2021

This spot was a consistent if not always particularly exciting producer this summer.

Over the course of around a month the recycling bin was often filled with tools. Those aren’t recyclable of course, but I’ve seen worse attempts at recycling over the years. On this day I saved a couple of saws, a 4-guage booster cable, and probably some more stuff from underneath all that. Nothing overly exciting, but most was still useful and made for a few easy lots at the auction house.

Also auction-worthy were these straight razors, which I think sold somewhere in the 30$ range (some had chipped blades). This person owned a number of sharp objects, as you’ll see.

I also found a number of pencil leads, including a little metal pencil lead holder which you can see on the bottom right. I made an auction lot of leads & pen ink, as well as a lot of pocket knives (I always have a few kicking around).

My goal was to bring as much to the auction as possible before Christmas so as to open up space in the garage. I keep wanting to reorganize it, but it’s been a challenge because I keep picking up new things! I’ve been working on some new strategies though, which I’ll discuss later.

A few bits and bobs. The brass Gillette razor blade holder went into a shaving accessory lot. Those seem to do well at the auction.

This guy didn’t look like much when I picked him up. He went into the yard sale bin, and I only got looking at it more when it was a little slow at the next sale. After inflating it I realized it was cool and worth trying to sell on eBay. It was made as a promotion for the Atlanta Flames, a hockey team I never even knew existed. They moved to Calgary in 1981. Anyways, it ended up selling for 100$ to someone very excited to have it. It’s always nice when the buyer is excited to find your wares.

There weren’t any photos here, but I did find an interesting collection of old negatives.

Several feature a well attended boxing match that I’m guessing took place in Montreal. I’m wondering if the fight was in the old Forum, which apparently used to host a lot of boxing events back in the day. The windows kind of look like the ones in the picture on the second link, but I can’t be sure. If you know anything about this, please let us know in the comments!

Here’s a couple of miscellaneous finds – a clay lamp and a Canuck pottery piggy bank.

The last pile here might have been the best of all (as it sometimes is). One bag held a collection of pennies worth around 35$. I also remember picking up some decent cleaning supplies, and miscellaneous yard saleable junk.

I didn’t notice these knives until later, again when I had a yard sale. I was setting up with my helper and he asked if I meant to sell them, and I hadn’t even seen them! My guess is that they were underneath in the bag with the pennies. Anyways, the ones on the ends went into my auction knife lot, and the second from the left seems like a nice tourist thing but nothing too special. The other two stand out, and you can see more details below. The knife second from the right seems to have a handle made from horn that features the Lebanese flag.

The middle knife is likely the fanciest. The handle looks to be a mix of horn, bone or ivory and silver, with two rough rubies and a pearl (as well as a fake pearl, which I think was glued in after the other fell out) as extra decoration. The sheath appears to be silver and my acid test agrees. I’d guess that’s it’s a little below sterling in terms of parts per thousand, maybe 875. The blade is pretty strong, and is signed and dated 1955 (?) near the base. This one’s a good size too, about 10.5″ long.

I guess “dagger” is a better term for these than “knife,” and I think they have a specific Arabic name though I haven’t been able to pin that down yet. As for value, I’ve barely researched them so I have no idea. Either way, I think they’ll end up being a nice get!

Otherwise, on January 2nd (after the only real snowstorm so far this year) I dug my car out of the snowbank, escaped to the road, and then stopped for a moment in the right lane while I put back the shovel and locked the door, as you often do after a storm. I figured it’d be safe for a minute in what was ideal driving weather on one of the lowest traffic days of the year during a pandemic, but apparently not. As I was walking back to the car, I heard a crash and knew it had something to do with Booger (I was walking around the snowbank at that moment, so I wasn’t facing towards the car – if I were 10 seconds further in time, I might have been where the car was hit).

The driver seems to have swerved into my back wheel, denting the heck out of it, bumped my fender a little, mostly avoided the rest of my driver’s side, and then hit my front wheel. That rim is also dented, but the tire stayed inflated at least, though the wheel looks a little too “forward.” The driver’s car looked a lot worse, his axle or whatever broke right off the wheel. I don’t think he was driving that fast, because I probably would have noticed if someone was speeding.

Anyways, someone called the cops to the scene, and they ended up arresting the guy for impaired driving. He did seem “out of it” to me, which at first I figured was shock but later thought it was something else given that the accident wasn’t “that” bad. Anyways, that’s good news for me at least, because it means that he’s considered 100% at fault and the damages are covered by his insurance despite the fact that I only have one-way. Right now Booger (the car’s name, because its shape and colour is reminiscent of one in the nicest way possible) is in insurance purgatory, but I’m hoping I can get it back soon enough.

I’ve been driving a rental, which should be covered by insurance as well. It’s new, and has some cool features like heated seats. It’s bigger, which can be nice, but it’s also a bit annoying because Booger is a lot more maneuverable & easy to park due to its small stature, which often comes in handy while trash picking. People often ask me if I’ve thought about buying a bigger car, and I’ve resisted in large part because I’ve had Booger for a really long time and I’m hopelessly nostalgic. But the small size does have some benefits, and rarely do I find myself desperately wishing I had a bigger car. After all, if something’s too big to fit into Booger, I probably shouldn’t lift it by myself anyways. So, all that to say we’ll see how it goes, and hopefully Booger survived the experience without much hidden damage.

Otherwise x2, I came up with another idea to get rid of more stuff: start an Instagram account for selling, and find someone to run it on commission. I needed to find someone who’d enjoy the work, was good at dealing with people, and liked junk. The first person who came to mind was someone who used to work with a friend of mine, helped out at a local vintage shop, and came to most of my yard sales. I contacted her and she was very much into the idea. She’s done an unbelievably good job thus far, helping me unload my “quality junk” at a pace I didn’t think was possible despite her having a full-time job. And she seems to be having fun, which I think is important.

Anyways, it seems to be a strategy that works and helps me avoid the stress associated with being responsible for too many items, which is probably my least favourite part of picking. You can follow the new Instagram account @garbagefindssells, and my normal Instagram account @garbagefinds if you aren’t already. The new Insta account also features stuff that likely wouldn’t make the blog otherwise, so if you’re jonesing for more trash it’s worth keeping an eye on just for the pictures. I have the feeling 2021 will be a marquee year from a business perspective, even with the car accident to start it.

I have lots more to show you. Hopefully I can get my brain in gear again sooner rather than later.

 

The card collector pt.2

The spot that provided those nice late 50s/early 60s collectible cards didn’t offer me a Mickey Mantle rookie card as I’d hoped, or many other sports cards for that matter. Still, I collected some quality vintage junk, some of which was eBay worthy.

Most of this is fun yard sale stuff, the only thing that isn’t is the old earthenware pot in the back which I grouped with another old jug I found and brought to auction (the lot ends on Tuesday).

Here we have some old rulers, tins, and stencils. Those Normand Hudon playing cards would have been worth some money, but the cards inside didn’t match the ones on the cover.

More vintage junk for the sale. The letter is from former MP Charles Drury, who also held several cabinet positions over the years and served in WWII. The Holt Renfrew credit card dates to the 80s and is now part of my collection of old cards.

I like maps, and on the back of that letter was a nice one of the riding of Westmount (which includes some bits of NDG / CDN).

Here’s a fun sign that I’m sure someone at a yard sale will appreciate.

I did find a bit more old hockey stuff. This Jean Beliveau souvenir magazine went to the auction with some other Canadiens stuff.

I also picked up many pages of hockey calendars from the early 70s. I sold one batch for 60$, and I have another listed at 75$ (just discounted).

Most of this stuff has been processed now. I sold sets of cards for 85, 60, and just yesterday 135$ (the Civil War cards including the relatively rare checklist). Another lot sold at auction for around 40$, and I have a couple more eBay lots yet to sell priced at 40 and 65$. Overall, including a couple pieces of furniture & the yard sale stuff, I’ll end up netting around 400$ from this spot. Not omg, but a quality weekly destination regardless.

I did my first “real” yard sale of the year yesterday. I sent an email out to my mailing list subscribers (which I haven’t promoted as much as I should, sign up here) and posted on Instagram but I’m sorry if anyone wanted to come but wasn’t notified. Anyways, it was a reasonably good day, not my most profitable sale but still well worth my time (I made around 580$, 180$ of which I paid for a friend to help). Perhaps more importantly I was able to declutter my garage a bit, which should make it easier to reorganize it a bit (as I’ve been wanting to do). I’ll be doing more sales soon, as I’d like to get rid of as much as possible before winter.

Part one of a million pt.7

I don’t think a spot has ever produced such an overwhelming amount of stuff as this one. I currently have around 12 big bins worth of this stuff at my garage waiting to be dealt with. Given that my first find here came over a year ago, I’ve decided that I have to accept that not all of it can (or needs to) make the blog. I’ve begun looking through it all again, taking pictures of some, relocating others to the yard sale pile, etc. I keep an eye on this house still, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this spot has produced its last great trash pile.

Anyways, I have a tonne of pics to share still, even before I get to the other 12 bins of junk. In time I’ll share more (if non-specific) details about the location as it’s an interesting place historically, but for now I’ll keep that to myself. The tosser was furious the one time we met on the curb, which makes me a bit hesitant for now…

Anyways, this is more stuff that came from the dumpster that arrived relatively recently. Those wooden dolls are Japanese and signed – there was a fair bit of 60s & 70s Japanese stuff as someone residing here visited there at some point. They’re currently an auction lot, ending in about a week and receiving a good amount of interest. I like old containers, especially if they’re 1970s flea powder and have cute dogs on the front. I also love old glass vessels where the numbers were in the mold, like that shot glass-sized measuring cup in front of the doll.

Otherwise, “Word taking and word making” is a turn of the century era version of Scrabble or Bananagrams. The pieces (they look the same as the ones in this similar example found on Google) had spilled into the dumpster, and I remember doing a pretty thorough dive to make sure I didn’t leave any (or, at least many) behind. I don’t think it’s super valuable, but anything that old is cool to find.

Here we have a couple copper vessels, which probably aren’t anything too special, a bit of silver plate, another old glass measuring bowl with the numbers sticking out, and a brass doohickey (bottom right). If you have any idea what it’s for, let us know.

The most intriguing thing here is probably that ceramic container with the wood-like exterior. I’m not sure if the “wood” part was originally there because under that is some old writing. I want to see what’s written underneath, but I also want to make sure I’m not devaluing it by removing the “wood” (which I think is probably artfully-shaped pulp). It probably dates to the late 1800s or early 1900s, as does that thingy in the center, which was broken and repaired at some point.

Lots of old tools and junk here. Nothing too fancy, but great for the yard sale.

I saved a whole bunch of vintage and antique knives. Most went to the auction with some other cutlery but didn’t sell for much. I kept one or two that I figured might be listing on eBay (I forget which right now). Old knives and cutlery sets can sometimes be worth good money depending on who made them.

I saved four beautiful Victorian fireplace tiles, which survived their trip to the dumpster (and also 100+ years on Earth) in excellent condition.

They were made by Minton & Co. in Stoke-Upon-Trent, England, probably in the late 1800s. They’re about 1″ thick, so I think they were made for the fireplace. I haven’t been able to price them yet, but I suspect they have some value.

One of the first bags I pulled from that dumpster contained a few really old bottles, as well as some unused antique cabinet-style and other photography card stock (top right). I found more of the latter later on. I ended up collecting a medium-sized box worth, which I brought to auction before they went on their 2-week vacation last week.

A few of the bottles contained medicines, but most held paints or other artistic materials. The bottle second from the left broke and released some stinky ammonia-like substance, but fortunately it broke in a way that wasn’t super noticeable from the front.

For a closer look, click the thumbnails below. To zoom in, go to the bottom right of the thumbnail page and click “view full-size.”

The “catarrh snuff powder” on the far left is pretty cool. It was made for general lung ailments, including excessive phlegm (which used to be called “catarrh” apparently). My other favourite is the Winsor & Newton’s “Indian Red” watercolour paint, which was stored in a cool ceramic vessel with a bit of steel fastening the lid in place. I haven’t done any research into these bottles yet, but I suspect the medicine bottles are fairly uncommon and potentially valuable (especially to a local collector, as they come from Montreal pharmacies).

Anyways, as you can see there was a tonne of really old stuff here. I’m not used to dealing with so much at once, which is part of the reason I’ve taken so long to post it! Anyways, there’s lots more to come…

I’ve been doing a “pay what you can / what you think is fair” sale in my front courtyard for the past couple of days, and will do one tomorrow as well (I’ll bring some fresh stuff as well). I wanted to let you know earlier but I’ve felt a bit overwhelmed of late. Anyways, you can come to 147 St Joseph Ouest anytime between 9am and 8pm, and just leave whatever cash (or Canadian Tire Money, broken silver/gold jewelry, other small valuables) in my mailbox. I may or may not be there to say hello. The sale is obviously a fair bit smaller than the usual sale, but there’s still lots of quality junk. I do plan on doing a “normal” sale sometime soon, once I have a plan in place that complies with the city’s guidelines.

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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