Miscellaneous finds from the past six months

I happened upon this outwardly unexceptional collection of bags when there was still snow on the ground in Nouveau Bordeaux. My finds here were some of the oldest languishing in my garage, and I considered moving the stuff to the yard sale bin so that I could focus on documenting more recent junk. However, after looking over it all again I decided there were definitely things worth sharing.

I found a fair bit of old Catholic stuff here, but it was the tobacco products that inspired more memories. Apparently my dad used to smoke Erinmore Flake, and my mom has a Player’s tin just like this one which once belonged to my grandpa. He also liked using those Vogue rolling papers.

My favourite find here was the Player’s tin, because it came with contents.

Most of the contents were junk, but that brass J.D. Irving employee badge was pretty cool. J.D. Irving is active in a lot of different industries (mostly in New Brunswick) but given some of my other finds here I’d guess that it was forestry related. I expect it was made in the 30s or 40s.

I found lots of photos, and here’s a small selection of my favourites. At top left is an old lumber camp (probably in the 1920s). Otherwise, there’s a picture of a forest fire, two separate car crashes, and a cat with a distortion on its head. Zoom in for a closer look!

Here we have some 1940s French kids books, a couple of religious things, and a Pioneer saw instruction manual.

Here’s some more old Catholic stuff, a Simonds saw catalog, and a Christmas card from the 20s or 30s.

I saved a whole bunch of these cards, the kind you often see bookmarking pages in the bible (I think there’s a specific word for them, but I can’t think of it right now!). Most date from between 1920 and the late 50s, but a few are older than that.

Most interesting to me were these little cards, which I’d guess were given to someone who donated to a Catholic missionary group in the 30s. They feature pictures of kids who were baptized and given Christian names as a result of the person’s donations.

Let’s just say they definitely belong to another time. This one was the most obviously “vintage” though, saying (my rough translation): “I am black, but thanks to you my soul is white.”

I was hoping to find more old stuff here, but I only saw trash outside on one other occasion over the next few months and at some point you have to give up.

I stumbled upon another briefly exciting spot in Cote-des-Neiges. On my first day I found this jewelry box and a few other vintage doodads, but after that the garbage was mostly junk.

A lot of the jewelry in that box was quite dark or tarnished. I found a nice Italian micro-mosaic brooch; a pair of dangle earrings that look to be silver or silver plated (they seem to be stamped with a “32”, not sure what that means); a 935 silver brooch from Israel featuring a very black glass or stone, and a maybe silver brooch with what looks to be an eilat stone.

I also saved this nice bottle of vintage “Amour Amour” by Jean Patou. I look at this now and wonder if I missed the top of the box… but so it goes.

The curb out front of a big house near downtown was exciting for a few weeks. On day one I found a coffee tin full of pennies – that and the “for sale” sign made it a spot I had a hunger to pick at.

Day 2 was mediocre, but on the third garbage day I did pretty well.

I’m always happy to save your bag full of coins, especially when there’s jewelry inside!

Most of the coins were foreign and not particularly valuable, but they’re easy money in bulk quantities.

Here’s a picture of the standouts. I found three Mexican peso coins from the 60s, which are apparently 10% silver. That’s so little silver that you have to wonder why they even bothered, but based on that forum (linked) it was done basically to keep with tradition while dealing with monetary issues. Either way they’re pretty cool coins that are fun to collect. The other coin is an old nickel, which isn’t too exciting other than being damaged in an unusual way.

Otherwise, we have a very nice and fairly large brass crucifix pendant, a few unexceptional Mexican silver tourist pieces, a nice Creed sterling silver Catholic necklace, a 10k gold fraternity pendant (if you know which fraternity please let me know!), and a vintage 40s/50s 10k gold ring. There was also a single silver cufflink with “FP” (Financial Post?) marked on the front that was made by Tiffany.

Around a month after my coin haul I noticed that an estate sale was being held at the same house. That marked an unofficial end to my good run (I rarely find anything once those listings go up), but I’m left to wonder who decided to throw out the bag of coins. I have a hard time believing a liquidator to do that, so I assume someone in the family decided it wasn’t worth trying to sell.

Here’s some stuff I found in front of an apartment building a month or so ago. I started out saving these old tools, and then spotted some nice housewares inside a black garbage bag.

The two candlesticks were International sterling silver, so that was a nice get. Otherwise, I saved a piece of art glass (it has a smooth glass bottom, which is usually a sign of quality, but no signatures or stickers), a set of silver plated sherry glasses, and a nice Russian enameled (and probably silver plated) sugar bowl. There’s a name on it somewhere, but I forget what it says. Regardless, it’s an attractive piece.

At one point in my rummaging I spotted a paper bag full of Vitamins and medicine cabinet type jars. I ripped open that bag, which was inside a black garbage bag, just to see if there was anything good at the bottom. Sometimes I’ll find cool vintage jars or perfumes alongside that kind of stuff, but instead, I found a change purse with a good hunk of change inside. I’d say there was between 15-20$ in there!

Last but not least is this haul of jewelry from a briefly productive spot in Cote St-Luc. (In retrospect I should have taken this picture in my garage, but oh well). I saved a few bits of gold, including an Italian horn pendant, a Taurus pendant, a heart pendant, and a couple of broken chains. There’s also a bit of silver and several decent watches. My favourite is the Sutton skeleton watch – it needs some maintenance (the movement works, changing the time is a bit of an adventure) but should still sell for around 50$. I also like that enameled brooch (marked “Joop Schilt Holland” and seems to be reasonably collectible) and the old necklace with the odd bulbous green and clear beads. There was more junky stuff I didn’t photograph and gave to a friend to sell.

Cote St-Luc was very good to me over the course of a few weeks, and I’ll be sure to share some of those finds soon. Otherwise, some of my best recent finds have come from a place where I got yelled at (I now just take the bags and leave). It’ll be a while before I share any of that stuff though, however, as the best finds usually take the longest to document!

Links

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Shredded bags & tiny treasures

I mentioned in my last post that I’ve been finding lots of jewelry. Well, since then I’ve found even more, though not much of it was top quality.

I spotted this pile on one of my runs last week. A nosy neighbour watched me from their window but I pretended not to notice. The first bags I examined were stuffed full of old purses, each of which were wrapped in a plastic shopping bag. None were worth saving from my estimation (the materials used don’t tend to age well), and I almost moved on before happening upon a bag stuffed with jewelry.

Like the purses, most pieces were stored in old plastic shopping bags.

It was the kind of jewelry you see at the pharmacy. No silver or gold in sight, but most was brand new with price tags attached. It took me a while to empty all the small bags into one big bag! There were around 200 pieces in all, including about 25 watches.

Some of the bags had degraded over time into the tiny bits you see above. They were pretty staticky and often got stuck to my skin. It was gross, and it made me think about all the other decomposing plastics littering the planet.

Here’s my workspace after it was all done. I needed a vacuum to clean up all those little pieces of plastic! It was worth it though. I gave this hoard to another picker friend; he does yard sales sometimes and is a much better seller than I am. We have a 50/50 arrangement, which I think is fair. It also helps me focus on the things I enjoy selling most, that being quality vintage junk.

I have to wonder why this person owned so much unused jewellery. I suppose they could have worked in the industry, but I’m leaning more towards compulsive shopping and perhaps dementia. That’s sad to think about, but unfortunately it’s a reality for some people.

Update: I passed this house again a couple days ago and found another bag (not quite as big, and not as much degraded plastic) filled with similar jewelry. I wonder how long this will go for…

I was excited to find this bag of jewelry (and also some bits near the bottom of the trash bag) in a rich part of town. As it turns out most of it wasn’t too great – there was an estate sale at the house a couple weeks later, so I guess they kept the best stuff. Still, I found a few good pieces, including four medals made for Canada’s 125th year. I’m guessing they were prototypes, as I also found the printing block to go with them.

The silver WWII-era RCAF bracelet is maybe the coolest piece here (I blurred out the name for privacy reasons). It’s worth around 20-30$. The single earring on the left is marked 925, and I think the bangle is as well though the hallmark is not very legible. Both the rings are unmarked, but I suspect the one on the right is solid gold. The one on the left may be silver, but regardless it has a cool modern design.

This little box I found not far from home contained one minor treasure – the silver enameled Catholic charm on the right. I was hoping for more from this spot, but this is the best I’ve found thus far.

I found even more jewellery on a rainy day in Westmount. I’m guessing this was rich kid trash.

I saved some decent costume jewelry and a few silver pieces, including a cute bee pendant. The necklace on the right is pretty nice too, the silverwork is quite good and the red bits look to be coral. I’m not sure what it’s worth, so let me know if you have any ideas! I’m guessing it was bought while on vacation somewhere.

One productive spot was notable in that the tosser had a habit of throwing quality small “junk”, including jewelry in with the kitchen waste. One night I saved a little 14k gold Beaupré watch and a 14k maple leaf pendant that purports to be gold (I’m not 100% sure, so I’ll have it tested). My car got dusted by some kind of flour while looking through the bag but it was definitely worth it. The watch is worth around 100$, and the pendant (if gold) is probably about the same.

Last week they tossed this cute vintage Charlie Brown trash can. It’s gone to the auction house, though part of me wishes I kept it… I think those people have since moved, so that’s probably it for the floury trash.

My car was in the shop for a couple of days (big bill, but I should be good for a while!) so I went on my first bike run in some time. I used my roommate’s beater, which wasn’t smooth in any way but it got me where I wanted to go (I’ve since bought a new used bike). My usual spots didn’t produce, but I did save my first MacBook Pro of the year in part thanks to my slow pace.

It’s a mid-2009 in pretty good cosmetic condition. I got it working after doing a hard reset of sorts, but I think the hard drive is on its last legs (not unexpected for a 10 year old laptop). Either way, it should be worth around 150-200$.

I still have lots of other great stuff (including jewelry) to show you, but that’ll have to wait for another day. One spot in particular was excellent, and I have to figure out how best to share it all here. Otherwise, spring cleaning is finally in full swing and I’ve definitely benefited from the extra trash.

I spent about 10 hours organizing my garage last week. I feel good about it now, and once I have a yard sale things should open up even more. After I clear out some junk it should be easier to get my old photo studio going again, which is obviously good news for the blog.

Links

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The eviction

Today I finally get around to showing you one of 2017s better hauls.

While picking here I talked to a few people who were familiar with the situation, including the concierge, the building manager, and I think the building owner. Apparently, the trash was a result of an eviction in the fairly upscale building, and someone’s mad dash to empty the place before they were locked out.

None of the people I mentioned were particularly pleased about how this all went down. For one, that shopping cart in the foreground wasn’t intended to be filled with trash and abandoned outside. I ended up helping the concierge empty the cart, after which he brought it back inside. As well, the people doing the tossing sure did make a mess of things. They blocked the wheelchair entrance for one, and the general consensus was that the garbage collectors wouldn’t pick up the trash as it lay.

Perhaps most extraordinary though were the reports that the building’s garbage chute was filled all the way up to the third floor. One of the people told me there were a lot of books in there, in a way that made me think he didn’t put much value in books.

Eventually a guy with a truck and trailer, apparently hired by the tosser after what I’m sure what an unpleasant interaction with the building manager, came to empty the garbage chute. I so much wanted to see what was inside, but the manager said she didn’t think it was a good idea, I’m sure because of liability concerns. Here’s hoping the guy with the truck took a good look at what he picked up because I’ll bet there was some good stuff in there.

The shopping cart was mostly filled with clothes, but I did find a nice bracelet holding on for dear life to the bottom wire. More on that later.

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My friend Sarah was with me that day and helped sort through the clutter. This might not be her best photo (she wanted me to assure you that she was having a good time) but it does show the pile as it was after the disappearance of the shopping cart. We ended up taking a bunch of clothes, most of which were vintage. As for furniture, a lot of it was in pretty poor condition – I doubt they were very careful bringing it downstairs. However, we did take that little end table on the right, the mid-century credenza by the bottom left of the stairs, and a few very nice rugs. I still haven’t really looked at the rugs, but now that I have the bigger garage space it should be easier to do so. I’ll share some pictures here if they’re noteworthy!

Let’s start with some of the quality junk. That vintage yoga book was pretty cool, as were the hammered bracelets and the old tin.

I apologize for the quality of these early photos, they were taken at my old garage where the lighting wasn’t optimal.

Here we have some old buttons, a manicure set, and a single silver coin that was made into an earring.

I found a flat-fifty tin like the one commemorating Queen Elizabeth’s coronation once before. It’s worth about 20$.

We saved plenty of buttons and miscellaneous sewing supplies.

The tins were full of that kind of stuff, as well as other miscellaneous bric-a-brac.

There was a cute pair of sewing scissors tied up in that ball of thread.

There was plenty of jewellery here. This is the yard sale / crafting quality stuff.

I also saved a couple nice old compass sets (perhaps a hint as to the profession of the previous owner) …

… and a Chinese fan, which looked to be of higher quality than the ones I usually see.

Now we’re getting to the slightly fancy stuff. The bracelet on the right is Chinese silver, but unfortunately the enamel is very dinged up. The black earring and button are silver over copper (I think), also made in China. The pocket knife is gold filled and looks to have never been used. The bracelet at top left is marked Leru and is probably worth around 20$.

I found a few watches here, the nicest of which was this Certina DS-2. Unfortunately the second hand is broken off inside, but the watch seems to work well otherwise and should be worth around 100$. The Timex below has some kitsch value, assuming it works. There’s a solid market for vintage watches with lots of (or unusual) functions.

Here are some of my favourite finds. The little box at top right is silver over copper and marked “China”. The rabbit paw brooch (unfortunately missing the needle) on the right is a weird one. At the bottom right is a silver bracelet link that’s unfortunately missing its mates. There’s a monogrammed silver bracelet at the bottom left, and a little brooch (maybe silver) with a photo in it nearby.

Some of these pieces are likely old Chinese export silver. Apparently there was no official assay system in China back in the day, so the markings are very inconsistent, and sometimes there are no markings at all. This was in opposition to regulated systems like in Britain, which has required makers to follow a specific marking guide since the 1500s.

My silver testing acid is old and expired, and I no longer trust it. However, I’m pretty sure this bracelet is solid silver. There are no signs of plating wear, and it did turn up a bit of red when tested (I think my old testing fluid is more likely to produce false negatives, not false positives). The piece is quite heavy and ornate and could be worth a bit of coin! Click on the picture for a closer look at the design.

Here’s the stamp on the inside if you’re curious. If you happen to know anything about this kind of thing, please educate us in the comments!

This piece could be silver (perhaps a lower grade than the last one, since it didn’t turn up any red) but I’m not sure. Regardless it’s quite beautiful and old. According to my research, this type of piece is often referred to as a “panel bracelet.”

This one is marked “China.” The silver plated copper box has a similar mark, as does the old button.

The stones on this bracelet look a lot like the ones in this eBay listing, which are apparently amethysts. However, again I can’t be sure if this is silver, though it does scratch the right colour on my test stone. It has a Chinese character stamp on the back (see below) and a clasp that says 925, though I think that part is newer than the rest of the bracelet.

This cute brooch features a plum blossom-like flower and a little birdhouse charm. I thought it was silver at first but it seems to instead be silver plated copper, since it scratched a coppery tone on my testing stone. Either way, it’s very nice. It does have some marks on the back, which you can see below (you’ll probably have to zoom in to see them).

The stone (or glass?) on this adjustable ring matches the earlier bracelet. It also has a plum blossom motif. I’m confident this one is solid silver, even though there aren’t any markings on it.

This necklace has a silver clasp and enameled beads. I’m not sure what the metal under the beads is.

This bangle is bakelite, and has a sort of mottled / inconsistent look that I haven’t seen before. Any ideas as to what it could be worth?

As you can probably tell I still have a lot to learn about these pieces. No matter what, this will be a great opportunity to expand my knowledge of things vintage and antique. However, I should be able to make some decent money here as well. From what I can tell so far that heavy silver bracelet might be the most valuable piece of the bunch. The design looks pretty labor intensive, and it compares favourably to bracelets that are selling for hundreds on eBay. I’ll let you know what ends up happening with it.

I’ll probably take it easy on the trash picking front this week. I haven’t had much luck after boxing day in previous years, and the weather seems to be taking a turn for the worst – this coming week will rarely see a temperature above -20c. So, it’s going to be pretty cold! I guess it’s a good time to get some indoor work done…

Links

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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.