Tag Archives: recycling

Night of the sterling garbage pt. 1

I’ve had good luck finding silver lately. There was that plate from last post, and also a great collection of silver jewelry from about a month ago that I have yet to share.

The good luck continued last week, and on one of my runs I found notable quantities of silver in three different spots. I’ll share the finds in three different posts, with the quality of the silver increasing each time.

This spot has been interesting the past few weeks. I’ve had to sort through a lot of junk to find very little, but the trash is interesting enough to keep me coming back. There’s been lots of worthless tech junk, stuff that’s old enough to be obsolete but not old enough to be collectible. I saved some fashion watches that might sell for .50 or 1$ at a yard sale, and a few shirts that actually fit me pretty well.

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Fortunately, this little footed dish should make me a bit of money.

I researched the stamps on the bottom, and found that the bowl was made in Cairo in 1980. The silver purity is 90%, so it’s not technically sterling (which is 92.5% silver) but it’s close enough right? It’s worth about 50$ in silver scrap, but might be nice enough to sell on its own. I’ll keep an eye on this spot going forward, but these people seem to be generally good at not throwing away anything of value.

Elsewhere, I came across a bag in NDG with a bunch of old vacuum tubes inside.

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I cleaned them up and threw away the ones that were obviously busted. Now I have to figure out whether to sell them as an untested lot on eBay or go through the hassle of testing them all. Some vacuum tubes go for a lot of money, hundreds or even thousands depending on the type, but I don’t think these ones are particularly valuable (perhaps in the 5-15$ range, if working). Still, that’s not bad considering how many I have. If you have any tips on testing or selling old tubes, let me know in the comments!

I found this pin a couple weeks ago in Cote St-Luc. It stayed in the car for a week before I got around to bringing it inside and looking it up online. I discovered that it was made for the Montreal Beavers of the long defunct Continental Football League, a short-lived team that operated only for the 1966 and 1967 seasons. I’d never heard of the Beavers or the (other) CFL previously, so finding this pin was a bit of an education. I couldn’t find any other pins like it online, so it might be relatively uncommon as well. Continental Football League stuff is fairly collectible, and I’m guessing that this pin will net me between 30-50$.

I keep going back to that place where I found the old tabloids from the last post and the finds are as junky and dusty as ever. I usually find a few things, like this little depression glass dish, but overall it’s been a real slog. Who knows, maybe it’ll pay off at some point. I met the guy tossing the stuff and he seemed nice enough, he just asked me not to make a mess.

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I like saving vintage garbage-related ephemera, so I took these old garbage bag bags that I’d guess were made in the 80s. Maybe one day I can give them to a museum of garbage. I found no reference to “Big John Plastics” on Google.

I found this neat Kodaslide viewer somewhere, I forget where exactly. It sells for around 25$, but it might be my new go-to slide viewer because of its cool design and built in light.

I found a good collection of old Commodore computer stuff in Cote St-Luc, which I expect will net me around 60$ …

… as well as a single bronzed shoe. I see these once in a while, and they’re always a fun find. Apparently the bronzed shoe business started in the 30s, and peaked in the 50s and 60s.

Here’s an optometry gizmo I found last week. I doubt it has much value, but it might make for a fun yard sale item.

Sometimes I find electronics that I never knew existed. For example, apparently Sandisk (who I know better as a USB key maker) produces a media player called the Sansa. It’s actually a pretty cool and compact device that also contains an FM receiver. Honestly, I almost overlooked this in the bag, but I guess my brain decided it was worth taking (sometimes, this process is only semi-conscious, especially when sorting through a lot of stuff). This model seems to go for around 50$, so it’s a nice get.

Otherwise, now that yard sale season is over I’m digging through my “to list on eBay” pile and finding some stuff I forgot about. I remember saving this collection of vintage pencils in NDG in the spring and thinking they were cool enough to merit further research. Most are labelled Canadian Pacific or A.W. Faber “Radium” copying ink. I doubt they’re worth a bunch, but I thought I’d auction them off regardless. If anyone has a Worthpoint account they could help me out by looking up what these Radium pencils sold for.

I found some vintage Barbies a little while back, and found them again while going through some stuff I have in the basement. There’s stuff I enjoy researching, like that Montreal Beavers pin, but the value of specific Barbies is not one of them. I don’t generally use auctions, but I probably will in this case as the Barbie market is fairly strong, and it would save me the time of figuring out a price. However, I don’t have them listed yet, so if you have any advice let me know.

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I also brought another haul of e-waste to the recycling box. This batch, mostly old cell and portable phones, weighed just over 3kg, and overall I’ve recycled about 7.3kg of e-waste since I started keeping track earlier this year (not including the stuff I’ve sold for actual money). I like to think that I’m making a bit of a difference, and maybe by sharing this I can encourage more people to think about electronics recycling!

That’s all for now, but I do have a sales post ready to go, and lots of silver to talk about.

Relevant links

1. Facebook page
2. My eBay listings
3. Etsy store
4. Kijiji listings
5. Contribute to garbagefinds.com
6. Follow me on Instagram

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.

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Blessings pt.2

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The yard sale was productive, and almost certainly my largest ever. I got rid of a lot of stuff, my friend sold a lot of clothes, and we did a pretty good purge afterwards. However, it was also a really long day, around 12 hours straight with no breaks and not enough food or water. Plus, our landlord’s wife got really mad at us for doing the sale. That was more or less worked out by the end, but it did add some unneeded stress right from the start.

That being said, I’m considering doing another sale if the weather keeps up. I’ve cleared out a lot of stuff, but as I get organized I keep digging up old finds from buried boxes, most of which haven’t made it to my previous sales. I’d like to give some of these items one more chance to sell before winter, because it’s unlikely I’ll want to hold onto them until spring. My plan is to purge all but the best trash at the end of the yard sale season; that way it’ll be easier to stay organized over the winter, and I can start fresh in the spring.

The sale definitely won’t be this weekend, but depending on the weather it could be the next weekend or the one after. I’ll keep you posted.

Today I’ll finish up with the spot where I found all those papal blessings. While taking the pictures of all those frames I forgot to include one of my favourites, which was this series of five pictures from a 1938 Cercle des Jeune Naturalistes exhibition in Rimouski. The exhibit features lots of neat nature-related stuff, including bird wings, a stuffed owl, many different types of leaves, and lots of artwork. Zoom in for a much better look. I’ve never seen any photos quite like this previously, and it’s always neat to find something a little different.

I found a few different posters, including this one from Bourbon Street in New Orleans. It’s definitely vintage and in good condition, so I’ll try to get a nice price for it on eBay.

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This poster was cool but ripped a bit in the middle. It was a throw-in at my most recent sale.

I also liked this old French wine map.

I went there one recycling day and saved a whole bunch of vintage cookbooks.

The best of the bunch was this Five Roses cookbook from 1915. The covers were off, but the pages were still in great shape. I sold it at one of my previous sales for 3$.

I saved a few books. None were super exciting, but this one was published in 1782. It’s in poor condition, but it’s not everyday I find something that old.

I saved a few photos, including one that looks to have been taken in an old schoolhouse.

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I also found a neat etched portrait from the 50s. I hadn’t seen anything quite like it previously.

There were boxes and boxes of old lamp parts out on one trash day. Most looked to be from junky mid-century lamps, but they could be useful for crafting or repair.

This lamp is made from a repurposed Cognac bottle. I think it sold for 5$.

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I found a Quebec flag that looks fairly vintage. Though it looks the same as the current flag, it could have a bit of value on eBay due to its age. I’ve had luck with old flags in the past.

There was also plenty of small junk, which I consider my specialty. This person seems to have collected sand, and you’ll see a few containers in the course of these photos. I remember selling that USSR sticker at one of my previous sales.

The elephant drawing and snakeskin compact are also goners.

The horseshoe sold at my last sale, and that little book on the right is actually a pack of cards.

I found a couple of vintage syringes here. Those cat-eye glasses should have a bit of value online. I was surprised to sell that bottle of Worcestershire sauce at my most recent sale. I like having a few funny things around mostly as conversation pieces, but occasionally they do actually sell. It was a pretty cool bottle, probably from the 60s or 70s. It also contained some sauce which smelled pretty good all things considered.

Here’s another bottle of sand, an Opinel knife, and a MacDonald’s cigarette tin.

Those little seals look to be made from real fur. The antler is neat, and I’m guessing that the thing on the right is an immature antler of some kind. If you know what it is for sure, let us know in the comments!

In this last collection of smalls we have some separatist buttons, another syringe, a Koffoids tin, and a few dolls.

One of the last things I found at this spot was a bag full of books which also contained this hand-sized crucifix. One interesting detail is the skull and bones symbol at the base of the cross, which is something I’d never seen before. From Wikipedia: “On some crucifixes a skull and crossbones are shown below the corpus, referring to Golgotha, the site at which Jesus was crucified, which the Gospels say means in Hebrew ‘the place of the skull.’ Medieval tradition held that it was the burial-place of Adam and Eve, and that the cross of Christ was raised directly over Adam’s skull, so many crucifixes manufactured in Catholic countries still show the skull and crossbones below the corpus.”

The more you know! I still hold out hope that I’ll save more things from this spot, but a resurgence is unlikely given that I haven’t seen anything there in the last month or so.

Relevant links

1. Facebook page
2. My eBay listings
3. Etsy store
4. Kijiji listings
5. Contribute to garbagefinds.com
6. Follow me on Instagram

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.

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Mercury

I found some nice stuff on Thursday, and also saved something toxic from making it to the landfill.

In one of those bags was a little jar of mercury! Judging by its label I’d guess it was made in the 40s. The listed weight is one pound, but it’s around half full (weighs about 240 grams according to its scale, and presumably about 30 grams of that is the jar). Regardless, for its size the jar is quite heavy, and it’s interesting to feel how it sloshes around in there.

From what I can tell mercury is safe enough in this form, ie: in a glass bottle at room temperature. It’s even relatively safe to play with it in your hands – my friend’s mom apparently used to break thermometers and play with the mercury, and I also read some accounts of students touching it as part of a high school science class. However, it is still quite toxic, especially if inhaled. It’s especially bad for the environment, particularly in the food chain. Seafood is particularly vulnerable to mercury, and through biomagnification it can affect larger animals (like us) as well.

So, it’s good that I saved this from going to the dump! It’s also probably good that it didn’t get crushed by the garbage truck, as the mercury in theory could vaporize and end up in the face of the garbage collectors. I’m guessing whoever tossed it wasn’t paying attention to what they were throwing out, or didn’t know just how toxic mercury can be.

This is the first time I find a significant amount of mercury. I’ve seen a few old mercury thermometers before, but those apparently contain only up to around 2.5 grams. Finding this makes me wonder if there are any other toxic elements collecting dust in people’s basements. Maybe someone has a jar of cadmium, arsenic, or radium kicking around.

Fortunately, I also found some stuff here that I can use or sell.

I found a couple little plastic containers, once of which held a small collection of Wade figurines.

They’re not worth much, probably around 3$ a piece, but it’s definitely better than nothing.

I saved plenty of neat old junk, including two card games from Canada’s centennial (1967), a couple pairs of cool no-name frames, and two rolls of veneer.

Sorry these photos aren’t as good as they are usually, I’m still figuring out how to take photos at my new garage space. The lighting definitely isn’t as ideal as it is in my light box, but it’s better for taking larger group shots (which saves me a lot of time, and generally makes it easier to share extra finds).

Here’s a couple of cute strung together cardboard animal figures. I’d guess they’re from the 60s or 70s.

The jigsaw was a nice find. It’s old and a bit dirty, but still seems to work great. My friend will likely make use of it in some future woodworking project.

Otherwise, I saved some leather scraps, powder paints, and some vintage watercolour paints. I’m not sure if any of the paints are still good, but I figured I’d give them a chance.

I’ll definitely be returning to this house this week. Hopefully I find more old junk, and less mercury.

I’ve been having a lot of luck lately in my garbage runs. In fact, I have a backlog of photos on my computer waiting to be shared. I’m sure I’ll have another post up by the end of the week!

Relevant links

1. Facebook page
2. My eBay listings
3. Etsy store
4. Kijiji listings
5. Contribute to garbagefinds.com
6. Follow me on Instagram

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.

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