so on, like the ones you see below. It’s most famous resident, at least internationally was probably Jackie Robinson, who lived there for a year while he played with the Montreal Royals in 1946. (One of my fantasies is finding some old Montreal Royals stuff, especially something related to Jackie).

I was actually fairly lucky this time around. One household put trash bags in front of multiple buildings on the street, which is something people in denser neighbourhoods sometimes do when they worry about putting out too much (I don’t think it actually matters in most places).

A lot of it was indeed garbage, but I found lots of cool little vintage stuff (my favourite). The best pieces are probably the old rosaries, particularly the one on the right which I think is made from bone. I also like the lucky penny, which was an early 1950s souvenir from the Empire State Building.

My favourite things here are the 500 card game scorekeeper and the vintage Montreal menuiserie (carpentry, I think) sign. I put the latter up on eBay for 30$, I’m sure someone will buy it eventually.

I feel like every household back in the day had some boracic acid. I come across more containers of that than I do anything else. The watch isn’t too special, but it looks nice and doesn’t look to have ever been used.

When I find a bunch of neat stuff I usually bring only a few of my favourite (or at least, eyecatching) finds inside with me right away. At first I thought the cap badge at the bottom was a military thing, but now I think it’s probably just a boy scout thing. Still cool of course, but it’s unlikely to be worth as much money. I’d guess that it was made in the 40s.

The (probably) most valuable thing here will probably surprise you. It’s the tiny bottle of Skin Musk, another vintage 1970s musk scent made by Bonne Bell of Lakewood Ohio. I listed it the same day, and it actually sold within 6 minutes for 60$ plus shipping. I mailed it off not long after, which makes this probably my quickest sale ever.

I also saved this plant. It was dry as a bone when I found it, but these guys (whatever they’re called) are pretty tough… I can say that from personal experience. It perked up quickly after receiving water and it now looks nice in our kitchen.

Unfortunately there wasn’t much here this week. I’ll give the place one more chance, as I want to go back to Villeray next week regardless.

Wednesday was pretty slow. I did find this reasonably modern and seemingly barely used LG E-900h smartphone however. It’s probably worth around 30$.

Now it’s time for some birthday (Thursday) garbage! I actually had decent luck on my special day. I found this junk (including a Holga 135 camera, a Zune, some portable charging batteries, and an iPod Shuffle) on my morning bike ride. If that FM transmitter thing on top works I’ll be pumped, as I’ve been wanting one of those for a while.

For my birthday I decided to do little actual work. I did however go on a “bonus” garbage run to a part of Rosemont (roughly between Dandurand to Belanger, and Papineau to Iberville) that collects its garbage on Thursday evenings. The area isn’t super exciting or anything (it’s certainly not rich) but because it has some history it’s bound to produce some neat old stuff on occasion. I’m guessing here, but I think this area was probably built mostly between the 30s and 50s. Lots of row houses as usual, but sometimes there are stumpy little single family homes as well.

I found some neat things in these orange bags. I find that orange bags are more like to contain good garbage that other types of bags, at least when they don’t contain yard waste.

There was a lot of junk here, a lot of which was decent yard sale-able junk.

None of these sunglasses are super fancy (ie: vintage Dior) but some are still pretty cool. A couple are vintage 80s, and in pretty good condition overall.

A sewing box held some neat stuff, including some Catholic medallions, an Expo 67 pin, and a container filled with vintage Montreal transit buttons. My favourite find here is probably the green eyewash cup. I’ve seen a few of these now, but never one made from green glass.

The watch is a Cyma and it might have a bit of value. The subdial hand is missing and it runs a little weird, but it seems that some collectors appreciate the brand. I’d guess that it was made in the 1940s.

Another eBayable thing from this spot was an old Rodania watch box, probably from the 50s. Vintage watch boxes often have value and I expect this one to go for around 40-50$.

Another birthday bonus find was this vintage 90s cell phone. According to Wikipedia the Motorola Startac was the first truly popular cellphone; around 60 million were sold. I expect mine to sell for between 40-70$. Check out this short video my friend made that brings to life the now ancient sounds this thing made. It’s was a pretty good day for finds overall!

On Friday morning I went to another part of Rosemont. I stopped to look at trash pretty regularly, but most often I went back to the car empty-handed. At one spot the only thing worth taking were these eight postage stamps.

Someone asked the other day how much money I save by finding useful stuff in the trash. I can’t really put a number on that, but I can say that these stamps will save me about 8$.

I also found a violin. Well, kind of. The actual violin is in pieces, and I doubt it was much good to start. Still, it’s old and someone might like it as a decoration.

Some of the pieces might end up being more valuable, who knows. There were some old strings, knobs, and other violin things in that little hiding spot in the case. As you can probably tell I don’t know anything about violins.

I came across this pile later on. I took the old radio cabinet, which was totally empty but in solid condition. I didn’t really want to hold onto it for long so I posted it on a local Facebook trading page. I ended up trading it for a delicious rack of lamb, which was a solid trade from my perspective.

Around the corner was another pile of junk, presumably from the same house. Inside the boxes was a bunch of vintage audio stuff, a lot of which looked to be in rough shape. I’m glad I have a cell phone for these situations, because I’m able to easily research what’s worth taking and what’s not. A nice piece in rough shape might have value, but something that was mediocre in the 70s isn’t likely to be worth my time now.

I did take a few things, like this vintage James B Lansing speaker crossover. I don’t really know what it’s supposed to do, but it seems like people want to buy them. Mine’s not in great condition, but I still expect that it’ll sell for somewhere between 50-100$.

I also took a SuperScope TDR-830 8-track recording system. SuperScope owned Marantz for a while, and anything Marantz-related is good as far as I can tell. It does turn on, which is good, but I expect something is wrong with it. Regardless, it’s in decent enough condition that someone might want to buy it for parts. It’ll clean up nice once I take a micro-fibre cloth to it. The car stereo stuff is probably junk, but I figured I’d take it just in case.

Anyways, that’s it for this week! Phew, that was a long one.

Relevant links

1. Facebook page
2. My eBay listings
3. Etsy store
4. Kijiji listings
5. Contribute to Garbagefinds.com

Email: thingsifindinthegarbage@gmail.com. I often fall behind on emails, so I apologize in advance if it takes me a while to get back to you.

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Stimulated passion

Last week wasn’t particularly productive but I nearly always have something to show you regardless. I found this MSR camping stove thingy just up the street, I have no idea if it works but if it does it should sell for around 40$.

The recently intriguing spot in the Mile End wasn’t too interesting this time around; my only notable finds there were two never used 4ml vintage bottles of Jovan Musk Oil. According to this blog post, musk scents were pretty popular in the 1970s and this Jovan scent was the most successful of the bunch. Their success was due in large part to a sexy ad campaign that promoted the musky scent as an aphrodisiac of sorts.

I listed one bottle on eBay and it sold rather quickly for 65$. Not bad for just a 4ml bottle! I guess they’re getting pretty rare these days, especially ones that come in their original box. I still have the other bottle which I’ll list soon.

I’ve having good luck with vintage musk scents recently. I’ll tell you more about that next week!

I found some nice Burberry frames in the Mile End. I listed them on eBay for 50$, and we’ll see how they do.

I found a bit of neat junk just off Boulevard Decarie. I like the vintage industrial brush and the little painted tree segment. It features a well known British Columbia tourist attraction, can you guess what it is?

My best find from that spot though was this cool framed, roughly 8×10″ photograph. I thought it was taken at Parc Jeanne-Mance because of the statue, but someone on a local Montreal history Facebook page correctly pointed out that the statue is actually the Dollard-des-Ormeaux monument at Parc Lafontaine. Regardless, it’s a very cool old photo that was probably taken around the 1920s. I wonder how common dog sledding was in Montreal at the time.

Otherwise, I found a bunch of junk on my Friday morning run but nothing really inspired me. I did find a bit of cash though, and that’s always fun. There were four American dollar bills, 2000 Vietnamese dong (which is worth approximately 10 cents), a fifty cent piece and a collection of largely worthless foreign coins. I should be able cash the American dollars pretty easily (they’re worth roughly 5 Canadian dollars) and the rest will go in the yard sale bin.

That’s pretty much it for last week. I know this was a relatively light post, so here’s some extra stuff from that spot in the Mile End that I didn’t get around to sharing previously. The little ashtray with the 25c sticker is stamped Herend Hungary and seems to have a bit of value. A similar one sold recently on eBay for 30$. Not bad!

This week’s been a bit slow as well, though I did find some neat stuff yesterday in Villeray. Tomorrow’s my birthday (turning the big three-oh) so hopefully the universe bestows some good luck upon me. The end of the month is nigh, so people will be moving and that’s always a good thing.

Relevant links

1. Facebook page
2. My eBay listings
3. Etsy store
4. Kijiji listings
5. Contribute to Garbagefinds.com

Email: thingsifindinthegarbage@gmail.com. I often fall behind on emails, so I apologize in advance if it takes me a while to get back to you.

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