Old junk

Some of my favourite finds are the ones I happen upon by pure chance. My car was in the shop for maintenance on Wednesday and Thursday so I wasn’t able to pick as I normally would have. The work was supposed to be done by about noon on Thursday so I decided to walk up to the garage around then to pick it up. (I ended up having to wait around for three hours or so, but that’s another story).

Of course, the various garbage days are always on my mind, and I decided to take a route that would provide a bit of trash along the way. I didn’t expect much but it wasn’t long before I happened upon this pile. The bag on the right had the feel of paper when I gave it a little kick and I decided to take a peek inside. Usually papers aren’t too exciting, but sometimes they are.

True to form, most of the papers weren’t very exciting. Old files and such. However, I spotted this busted antique album after digging around a bit. It probably once held the cards below, which I laid eyes on not long after.

These little cards feature some of the oldest photographs I’ve ever found in the trash. Most seem to be “cartes de visite” (or CdV), a type of photograph most popular between 1859 and the early 1870s. The larger cabinet card took over after that, though apparently CdVs were produced into the early 1900s.

Lots of CdVs featured celebrities – they were one of the earliest forms of collectible cards. Sometimes the name is indicated on the card and other times not so please let me know if you recognize someone!

The backs of the cards sometimes contain interesting information so I’ve included pictures in every case. For instance, a previous owner noted that the card on top second from the left is an image of Henri IV, the king of France from 1589 to 1610. The writing on the one to the left of it looks to say “Francois II” but the picture doesn’t match the appearance of the former French king who died at age 16. To the right of a more local interest – on the back it’s written that the guy was a chaplain somewhere in Pied du Courant, the part of Old Montreal that sits next to the rapids and across from La Ronde. There used to be a prison there from 1835-1912, so perhaps he worked there? I don’t really understand some of the words written, so let us know if you have any insights!

The dude on top, second from the left is J.A.A. Brodeur, one time president of the executive committee of the city of Montreal. There’s not much info about him online outside of the fact that he died of a heart attack while visiting New York City on business in 1927. To his right is an image of the impressively mustachioed Napoleon III. At top right is one of the few hand dated photos – being shot in “about 1866” might make it the oldest photograph I’ve ever found. Otherwise, we have a cute hand coloured picture of a baby named Lilly Gagnon Polette and an image of Pope Pius IX.

Here we have Napoleon I, Empress Josephine, Mary Queen of Scots, and some locals. Several of these photographs were shot by William Notman, a noted Montreal-based photographer. Given that there’s no mention of “& Son” the Notman baby photograph must date from before 1882.

Here we have Josephine again, François Gaston de Lévis, another famous guy I should probably recognize (bottom left), and more locals.

Let’s finish with some drawings (I don’t recognize any of them, but perhaps they are famous) and a nice photograph of the Notre Dame de Lourdes chapel in France that apparently dates to 1872.

Most of the other papers weren’t exciting, but I did find this neat old Quebec street scene (this is a fairly hi-def scan so zoom in for a closer look, and let me know if you know where it is!) …

… and a cool drawing (perhaps once a cover to something?) dated November 2nd, 1879. I’m not sure what any of the symbols or Latin means, so if you have any insights please share them in the comments!

Overall this was an excellent haul. I should be able to make some money from the celebrity cards, and the local photography certainly possesses some historical value as well. I’ll keep an eye on that spot in case those folks toss more interesting old “junk!”

While on the topic of found photos I might as well share a few I saved from a black trash bag in Westmount about a month ago. These ones looked like they had spent too long in a damp basement

This neat group photo turned out okay. It looks to feature a 1940 military college football team (you can see the year on the ball, which is held by player #1).

There were some neat photos in this collection. The 1927 aerial shot of Vancouver is cool, unfortunately it’s a bit damaged. Otherwise, we have a couple boats, someone honouring James Cook at his monument in Hawaii, a military parade of some kind, a shot of Lake Louise, and one with a bunch of elephants. I’d really like to know what’s going on in that one – the structure in particular is unusual, and you can see someone sitting on top of it as well. Zoom in for a closer look!

Someone enjoyed animal photography! Here we have a ducks, a series of squirrel pictures, a Siamese cat, a cow, and a couple of kids on a pony.

This timeline of biblical figures is printed on what looks to be blueprint paper. I’ve never seen anything quite like it.

I have no idea what’s going on in these photos. On the back of each is written in pencil a certain number of tons (ie: “9.75 tons”) but nothing else that would help solve the mystery.

My favourite photos from this batch are probably these very old bridge raising shots. It doesn’t say on the back which bridge it is, but the design looks a lot like that of the Pont de Quebec near Quebec City. If so, these photos would date back to 1917. Unfortunately they are a bit damaged by moisture, but they’re not too far gone and would look great in a frame.

Otherwise, I have lots of catching up to do. It’s been a great year for garbage, and some of my best finds haven’t even made the blog yet!

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Bits & bobs

This past week was another busy one. I filled the car with quality garbage on three different runs, and came away with other great stuff (including what might be my best find of the year) on a couple others. All this extra junk made it hard to get around my garage; fortunately the auction house reopened after a two week vacation and I was able to bring four carloads of stuff there! I definitely went over their not strictly enforced limit of 20 items a week, but I got away with it by being charming and well prepared (plus, because I have a small car I never bring too much at one time).

I’m nowhere near close to cataloguing last week’s finds so here’s some random stuff from the last month or so. Some folks in NDG tossed a few interesting things, including this collection of tribal weapons. The previously owner wrote the origins of the pieces in pen: “Outback” is written on the top piece (which looks like a non-returning boomerang – I assumed all boomerangs returned before I did my research!); the club in the middle says “Masai” (an ethnic group in Kenya and Tanzania); and the sword on the bottom reads “Amazone.” All these pieces are wood and seem to be higher quality than your average tourist junk. I brought them to the auction house and we’ll see how they do.

I also found this signed Guy Lafleur sports card.

It’s hard to know why someone would throw this out, but I guess whoever owned (or inherited) it didn’t appreciate it fully.

I also found these Norman Bethune postage stamps inside a little envelope. Apparently Canada and China worked together to design these and they were issued in both countries. They’re signed by someone (on the left) though the scrawl doesn’t seem to match any name associated with the project.

This spot is still producing, though I haven’t found anything particularly interesting there since that first day.

A spot in Outremont has produced some great finds, including some paper ephemera that I was able to quickly sell for good money. Here’s a collection of business cards I found one garbage day.

Here’s a selection of some of my favourites. I love old business cards!

Tucked among those cards was a 1959-1960 Toronto Maple Leafs season schedule. It was printed for the Westbury Hotel, a luxury establishment that operated not far from Maple Leaf Gardens in downtown Toronto. I tried to find another like it online but had no luck, much like the 1944-1945 Montreal Canadiens schedule I found last year. I seem to have a knack for finding uncommon pocket schedules!

Pricing things without any specific precedent can be tough, but looking on eBay you can find that old NHL schedules can sell for a pretty penny. I sold that Canadiens schedule for 150$, but this one was a more recent so I priced it a little lower. It sold very quickly for 100$, and I already got positive feedback.

Maybe I could have gotten more for it, but I’m pretty happy to get 100$ for a little piece of paper!

Another quick seller was this vintage (I’m guessing late 50s or early 60s) Pepsi vending machine catalogue. I also couldn’t find any others like it online – it sold quickly on eBay for 75$. From what I can tell the previous owner ran a furniture store back in the day, and it looks like he went for the Model 6 in the gallery below.

Soft drink collectors are a passionate bunch so it’s always a good idea to aim high when pricing!

I also found some old store display signs, which I think were made in the 60s. I have three of these Zenith signs, two of which are still in their original plastic. I listed the non-bagged one for 60$ and it has a fair number of “watchers” already.

I also saved a similar sign for Kuba, a company known for their sometimes luxurious mid-century stereo consoles. This one sold pretty quickly for 50$.

This spot is still producing, though the quality junk to actual junk ratio is pretty high on the wrong end.

Westmount hasn’t been very productive for me lately, though this haul of vintage colognes was a pretty good find. I can’t remember which ones are worth eBaying (they’ve been in my basement since I found them) but I think the Dunhill Edition, Hermes, and Giorgio Beverly Hills VIP Edition are probably the most valuable. The ones I don’t list online will go to the auction house.

I happened upon this beast while walking to my space on Coloniale. Fortunately it sat only a few minutes from home, the thing weighed at least 100 pounds and quite likely more. I had to carry it there myself – I took breaks every 30 seconds or so. It’s an old industrial stapler made by Bostitch, I’m guessing in the 30s or 40s.

I’m not sure who’ll buy it, but I lubed up the mechanism and brought it to the auction house. We’ll see how it does!

Saint Michel has been pretty productive this summer. The first day I stopped at this section of the curb I saved a bunch of nice dishes (and a few other things, like a working fan).

Those teacups were pretty cute, if not particularly valuable. The Fire King stuff is very nice, but it’s mostly loose pieces so not worth listing on eBay. My plan is to group all my mismatched Fire King, Pyrex, Glasbake, Federal Glass, and other similar pieces together for an auction lot.

Those Pyrex mugs on the right are great. I sold the Corelle pieces at a yard sale for 3$, unfortunately there were a bunch missing from the set.

This spot produced some great stuff a couple weeks later, but that’ll have to wait for a future post!

I found these rings in an otherwise gross box elsewhere. The ones on top aren’t anything special but the three on the bottom are pretty cool. I took a more detailed picture which you can see below.

I’m guessing the one on the left is made of some kind of antler. I think the other two are ivory, though I don’t know for sure. The one on the right has a “crown” that could be abalone or mother of pearl (it also looks like it used to have a stone). If you know more than I do please let us know in the comments!

Last week this spot provided a deluxe version of Scrabble (with a rotating board and other accessories) and a few other wooden games. I’m hoping the finds keep coming, even if they’re few and far between.

I found this religious medal in Ahuntsic a little while back and was curious about its origins. On top is written “Paroisse de St-Laurent” while “Congregation de Sainte-Anne” is seen in the purple enamel. I found a similar piece before but these don’t turn up very often, at least for me. Is it the kind of thing that might have belonged to a nun? If you know anything about it please let us know in the comments!

Otherwise, a place not far from home tossed tonnes of great stuff last week. That’ll have to wait for another post, but for now here’s a couple of rosaries I found in the lead up to the big purge. The one with coloured beads is pretty cool, but the one with the clear beads has Italian silver hallmarks. It could be worth a bit of money. The next time I talk about this spot I’ll show you a pair of religious items that I haven’t seen in my travels previously.

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Dribs & drabs

I reached a minor milestone on eBay recently by getting to 500 feedback. That means I get that cool purple star next to my username instead of the old turquoise one! The next colour is red but I won’t be seeing that for a while.

I had my second major yard sale of the season yesterday. It was pretty busy and I got rid of a lot of stuff, which is great because my storage space was a disaster and I needed the money. I was planning on announcing it here, but I wasn’t able to complete the blog post in time. Sorry!

I finally got around to looking through that collection of photos I found recently. There were a lot of good ones, but I think the most interesting was a series taken in the Yukon during WWII. It seems that someone was stationed there with the RCAF during the war. He also had a bit of time to do some exploring, including visiting some natives communities in the area. Fortunately the photos are well described on the back, thereby preserving a lot of the history that would have been lost otherwise. Zoom in on the pictures for a closer look! I wish I had more time to show you a more in-depth look, I just have too many other things to do.

Last month I went to Ville St-Laurent for heavy garbage day and found some old tools. I know this isn’t the best picture, but if anyone can identify these please let us know in the comments! I think the Eastman Machine tools were part of a fabric cutting machine, so maybe that’s a hint…

I found some neat old magazines in NDG. The coolest (to me) were the official guides for the 1969 & 1970 Montreal Expos, the first two seasons of the ill-fated franchise. Based on eBay’s completed listings I expect the 1969 to sell for about 50$ and the 1970 to go for around 40$.

Unfortunately, this spot didn’t provide much otherwise.

I’ve been having fun in St Michel lately. I picked up that cute end table a couple weeks back and sold it to a friend for 10$. I really like the old chair on the right.

It bears a sticker from St. Mary’s Hospital in Cote-des-Neiges and was probably made in the 1950s. It’s still really sturdy after all these years and should sell for maybe 10$ at a yard sale.

I went back to the chair spot the week after and met the folks doing the tossing. They were clearing out an old house, and offered me some furniture and junk they were looking to get rid of. My favourite piece though was one I saved from the curb, a sort of primitive looking cabinet maybe four and a half feet tall. I’d guess that it was handmade sometime in the 50s or 60s. Does anyone else like this style?

I did take a bit of free stuff, including this huge old mirror. It was in pretty nice condition, and I sold it to a friend for 50$.

I also took a few large pieces of art – I’m a sucker for the amateur stuff. These all sold for 10$ at my yard sale. This hunting scene seems to be signed “H. Jelos.”

I was told that “Peter” sold art door to door many moons ago. Based on the frame, I’d guess this was made in the 70s. It’s an attractive landscape.

This one, another “H. Jelos” features some obvious Christian symbolism.

There was some other nice stuff I would like to have taken, but there was only so much room in the car!

I noticed these bottles on the curb elsewhere in St Michel. The tosser noticed me looking at them and offered me two extra cases, which was nice! He told me that these old Italian Brio bottles were delivered door-to-door around forty years ago. That sounds about right based on the graphic design.

Otherwise, my best find from this Thursday’s run came in Ahuntsic. I spotted a pile of boxes on the curb and went to take a look. Most held nothing of interest, like long expired school textbooks, but one contained a neat old Heathkit AA-32 tube amplifier. From what I read this dates from 1964-1965 and was sold as a kit to be assembled by the user. It’s a pretty cool looking machine and is a fair bit older than most of the other amps I find. From what I can tell, this amp (which is in solid cosmetic condition) sells at around 100$ for parts and 250$ in recently serviced condition. I’ll test mine out and will likely eventually sell it for somewhere between those two amounts.

My haul last week was surprisingly small, outside of some stuff I’ll mention in an upcoming post. Here’s hoping this week is better. Some gold would be nice!

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