Things I bring to the auction house pt.2

I’ve been trying to reorganize and declutter my various storage spaces, but it’s difficult when I keep finding great trash to sell! Fortunately, the auction house is there to ensure I don’t get too overwhelmed.

It’s tempting to be lazy when such a service is available. Instead of doing the work required to sell something on eBay I could always just drop the thing off and let someone else do it. It remains true that the best way to maximize the value of my finds is to put in the effort and list them myself. At the same time I don’t have nearly enough time to list everything, and it’s very reasonable to take the easy route for certain items. The key is to figure out which items best suit the auction house, which are better for yard sales, and which are best for eBay.

These are the classes of items that I (currently) think make the most sense to bring to auction, keeping in mind that they look for about 20$ in value when accepting commissions:

  1. Large, bulky, and fragile items that take up a lot of space and are annoying / expensive to ship. (It’s worth noting that while the buyer pays for shipping on eBay, that’s also a cost that they were willing to pay to get the item. Perhaps local buyers will bid a bit more than they would on eBay because they don’t have to consider shipping).
  2. Tools, practical items and interior design elements.
  3. Items belonging to the hottest markets of the day including: vintage video games, electronics, mid-century pieces, silver, and coins.
  4. Collections of items that are slow to sell at yard sales, and not worth my time to list individually on eBay.
  5. Items of local or regional interest.
  6. Things I don’t like or don’t enjoy selling (ie: dolls and Barbies)
  7. Things for which I lack expertise or knowledge.

An item could fit into more than one of these categories. For instance, most things I bring to auction fit into class #1 to varying degrees. Vintage video game cartridges and coins are easily shipped, but those markets are very hot and the returns I’ve seen so far have been great. I could have listed those Steinberg tie pins on eBay, but I figured the nostalgia / FOMO of local collectors (#5) would fetch me a reasonable price (we’ll find out on Sunday!).

So, what’s left? For eBay: small, easily stored, and easily shipped items; niche items I know I can get top dollar for; highly valuable items where the difference in fees becomes notable; and things I enjoy selling. For yard sales: everything else. We’ll see how the business evolves, but this seems like a solid strategy for the time being.

This stuff I spotted on heavy garbage day in Ville St Laurent featured some very auctionable junk. I took the wine jug in wicker on the right …

… this cool formic acid crate, which contained another wine jug;

… and this winemaking doohickey, which was inside that cardboard box. I’m not sure what it does, but it seemed to work when I turned it on.

I spotted this standing ashtray in Ahuntsic last Thursday and brought it to auction the same day. It was a great piece but also a category 1 object that I didn’t want cluttering up my storage.

I picked up this weird (and slightly creepy) looking thing in TMR last week. It’s definitely old and horse-related, perhaps something used to shape a saddle back in the day? Regardless, we’ll see how it does in the auction that ends next Thursday.

I’m told that this loon (which came from the same spot as the thing above) is a very nice piece. I don’t know much about Inuit art, but apparently it’s soapstone and signed by the artist on the bottom.

The bottom number represents the town it was made in. The auction folk know more about this stuff than I do so I feel comfortable letting them deal with it.

I picked up this starburst-y Italian chandelier base sometime last year. A friend of mine was planning on doing something cool with it but never found the time. I finally brought it to auction last week in hopes that it would do well as an upcycling piece. The fact that it has mid-century vibes only helps its case.

Vices (especially vintage ones) seem to do well at auction. They’re also pretty heavy which makes shipping expensive. I found this one in Ville St Laurent.

They were on the fence about taking this Frank Doerner office chair, but its sturdy frame and base won out over its obviously well worn upholstery. My last Doerner office chair didn’t fare very well, but this one’s much more luxurious and could look great with some new fabric. However, if it doesn’t do well I’ll pass on similar chairs in the future (also, they’ll probably stop accepting them). The chair was listed last night and the bidding will end next Thursday evening.

Here’s an antique kids’ potty chair I found last week. I’d never seen such a thing before (and don’t understand why you’d want to make one with wicker) but it seemed like a good thing to drop off at the auction.

Someone last week tossed a hat signed by former Montreal Canadien Alexei Kovalev. This definitely falls under “local interest,” and I expect the auction to earn me about as much money as I would if I were to list the hat on eBay (with much less effort required).

These old butter crates are bulky, practical and of local interest. They should sell for about 15$ each.

Most vintage glass lampshades are annoying to sell at yard sales because they’re niche (what are the odds the person who wants that specific one will show up?), bulky, and breakable. The latter two reasons (which result in a high cost of shipping) also make them a pain to sell on eBay. So, to the auction they go, often in groups of at least three.

I dropped off a bunch of video game stuff including these N64 games I had stashed away for eBay season and some untested consoles I had at the garage. Some of my other video game lots have already sold but these haven’t yet appeared on the sight. Mario Kart and Zelda are especially popular, and these should fetch me a nice chunk of cash.

Let’s finish with this piece, which will probably end up being the most valuable of the bunch. My friend and I happened upon a huge pile while picking one evening. We met the guy doing the tossing which can sometimes be an unpleasant experience. However, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone so ecstatic to have me take their junk. He was telling me what all was there, helped me collect a bunch of train set pieces that he put in his neighbours recycling bin, let us wash our hands inside the house, and so on. Apparently he was cleaning out his parents’ attic as they were preparing to sell the house. Anyways, I spotted some wood pieces inside a pair of disintegrating trash bags. I could tell right away that they were teak, and wondered if they could be fancy designer pieces.

They turned out to be the pieces of a mid-century chair (actually 1.5 chairs – I have two extra bits that I don’t know what to do with). I don’t know much about all the different mid-century designers so I posted pictures to Reddit’s /r/mid_century forum in hopes that they could tell me what I needed to know. As it turns out, this chair is a Capella lounge chair designed by Illum Wikkelso for Niels Eilersen of Denmark.

I don’t think that this chair has the same appeal as the George Nakashima piece I found a couple years ago, but it’s still very much in style and should sell in the somewhere in the low hundreds. I felt comfortable dropping it off because the mid-century market is very hot right now, the price of shipping would be pretty high, and the 25% fee (as compared to the roughly 10% with eBay / Paypal) is well worth it considering how much hassle it saves me. We’ll see how it goes!

I think I’m nearly done with the constant organizing / reorganizing that became necessary after downsizing my garage and discovering this new auction approach. My basement is pretty much clear of forgotten junk, my storage on Coloniale is relatively empty after a couple of yard sales, and my garage is still a total mess but not nearly as bad as it was not long ago. Hopefully soon I’ll be able to focus more on the blog and featuring finds from specific spots like I used to.

I’m leaning towards doing a yard sale this Sunday at my garage. The weather is supposed to be perfect and it might be the last hot weekend day of the year. Plus, I really want to get rid of some junk. It’ll be at roughly 918 St Gregoire (near Mentana and Laurier Park) starting around 11am. For now let’s assume that I do it. I’ll edit this post below if I change my mind (so check back if you want to be sure).

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Recent sales: April

eBay sales were relatively slow in April. Fortunately, the arrival of yard sale season helped make it profitable anyways.

1. Yard sale: 650$. My first sale of the season was a success! I basically brought all the (quality) junk I had stored in the basement to the street, and it wasn’t as big as some of my other sales. Still, it was a nice warm-up of sorts and a fun day overall.

2. Vintage market: 180$. This result was a bit of a disappointment, but I did learn a bit about pop-up shop selling. In the future I’ll try to sell with similar vendors (most other people had clothes, I was the only one with junk) and I’ll make sure there’s either no music or quiet music. The tunes were a bit loud, which made it harder for people to connect to my sometimes unusual wares… that’s my theory anyways.

3. Sharmark bead & sequin wrap: On eBay for 40$. Found in Cote St-Luc.

4. Silhouette eyeglasses: On eBay for 75$. I semi-regularly find lightly used Silhouette eyeglasses, which is good because they always sell for a nice price.

5. Vintage Startac cell phone: On eBay for 10$. I thought this would sell for more but I guess not. Fortunately the Microtac (featured later) was a bit more valuable. Found in Rosemont.

6. Ray Ban New Wayfarer sunglasses, prescription lenses: On eBay for 55$.

7. iPhones for parts: On eBay for 25$. These were all locked to iCloud, basically making them bricks usable only for a limited number of parts. The payoff was barely worth it considering how much time and energy I put into testing / wiping these, but it was a good learning experience I suppose.

8. Vintage Rio de Janeiro butterfly serving tray: On eBay for 70$. This sold quickly for a nice price! Found on St Urbain in the Mile End.

9. Vintage palladium ring: On eBay for 200$. This was the nicest of the three rings I recently found stored inside an old pill bottle.

10. Silver compact: On eBay for 60$. I’m surprised this compact took so long to sell, it was a very nice piece. I found it on Van Horne in Cote-des-Neiges a few years back.

11. Lise Watier Capteur des reves: On eBay for 50$. This scent seems to be pretty uncommon – I didn’t find any others on eBay. Not all rare things are desirable, but based on what I read on Fragrantica the people who tried it liked it and wanted more. It sold relatively quickly for a good price. Found in Hampstead.

12. Silhouette Titan rimless sunglasses: On eBay for 75$.

13. Verifone credit card terminal: On eBay for 50$. I’m glad this is finally gone! It sat around taking up space for way too long.

14. Chinese export silver bracelet: On eBay for 500$. This was the most valuable antique Chinese piece from that collection I found last fall.

15. Sony Walkman: On eBay for 40$. This Walkman was unusual in that it had two different headphone jacks.

16. Little Mouse Factory figurines: On eBay for 30$.

17. Girard Perregaux watch box: On eBay for 40$.

18. Christian Dior Pure Poison: On eBay for 80$.

19. Vintage cat-eye sunglasses: On eBay for 30$.

20. Mexican silver pins: On eBay for 25$.

21. Motorola Microtac cell phone: On eBay for 60$. Pretty old school! It also came with a charging dock.

22. Miniature vintage Diorissimo: On eBay for 22$. I’m surprised I haven’t sold more of these. The customer was very happy with their purchase though.

23. Basf cassette recorder: On eBay for 60$. This came with its original box.

24. Rolf handcrafted spectacles: On eBay for 100$.

Total: 2527$, 8834.50$ so far in 2018.

 

 

This & that

The weather has not been cooperative of late, making it hard to pick and impossible to do yard sales. It’s supposed to be nice this weekend, however *knock on wood* so maybe it’s finally time for my first sale of the year! I think I’ll take it easy and just deal with the stuff I have in my basement and plastic bins out front. If you’d like to see some of my junk, come to 147 St Joseph Ouest near St Urbain on Sunday between 12-4pm.

Otherwise, don’t fret if you can’t come to that one – I’ll also be selling at a vintage market all next weekend. I’ll bring some of my fancier stuff there, as well as the usual collection of interesting if often useless junk. Hope to see you at one or the other, or both!

The past two weeks haven’t been amazing for picking but I still managed to find some decent stuff. My Monday evening run was a total write-off before I happened upon a pile of old renovation and fireplace stuff. These vintage andirons should make me a bit of money, even if there aren’t as many fireplaces as there used to be.

I also saved some nice old door knobs and door plates. My favourites are the bubbly glass ones on top.

 

I’ve never found one like this previously. A single similar looking knob sold for 45 USD on eBay, so I should do well for the pair!

Around a week ago I happened upon a neat pile of trash not far from home. At the bottom right is a set of five Alcoholics Anonymous tokens – I’ve seen individual ones before, but never this many at once. There’s a token saying “think before you drink” as well as one each for the three, six, nine, and twelve month milestones. At the top is a vintage lockpick, an old metal comb, an interesting clay brooch (top left), a Catholic medallion, and a small collection of small photos. I’m not sure what that ruler thing with all the metal sticks is (top right), do you?

I also found jewelry, perfume, and watches. Most of the watches are yard sale quality, but I think that Bulova will sell for around 40-50$. The Caravelle would be nice as well; alas, it doesn’t run. That curvy brooch looks to be sterling silver. It’s a cool piece but it’s unfortunately unsigned. That bracelet is signed “Clara” but I can’t find any relevant information about that person or company online. The (busted) earrings in the bag are by Nina Ricci. The miniature YSL Opium and Egoiste are the best of the perfume finds.

I didn’t see anything here last garbage day, but I’ll keep an eye on the situation in case more treasures emerge.

I was dumbfounded to find three different generations of iPhones – a 5s, 6, and 6+ – all in the same bag in NDG. They’re all in really good cosmetic condition as well. Unfortunately, when people toss their iPhones they rarely turn off the “find my iPhone” feature, and as a result the two smaller phones are currently bricks good only for parts. I have hopes that the 6+ might not have had the “find my iPhone” activated, but I’ll need to figure out what provider it was on before I can know for sure. If it does end up working, the 16gb 6+ seems to sell for around 225$. My previous best iPhone find was a 5s with a cracked screen, so this haul blows that straight out of the water.

Another spot in NDG provided a bit of old toolsy stuff, including this old cigarette tin.

Inside was a neat collection of locks and keys, some of which are of the skeleton variety. Unfortunately none of the keys seem to fit the padlocks, but so it goes. This stuff should do well at a yard sale. I’m sure it could sell on eBay as well, but there’s just not enough time in the world to list everything I find!

I found these things outside of a recently sold house in Ahunstic a couple months back. The necklace on the right might be the most valuable piece here – it’s signed by Anne Marie Chagnon, a local jeweler whose work seems to do well on eBay. Based on recent completed listings (looking through these is the main way I research my finds) I think it could sell for three figures, though I’ll lower the price if it takes a while to sell. I really like that chalkware lion in the middle – I might keep that for myself. The Sheaffer and Armani cases are empty, but still useful for shipping out similar items.

The folks who tossed this stuff were pretty nice. They came out and offered me and my friend some other stuff they were parting with, including some cute embroideries, an old clock, and a large framed class photo that includes a picture of the multitalented Gratien Gelinas. If only people were this nice all the time!

I found a bag of jewelry elsewhere in Ahunstic. The first piece I noticed was the silver bracelet on the bottom which got me excited as to else was in there. Unfortunately, the rest was pretty junky though some was good enough for the yard sale pile. That other bracelet could be silver as well; there’s some marks on there but I can’t make them out.

In Rosemont I saved a large collection of old paper bags. My favourites were these oddly tall and narrow Maple Leaf potato chip bags. The company labels itself “Pioneers in Canada” – pioneers of what, I have no idea. The weight is written in ounces, so this bag dates to at latest the early 70s. Does anyone remember this company? I also saved a bunch of Steinberg bags. I hope they sell at a yard sale, but at worst I can bag people’s purchases in them!

I found this cute little shoeshine box in Rosemont. I also met the previous owner, an older lady who told me that her dad made it when she was just one year old. I’d guess that she was about 80, making this box quite vintage! Many of the things I find are stripped of their history, so it’s always nice when I get to learn even a little bit of their backstory.

 

Here’s a video of me opening the box via an interior latch (her son showed me how). It appears that the wood was repurposed from old butter crates. I might have to hold onto this, at the very least it’s a fun cubby hole.

Otherwise, people keep throwing out stamps. Some rich folks tossed these two packs (minus one stamp), good for close to 20$ of shipping goodness. I’m also almost finished using that huge haul of stamps which for me was like incrementally finding 100$. Here’s hoping I don’t have to pay to ship things via lettermail anytime soon! (I ship most of my parcels with Paypal labels, so stamps don’t come into play for those).

I’ve been finding more stuff at the gold ring spot. No more gold as of yet, but a decent amount of interesting junk (and also a whole bunch of useless crap). I’ll save those finds for a future post.

I was planning on taking today off from picking as I’ve been feeling a bit under this weather. I decided to go on a quick run at the last moment, however and ended up finding some great spring cleaning “junk.” I’ll share that in a future post, but for now let’s just say that it involves round, sometimes shiny objects.

I’ve been re-tooling the site a little bit. Some of you might have noticed that the old “resources” tab is now called “how to…”, which I think is a better way to phrase it. I also re-wrote a lot of the sections inside that tab, though I still have some work to do on the “how to garbage pick” section. Now that I’m looking at it, the “about” tab is totally useless and has been for some time… I’ll have to work on that as well. I guess you could say I need to do some spring cleaning on the blog!

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Email: thingsifindinthegarbage@gmail.com. Staying on top of emails is not my best quality, so please be patient (but feel free to nag).