That ain’t recyclable!

Some of my more intriguing post-pandemic garbage finds came from this recycling bin a few weeks back. I remember finding some good stuff here many months ago, maybe even in the fall, but gave up on the spot after not seeing anything on the curb there for some time.

Some people treat their recycling bin like a second trash can. This was a good example of that phenomenon.

The plaster bust survived its trip to the bin more or less unscathed. There was one chip off the side, but I was able to glue it back in place and the damage isn’t noticeable. It’s about 16″ tall and has a “Borghese” sticker on the bottom. It seems like a nice auction-house worthy piece. The dolls are from Japan, and I’d guess that they were made in the 70s.

The middle vase / urn looks to be made from bronze. I realized after taking this picture that I could rotate the base so that the landscape, which looks Japanese, is more center to the three-legged base. I’d guess that it had a lid at some point, but I’d be pleasantly surprised if it turned out to be complete. The metal urn on the left was made in Italy by Mottahedeh, a company that specializes in high quality antique reproductions. The one on the right, which is a similar style, was made in France by unknown.

This pottery thing is pretty big, measuring about 18″ tall. I’m guessing it’s also Japanese, but I have no idea what it is. If you do, please let us know in the comments! If I were to guess, I’d again say it was probably made in the 70s. It doesn’t appear to be damaged in any way.

Here we have some silver plated stuff and a big brass bowl, which was likely made in India.

That sculpture in the back looks expensive, but the wood is split in a couple places and there’s a chip off the side. That ceramic tobacco pipe was stuck in the guy’s elbow when I found it. I think the brass piece is an incensor, and the glass tray is made by Gay Fad Studios. It’d be worth a bit of money, but it’s a little worn out and is thus destined for the yard sale pile.

I found this nice big platter as well. I doubt it’s a precious antique, but I’ll show the bottom in case you want to give me a second opinion!

Otherwise, I saved a enameled bowl signed by Harold Tishler and a book of Yossi Stern’s artwork (which was signed by the painter). Both are probably worth listing on eBay.

I haven’t seen anything here in the weeks since, but I have hopes that there’ll be more trash going forward. The house was recently sold, so if there’s anything left inside it’s got to go somewhere, and soon.

I’ve been having troubles with my camera lately. It’s not turning on, which I hope is just due to an old battery, but if not I’ll have to buy something newer (which could be nice regardless). I shot these photos with an iPhone 8 – they’re pretty good, but they’re not as crisp or as detailed as what I can achieve using the Sony NEX-5N.

It’s a pretty nice outside today, and if life was normal I’d consider having a yard sale. I wonder how long it’ll be until I’m able to do one, considering how busy they can get at times (thereby making social distancing difficult). We’ll just have to wait and see I suppose. My garage is full of yard sale stuff, and I’ve run out of bins to put it all in. I can definitely pack a lot more in there if I organize it right, but in the ideal world I’d spend that same time selling it instead.

I also have a lot of stuff sitting around waiting for the auction-house to open. I’m hoping that happens within a couple of weeks. Tracking the auctions is one of those “normal life” things that I miss, along with sports and social interaction.

 

Little boxes of treasures / Restlessness pt.2

 

Today I continue my quest to finish sharing my spring finds so I can get to some more recent ones. This spot was great for a few weeks around the beginning of May, and it provided some “trash” that will compete for a spot on my end of year top-ten list. I still have lots of research to do though, and these folks could also end up making my list of all-time top providers (which is one that could make the book someday).

It’s also funny knowing that I found this stuff largely by accident. I was feeling bored and restless one night and decided to go on a run mostly as an excuse to get out of the house. The garbage on this particular street is usually picked up very early in the morning, and normally I don’t get there in time to see any of it – I focus on the other streets instead. So, I was definitely lucky to be in the right place at the right time.

Of course, I’m sure I’m in the right place at the wrong time often enough, but there’s nothing or nobody to tell you when that is the case.

Anyways, the boot in the video above is actual garbage. However, it goes to show that this stuff was probably packed away in a basement or attic for at least a few decades. I’d never before seen a rubber boot that crunchy!

Most of my best finds were packed away in little boxes like this one.

Here’s a look at all that stuff. There’s a lot of quality junk here, so zoom in for a closer look!

It’s always exciting finding a goodie box like this. I think the first piece that struck me was the fish brooch in the middle. It has a brutalist look to it, and indeed it’s signed G. Vidal on the back. It’s an unusual piece, and I wasn’t able to find any others online (he does have a different fishy design, however). The signature is also different as he typically used stamped symbols, but maybe it’s an early work. Either way, I think he made it as the quality is excellent and it seems to be made from pewter, his material of choice. It should sell for around 150-200$.

The snake bracelet was also a little different. It was hallmarked “333,” which is 8k gold that’s likely of European origin. It was pretty busted unfortunately, so I removed the gold from the steel coil and sold it as scrap. My gold guy told me it was more like 5k gold, but I had 19 grams of it so I still came away with a little over 100$. I did keep the head, which looks to have little rubies for eyes.

Next up on my most intriguing list is that chain like piece on the left. I’m not sure what it’s for, so please let me know if you do! It’s hallmarked with a star and the word “silver.” I especially like the details on that bit in the middle, it reminds me of “Arts & Crafts” designs but I’m no expert. Either way, I wouldn’t be surprised if this thing dates to the turn of the century.

That enameled brooch near the top is also cool. It’s signed with a tiny picture and the word sterling, and the design looks like a modernist alligator. Any info as to who might have made it would be appreciated. To the left of that you can see a wooden hair pin type object with a horned deer-like animal on top.

Otherwise, I found a Bakelite bangle; a Mexican sterling ring with a rough turquoise (?) stone; a pair of silver cufflinks marked “Hand Made in Greece”; a cigarette holder that looks to be made from ivory; a couple of bits of earrings for the scrap gold pile; a locket signed “K&L 835” (silver from Germany); and three gold-tone & enamel pieces that were probably part of a modernist necklace (none are signed, unfortunately).

You can see better picture and some of the hallmarks in the gallery below. (Note that you can click on the picture to make it bigger, and then within the gallery viewer you can make the picture zoomable by scrolling down and clicking the “view full-size” button on the right hand side).

As for the coins, there’s a few old ones in there, the oldest of which I’ll mention again later on.

One day I saved several wallets, all of which had foreign currency inside.

None of them were super exciting, but I did spot a Canadian silver dime. Also, a few of the wallets were still in good enough condition to sell at a yard sale.

There were lots of curiosities tucked away in this little box, including a bit more natural stuff.

That big Parthenon pendant (which is probably bronze) is covered with what looks to be sealing wax. That should come off pretty easily, though I still haven’t gotten around to doing it. I think the other pendant is a hunk of silver. A couple of those coins look pretty ancient, and you can see close-ups below.

I’m guessing that these coins are legitimate old, and not reproductions. The one on the right looks Roman and silver, while the one on the right looks bronze but is hard to identify. The middle coin is from that earlier collection – it’s dated 1601 and was made by the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth that existed at the time.

I don’t know much about coins, so any advice would be appreciated. Zoom in for a closer look!

Occasionally the treasures were stored in little plastic bags. I took this shot at my garage before I got my new lights, but you get the drift.

That bib necklace is pretty awesome. I’m not sure what it’s made of, but based on the occasional green tarnish I’d guess that it’s got a lot of copper inside. Either way, it’s very pretty and all those pieces bouncing together makes a very nice sound. The clasp is missing which makes it a little harder (for me) to date, but if you have any ideas let me know. The amber necklace was busted, but I put the beads in a nice wooden box and sold they sold at auction for around 20$.

The ring at bottom left is pretty cool as well. It’s designed like a lion and is hallmarked “950.” That silver standard isn’t in use anymore, and likely indicates that it was made in Europe some time ago.

This was the last treasure box I found, outside on a day when there were only a few trash bags out (a tiny number when compared the hoards I stumbled across on previous trash days).

The wicker apple contained some of the best stuff.

There’s a bit of silver here, but the piece that really sticks out is the large yin & yang necklace.

It was signed by Pal Kepenyes, a Hungarian-Mexican sculptor whose work is pretty sought after (though you should never believe any price seen on 1stDibs). I listed this on eBay and it sold pretty quickly for 375$. Can’t complain!

A couple of smaller boxes inside that box held some nice beads, a crystal necklace, and another necklace that’s probably faux ivory.

I saved some unboxed treasures as well. There was a fair number of doctor-related ephemera, including a large selection of Clinical Symposia magazines from the 60s and 70s. My favourite is the one with the nuclear blast, which was published in 1963 not long after the Cuban Missile Crisis.

I found a whole bunch of art. This piece is the one that most stood out, it’s got an interesting look and seemed to have been signed in 1946.

I also found this neat poster, which uses the image of Tintin on the Moon but rebrands it something like: “The Sciences, they’re also for girls”. I think it sold for about 8$ at auction.

One of my other most valuable finds (that I know of) was a vintage Isamu Noguchi Akari ceiling lamp. Made from washi paper, these lamps are very popular among mid-century enthusiasts.

This one was still in original box & in pretty good condition. I listed it on eBay and it sold extremely quickly, maybe even within the hour, for 325$. Not bad! When something sells that quickly you always wonder if you should have priced it higher, but I think my price was just “fair” and the buyer very passionate.

So, two things on this post have already sold for 700$. Let’s call it 850$ after counting the scrap gold from the snake bracelet and earring parts. There’s a lot of treasure still to sell, however, and lots of research left to do (and I hope you can help me out a bit!). Hopefully there’s a good amount of money yet to be earned…

Considering all the treasures I found here I can’t help but wonder at the value of some of the junkier looking stuff. For example, these pretty but seemingly useless crystallized bits of orange, red, green, and blue whatever in a small jar. I doubt they have any value, but if you know what they are please share in the comments!

I’ve been having decent luck later, in large part because I’ve been finding jewellery. For example, last week I didn’t have any luck at all before coming across a small bag of the shiny stuff on Friday. That definitely made up for a thoroughly mediocre Monday thru Thursday. The weeks before that were also helped by jewelry. I’ll get to sharing that sometime in the near future.

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Garbage of the Mile End pt.2

I’ve been having good luck in my own neighbourhood lately despite covering it much less than in years past. I spotted this pile a couple weeks back. Not long after I starting picking a lady came out and told me to be careful as her sixplex had recently been sprayed for bedbugs. I was thankful for the warning but continued with a highly conservative approach – sometimes people get overzealous when dealing with bugs and toss things they shouldn’t.

Indeed, I kicked one bag and heard the sweet sound of coins. Inside was a small collection stored in a ceramic dish.

A few coins might not be worth much otherwise, but two were pre-1968 Canadian dollars. Those are composed of 80% silver and are worth around 15-20$ a piece. I washed them of course, but realistically the coins weren’t likely to harbour any bugs.

I talked to the same woman again a little later and apparently she was familiar with the blog. However, she told me she had mixed feelings about what I do, citing “papers” as the reason why. I assumed she meant old, possibly intimate papers such as family photos, and explained that while I think garbage picking can be intrusive I believe the good greatly offsets the bad when you consider the environmental and historical benefits. Plus, I’m not particularly interested in getting to know the people I pick from.

Later I realized that she could have meant sensitive documents such as tax returns that could be used to steal someone’s identity. I have no interest in such things, and wish that people would go ahead and shred it (as they should). We didn’t talk for long so unfortunately I can’t be sure what she meant.

Most people I talk to are supportive, so it was interesting to hear a different point of view that didn’t involve being yelled at. If you have any thoughts about the pros & cons of ethics of garbage picking please share them in the comments!

Later on my walk I happened a mess of bags that had been ripped apart, presumably by other pickers. Most of the best stuff was probably long gone, but I did salvage a set of Pyrex “Vision” cookware that had been otherwise forgotten. I brought these to auction but they haven’t been listed yet.

A house not far away was emptied out over a period of a few months. I saved a lot of great stuff there, but unfortunately I was very busy at the time and wasn’t able to take many pictures.

On a couple of recycling days I filled the car with lab glass, a lot of which was still in its original packaging.

I saved so many beakers of different sizes. They aren’t really worth that much individually but I sold a bunch at one of my recent yard sales. These 30ml beakers might go on eBay since they’re in their original box and should be easy enough to ship.

This 5000ml pyrex boiling flask was another good find. It would have been expensive to ship so I dropped it off at the auction house instead. I think it sold for 20-some dollars, which is decent. New they cost a lot of money (there’s a pretty big markup on anything medical) but I would have had a hard time getting more than 40$ on eBay.

My favourite pieces were the red graduated cylinders, many of which were new in box. Despite their coolness they only sell for around 20$ + shipping on eBay. I sold a couple at a yard sale, brought a few to the auction house, and still have several, mostly in the 250ml format.

This really just scratches the surface of my lab equipment haul! It was actually overwhelming how much I found but thankfully I’ve pared it down to a reasonable amount. I still have some research to do, however. For example, there’s a bit of equipment including several pipet devices that might be worth decent money but I haven’t had time to figure out how much exactly. If anything ends up selling for a nice sum I’ll be sure to mention it on a future sales post.

That spot provided some other quality junk as well, including this vintage Radio Shack hockey game (which seems to sell for around 50$) …

… and these unusual ecclesiastical pieces. I had a hard time researching them but it seems that they’re vessels for holy oils. One is marked OS (oleum catechumenorum/oil of catechumens) and the other OI (oleum infirmorum/oil of the sick). Originally there would probably have been a third marked SC (sacrum chrisma/sacred chrism). They appear to be very old and silver plated (no hallmarks, some wear to the plate visible on the crosses). They’re about 3,25″ tall and have screw-on tops. That’s all I can say for sure, but please let us know if you have any relevant information to share! Regardless they’re pretty neat and likely worth between 50-100$ for the pair.

Elsewhere, another house was slowly emptied over a period of many months. Previously my best finds were a vintage butterfly tray (which sold quickly for 70$), a bag of clarinet reeds, and a silver class ring from the 70s. Last garbage day was better, however as these trinket boxes (and at least some of their contents) got chucked.

Here’s the costume stuff / random bric-a-brac, most of which will go into the yard sale pile …

… and here’s the stuff I can make good money on. The medical ID bracelet is 10k gold and worth about 100$ in scrap. The enameled Azores pin (featuring a pair of clogs), Catholic medallion, bouquet pendant, and each of the four bracelets are silver. Most of those have Portuguese hallmarks which I’ve never seen previously. The rhinestone bow-tie brooch probably isn’t solid silver but it’s definitely vintage. The same applies to the rosary. Unfortunately these folks seem to be done tossing, but these small finds definitely made my night!

As you can probably tell I’m pretty far behind on my posts, and as a result there’s a whole bunch of high quality finds I have yet to show you. I’ll try to get them posted relatively soon…

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