Timing

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The garbage collection schedule has a pretty huge impact on what I end up finding (or not finding). For instance, while the trucks generally start their rounds at 7am some streets aren’t covered until 3pm or later. This effects when people put out their trash. People are way more likely to put out their bin the night before if their collection is at 7 or 8 in the morning, while those with late pickups are much more likely to put theirs out the next day.

For example, the garbage at the spot that provided the old leather coat, silver cigarette holder, and vintage bullets from a couple posts ago is only picked up around 2pm, and the people at that particular place only put out their trash around noon.

I’m not usually out picking at that time, but I just happened to be in the area that day and got lucky. Of course, as they say you have to be good to be lucky, and my knowing that the trash on this street was not collected until late certainly contributed to my good fortune – I went out of my way to check it out, after all.

I’m very loyal to places that provide interesting trash, so I started doing a late morning run (starting around 11am) to see if any other treasures were being tossed. One time I got to the house too early, so I ended up covering a few other streets that were also later on the collection schedule. As a result I found a couple of sweet things that I never would have come across on my usual picking itinerary.

Two nice finds came from this spot in Westmount. These people seem to be slowly clearing their basement or something, as I remember finding some neat books here many months ago.

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I found this cool board game amongst a bunch of otherwise uninteresting business-related books and papers. It’s called “L’attaque!“, which was apparently a precursor to the more well known Stratego.

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The game was made in France sometime in the 1910s or 1920s, which was a bit unusual as most others I saw on eBay were made in England. I listed it on eBay and it sold fairly quickly. Check out my next sales summary to find out how much it went for!

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I also found a 1980s Casio data bank computer. It was made to be portable, and is roughly the size (a little taller, and a bit less wide) than your average scientific calculator. This is a great example of why it’s good to research the going rates for vintage items. I’m not sure who’s buying them, but one recently sold for 43$ and another for 65$. The latter should be an attainable price for my PB-110, especially considering the fact that it looks unused and comes with a leather pouch. I just have to get a battery in there.

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I came across another spot in Westmount the next trash day. I took a slide projector (in a box near the back) and sorted through the bags, taking a small trinket box and some art supplies. Before I finished a woman came out of the house and asked me what I was looking for. I showed her the box and the supplies as an example, hoping to alleviate whatever concerns she may have had. Unfortunately she was not comfortable with my looking any further and asked me to leave.

I didn’t think I saved anything particularly exciting at first, but it turns out I underestimated one of my finds!

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I figured this little box was silver plate when I saw it. I gave it a quick look over and saw no markings, so I tossed (well, gently placed) it in the car, thinking it was a good yard sale item if nothing else.

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However, I looked it over again later and noticed some British silver marks on the side. When I saw them I said “this thing is sterling!?” out loud to no one in particular. Indeed, the trinket box is sterling silver (92.5% silver) and was made in Birmingham in the 50s.

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eBay prices vary a bit. Boxes that are put up on auction usually sell for a bit under 100$ (always a bad idea to do auctions for this kind of stuff in my opinion) while others have gone for 200$ or more (around 600$ for one!). Mine’s a bit different than most – it’s by a different maker (I’m not sure who exactly) and doesn’t have wood on the top section which I think makes it less attractive to cigarette connoisseurs. It think 200$ is likely a fair price considering it’s otherwise free of dents and other damage. However, if anyone has any advice regarding pricing let me know in the comments!

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Otherwise, I took a few days off from picking to focus on listing. I also switched up my routes, checking out Verdun on a Wednesday night and trading my usual (but currently dry) Monday night NDG / Hampstead run for Villeray. Villeray is not quite as good of a garbage day, but it’s sometimes better to try and find the “hot hand” rather than stick with a poor producer.

As for miscellaneous finds, I saved some vintage soda bottle holders (Verdun);

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… some change from a box in NDG (from the garbage day before the switch!);

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… an unopened Stella McCartney “Nude” perfume gift set that sold as I was writing this for a nice 55$ (Villeray);

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… a framed moth (Villeray);

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… and a couple cast iron doohickeys (TMR).

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If anyone knows what these might have been for let us know in the comments! Just to clarify these aren’t connected (as it sort of looks like in the photo) but they do match. I figure they’re legs for something, but for what I have no idea.

Collect them all!

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Spring is finally here! It’s definitely a lot more fun to look for trash when it’s warm out. Not only does it make sorting through bags easier, but it inspires people to get organized (which often involves them tossing out their old, unused stuff).

The arrival of spring also means that I’ll again be able to do yard sales. I look forward to unloading some of my stuff, as I’ve been collecting without a real outlet (outside of eBay, of course, but I use that mainly to sell only the more valuable items) since the end of October. I’m aiming to do one, or maybe even two sales this weekend – the forecast is calling for sunny skies, 12 degrees, and low wind. If everything works out, I’ll post the location on my Facebook page.

This spot in Hampstead produced a few interesting finds.

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A few small things were floating around near the bottom of a bag.

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None of it was particularly noteworthy, outside of this brooch (about 3″ long, for reference). There’s a mark on the pin, which looked indecipherable at first but upon further inspection looks like an incomplete 18k mark. My acid test supports that theory, though I’m still not 100% confident in my ability to test gold.

Either way, it looks and feels like a nice piece. The front is white and shiny, hopefully a thick layer of white gold on top of the yellow back. There is one larger blue stone, and several clear shiny stones, which could be diamonds. I think I’d have to get an expert to look at it to be able to really know what it’s worth. If it really is 18k gold, it could be a nice get.

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I also saved this ancient mobile phone.

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Some vintage cell phones are actually worth a lot of cash, though I don’t expect that this one in particular is valuable. The hinge of the receiver is cracked, and there’s no charger to test it with. It’s a fun yard sale piece.

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On Tuesday a reader sent me an email to tell me that his neighbours were throwing out a bunch of stuff. Before I got there, however, they apparently got one of those junk removal companies to pick up the bulk of it, perhaps thinking the city wouldn’t take it all. Still, a few things remained, and I found something cool leaning up against the post in the background.

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It was a large (about 4′ x 2.5′) Parti Quebecois election sign. It bears the name of Gérald Godin, a poet and MLA in Mercier (Plateau) from 1976 to 1994. One of his poems is painted on a wall near Mont-Royal metro station – see a photo of the poem here.

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However, my favourite part of the sign might be the painting on the back. It depicts a “Oui” (yes in French) surrounded by flowers and the warmth of the sun. The dot of the I is a fleur-de-lis. For those who don’t know, the province of Quebec has held two referendums about separating from Canada – one in 1980 and one in 1995 – and “Oui” was what you would have voted if you wanted Quebec to become its own country.

I would guess that this sign would have been made for the 1976 Election, when Godin defeated the former premier Robert Bourassa in his own riding. Someone then saved the sign for four years before painting the mural on the back for the 1980 referendum. As someone with an interest in politics as well as folk art, this is a pretty cool thing!

(Just as a reminder, if you ever see a potentially good trash spot, but can’t or don’t feel like picking it yourself let me know! It might help me find something I wouldn’t have come across otherwise. I can travel to nearly anywhere in Montreal and Laval, depending on my schedule).

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I went out on Thursday morning and came across this spot near Westmount. I talked to the janitor, and he encouraged me to take a look as long as I didn’t make a mess. He told me the stuff belonged to someone had passed away. I saved the cute table on the left hand side (which I gave to Sarah) …

some housewares (my favorite of which was a heavy vintage glass pitcher) …

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an old St. Anne medallion …

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a collection of stainless steel scissors …

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and some books, including a nursing guide and four miniature dictionaries. The dictionaries translate French, German, Italian, and Spanish to English. There were many other books, but none seemed particularly special – mostly softcover romance novels from the 80s and 90s.

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A few pages in the nursing book were bookmarked using pins, which I’d never seen done before.

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I also saved a few potted plants. They were very dry, but still alive. I gave them water and expect them to recover well. They looks like Hyacinths, which I think can do well planted in the ground.

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A couple of my best finds though came from my spot in NDG. It didn’t produce anything for my previous post, but the trash started flowing again last week.

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I thought I saw an old coin at the bottom of one bag.

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It was only an imitation Roman coin (you can see it at top center), but I pulled out some other interesting pieces, including several new-age pendants.

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There were many other useful, interesting, or just cute things to be saved, including:

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some oil pastels and water colours …

a pocketknife by Richard’s of Sheffield (England) …

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a tiny metal cup (about 3″ tall) …

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some vintage hand-wrought Canadian aluminum ware …

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an old salt shaker with a sterling silver top …

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an “egg” made out of some kind of stone (it’s a bit worn, or chipped in places) …

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a bank envelope marked “amber beads” …

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which, true to its word contained some amber beads …

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and some editions of Man, Myth, and Magic magazine from the 1970s.

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One contained a poster of the zodiac, drawn by a guy named Owen Wood in 1969.

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It’s pretty cool! There’s not much mention of it on the internet, beyond this short article and a few places referencing it. (The link also has a nice quality scan, which is better than my photo if you wanted to take a closer look). The poster doesn’t seem particularly common, so maybe I can get some good money for it.

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My favourite finds though came from this grubby plastic bag.

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Inside was a matching sterling silver necklace and bracelet!

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The best part though is that they match the brooch and earrings (picture) I found at the exact same spot a few weeks ago. All the pieces are by Arne Johansen, a Danish modernist jewelry designer. Her work sells for pretty good money on eBay. I’m excited to see what I can get for a set, considering that many single pieces are going at auction for between 125 and 180$. My general pricing strategy is to start high and adjust lower, so I plan on starting the set at around 700-800$ and seeing what happens from there. No matter what I end up getting for it, it’s an awesome find!

Last week’s garbage sales (March 30 – April 5)

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1. Vintage Dunhill lighter box: On eBay for 52$. Found in Hampstead around a month ago.
2. Harley Davidson belt bucket: On eBay for 11$. This has been in my eBay store for quite some time. I don’t even remember where I found it, though it might have been in Rosemont.
3. 14k gold bracelet, and 10k gold ring: On Etsy for 190$. The ring I found in Rosemont over two years ago, while the bracelet was found in Mount Royal last year.

Total: 253$, 14075$ since May 18 2014 and 4392$ since the new year began. Another decent week. I also sold a vintage thermometer on eBay, before realizing that you can’t ship mercury via Canada Post or USPS. It’s too bad, because it would have made me around 100$. Maybe I can try Kijiji.

Email and links

If you have a question, see anything that you’re interesting in buying, or to just want to say hello feel free to email me at thingsifindinthegarbage@gmail.com. I also enjoy reading your comments! I frequently get behind on emails, so I apologize in advance if I take a few days or weeks to get back to you.

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Lucky Cup

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This house in CDN has been my only real source of garbage the past couple of weeks. It’s definitely one of the most productive places I’ve ever come across, providing me excellent and interesting things for nearly two months now. At some point the reservoir will be exhausted but for now I’ll enjoy the ride as it lasts.

Here’s some things I collected here over the past two trash days.

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This is an old “Susy Goose” Barbie doll closet. Inside are little clothes hangers, drawers (which contain miscellaneous clothes items – including a pair of diving fins), and a foil mirror. It’s in pretty good overall condition and should make me around 20-25 bucks.

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A couple pieces had broken off this Murano glass ashtray but I managed to glue them back on. It looks pretty good after the repair but the imperfections reduce its value. This near perfect example sold on Ebay for around 55$ (28$ plus 27 for shipping). I’ll try to get 10$ for mine at a yard sale.

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I like this old metal box. It would easily sell at a yard sale but I’ll probably keep it myself.

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Another little metal container, this time with a chrome finish.

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These disposable coffee cups were part of a 1980s “Lucky Cup” promotion by Maxwell House. I couldn’t find any reference to them outside of the website of a marketing firm that takes credit for the idea. According to them “this was the first time a sweepstakes had been placed on a hot drink cup.” There’s nothing like them on Ebay, I wonder if a collector would give me 25 bucks for them? It’s a shot in the dark but you never know!

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I found another one of those unique record pressings. On the label is written a name and that it was recorded on February 7th, 1948 at a “Music Bar.” There are some scratches that might make it hard to play but I hope to get it digitized sometime this summer.

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On the right is a NHL schedule published by Esso for the 1964-1965 season. That was way back when there were only six NHL teams – bit took me a while to figure out why there were so few games! It’s in excellent condition, someone wrote the scores next to some of the games on the inside but a collector might enjoy that. There’s a guy on Ebay trying to sell one just like it for 110$ and there’s another one up for 65$. I think I’ll put mine up for 60 in hopes that I can sell it relatively quickly. I also don’t think 110$ is a realistic price.

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These are old S&H green stamps, part of a popular rewards program that existed in the US from the 30s to 80s. They’re not really valuable but are a cool addition to a yard sale. I’m sure a lot of people remember them.

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A brand new red leather wallet. I think I’ll use it after my current wallet gets worn out.

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A cool, if not particularly fancy (Made in Hong Kong) pair of vintage sunglasses.

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There was a bunch of jewellery here on Tuesday. Some pieces were broken or only good for parts but others were quite nice.

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These costume jewellery earrings will make me some money at a yard sale. The pair at top left were made by Monet, a fairly popular brand. The beads of the necklace seems to be made of glass.

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This bracelet needs some love (one missing link, no clasp, some green tarnish on the metal) but is still very beautiful. I’ll try to find some parts to match it.

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There were a bunch of pins and other baubles. The two at bottom are sterling silver while the ring at top left looks to be silver as well. The ring’s “arms” don’t extend as far as usual, it doesn’t seem like it’s broken but it’s a challenge getting it to stay on my finger.

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There was also a collection of Hebrew pins. Some are related to the Maccabiah Games, an event held in Israel that Wikipedia describes as the “Jewish Olympics.” Others have the Olympic symbol on them. I’m going to try putting these on Ebay as a lot.

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This piece marked 750 (18k gold) is a brooch with a missing pin. I think the rocks at the top could be little diamonds. It’s valuable even just as scrap but I wonder if I could make it into a pendant.

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These beads have a beautiful lustre and a sort of marbled tone. I think they’re pearls because none of them are perfectly round and they also passed the “friction test”. I supposed they could be polished stone or marbled glass as well, what do you think?

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I thought this modernist style ring (marked 900 silver) was pretty cool. One of the arms is a little cracked but it works fine for now, though I’d want to repair that somehow before selling it. I’d also be happy keeping it myself!

Last weeks sales (May 26 – June 1)

Gold-filled watch in need of repair – 15$ (to a reader), found in Plateau April 15th
-2 “Banzai” Metallica Cassettes (early Canadian printings) – 38$ (Ebay), found in Rosemont as part of larger collection but not featured. The collection was in front of the same place as these great bike locks and the bike seats from last week
-Yard Sale – Many different things added up to 135$
Total: 188$, 338$ since I began keeping better track (May 18).

Another passable if unspectacular week. I hope to have another yard sale this weekend, if so I should post some bigger numbers soon. I also plan on scheduling my work a bit better so I get more things listed online.

I plan on going back to this spot (and NDG, CDN, Westmount) tomorrow (if not later tonight). I’ll let you know if I find anything more!